About Us: Luke

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.

Meet Luke

Where were you born?
I was born in Essex, England.

What was your favorite food as a kid and what did you hate?
Chocolate spread – not Nutella, Cadburys’ Chocolate Spread – and peanut butter sandwiches. It was almost like a sauce but thicker. I use to eat it with crunchy peanut butter. Chocolate spread is hard to come by now. I hated tomatoes and rhubarb crumble. Custard on top did not make it any better. It was too sinewy. Almost like a dead mouse in a blender.

Were you read to as a child?
Yeah, I guess. Not every night, but I was read to regularly.

Did you have books in your house while growing up?
No, we did not have many books in the house. There were two bookshelves in my parents room. He was an antique dealer and she was a full-time housewife. My mum used to be a school teacher and went back to that after we kids left home.

Quick free associations:
Paperbacks: Writers, Beatles.
Sale: Boat.
Magazines: Racks.
Piano: Key.
Price gun: Adios.
Cash Register: Catherine wheel, a firework that goes around in circles
Discount Card: Pleb.
“I’m looking for a book…”: Pass.

What is your connection to books and the written word now?
I’m in a new revival period. I’m reading more. I never really read much, but now that’s changing. I always wrote lyrics. Reading books is inward-going, my voice lyrics and writing songs is outward-going. At this point in my life I have more space for reading books. These days I pick out a book and read it instead of thinking about books and not reading any.

What sections do you oversee?
Game novels and humor.

What is the best part of your job?
Helping customers and interacting pleasantly with them. I also enjoy having a good relationships with my co-workers.

How do you do your job in terms of: cars (Ferrari or Fiat?), pastries (Hema or Holtkamp?), or shoes (Puma or Prada)?
I’m a Taylor of acoustic guitars because it’s well made, built to last and has a beautiful tone. They’re reliable. You tune them once and they stay in tune. A bit demanding to play but the results are worth it.

How long have you worked at ABC?
Fifteen years.

Who is your favorite author?
Robert R. Pirsig, author of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. Subject matter is much more important to me than how it’s written. I also like Philip K. Dick. He’s such an ideas man!!!

What is the opposite of bookselling?
Plant-buying.

What do you think people should know about ABC?
That it is called the American Book Center, not the American Book Store!