Thursday, June 5, 2014

Generally Horrible Questions: April Gosling

The ballroom in Boulder Bookstore.
It occurred to us that it's been way too long since we harassed innocent booksellers with our questions. I (Liz) met April Gosling when she was a manager at Tattered Cover in Denver, and now she works at Boulder Bookstore. Spoiler: it's in Boulder. April likes books, is from Michigan, and is engaged to a guy named Ryan but she insists that he will not be changing his name to "Ryan Gosling" after the wedding. That seems like a missed opportunity. Anyway, here's April. 

Generally Horrible Questions: April Gosling

We asked April for a picture. This is the one she chose.
Buy books from her or she will kill you.
1. Describe your bookselling odyssey. How did you end up where you are?
Kalamazoo, Michigan is the graveyard of ambition.  I had been forced into a public university after attending a private high school and starting at a private college...  So the month before school started, my sister and I applied at any number of places we thought would be cool to work at...  Cool places meaning coffee shops, and only coffee shops. We both got jobs at John Rollins Books (RIP) as baristi.  There was a lot of free coffee that year.  And my job history started to look like this: library clerk, 3rd chip waitress at a dive, comic shop clerk, bookseller, state park ranger, projectionist, bookseller, bookstore manager, and now...  Director of School and Corporate Sales (I got to make up this job title)...

Most of those jobs were at the same time as other, so really there are significant portions of my 20s that I don't remember. (There are significant portions of Gianna's 20's that she can't remember, but the lapse has nothing to do with coffee.) And very little of that was due to drugs or alcohol or strange men...  I know I dropped out of college, did a book tour for a fairly decent chapbook of poetry, and that I moved to Colorado.  The rest is remnants of old resumes I found.  Hopefully mine...
Did I mention that Kalamazoo is the graveyard of ambition?

2. What is your job now? What sort of shenanigans do you get up to?
My job now... I spend a lot of time on Twitter and Facebook. I've also been known to read at my desk. My job is to curate and grow a sales aspect of the store that didn't receive as much attention as it did before. This means, to be short, that no one knows what my job is--most importantly, my bosses. Seriously. Shenanigans? I think it's more the store than the job, but I do a surprising amount of work barefoot. Wild and crazy, I know. (How is that shocking? We don't wear pants some days.)

3. What are you reading now?
I'm reading a book that my Penguin rep guilted me into reading.  It has a horse on the cover, so if he hadn't sent a signed book from my favorite author, I would've happily ignored it.  (Girls with horse obsessions have penis issues/obsessions.)  It's The Untold by Courtney Collins.  I picked it up immediately after Neverhome by Laird Hunt.  And after finishing this, I want violence and a strong man and a Neal Stephenson-esque prose quality.  Don't get me wrong; it's beautiful, and I'm really enjoying it, but two sparse poetic novels back to back kinda hurts.

Read poetry to me, Mr. Barry.
4. What books melt your butter (if you know what we mean)?
Sebastian Barry's language.  If I could make sweet, sweet love to his use of the English language, I'd do it. Fiance be damned.  (And yes, he knows that.)  I dated a poet in college; I'd rather have the language, not the man.  Poets tend to be a wee bit fucked up, either real fuckery or feigned, they are a messy folk.  And incestuous too. (Yeah, we're glad this answer stopped here. Liz was starting to get uncomfortable...mostly because you mentioned poetry.)

5. Let’s talk about Michigan. Were you at least a little tempted by Detroit’s offer of free houses for writers?
Oh, hell yeah!  I'd live with the roving packs of wild dogs for a) a 'free' house, and b) the chance to be kinda close to home.  I don't know if I would fit the 'writer' bit...  I mean...  I write poetry about as often as a death row inmate gets a conjugal visit...  (Ooh! Death row inmates have more active social lives than Liz?! Excellent.) What else would you like to know about the best state in the union?

