We’re pleased to introduce Amber James as a contributing editor to NWBL. James is a freelance all-star and part-time Powell’s cashier who’s been a volunteer for PNBA for several years. Lately, she’s been helping us out with social media.
Our Portland readers can meet Amber tomorrow (Saturday the 25th) at Powell’s 41st Anniversary Block Party (music, authors, food, games, beer!), where she’ll be staffing the NWBL table from 2-9 pm and giving out free advanced reading copies. Stop by the festivities, say hello and pick up a free book!
She answered a few questions for us.
NWBL: What’s it like working at Powell’s?
AJ: Powell’s is a historic place and I’m proud to be an employee. My favorite part is hearing from customers about how excited and absolutely enchanted they are by the store and all the little discoveries they made while they were there. It’s super cute.
NWBL: We bet you get asked some funny questions.
AJ: Most of the questions involve directions to restaurants or other landmarks in the city. I’m sure if I worked in a section like fiction or fantasy I’d get way more interesting questions.
NWBL: Is it distracting to work among all those rooms and rooms of books? What’s your favorite room?
AJ: It can definitely be a distraction working around all those books! Especially because I’ll be daily faced with the reality that, though I’m a prolific reader, I haven’t even scratched the surface of what’s out there. My favorite room might be the Red Room (Spirituality, Mythology, Religion) with the Blue Room (Fiction) as a close second.
NWBL: Will you tell us a famous author story?
AJ: Ooh, I love telling this story. I was visiting friends in Seattle and had just stepped out of Elliott Bay Book Company’s new location on Capitol Hill when I saw someone who looked like author Jennie Shortridge. I’d met her the year before (I think) at the PNBA Tradeshow and we’d stayed in touch. I called after her, we hugged and exchanged pleasantries. She then introduced me to the friend she was with. His name was Garth. He looked really familiar for some reason but I couldn’t put my finger on where I’d seen him before, so I just shook his hand and continued life as usual. I was working at Powell’s a few days later and a customer was buying The Art of Racing in the Rain. I turned the book over to scan the barcode and whose picture do I see on the back? That Garth guy I’d met in Seattle. I was so excited I even told the customer that I had met Garth Stein a few days ago and had no idea who he was! I was retroactively embarrassed, but delighted at the same time.
NWBL: Garth is a nice guy, so we’re guessing it didn’t bother him. Just in case he’s reading, do you want to say something to him now?
AJ: Yeah! I’d say: “Um, hey Garth. I’m a big fan of Enzo. Thanks for him.”
NWBL: What’s a book you’re excited about right now and will you sell it to us?
AJ: I was visiting family in Minnesota recently and just bought a hardcover edition of The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers from Book House. The bookseller said it’s rare to find this book in hardcover and she was so excited that I appreciated that. That should concisely answer the second part of your question: no.
NWBL: You’ve been helping us out with some Tweets and Facebook posts, which we really appreciate. What do you think makes a good Facebook post?
AJ: My pleasure. Hmmm, a good Facebook post should make people want to share it and/or engage with the content somehow. That’s what I aim for whenever I post something.
NWBL: Any particular favorites you’ve posted so far? And, by the way, congrats on getting the most likes and shares on anything we’ve posted for: “The past, the present and the future walked into a bar. It was tense.”
AJ: As for favorite posts, I like the stuff that’s shared from others. Usually pictures and fun stuff that I wouldn’t have seen otherwise. That past, present and future one is definitely a fave.
NWBL: We love that you sometimes engage in your own posts. Will you still do that now that we’ve outed you as a contributor?
AJ: I’ve definitely thought about that! I’ll probably stop now that my identity has been revealed. It was fun while it lasted though.
NWBL: But you should definitely like it when we post this.
AJ: I’ll do that!