Intern Emily here! It’s been a while, but 7 Questions for a Bookseller is back on the blog, and this time, I’ve traveled to Albuquerque in search of the greatest out-of-state bookstores! New Mexico is known for green chile, hot air balloons, and lots of local pride. What better way to celebrate the locals then visiting Bookworks, one of Albuquerque’s best independent bookstores! In the middle of monsoon season, I sat down with Brenna Gomez and asked her a couple questions.
1. If you had to describe Bookworks in three words, what would they be?
Eclectic, friendly, and collaborative.
2. Which book do people not know enough about?
I’ll give you two. Rough Animals by Rae DelBianco is an incredible new thriller that’s Breaking Bad meets Cormac McCarthy. Everyday People by Jennifer Baker is a collection of short stories from POC authors that will be released at the end of the month.
3. You accept and sort a lot of used books. What is the oddest book that you have noticed while sorting?
We found a series of informational books from the 80’s. It was an entire collection of books about health hints. One book in particular had this spread of “home tools” that had pictures of odd metal tools that you would definitely not know how to use. I love sorting through the books sometimes you’ll find a five dollar bill or an old letter to a relative that someone never sent. (You can donate your used books here!)
4. What is the most important thing about buying local?
Buying at Bookworks contributes to Albuquerque’s economy, taxes, and employment. Which keeps money and business within our own home. Money spent at a local bookstore is money spent towards fostering and growing a community. We partner with local schools and organizations and host over 400+ events per year. It’s a local give and take.
5. What is the Albuquerque book community like?
Albuquerque has a thriving literary scene. There are several local readings a week. It’s one of my favorite parts about living here. There is so much diversity in genre as well. It ranges from New Mexico history to South Western mysteries, which allows many different age groups to engage. The poetry scene in particular is very active. We have a lot of slam poetry nights and have sent a team to the National Slam Championship for the past few years. ABQ is really a community of artists that includes and expands beyond the literary world. There is some great independent local film work. Basement Films is a non-profit, volunteer run organization that supports experimental, independent, and under-represented forms of film and video-making.
6. What is your favorite part of the job?
The simplicity of selling person to person. It brings the humanity back to bookselling. You get to geek out about your new favorite book and give recommendations. It adds a whole new level of communication and excitement to the industry. You can always discover a good book in the Staff Picks. My most recent pick was How to Write an Autobiographical Novel by Alexander Chee but I’m about to add My Own Devices by Dessa.
7. What are some upcoming events at Bookworks?
The Bookworks events this fall bring in some of the most talented modern authors. In the upcoming months we’re excited to host: Pulitzer Prize winner Caroline Fraser in store on August 24th, Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz and William Powers in September, and David Grann and Hampton Sides in November.