How would you describe your job to someone you just met?
I work with our inventory team to fulfill book orders that our customers place online, and to get books onto their designated shelves. My tasks vary from day to day and I get the pleasure of working with quite a few of the teams in our company to make sure customers get the right books into their hands.
Last book you loved:
We Were Witches
by Ariel Gore might just be my new favorite book. I don't say that lightly. It's unlike anything else I've come across — it melds genre, the prose is unexpected and gorgeous. Chapter to chapter the story shape-shifts with fluidity, brimming with poetry, fairy tales, spells, college essays. Reading it was a wholly magical experience.
What did you do before you came to Powell’s?
I worked as a hairstylist for six years, and when I started with Powell's I was still working in the salon part time. I juggled both jobs for about a year and a half before I realized that I was beginning to burn out with the hectic schedules and commutes and needed to decide where I wanted to focus my attention on a long-term basis. I adored doing hair and working with my spectacular clients and fellow stylists, but when it came down to it, working here in this behemoth bookstore with some of the most creative and passionate people I've ever met just felt like kismet.
Share a memorable experience you've had on the job:
I once had a customer come in with a little cutting of daphne, my favorite plant, and as I was ringing her up I chatted with her about it and commented on how lovely it was. She promptly cut off a small piece and gave it to me to take home. It was such a surprising and kind gesture, it made my day!
When you’re not reading, what do you like to do in your free time?
[Bookstores allow] us to drink in the atmosphere and flood our senses with words and stories and community.
I tend to dive into various arts and crafts projects simultaneously. I've got a few things going at the moment, but I'm most excited about a painting in the works and a cross stitch piece I'm putting together for a friend. I'm also a bit of a TV junkie and I've been feverishly consuming a few of the newer series adaptations of classic books, especially The Handmaid's Tale
, Alias Grace
, and Anne With an E
. It's quite a feat to adapt a well-loved story and manage to honor the integrity of the original work and still bring something new to the table, which is something I think that these three shows do particularly well.
Do you have any odd reading habits or book rituals?
I prefer to listen to music while I read. Quietly of course, but I don't avoid music with lyrics. Recently, SZA's album Ctrl
and Frank Ocean's Blonde
have been my go-to albums for reading time. I can't tell if I enjoy it merely for the ambiance or if it acts as an audible barrier from more erratic noises that bleed into my apartment from the outside world, but in any case, it's my favorite way to read.
Why do you think bookstores remain so popular in the digital age?
Art is created to be experienced in person. Art galleries and museums matter and exist because people are passionate about visual art and want to be able to view raw, astounding talent up close and personal. People wait years and pay large sums of money to see their favorite musicians perform live because it's a different feeling, it's a unique experience and hearing a live set is so much more memorable than listening to the album online. In the same way, walking into a brick-and-mortar bookstore offers a physical space to touch books, interact with beloved authors at their readings, and connect with fellow book lovers in a way that the Internet simply cannot touch. It allows us to drink in the atmosphere and flood our senses with words and stories and community and there's power in that.
What's your biggest literary pet peeve?
Fatphobia. I'm exhausted with authors who use "fat" or some variation as the first descriptor in all of their unlikable or ugly characters. It's unrealistic, alienating, and quite frankly it's just lazy writing.