This month’s featured bookshop is Bookworks, an independent and locally owned store in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Founded in 1984, Bookworks has built strong ties within its community. In addition to working with partner organizations to facilitate events both at the store and off site, Bookworks donates gift certificates and books to local nonprofits, supports local libraries, and “gives back to our community however we can, whenever we can.” We caught up with store manager Aaron Jackson for the Q&A below.

What do you think is special about Bookworks?

What is special about Bookworks is the community that shops at the store as well as the booksellers themselves. Watching the exchange of book suggestions between the staff and the customers is always very enjoyable and leads to quite a long to-be-read list.

If money was no object, what changes would you make to the shop?

I would build a reading castle in our kids section for our youngest readers. A bookstore can be such a place of wonder for every age, but especially for the little ones.

How / why did you get into bookselling?

I was an avid reader as a child and I write poetry myself so working at a bookstore always seemed like a cool idea, and for the most part it has been.

What’s the funniest interaction you’ve ever had with a customer?

The other day the actor Josh Brolin was in our store. He was sitting on a couch chatting with a friend and it was so surreal because every so often I kept thinking to myself, “is Thanos here?” Later, I told my third grade daughter that Thanos was in the store and her eyes got real big and I realized I had to explain to her it was the actor who plays Thanos, not Thanos himself. She was quite relieved.

What’s your favourite And Other Stories book?

Bad Eminence by James Greer was quite a page turner so I will go with that, but really there are a number of lovely titles that I would strongly recommend.

What book published in the last year do our readers need to get their hands on?

The 1619 Project. I feel it is very important to keep the books that are being banned and/or challenged at the forefront of readers’ minds.

What would be your desert island book?

The Grapes of Wrath. That is the first book I ever read twice just for pleasure. Really anything by John Steinbeck would work but that one holds a particular place in my heart.

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