Interview with an Employee, featuring Mimi
1. What are you reading? Auntie Mame! She's the greatest aunt ever!
3. Describe your favorite bookstore moment. My answer is going to be a bit unusual... With all the health junk I've been through I really didn't expect a place that I worked for to step up and do everything they could to try and help me, but Inklings did that. Many people on my fund-raising committee were employees from Inklings and even Susan, the boss lady herself, was at the forefront of trying to figure out new and interesting ways to get people's attention. Auctions were held, donation jars were distributed and the word got out. For me and my husband that meant bills were paid, we were able to keep our house and we both got the message, loud and clear, that people, sometimes perfect strangers, cared a great deal for us. Susan, Emily, Renee and Amy were leading a whole team of amazing people.
4. What is your current favorite handsell? I just finished reading "The Hired Girl" and really loved it. It has a bit of "Downton Abby" meets "Anne of Green Gables" meets "Mr. Selfridge (TV show)". And while there's a lot about Jewish culture ingrained in the story it was so different from what I have typically run across in books, TV and movies. I think it's eye-opening to show that even the educated and wealthy Jews of that time were still looked down upon although it is very plain for the reader to see that they could be just as lovely, diverse, three-dimensional and human as any other group of people. It's a wonderful story that is altogether educational, plucks a tiny bit at the ol' heartstrings and STILL manages to have an amazing message that promotes feminism, religion and a multitude of diversity!
5. What is your favorite food? It's probably easier to say what isn't.... hmm... maybe not.
6. What is your guilty pleasure? Binge watching BBC and knitting until I can't move my hands anymore. Or cake.
7. Describe your best friend in grade school. Well... Like many nerds I was a bit of a loner for many of my early years. When I was very, very little I had two invisible friends/brothers named Broccoli and Asparagus who, in my mind, looked exactly like the vegetables except with faces, limbs and clothes and were about a foot taller than me. I really liked raw veggies at that age but that could be because my mom was a bit of an over-cooker/under-seasoner of meat at the time.
8. Where is your favorite place to read? I have a nook in my living room with windows on 3 sides and a 100-year-old lounge that tucks perfectly within. I can look at our dappled hazelnut grove to my right, the rolling backyard at my feet and take breaks from reading to watch the procession of nuthatches, bluebirds, robins, screech owls, chickadees and juncos parade by. There really is no other place like it.
9. How long have you been selling books? I've worked at Inklings since December 6th, 2004!
10. What was your favorite book when you were a child? I a-b-s-o-l-u-t-e-l-y loved my sister's copy of Mercer Mayer's "Beauty and the Beast" when I was little. It couldn't be more opposite from the Disney version. It's done in almost sepia colors: browns, creams and just small touches of red and blue. But the loveliness of Beauty's face and especially her hands... and the prince once the curse was broken, holy moly! I think that was my first crush. When I realized that the Beauty and the Beast Mercer Mayer was the same one that did the "Little Critter" books I almost had to tell someone there must have been a mistake! I guess Mr. Mayer is just one heckuva talented guy! (Would you believe I have YET to get my own copy of Beauty!)
11. What book have you faked reading? Oh, I hate to say it but... I faked reading "Uncle Tom's Cabin" in college. It was for an early morning history class where I felt the teacher just couldn't care less about how any of his students did. I was also in about 4 plays at a time in those days, barely getting any sleep and felt as excited about non-theatre classes as that history teacher did about his pre-req students. I also was so stressed that reading something of the immense difficulties that American slaves had to regularly face was just too much for me. I would really like to read it at some point. I think it's a terribly important book and while I feel I know quite a bit about it it's not the same as actually reading it myself.
12. What book are you an evangelist for? "Goodnight Mister Tom." (Surprisingly enough this book has nothing to do with my previous answer!) This is a book written in 1981 that was recommended to me by my middle school librarian as one of her favorite books. For some reason it has gone almost completely unnoticed in the US but in England it has been turned into a play, two musicals, a movie and has been used as the UK Big Read. It takes place in WWII when children were being sent into the country to avoid the bombings in London. Willie, a boy who has some severe social issues, is sent to live with Mr. Tom, a crotchety old man who would rather live out the rest of his years completely alone due to a tragedy in his past. Their meeting is fortuitous and renews my faith in humanity every single time I read it. I try to read it in early spring when things are just beginning and life feels fresh and new again.
13. Give us a favorite line from a book. There are sooo many good book quotes so I have to give two that I've recently read: "It was times like these when I thought my father, who hated guns and had never been to any wars, was the bravest man who ever lived." - Scout, To Kill A Mockingbird (Peace can be really hard sometimes but in the end is worth it. It seems like something to remember these days.)
"Do I love you? My God, if your love were a grain of sand, mine would be a universe of beaches." - Westley, The Princess Bride (My father often says I will never understand how much he loves me. With father's day coming up I thought I'd pick this for him.)
15. What story does your family always tell about you? Oy, the restaurant story... Apparently on a visit to see relatives in California we all went to a restaurant and I decided it was a good time to have a little infant freak out. (PS I was an infant at the time.) Everyone took turns taking me outside so that I didn't disturb the entire place. There's a lot more elaboration when it gets told by others but I seem to have blocked out all those bits. My Uncle Dave remembers it best, my father doesn't remember it being all that bad... but that's probably because I'm a "DLG" (daddy's little girl).
16. If you could be any superhero, who would it be? Gosh, with all the great female superheroes sprouting up everywhere there's quite a bit to choose from! (I'm really thrilled about that as well as all the female villains. We can do both and still look like realistic, athletic humans and not freakish Barbies!!) Ok, I've thought about this and can't come up with just one hero/heroine so I'm going to make a mash-up of some of my favorites (and am bound to forget something):
Agent May on "The Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." for her fighting & plane flying abilities (plus she just looks and acts tough AND Ming-Na Wen is 54!!! and she looks AMAZING!!!!!!!! That makes her superhuman if you ask me...)
Agent Carter from the Marvel movies and "Agent Carter" show for while she's not superhuman or even trained beyond anything a spy today could do she's very intelligent, witty, she was able to make it in a male-dominated occupation in the 40s and all while rocking some lovely styles on a non-supermodel figure!
Cassandra from "The Librarians" show for her abilities to construct complicated math and physic problems by "seeing" them. Granted, this ability is likely because of the grape-sized tumor in her brain but at least she's not dwelling on the negative!
Jessica Jones is a fairly new super"hero" (perhaps just new-to-me) from the world of Marvel. She's kind of a bad seed who drinks, swears and doesn't take very good care of herself. There is, of course, a reason for it. I can identify with her because after coming in contact with some experimental chemicals and being in a coma (ahem.) she has the ability to fight, has superhuman strength and can block out mind control. She also has a killer wit. Now, I wonder where she got her experimental chemicals...
Luke Cage is my only male superhero. He's bulletproof and seriously strong. 'Nuff said?
And I'll round off my silly list with Hermione Granger! Who wouldn't want her smarts and her ability to pull off a great spell?!?