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What book from your childhood had the biggest impact on you as a reader?

Everyone says it -- and for good reason -- my most formative books in childhood were the Harry Potter and Percy Jackson series. I also loved R.L. LaFevers' Theodosia books, which follow a cleverer-than-most teenage girl in the late 1800s whose parents run an Egyptian museum in London. She, and only she, can see the curses attached to Egyptian artifacts and so it falls to her, her cat Isis, and her street urchin friend, Sticky Will, to protect Britain from ancient magic, and those who want to use it for evil. I was also a big fan of the Penderwicks series -- as someone with one brother, I've always been drawn to large family dynamics, especially those between sisters.

What was your favorite 'adult' book that you read as a teenager?

The Secret History by Donna Tartt -- it remains my favorite book to this day and I remember feeling so grown-up for having finished it. I read it when I was sixteen and have arguably been insufferable since.

After years spent as a bookseller, what is a hidden gem that you wish more people knew about?

Neverwhere and The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman. His other works are very well-known but these are two of my favorites, and seem to fly under most people's radar for whatever reason.

Who is an author that you have just recently discovered?

Maggie Nelson! I read The Red Parts this summer, and then became insatiable -- I devoured Jane: A Murder, Bluets, and The Art of Cruelty, and have On Freedom and The Argonauts on deck for when I finish my current read.

What is a book that you enjoyed unexpectedly -- whether because of subject matter, genre, style, etc?

I recently read Serhii Plokhy's Chernobyl: The History of a Nuclear Disaster and had a great time with it, despite how factually dense it was. I kept coming up from the breakroom and being like "you guys this is CRAZY! Did you know about Chernobyl???" and everybody else would be like ".....................yes"

What was the best book you've read during quarantine, or during the pandemic in general?

I read all of Tana French's Dublin Murder Squad series while camping during lockdown and it was one of the most truly insane experiences I've ever had -- her storytelling is so immersive and magical, and really helped take my mind off of the worldwide quarantine and finishing my degree at the same time. Also, Normal People by Sally Rooney got me out of a years-long college-induced reading slump during early quarantine -- I was staying with my mom and I'd make a cup of tea with honey and lemon, and then I'd go lie on the picnic table in the front yard and read before starting my schoolwork, which was so revitalizing.


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       The Stranger Beside Me By Ann Rule, Georgia Hardstark (Foreword by) Cover Image