6. You have to eat dinner with one of these famous Ohio natives. Who do you pick, and will you bring up how your home state hates Ohio? Nancy Cartwright (the voice of Bart Simpson), Colonel Custer, President Warren Harding, Ted Turner, or Dean Martin? Also, does it bother you that Nobel Prize Winner Toni Morrison is from Ohio? Oh, and you can bring one of these famous Michiganites(?) to the dinner: Tim Allen, Jim Bakker, Bozo the Clown, Dave Coulier, Ted Nugent, Steven Seagal; who’s it going to be? Death is not an option.
I think Nancy Cartwright and Dean Martin would be awesome; we'd do shitty impressions while drinking whiskey and martinis.  I'm sure Dave Coulier will drink as soon as I bring up "You Oughtta Know".  So three cheers to the Mitten State!  And yes, we'd discuss the war.  Only to explain that ultimately the U.P. is bunches better than Toledo. (Okay, allow us to clarify this answer. See, it turns out that Ohio and Michigan hate each other in part because they fought a war over Toledo. Also, in this "war," there was one wounded person and no deaths. "U.P" stands for Upper Peninsula, which Michigan got to keep when it became a state since they gave up Toledo to Ohio. I can't imagine how this series of events didn't make the core curriculum in our high schools. Anyway, the correct answers to this series of questions are: Harding, yes, Jim Bakker.)

7. Let’s talk nuptials. On a scale of 1 to Book Nerd Insanity, where does your upcoming wedding rank? 
What’s the coolest/craziest thing you’re planning? Are you registering at a bookstore?
Imagine April and Ryan Gosling under this arch.
I feel like we crested the scale when we did the math on exactly how many average-sized hardcovers it will take to construct an arch roughly seven feet high and five feet across.  Or dividing our books by color for the DIY projects we've left to do...  Note to publishers: Please print books in steel gray, sage green, and majolica blue.  Stop with the black.  It's fucking up my arch.  And all the crazy book decorations seem normal to me now, so can't say what's craziest...  I get to use power tools to drill holes through books!  That's probably a bad thing.  The fiance hasn't given up the idea of having a bookstore onsite, so perhaps the registering. (Since your job involves special event sales, there pretty much has to be an onsite bookstore.)

8. Liz or Gianna?
Better the devil I know, so Liz.  Sorry, G; I'm sure you're swell. (Naturally, the correct answer is always Liz.)

9. Astros or Cubs? (Keep in mind that we take our baseball very seriously.)
This is like a Buzzfeed quiz where the obvious choices of Tigers, Red Wings, or huh? are missing.  I was in Chicago when the Cubs won some important game back in 2006-ish, so we'll go with Cubs. (Your life will be filled with disappointment. Just like Gianna's.)

10. Do you have a magical moment working in the book business that stands out?
Good:  The release of the last Harry Potter.  I was working at Horizon Books in Petoskey, MI.  The staff all dressed as characters; we had classes, a basilisk cave, and tons of people.  At midnight, the manager jumped onto the counter and we started passing out books.  Simple enough.

Bad:  Same bookstore, about a year later.  Customer goes on about how expensive the small city is; he stops complaining for a moment, looks at me and says, "Where do the poor people live?  Like ones with your job?"  I answered we all lived under the bridge during the summer, raise our prices, and live relatively well on the money we made off the tourists during the summer.

11. Dish on your boss. We promise that no one reads this blog.
I feel like a gargantuan monster when standing next to my boss.  Even if you have zero readers, there is nothing bad to say...  He chews loudly?
Read poetry to me, Mr. Franco.

12. Any author crushes?
Hmm...  Yeah...  Nope.  I'd like to keep the crushes quiet as the crushes are local authors who may or may not follow me on Twitter. (Got it. We're just going to say that it's James Franco.)

13. Where do you hope to go in Book Land? (What does the future hold?)
Beyond the extreme respect and notoriety among my bookselling kin?  My crazy old lady dream is to own a bed & breakfast with a bookshop...  However, the future holds as the present is; until the fiance has a job that means I can work part time, and then only if the job is fairly stress free and fun.  Yes, he knows this. Then all your books are belong to me.  And my tons of reading time.

Man... I don't curse enough.  And there are like zero lies in here. (Sucker.)

Thanks April. 

No comments:

Post a Comment