book broads • Final Puzzle Piece

by Erika Gudmundsson

I’d just like to start by saying how absolutely thrilled I am to have the opportunity to interact with my Book Broads/Nerd Phone Chain pals in this way. I miss seeing them every day, and I love that we are coming together to work with each other in a more creative context. For years now, we have been each other’s cheerleaders, and I have found an amazing support system within this group of fantastic women. Normally, something like this would be way out of my comfort zone, but the encouragement and support from these gals makes this more of an exciting adventure than a panic-inducing undertaking. Thanks, pals!

I worked at the bookstore where we all met from the time I was 20 years old until I was 32. My entire adult life was spent at this place, and I loved being surrounded by other people who loved books and reading. I remember times in the breakroom where there would be 4 or 5 of us down there (the good old days of heavy staffing), sipping our coffees and reading silently, and even though this essentially was a solitary activity, it definitely felt like we were doing something together. (This reminds me of this article about silent reading parties, which we should absolutely do, you guys.) Since we all have left that job, I personally have experienced some difficulty with regard to my identity. Who am I as a reader who is not also a bookseller? How do I relate to coworkers without this common interest? It sounds ridiculous, but this has honestly been a struggle. At both of the jobs I’ve had since leaving the bookstore, other employees have commented when seeing me read on breaks – not negatively, just in surprise. Books and music have always been my go-to ways to connect with people, and I’m finding that, now, perhaps due to my age, that is becoming less common, and it’s making it harder to form connections with people. Over the past few years, I’ve found myself becoming a bit of a bad reader, which I intend to write about it more detail for my next post.

In the meantime, perhaps I’ll share a bit about my non-reading life. I’m a nontraditional student, working (slowly) on my degree and certification in ESL education. This has led me to take a number of linguistics classes, which I never knew I had any interest in and have found I absolutely love. I work at a hippie grocery store, it’s ok. I like yoga and wandering around in the woods, I’m a nonproductive knitter, and I’m trying to make myself not hate running. I like having friends over to watch movies with themed drinks and snacks, and listening to podcasts about books while soaking in the bathtub. I also have pet rats (Idgie and Ruth, from Fried Green Tomatoes) who I am completely obsessed with. I’m a procrastinator, and I love naps. I look forward to sharing my adventures in reading with you and the Broads!

Hooray! The gang's all here! We'll be delving into more book-y things in upcoming posts so come back Thursday for our next post. -Elis

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