Tuesday, April 28, 2015

The Libromancers of Independent Bookstore Day

Have we told you about Independent Bookstore Day? We have? Like, a hundred times? Oh well, did we mention the amazing booksellers who will be working that day? OK, good.

Every now and again you’ll see a new website or app or update to an existing website or app that is supposed to, finally, make it easier for people to find a book they’ll enjoy. Whenever someone writes an article about this new miracle technology, I find a little mantra pops into my head. For every “problem” the article identifies, I think, “Well, then you just have to ask a bookseller.” (You know, “bookseller” doesn’t really seem to capture the nature of the job, so I’m going to go with “libromancer.”) It’s not the books on the shelves that make a bookstore, it’s the intelligent, passionate libromancers, committed to finding the perfect book for every reader who walks in. It might be a bit much to imagine the concept of “celebrity libromancers,” but a part of me believes the world would be a much better place if there were at least some paparazzi camped out desperate to get a picture of whatever Dale is reading. So here are the “celebrity profiles” of our libromancers of Independent Bookstore Day.

Nathan likes to read novels, memoirs, history, and biographies. He likes to alternate his reading, although, sometimes he goes through a phase and reads about a certain subject for months. For example, he’s been reading a lot about France and its history. That would include novels by Irene Nemorovsky, Paris: The Secret History by Andrew Hussey, How to Live or A Life of Montaigne by Sarah Bakewell, Seven Ages of Paris by Alistair Horne, Edmund White’s Le Flaneur and Monsieur Proust when he feels like a slow waltz. Since he wrote his master’s thesis on Edith Wharton, he likes to re-read her work occasionally. Her short story, "Roman Fever," rivals James Joyce’s "The Dead" as the most brilliant piece of short fiction ever, in his opinion. Before he worked as a bookseller he was in show business.

Tildy likes books. Seriously. She really likes books. When she was in grade school, she got in trouble in math class for reading under the desk. She doesn’t remember what she was reading but that one math class was not the only time covert reading occurred. Her favorite book is Ender’s Game. She’s into children’s literature ranging from picture books to realistic fiction for middle grade, young, and new adult. She likes taking pictures of people, and especially of people doing stuff they’re passionate about. She’s really good at starting crafty things (crochet, knitting, embroidery, etc.) and not finishing them

Jennifer is the gift and card buyer and visual merchandiser. She likes reading a little bit of everything but she especially loves artist bios, horror and Ann Patchett. When she’s not reading, she's stitching or watching TV series, like The Walking Dead. Her most interesting bookstore customer was Glenn Danzig.

Sarah organizes bookstore events when she's not behind the counter, assembling office furniture, or memorizing the inventory. In high school and college she was voted most likely to use the phrase “But the methodology of the study has been criticized,” in casual conversation.

Mackenzie is a west coast transplant to Boston, and loves books for tiny people--picture books, middle grade, and young adult--and anything set in the past. She is a writer, fangirl, fast walker, Diet Coke addict, Frankenstein fanatic, Star Wars quoter, former blacksmith, amateur ukelele-ist, book hoarder, sweater wearer, and author of the forthcoming YA steampunk novel, This Monstrous Thing.

Marika loves children's books and works with them in some capacity as a bookseller, writer, illustrator, and professor. She's always been drawn to postmodern children's books, stunning illustrations, fairytale retellings, and graphic novels. A few favorites include This One Summer, The Eyre Affair, and Maggot Moon. When she's not in danger of being buried by books, Marika can be found Telemark skiing, or twirling much too quickly on a dance floor. She's also slightly obsessed with NPR quiz shows.

Robin is the Children’s floor manager and sidelines buyer. She hails from New York (Go Sox!) and worked on Wall Street in her former life. When she's not reading all types of kid’s books and adult fiction, she likes to snow shoe and ride bikes with her dapper librarian husband.

Katie likes to read a little bit of everything, particularly fiction and YA, though recently she's been into memoirs and food writing. If she's not behind the counter she can usually be found unleashing her inner librarian by re-alphabetizing the messiest corners of the store or rounding up titles for new end cap displays. Other than reading, her hobbies include cooking and/or eating (vegetarian cookbooks are her weakness), making things, and travel. Next up is a trip to St. Petersburg and Stockholm this summer.

Dina is the store's general manager and, with her husband David, co-owner. Dina's passion is introducing young children to books. Before PSB Dina spent many years as an elementary and then pre-school teacher. Dina loves her whole staff at the bookstore, including Maxie, the store mascot and faithful family dog. When not at Porter Square Books, Dina loves being active on her bike, in her hiking boots, and in her kayak. Dina also enjoys the Boston theater scene, playing board games, and hanging out with her daughters when they're home from college.

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