16 June 2011

Booksellers Rock! And so, apparently, do I.

Okay, so it feels just a *little* bit uncomfortable tooting my own horn, but since I've already heard from a couple of you who've read the profile, it has fed my ego sufficiently to want to share it with more of you. Algonquin Books, one of my favorite publishing houses, interviews one independent bookseller each month and profiles them on their website.  I'm tickled pink (just like my elephants!) to be included in their Booksellers Rock! profile. 

Here is the profile, copied and pasted from their blog, and here is their blog if you want to read it in situ, as it were. :

Booksellers Rock! Emily Crowe, Odyssey Bookshop

Name: Emily Crowe
Bookstore: Odyssey Bookshop
Title: Assistant Manager/Buyer/Bookseller/Big Kahuna
Brief Bio: I’ve worked several venues in the book world ever since I left grad school, including as a publisher sales rep, at a library, and a used & rare bookstore. I loathe cilantro and bigots with an equal passion. Along with the obvious books, I have somehow become a collector of pink elephants and funky socks. And when I make my millions as a bookseller, I intend to retire to a pleasure palace in an undisclosed location south of the eighteenth parallel.
What books recently rocked my world: Not exactly recently, but I think Verghese’s Cutting for Stone and McCarthy’s The Road are the best books of the last decade. I loved last year’s The Tower, the Zoo and the Tortoise for its wonderfully quirky characters, and I’m a believer in this fall’s forthcoming The Night Circus.

Best damn event(s) we’ve hosted: A few years ago we hosted a great fundraiser for the Foodbank of Western Massachusetts: Richard Russo and Stephen King on stage in a conversation about writing, books, and the state of the world. We sold out the 1,100 seat auditorium and raised $17,000. I was so proud of the staff for all of their hard work and long hours of planning to make the event run smoothly and efficiently.
Most entertaining author we’ve hosted: Alexander McCall Smith. How can you not love a kilt-wearing man named Sandy who refused to be upstaged by last year’s volcanic disturbance in Iceland? He opened his U.S. tour this year with our store and he kept the audience in stitches the entire time. Our entire staff was utterly smitten with him.

Strangest question a customer has ever asked: Do you arrange books by size? Because I’m looking for hardcover books about this big [frames a smallish book size with thumbs and index fingers].

Why our store kicks ass: I’d probably have to go with our Topless Tuesday tradition.(Just kidding!) Our staff, plain and simple. They’re the best folks anywhere.

What makes our neighborhood and customers awesome: We’re a bookstore in a small college town—Mount Holyoke College is across the street from us. So we’ve got the best aspects of a small town combined with the best aspects of a college town, right at our

I promise you won’t find this at any other store: There’s a small gold plaque above the toilet in our staff bathroom that bears witness to the fact that Anne Rice Peed Here.
Why I do what I do: Because I want to become rich. Isn’t that why all of us are in

If I weren’t selling books I’d be: living the life of a beach bum in the Caribbean.

Books that changed my life: A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle, Acts of Faith by Philip Caputo, and Mountains Beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder.
Top three authors, living or dead, I’d invite to my dinner party: Eudora Welty, Jim Harrison, and Jane Austen. Miss Welty might be the only writer I’ve met who could possibly hold Jim in check with her gentle wit and charm. And Austen because she is pure-dee awesome. I think it would make for a great evening.
Top three songs on the soundtrack to my life: “Only God Can Save Us Now” by Over the Rhine, “Coconut” by Harry Nilsson, and “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For”
by U2.

My last meal request: Warm goat cheese, arugula, & grilled watermelon salad from Jacala in Anguilla; a platter of pulled pork from Big D’s BBQ in Pocahontas, MS; and a huge slice of caramel cake from Campbell’s Bakery in Jackson, MS (same from the Homemade Ice Cream & Pie Kitchen in Louisville would be a close runner-up). With lots of good, lemony sweet tea and a fine sippin’ rum (Ron Zacapa, aged 23 years) to wash it all down. That should do the trick.


  1. Congrats!

    Your strangest customer question made me laugh!

  2. What a great honor and what a great article. I would love to meet Alexander McCall Smith!!! Thanks for sharing!

  3. It is pure awesomeness that you were featured in a Booksellers Profile! And I love the "Anne Rice Peed Here" sign. I'd be gloating too.

  4. Great post, Emily. It's so nice to find out more about you and your store. I do hope you don't become rich too soon, it would be a pity to give up your job, right? ;-)

  5. Thanks for the good thoughts and kind words, y'all!

  6. Love the strangest customer questions....

    Also, your food answer made my mouth water. Yummy!

  7. I definitely want to pee in the Anne Rice toilet someday.


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