Meet Mark, Store Manager
For as long as I can remember I’ve been in love with books. Reading them, obviously, but smelling them, touching them and just generally being around them. To me, books show the possibility of the human mind and, at their best, can even change us. In high school I discovered satire and devoured everything by Kurt Vonnegut. Kurt Vonnegut introduced me to Celine who, in a sense, introduced me to the importance of translation. How could something as visceral as DEATH ON THE INSTALLMENT PLAN, I wondered, be rendered so beautifully from French into English? I spent my twenties obsessed by the 19th Century Russians, mostly Dostoevsky, but also Tolstoy, Chekhov and Lermontov.
My obsession is still books, and a large amount of those have been translated into English. I am in love with Latin American and Spanish language writers especially, from Javier Marias to Cesar Aira, from Garcia Marquez to Alvaro Mutis. Contemporaries like Valeria Luiselli, Yuri Herrera and Guadalupe Nettel are incredible and display some of the most vibrant minds of the Spanish language bending and shifting genre. I’m also a fan of Enrique Vila-Matas, Sergio Pitol, Mario Bellatin, Santiago Gamboa as well as the underappreciated books of Reinaldo Arenas. I’m also an enormous fan of the Portuguese writers Fernando Pessoa and Antonio Lobo Antunes. I love English language writers too, Herman Melville, Virginia Woolf, Raymond Carver, Thomas Wolfe, John Steinbeck, Flannery O’Connor and Cormac McCarthy to name a few. There’s a lot more from many languages but those stand out. In 2008 I had a collection of short stories, Deathbed Conversions, published. In 2015 I was a juror for the 2016 BTBA (Best Translated Book Award). That same year I was also a recipient of the James Patterson Holiday Bonus for booksellers.
One of the best aspects of working in a bookstore is having wonderful conversations about books with the customers and (selfishly) having great books introduced to me as well. I hope to see you in Brazos Bookstore!