I’ve worked at Chicago’s Unabridged Bookstore for nearly eight years. I wear many hats at the shop, including frontlist buyer, events coordinator, remainder buyer, and book club moderator. I also manage our social media accounts.
Where might we be surprised that you have also worked?
For a brief jaunt between undergrad and Unabridged I worked as a canvasser for Amnesty International, the ASPCA, Planned Parenthood, and a few other charitable organizations. Be kind to those folks when you see them on the street! It is punishing work.
What do you like to read? What's your current favorite book to handsell?
When left to my own devices I mostly read literary fiction with a focus on translated literature and experimental lit. I gravitate toward elegiac novels about time, memory, and death, or hybrid texts that incorporate visual and/or autofictional elements. My favorite books are ones that challenge my expectations and force me to look at the world in a new way. My current favorite book to handsell is How We Get Free (Haymarket Books), a remarkable book that tracks the development of the Combahee River Collective, a Black feminist lesbian organization active in Boston during the 1970s.
Who are you when you're not in the store?
When I’m not at work you can often find me geeking out over architecture and historic preservation, maintaining an amateur photography practice, wandering through cemeteries, tweaking pie recipes, biking long distances in search of used books and/or beer, and running. I’m also the unofficial ringleader of the CBBC (@chibooksellers on IG), a frontlist book club by and for Chicago-area booksellers.
What's your favorite bookstore other than the one you work in?
What a question! Over the last couple of years I’ve spent quite a bit of time in Los Angeles visiting friends, and I always make a point of swinging by Skylight Books. Their backlist recommendations are second to none, I never leave empty handed.