In a series of interviews conducted by ABC’s Maria Minaya, we’re going to introduce you to (almost) everyone who works at The American Book Centers in Amsterdam and The Hague.
Books form an integral part of our lives not only because they’re our bread and butter, but because our passion for them came first. Our mission is to pass them on. By reading these interviews you’ll discover the faces behind your favorite sections and get a glimpse of who we are.
What was your favorite food as a kid and what did you hate?
I think it was a kind of Wiener schnitzel, although my mother’s version used beef instead of veal. I actually still love this especially when served with mashed potatoes. I hated to eat spinach. My mother used to make small pieces of toast with a bit of spinach and a slice of boiled egg and then put it in the oven. I and all my brothers and sisters hated this. We would either eat the toast or the egg. We tried to avoid the spinach.
Were you read to as a child?
Yes, my mother and father used to read a lot to us. And then later one of my older brothers would read to us. I have this one particular memory of my father reading to my litter sister and myself. He sat between us and was reading the Happy Prince. The book was in English so he read it in English, but then translated it for us into Portuguese.
Did you have books in your house while growing up?
Yes, yes there were a lot of books in my house. My father bought more books than my mother. He used to have his own library. However unusual this may sound for Brazil, I come from a segment of the population that had books and spoke English. My mother started out as a housewife, but later studied pedagogy and instructed teachers. My father was and still is a doctor, a radiologist.
Quick free associations:
Sale: Cheap books.
Price gun: Pricing down.
Cash Register: Customers.
Discount Card: More customers.
“I’m looking for a book…”: Can I help you?
What is your connection to books and the written word now?
I read a lot. While not typical, in the last three weeks I’ve read a book a week. Usually I read a book a month. I just don’t have the time.
What sections do you oversee at ABC The Hague?
I do the t.v. tie-in section and the games. I still order the erotica books for the moment. And I order the children’s books.
What is the best part of your job?
The best part is that there is not one thing to do, but that I can do many things. And that I can choose what I buy for my sections.
How would you describe your customer service, i.e., how do you do your job in terms of: cars (Ferrari or Fiat?), pastries (Hema or Holtkamp?), or shoes (Puma or Prada)?
I give friendly, efficient and courteous customer service.
How long have you worked at ABC?
Almost eight years.
Who is your favorite author? Or what are you reading now?
I am now reading David Gerrold. The last three titles of his I read were: The Voyage of the Star Wolf, The Middle of Nowhere and Blood and Fire. He is a science fiction writer. I wish he were more popular but he is not easy to read. I’d say he is difficult in the philosophical sense. He is difficult because he makes you think. Gerrold is not as heavy as Arthur C. Clark. Jane Austen is one of my all time favorite authors. I love Pride and Prejudice.
What is the opposite of bookselling?
What do you think people should know about ABC?
That our staff is friendly and we’re here to help and not hinder.