We have a great team of book-lovers working at the store! Carol Spurling is the full-time manager. Jesica DeHart is the part-time assistant manager. Jonah Mix provides continuity from the old store to the new, and we’re thrilled to have added Nick Brunsfeld to round out our talented crew.
Nick Brunsfeld: Born and raised in Moscow, Nick grew up playing rock ‘n roll and reading On the Road like your average teenage muscovite. It was only after high school that, with an absurdly overladen backpack, he embarked on a sort of Grand Tour through Europe and found his true passion for all things European. Delighted and awestruck by the plays of Luigi Pirandello and Eugène Ionesco, captivated by the striking beauty of poets Rainer Maria Rilke and Arthur Rimbaud, and finding something akin to faith in the literary odysseys of James Joyce and Marcel Proust, Nick voraciously read until he became the enthusiastic Europhile he is today. When he is not playing bluegrass guitar, foolishly trying to make homemade ravioli, or attempting (also foolishly) to watch a Fellini film without the subtitles, Nick is probably reading something migraine-inducing and foreign. Although he spent much time abroad in France and Russia while receiving his degree in foreign languages from Lewis & Clark College, Nick harbors an abiding love for the great American authors. If you’re looking for a good book from this side of pond, he will start to rave about Fitzgerald and Salinger, Eggers and Safran Foer, only to invariably tell you to read his favorite book of all time: Infinite Jest.
Jonah Mix: Following his move from Seattle as a seven year-old, Jonah is now the sixth generation of the Mix family to live in Moscow. He primarily enjoys reading, but can also be found watching 80’s action movies and listening to obscure Midwestern punk bands. Anything from south of the border is guaranteed a spot in his pantheon of greatest novels ever, but otherwise he has a deep admiration of American minimalism and anything surreal, nihilistic, or silly – preferably all three. Raymond Carver, Franz Kafka, Hubert Selby Jr, and Kathy Acker fight for the title of Jonah’s favorite author, but J. G. Ballard, Kurt Vonnegut, and Julio Cortazar are in the running as well. Anyone with questions about novels that explore the weirder side of life, as well as any American classics, LGBT literature, or political science shouldn’t hesitate to ask him for recommendations!
Jesica DeHart: Jesica grew up in a log cabin in the Pacific Northwest that was hand built by her family. For many years they didn’t have electricity or running water and nights were spent huddled around the kerosene lantern reading piles of beautiful books checked out from the library or from their wall to wall bookshelves. In college she studied environmental and adventure education and then intrigued by the beauty, creativity and integrity of Waldorf Education, she went on to get her M.Ed. with a specialty in Waldorf. She has taught in Waldorf Schools throughout the country, helped to found new schools and worked as a mentor for pioneering schools. She loves sharing her love of books with her children Emmit and Asher and some of their favorite books are the ones that come from Europe or a bit more obscure like Tal: His Marvelous Adventures with Noom-Zor-Noom, anything by Barbara Berger, the Tip Toe Lightly Books, The Moomins and most recently the Wombles series. In addition to her specialty in children’s books she also is well versed in cook books (especially those that specialize in food allergies), contemporary fiction, parenting, crafts of all kinds and nature writing. Her husband Dennis’s job as a professor in the art department at WSU brought the family from Orcas Island to Moscow where they enjoy working in their garden, finding treasures at thrift stores, traveling and laughing a lot with each other and their friends.
Carol Price Spurling: Carol was that kid who spent summers reading, going back and forth between the library and her home with a paper grocery bag full of books every week until she’d read almost everything appropriate for her age group and some that wasn’t. She realizes now she lost out on a lot of reading time by watching too many cartoons on t.v. on Saturday mornings, but on the other hand, she was exposed to a lot of great classical music thanks to Looney Tunes. She majored in English and Literature in college and graduate school and then worked at a library before getting her dream job at Old Harbor Books in Sitka, Alaska, where she learned the book business. She learned the used book business at Brused Books in Pullman before branching out into freelance writing, and then outreach and education at the Moscow Food Co-op. There are a few writers who inspire her to read everything they’ve ever written: M.F.K. Fisher, Laurie Colwin, Calvin Trillin, Peter Mayle, Jane Austen, Barbara Kingsolver, Michael Pollan, Lillian Beckwith, and Harriet Doerr, to name a few. Mystery series she adores include Donna Leon’s Brunetti series, and Laurie King’s Mary Russell series. Carol’s reading habits go through phases, and she has at various times in her life been obsessed with 1) classic science fiction, 2) cheesy teen romances, 3) the classics, 4) contemporary fiction, 5) travel writing, 6) food writing, 7) cookbooks, 8 ) sustainability and simple living, 9) mysteries, and 10) anything to do with France and French culture. The latter obsession has lasted the longest, now going on 20 years, and she even went back to school to get a degree in French and graduated in May 2011 from the University of Idaho. Carol is a staunch advocate of local, independent businesses of all kinds. Unfailingly excellent customer service and providing a wonderful shopping experience for all are her first priorities as manager of Bookpeople of Moscow. Building community and nurturing the region’s readers and writers is right up there on the top of her priority list, too.