Ep 9: Benjamin Rybeck, Brazos Bookstore


Episode nine has finally dropped! We speak with the lovely and talented Benjamin Rybeck, Marketing Director and Events Coordinator at Brazos Bookstore and author of The Sadness.


Introduction   [0:30]

In Which Emma and Kim Have a Sponsor and Make Terrible Puns, Plus Ben Invents the Phrase “Page Turner”

Currently drinking: screwdirvers with Stolichnaya, inspired by Sabbath’s Theater by Philip Roth

This episode is actually brought to you by a sponsor! Books & Whatnot is an excellent and informative newsletter for booksellers; it’s quick to read and filled with tips! Brought to you by Beth Golay. Check out the newsletter archive here. Follow on Twitter at @booksandwhatnot.

Ben is reading: Nick Flynn’s memoirs, Maggie Nelson, The Other Side by Lacy Johnson, and Madeline E. by Gabriel Blackwell

Shout-out to cool indie publisher: Outpost 19!

Emma is reading: … spreadsheets? No, but seriously, she finally started Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel—but also the apocalypse causes her some anxiety, so she might have put it down.

Kim is reading: Uprooted by Naomi Novik, Shrill by Lindy West

When Kim started reading Uprooted, Emma was like

Kim recalls possibly the best customer interaction ever, in which a male teacher from an all-girls school requests recs for a primer on feminism; Shrill by Lindy West, We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozie Adiche, and Rad American Women A-Z by Kate Schatz and Miriam Klein Stahl (illus.) are among her recs.

New & Forthcoming Books We’re Excited About

What do you do when a customer asks for a happy read? 

Emma tries to make them into a romance reader and, if that fails, recommends Beauty Queens by Libba Bray.

Kim recommends graphica (though Emma’s first three thoughts when she says graphica are Watchmen, Persepolis, and Fun Homenot the happiest of reads…)

Chapter I   [21:21]

In Which Ben Walks Into a Bookstore and Receives a Job, Coins the term “litizen,” and Says the Word Smartypants a Lot. Plus Emma Freaks Out About Events Coordinators/Drunk Booksellers’ Guests Not Reading Harry Potter

Longfellow Books of Portland, Maine was Ben’s childhood bookstore.

We discuss the joy of bookstores, record stores, and video stores—half-retail and half-cultural places where you go to meet friends and discover gems.

Ben’s advice for getting a job at a bookstore? Walk into said bookstore with no intention of getting a job (it worked for him!)

Learn more about Brazos Bookstore here. They do “down and dirty highbrow” bookselling.

In Houston this summer? Here are a couple fun things going on:

Houston Shakespeare Festival

Summer of Kubrick

Have you heard about this new Harry Potter book coming out? Kim imagines that it will be mostly about ennui of adulthood, and compares it to Ben’s book The Sadness. 

Chapter II   [37:46]

In Which Ben Pitches His Book Succinctly—It’s a Book About Film and Failure— and We Discuss Adulting

“Booksellers as adults is a strange thing; you’re asking people to become adults and go out into the world where their primary relationship to anything in their lives has been sitting alone in a room…that’s not going to end well.”

Chapter III   [44:34]

In Which We Speculate Alice Munroe’s Drinking Habits, Declare Adult Connect-the-Dots as The Next Big Thing, And Bring Up the Fact That Ben Hasn’t Read Harry Potter Again

Ben wants to drink with John Updike to see if he’s as insufferable a person as Ben finds him as a writer. Kim mocks his reasoning. His second choice is Alice Munroe (who may or may not listen to this podcast? We’re pretty sure she doesn’t. But we can dream.)

Ben’s bookseller confession is he doesn’t keep up with trends—but it’s ok, Emma and Kim haven’t read Knausgaard or Ferrante either.

Ben’s Station Eleven/Wild/Desert Island Books

Go-to Handsells

Impossible Handsells

Chapter IV   [1:01:12]

In Which We Talk About Where We Can Be Found On the Internets & Remind You of Our Awesome Sponsor (Books & Whatnot)

Shout out to Kramer Books in Washington, DC

Hey, remember Books & Whatnot? Ben subscribes, we subscribe, and you should subscribe too!

Check out Ben on twitter at @BenjaminRybeck or give him a shout atben@brazosbookstore.com. Don’t forget to read his book, The Sadness, which has been compared to the new Harry Potter book (by Kim, on this episode).

Did you know you can enjoy our wit and charm on Twitter? Follow us at @drunkbookseller. Kim also occasionally tweets from @finaleofseem. Emma can be found at @thebibliot and also on Book Riot, where she writes articles which are both nerdy and informative!

If you know a bookseller who would love to spend a few hours drinking and chatting with us, have them shoot us an email at drunkbooksellers@gmail.com.

Finally, if you like the show, you can rate/review us on iTunes & subscribe using your favorite podcatcher.

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