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Staff Profile: Andrea Carrasco

I haven’t always liked reading. Actually, I’ve described reading as a lot of things. But the first one was something along the lines of “too boring.” Once, when my sister sat on the carpet of our dark apartment with a book in her hands, I asked her why she would waste her time like that. She tried to defend her love of books but I shrugged her off and went back to doing something more interesting.

What changed? The truth is, I met someone. His name was Percy Jackson. I was in 6th grade and by then I had attempted to enjoy reading many times. I had actually started a very small collection of books (all of which I read a chapter of at most) and had frequented the library often enough. But no book gave me the absolute excitement I felt as I read my assigned chapters of The Lightning Thief. I would walk home in anticipation of telling my mom all about it. As she prepped dinner, I would stand in the kitchen recounting to her in excruciating detail the latest obstacle Percy and his friends had run into.

I wish I could say that after I found Percy Jackson, my thirst for books became unquenchable, but of course I’m happy to disappoint. Despite my many attempts at finding more enjoyable books, I somehow still managed to feel isolated and bored. I realized that maybe I was the problem, but at least I had Percy. As each new book in the series came out, I let myself get lost in it. My sister and I would even read them to each other, not wanting to ever get ahead in the story and accidentally spoil anything.

At Bookshop Santa Cruz, I spend most of my time in the children’s section. As I see new titles come out, I mourn the lack of diversity and fun in the books that were around when I was growing up because, let’s face it, it wasn’t really there before. These kids don’t know how lucky they are, but I’m glad to have a hand in helping them find a good book to read. 

My own personal reading journey hasn’t ended, though. Despite being surrounded by books every day, my low level of reading in comparison with that of customers and my coworkers leaves me with a sense of imposter syndrome. In studying English at school (shocked? Don’t worry; I also studied art), reading became a homework assignment rather than a distraction, and therefore became boring again. Now I struggle against that feeling and, unless it’s newsletter time, you can find me carrying the same book for more than a month. I do take pleasure in leisurely reading, savoring each sentence, each word, each letter, until I finish a book. There’s something nice about taking my time as I read. And every once in a while I will find a book that pushes me to read all too fast and leaves me with a desire to devour one more good book. 

Andrea has a variety of roles at Bookshop Santa Cruz, including bookseller (for children and adults), substitute assistant buyer, and marketing assistant. As well as having the loudest laugh at Bookshop, one that can be heard from all corners of the store.