Every month, our staff chooses one Employee of the Month to recognize for their outstanding work at the store. We thought we’d start sharing these questionnaires that are put on a display in the store with all of you so you can get to better know our booksellers. This month we recognized the amazing, fantastic, brilliant Tomoko Bason, our Art Director. Next time you come by the store, chat with her about what she’s reading!
How long have you worked at BookPeople?
Three years, 4 months, 2 days, 4 hours, and 32 seconds. Just kidding =D, but around 3.3 years.
What is your favorite thing about working here?
Why the BookPeople themselves, of course – the people who work here are the best and the only reason I’ve survived this long in Austin. And the books, the books are pretty great too.
What five fictional characters would you invite to a dinner party?
I’m not good at parties…or inviting people to things…sooo.
If you could be any animal, what would you be?
I want to say a bird of some sort, like a Japanese crane, or a quetzlcoatl, or a barn swallow…but I think everyone who knows me would probably argue for mouse, so let’s split the difference and say bat. =D
What book will you continue to reread throughout your life?
I don’t often re-read books, there’s too many new ones coming out that I’m dying to read! However I am always going back through my art and Nat Geo books for inspiration.
What is your favorite literary quote?
I don’t really collect quotes, even though I wish I did–I’ve always loved the opening of the Jabberwocky though: “Twas brillig and the slithy toves did gyre and gimble in the wabe…” I’ve always loved the way those words sound together and the sense/nonsense of them–they feel full of possibility and magic in such a mundane way.
What is something that is guaranteed to make you laugh?
Funny voices saying stabby things. And bad words.
Who’s the most exciting person you’ve met through BookPeople?
While I’ve really enjoyed meeting a fantastic array of authors, actors, and musicians, I think I fan-girled the most over Tony Diterlizzi…I love his WondLa books soooo much and his illustrations for Spiderwick are my life and yeah…I made him a painting.
What would be your first buy if you won the lottery?
An art room, full of supplies, like a fancy-shmancy drawing tablet that I can work on (say the latest Wacom Cintiq), a really nice computer with a top of the line graphics card and enough RAM to run most of the Adobe Creative Suite at the same time on two 27-inch high-resolution monitors, and of course a bookshelf full of art and reference books ^__~.
You have a time machine and one week to spend in any historical era. Where/when would you go?
One week is rough, but growing up in a highly religious home makes me really want to visit a certain brief window around 1,984 years ago in Old Jerusalem…just to see for myself. Or, go back around to any date 15,000 years ago and, once and for all, prove/debunk certain theories.
Imagine you are on death row, and about to be executed… what would you choose for your last meal?
No clue. I usually find food comforting/emotionally repressive, and no food would repress the onset of a deadly punishment…so. Maybe a pot brownie? So I could try one before I died?
What would you like inscribed on your tombstone?
“Many guests especially recalled the beautiful moon that shone that evening.” It’s from Lincoln in the Bardo, and it reminds me that even history is only a point of view. It’s also a reference to the night Willie Lincoln died.
What are you watching on Netflix right now?
Supergirl. Only the best show ever T___T
Who would you like to be cast as you in a movie about yourself?
A movie about me would absolutely have to be an animation…with surreal things that never actually happened as my life has been abnormal in none of the fun (read interesting) ways. But I would love to be voiced by Ashly Burch.
What was your favorite book as a child? What’s your favorite book in this very moment?
My favorite book as a kid was Read On Rita, written by Stephen Cosgrove and illustrated by Wendy Edelson – it’s a book about hedgehog who traded everyone’s books for beautiful pictures (because a picture is worth a thousand words, right?), until he’s made to share them again. I’m so sad it’s out of print now.
Right now? Probably Exit West, I’m in the middle of an advance copy right now, but I can’t seem to stop talking about it. It’s this beautiful little book about two people living in a city under siege – they escape through a door that takes them anywhere but there, becoming two of a growing number of refugees escaping through these doors. It’s so timely and incredibly well done, divorcing the characters from any visual or language barriers we might put up so that anyone, at any time or place will connect with this couple trying to survive and not change, and not lose what they love about each other, even as their whole world repeatedly changes and falls apart. It comes out March 7th and I just want everyone to read it.
Or Lincoln in the Bardo, George Saunders’ first novel. It’s so lyrical and unusual, written like an impossible play, interspersed with historical anecdotes that both ground the mostly surreal reading and make you question simple things like historical “facts.” It comes out February 14th!