How would you describe your job to someone you just met?
I’m a hiring and training coordinator at Powell’s City of Books, which means I get to spend much of my time at work talking with current and potential employees about positions that interest them, and then helping employees become comfortable and confident in their jobs.
Last book you loved:
I recently read A Lucky Man
by Jamel Brinkley. This is his first book, and I was deeply moved by every story in the collection.
Where are you originally from?
I spent most of my life before moving to Portland bouncing between a few cities in Minnesota: Barnesville, Minneapolis, Moorhead, and St. Paul.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
My father and grandfather are/were Lutheran pastors, and growing up I thought I would be a pastor as well, but instead books turned out to be my calling, and bookstores became my sanctuaries.
When you’re not reading, what do you like to do in your free time?
In addition to being a big book lover, I’m a giant music enthusiast. I love to go see live music in Portland, everything from the Oregon Symphony, to Solange, to Superchunk. I recently read a book by Nate Chinen called Playing Changes
that has opened my ears to a lot of contemporary jazz music I hadn’t heard before. My boyfriend also works at Powell’s, and our apartment is quickly filling up with books and records.
Recommend a book or author you think everyone should read.
[G]rowing up I thought I would be a pastor...but instead books turned out to be my calling, and bookstores became my sanctuaries.
I love Sarah Waters’s novels. My favorite might be The Night Watch
, though all six of her books are well worth reading. She has such an incredible command of character and plot, and is constantly finding new ways to illuminate the experience of being a queer person in the world. I’m eagerly anticipating her next book.
Do you collect any particular types of books?
I love the book jackets that Alvin Lustig
designed for New Directions, particularly the New Classics series from the 1940s and ’50s. Some of the designs are abstract, others are representational, but all of them are beautiful. New Directions has reissued some of them in paperback editions, so they’re more available than they have been in recent years.
Tell us about your first memorable reading experience.
One summer my father set up a nylon tent for me in our backyard, and I spent much of the summer reading Susan Cooper’s The Dark Is Rising
series over and over again. I can still picture the pages tinted blue from the sunlight filtering through the walls of the tent.