May 3, 2016
Ask a bookseller—Hannah Oliver Depp from WORD Bookstore, Jersey City
by Melville House
In life, there are always big questions. But where can you find the big answers? From your local indie bookseller, of course! In this monthly feature, some of our favorite booksellers will answer those questions we know you’re dying to ask.
This month’s guest is Hannah Oliver Depp from WORD Bookstore, Jersey City.
Hannah Oliver Depp is a blackish bookseller. She is currently the Operations Manager at WORD Bookstore, Jersey City and began her career at Politics & Prose in Washington, DC. She is a lover of dead white guy lit, but not so much the dead white guys, a recovering theatre kid, and holds degrees in several ridiculously satisfying Humanities. She will find a bookstore or a tea shop within the first hour of every trip. You can find her and her muppet of a dog Buster on Twitter, Instagram, and Litsy @oliverdepp.
What’s your mantra?
Just do it.
Your greatest extravagance?
Um, books? Specifically books by authors I already own in interesting or beautiful editions. Is that too obvious? I would also say owning a dog is an extravagance I am happy to pay for.
Favorite size of book?
Mass markets—even though I own so few. I read so many fantastic mass market editions for school and now as soon as I hold one I am filled with surety that a new adventure is in store (I am quite riled up about the discontinuation of To Kill a Mockingbird in mass market for this reason).
Cucumber (even if they aren’t available at the market for ready money).
The sound that you hate the most?
People chewing with their mouth open. I have ended friendships over this. I will probably do so again.
Favorite last name of an author?
My favorite author name of all time is Crescent Dragonwagon.
The book all teenagers should read?
The Once and Future King by T.H. White. Learn to be a human.
If you could only play one album on repeat all day long in the store, the full 12-ish hours of the day, what would it be?
No question: Abbey Road by the Beatles. Second? HAMILTON.
What, in your opinion, is a book?
Oh, come on Melville House. Fine. I’ll engage. I say that a book is two things combined: set information communicated to an audience with intention to express an opinion—meaning it is more than fact or story—but it always, intentionally or not, communicates a point of view. It is also a physical object, but that physicality can take a variety of forms. Due to its set nature it is separated from more living forms of communication such as theatre or journalism and its possessive physicality removes it from the company of television and film (though, the hand held device is helping bridge this gap, the kind of mental imaginative leap required by “reading” film verses “reading” a book is different.)
Or, on a less didactic day, a book is a magical, beautiful thing.
Book(s) most frequently stolen from your bookstore?
Sandman Overtures. People love that Gaiman!