1.) What do you do at Literati?
I am the Special Projects Coordinator and Community Liaison at Literati. I also write this here blog. Working on the website gives me the opportunity to spend time each week with our laydowns and new periodicals, read reviews and articles to stay apace of what’s happening in other corners of the literary world, craft profiles of admirable and talented community members, interview visiting writers (and of course, interview my fellow booksellers for this series). I also work with organizations in the community such as the Institute for the Humanities, Wolverine Press, 826michigan, and others, on long-term projects and community events. A few projects I’ve really enjoyed working on this fall: A pajama party with 826 National founder and author Dave Eggers and our neighbors at 826michigan to celebrate the release of a great publication Lantern of Fireflies, a food demo and reading with author Andrew Moore at the Argus Farmstop in honor of the paw paw, forgotten fruit of the Midwest, and a series on the blog called “Meet a Chef,” in which I’m profiling the fantastic local chefs who faithfully visit our bookstore for their cookbook needs.
2.) What do you do when you’re not at the bookstore?
Like booksellers John, Russ, and Mairead, I have an MFA from the Zell Writers’ Program at the University of Michigan. Mine is in Prose, and so I try my best to write Fine Prose when I’m not working. I also enjoy going to see big art, taking strolls in the woods with my husband and pup, eating pupusas at Pilar’s, and catching up with friends. I often find myself on a day off drinking coffee in the Espresso Bar or attending a bookstore reading–I can’t stay away!
3.) Top five favorite books.
Faces in the Crowd, Valeria Luiselli (Favorite novel I read in 2015, or perhaps in the last five years. A literary translator writes fiction about an enigmatic poet, set in Mexico City and New York City.)
Amulet, Roberto Bolaño (“So the ghost children marched down into the valley and fell into the abyss” p. 184. A duende-soaked love song to Latin America told by a bizarre toothless Uruguayan woman named Auxilio. I think this is Bolaño’s best. What else you gotta know?)
Signs Preceding the End of the World, Yuri Herrera (Best work of fiction about the US/Mexico border that I’ve read. Narrated by an intrepid teen, no less.)
A Breath of Life, Clarice Lispector (As Lispector herself writes, “Pure Is.” A weird topaz of a book on the nature of creation and consciousness. But it’s funny, too, I promise.)
A Field Guide to Getting Lost, Rebecca Solnit (Sex, drugs, and rock n’ roll from bookstore favorite Lady Solnit. Why didn’t that love affair with the laconic dude in the desert work out? What do we make of head-spinning cruelty and loss? Also: what’s the deal with ultramarine?)
Rose, Li-Young Lee (Swoon. The persimmon will forever be earth’s most romantic fruit to you after you read this book of poems.)
Short Talks, Anne Carson (“Well you know I wonder, it could be/ love running towards my life with its/ arms up yelling let’s buy it what a bar-gain!” Unwieldy trocitos of gold from Volcano-Queen Carson).
The Dream of My Return, Horacio Castellanos Moya (Slender volume on psychotic violence, neuroses, paranoia, and hypnosis, by Salvadoran paisano Moya. Yes, terror, indeed, but with a special brand of humor that’s a cross between Beckett’s absurd and Seinfeld’s yadda yadda.)
(Ay, tranquílate. A few more than five, but, ok.)
4.) What are you currently reading?
I’m making my way through the excellent Neopolitan novels by Elena Ferrante, an advanced copy of Looking at Pictures, by that dreamboat Robert Walser, and Dictee, by Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, which is just brilliant and terribly sad. Oh! And I just finished badass soul mother Patti Smith’s M Train, and goth grand dame Diane Seuss’s creepy, lush, intimate new book of poems, Four-Legged Girl. (Can’t wait for Diane’s reading at Literati on October 30th. She’s gonna rock n’ roll.)