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Staff Profile: Melinda Powers

STAFF PROFILE: Melinda Powers

Here’s the thing about me and reading: I have been every kind of reader in the course of my life, the voracious one, the studious one, the intellectual one, the shameful one, the one who would read by flashlight under blankets long into the night, the one who would throw scary books across the room, the one who would sneak her mother’s romance novels, the one who now buys her own, the one who has every book in a neverending series, the one who collects first editions of stunning debuts, buying two copies to preserve one. I am the reader who pored over school book fair fliers, who found teen comfort in the anonymity of mall bookstores, and who is now a strong advocate for indie bookstores. I am the reader who didn’t read all the classics but who found a love of literature all the same. I am the reader who rereads with reverence and the one who absorbs by proximity (you should see, or try to see, my nightstand!), the one who makes book lists, the one who forgets a plot, the one who can still feel how a book moved her, the one who is left breathless. I am the reader who also listens to books, who is learning to read digitally, who loves a beautiful book cover and a deckled edge. I am the reader who never knew she was interested in {fill in the blank} until she found a book about said subject (literally anything), and the one who scoops up everything written by a beloved author or within a favorite subject. I am the slow reader, the skimmer, the one who reads to be challenged, the one searching for something astonishing, something new, the one who reads for fun, allowing for pleasure in the already understood. I am the reader who has been judged (probably rightfully so) and tries not to judge now.

All of these readers make up the way I think about books: openly and broadly. When deciding which books to stock at Bookshop, I try to provide for and satiate all of these interests, all of these ways to read, as best I can, for all who walk into the bookstore. My journey as a reader has not ended and I still have much to learn, but I hope the fullness I have felt in my life as a reader translates into a welcoming selection of books at Bookshop Santa Cruz.

Melinda Powers is the head book buyer at Bookshop Santa Cruz and the president of the California Independent Booksellers Alliance. As you may have surmised from her book recommendations and antics at Bookshop, she loves her family, her friends, her community, goats, and all the books, so many books.

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