Booksellers Rock! Emily Crowe, Odyssey Bookshop

Name: Emily Crowe
Bookstore: Odyssey Bookshop
Title: Assistant Manager/Buyer/Bookseller/Big Kahuna

Brief Bio: I’ve worked several venues in the book world ever since I left grad school, including as a publisher sales rep, at a library, and a used & rare bookstore. I loathe cilantro and bigots with an equal passion. Along with the obvious books, I have somehow become a collector of pink elephants and funky socks. And when I make my millions as a bookseller, I intend to retire to a pleasure palace in an undisclosed location south of the eighteenth parallel.

What books recently rocked my world: Not exactly recently, but I think Verghese’s Cutting for Stone and McCarthy’s The Road are the best books of the last decade. I loved last year’s The Tower, the Zoo and the Tortoise for its wonderfully quirky characters, and I’m a believer in this fall’s forthcoming The Night Circus.

Best damn event(s) we’ve hosted: A few years ago we hosted a great fundraiser for the
Foodbank of Western Massachusetts: Richard Russo and Stephen King on stage in a
conversation about writing, books, and the state of the world. We sold out the 1,100 seat
auditorium and raised $17,000. I was so proud of the staff for all of their hard work and
long hours of planning to make the event run smoothly and efficiently.

Most entertaining author we’ve hosted: Alexander McCall Smith. How can you not love a kilt-wearing man named Sandy who refused to be upstaged by last year’s volcanic disturbance in Iceland? He opened his U.S. tour this year with our store and he kept the audience in stitches the entire time. Our entire staff was utterly smitten with him.

Strangest question a customer has ever asked: Do you arrange books by size? Because I’m looking for hardcover books about this big [frames a smallish book size with thumbs and index fingers].

Why our store kicks ass: I’d probably have to go with our Topless Tuesday tradition.(Just kidding!) Our staff, plain and simple. They’re the best folks anywhere.

What makes our neighborhood and customers awesome: We’re a bookstore in a small college town—Mount Holyoke College is across the street from us. So we’ve got the best aspects of a small town combined with the best aspects of a college town, right at our

I promise you won’t find this at any other store: There’s a small gold plaque above the
toilet in our staff bathroom that bears witness to the fact that Anne Rice Peed Here.

Why I do what I do: Because I want to become rich. Isn’t that why all of us are in

If I weren’t selling books I’d be: living the life of a beach bum in the Caribbean.

Books that changed my life: A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle, Acts of Faith by
Philip Caputo, and Mountains Beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder.

Top three authors, living or dead, I’d invite to my dinner party: Eudora Welty, Jim
Harrison, and Jane Austen. Miss Welty might be the only writer I’ve met who could possibly hold Jim in check with her gentle wit and charm. And Austen because she is pure-dee awesome. I think it would make for a great evening.

Top three songs on the soundtrack to my life: “Only God Can Save Us Now” by Over the Rhine, “Coconut” by Harry Nilsson, and “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For”
by U2.

My last meal request: Warm goat cheese, arugula, & grilled watermelon salad from
Jacala in Anguilla; a platter of pulled pork from Big D’s BBQ in Pocahontas, MS; and
a huge slice of caramel cake from Campbell’s Bakery in Jackson, MS (same from the
Homemade Ice Cream & Pie Kitchen in Louisville would be a close runner-up). With
lots of good, lemony sweet tea and a fine sippin’ rum (Ron Zacapa, aged 23 years) to
wash it all down. That should do the trick.


6 Comments On This Post:

June 15, 2011
10:27 am
Robyn Ryle says...

Nicely done, Emily. I feel even more motivated to plan a Northeast trip centered around the Odyssey Bookstore.

June 15, 2011
11:10 am
Joe says...

Way to go Em!

June 15, 2011
5:18 pm
Emily says...

We love The Night Circus here at Lemuria too! Yay Emily!!

June 16, 2011
4:19 pm
Broche says...

Thanks so much for featuring Emily! She’s an incredible woman, a good friend, and the best manager to work for (and I’m not sucking up because I no longer work for her, so there :p). Seriously though, did you count how many times she mentions being proud of the staff? I can’t decide whether to be scared or sad that Topless Tuesdays didn’t really occur.
Also, Em, I had no idea you collected pink elephants. Now I know what to get you for every gift-giving holiday ever.

June 16, 2011
11:04 pm
helen casey-brazeau says...

Teaching Emily to read at age 2 1/2 was a ton of fun and extremely rewarding. Go Emily!!!

August 15, 2011
9:40 am
Bookshops London says...

This is such a great resource that you are providing. I love seeing websites that understand the value of providing a quality resource for free.


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