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Get to know your booksellers: An interview with Diane Grenkow November 23, 2012

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Diane Grenkow has been a customer of The Galaxy Bookshop since the beginning, or close to it. Now, as a member of our crack team of booksellers, she can be found behind the counter on Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons. Here’s a little more about Diane, in her own words:

On your nightstand now: The Tenderness of Wolves by Stef Penney, Smouldering by Mark Cox, The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton, Searching for the Sound by Phil Lesh, Wild Delicate Seconds by Charles Finn, The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving by Jonathan Evison, The Nazi Doctors by Robert Jay Lifton… this is a small selection of the books teetering on the nightstand right now.
 
Favorite book when you were a child: Mandy by Julie Andrews Edwards.  I wanted to find a garden like the one in the story more than anything.
 
Book that changed your life: On the Road.  I was already living on a school bus and traveling around and then I read On the Road.  Maybe it didn’t change my life so much as reinforce it.
 
Person who had the biggest influence on your literary life: Place that had the biggest influence:  Goddard College 1989-1993.
 
Five books you would want with you on a desert island: The River Why by David James Duncan, Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson, Secrets of the Universe by Scott Russell Sanders, Peace Like a River by Leif Enger, Pollyanna by Eleanor H. Porter.
 
Biggest literary crush:  I can’t give this away.  It would be too embarrassing.
 
Book you can’t live without: How To Cook Everything by Mark Bittman.  I must look in there at least once a day for something or other.
 
Best thing about being a bookseller: When the books come!  Opening the boxes of new books for the store or the ones that people have special ordered or the advanced reader copies — it’s like Christmas every single time!
 
Is there anything else you would like us to know about you? I really don’t mind when you come in and you say, “I’m looking for this book?  I don’t remember the name of it.  Or the author.  It sounded really interesting though…” and then I say, “Can you give me anything else to go on?”  and you say, “Um, I think there was an H in either the title or the author’s name or maybe the name of the person that interviewed them on NPR?  Do you think you could find it for me?”  I LOVE THIS.
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Get to know your booksellers: An interview with Edgar Davis November 16, 2012

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How well do you know the people who welcome you to The Galaxy Bookshop and help you find that “just right” book you came in for? Edgar Davis is the third in our literature-inspired interview series that we hope will give you some insight into our booksellers’ minds–or at least our personal bookshelves. You’ll usually find Edgar at the bookstore on Friday mornings and alternating Saturdays.
On your nightstand now:  The Best American Mystery Stories of 2012, Paradise City by Archer Mayor, Alberic the Wise by Norton Juster, and Looking at Philosophy by Donald Palmer
 
Favorite book when you were a child: Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Suess
 
Book that changed your life: As a Child: Green Eggs and Ham, as a teenager: Salem’s Lot by Stephen King, as an adult: The Autobiography of Malcolm X by Alex Haley, and in middle age: Three Uses of the Knife: On the Nature and Purpose of Drama by David Mamet.
 
Person who had the biggest influence on your literary life: playwright/essayist David Mamet
 
Five books you would want with you on a desert island: 
1. Three Uses of the Knife (David Mamet)
2. The Martian Chronicles(Ray Bradbury)

3. Any art book featuring the work of Cubist artists
4. Any art book featuring the work of Surrealist artists
5. Green Eggs and Ham (Dr. Suess)
 
Biggest literary crush: Stephen King
 
Book (s) you can’t live without: Three Uses of the Knife by David Mamet, Black Betty by Walter Mosley, and The Best American Noir of the Century edited by Otto Penzler
 
Best thing about being a bookseller: Exposure to a wide variety of books and helping to get those books into the hands of book lovers
Is there anything else you would like us to know about you? I love to get things “right”.

Get to know your booksellers: An interview with Marisa Neyenhuis November 9, 2012

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Our second bookseller to be interviewed is Marisa Neyenhuis, who came to us with a glowing recommendation from her former employer at Chapter One Bookstore in Hamilton, Montana. Marisa is a woman of many hats who takes time from her other jobs to spend Thursday afternoons at The Galaxy bookshop.

On your nightstand now: A whole slew of galleys that I have the best of intentions to start, Crossing to Safety by Wallace Stegner, Messenger by Lois Lowry and The Midwife of Hope River by Patricia Harman.  I also have a stack of The New Yorker that I have been fully neglecting for the last month.

 Favorite book when you were a child: This is a tough one. I loved the Chronicles of Narnia series, the Anne of Green Gables series, The Phantom Tollboothand the Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle series too. Not to mention the hundreds of picture books my parents read to me before I struck out on my own. There are too many good books to choose just one!

Book that changed your life: Wally Lamb’s first book, She’s Come Undoneinspired me to be a vegetarian from ages 16-26. There was a passage in the book equating meat to rotting flesh and it struck a chord. I didn’t eat meat in earnest again until my 2nd time living in Texas. Turns out, Texas is way more fun if you’re a carnivore!

Person who had the biggest influence on your literary life: I think my parents began reading to me before I had even left the womb and they were always happy to buy me a new book any time we went to the bookstore. When I started working at Chapter One Bookstore in high school all my co-workers were great about recommending new books that I wouldn’t have thought to pick up on my own. They loved pushing my literary boundaries.

Five books you would want with you on a desert island: The Norton Anthology of American Literature, Blankets by Craig Thompson, The Ultimate Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams, Indian Creek Chronicles by Pete Fromm and Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst (This is my go to book on a bad day and I bet there are bad days on desert islands, too.)

Biggest literary crush: Johnny from S.E. Hinton’s The OutsidersWhen he died, I could not stop crying.  I first read this book right when I was starting to notice boys and Johnny was a very safe crush, unlike all the boys roaming the halls of Daly Elementary School.

Book you can’t live without: The book I always go back to, at least every other year, is The Giver by Lois Lowry. I suppose I could live without it, but I don’t know if the world would be as nice of a place.

Best thing about being a bookseller:  Spending time in bookstores is such a joy that it’s a dream come true to get paid for it!  There’s also the thrill you get when someone comes back to let you know they loved the book you recommended and that they’re recommending it to friends.

Get to know your booksellers: An interview with Sandy Scott November 2, 2012

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Welcome to part one of an interview series with our booksellers! The first under the spotlight is Sandy Scott, which is only fair since, with the exception of Linda, she has been a Galaxy bookseller the longest (11 years) and is also the one who is making everyone complete this interview.

On your nightstand now: John Saturnall’s Feast, by Lawrence Norfolk; Mrs. Queen takes the Train, by William Kuhn; The Center of Everything, by Linda Urban; and The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There, by Catherynne M. Valente. What would be more difficult to list are the books around my nightstand, which are numerous and encompass everything from stacks of parenting books, to stacks of ARCs I’ve brought home with good intentions of reading, to stacks of picture books for my daughter’s bedtime storytime.
 
Favorite book when you were a child: This is really tough, but probably Miss Jellytot’s Visit may have been the one that I read the most times over the greatest amount of years. It was an ex-library book from the ’50s that we must have picked up at some sale, and it was about a little girl who decided to pretend to be a glamorous grown-up visitor in her parents’ house for a whole week.
 
Book that changed your life: Another tough one–different books influenced me in different ways–but the book that changed my life as a bookseller was The Shadow of the Wind,which was one of the first books I read as an adult that completely captured my imagination, just as the books I read as a child did. It was also the first book that I rabidly hand-sold to customers, and there was a real thrill in handing people my favorite new book, then having them come back as excited about it as I was.
 
Person who had the biggest influence on your literary life: My grandmother gave me books by some of her favorite authors throughout my childhood, which gave me an appreciation for the witticisms of Oscar Wilde, the Gothic romance of the Bronte’s, the intricacies of the casebooks of Sherlock Holmes. She encouraged and fed my love of reading, and I will always treasure the books she gave me.
 
Five books you would want with you on a desert island: The Forager’s Harvest, The Lord of the RingsJane EyreThe Oxford Shakespeare: The Complete Works (I’ve only read a bit of Shakespeare, and this seems like it would be a good time to catch up), The Norton Anthology of Poetry.
 
Biggest literary crush: Mr. Rochester. I can’t help it–I know he’s a bit of a jerk, but all his glowering and stalking about and audacious declarations of love still make me swoon.
 
Book you can’t live without: Probably The Joy of Cooking. I can’t remember a recipe more complicated than scrambled eggs, so I always have to check a reliable source for measures, temperatures, and times.
 
Best thing about being a bookseller: I love meeting people, talking with customers and other booksellers about the excitement and pleasure of books. Plus, opening boxes full of new books continues to be a highlight of my job.
Is there anything else you would like us to know about you?
I love a good pun  (or even a mediocre one). I believe that few situations cannot be made better by a good book and a cup of tea.