Fostering community through literature


RACHEL SUN | The Daily Evergreen

Monique Slipher helps customers at Bruised Books in downtown Pullman on Wednesday afternoon.

RACHEL SUN, Evergreen reporter

Name, occupation: Monique Slipher, Bruised Books employee for 14 years

How did you end up working at a bookstore?
“I actually don’t remember. I used to shop here. I was probably looking for part-time work, and I liked being here. Eventually, I just asked for a job and got one.”

Have you always enjoyed books?
“I was a really avid reader as a child, and my kid is a really avid reader. It runs in the family. So I definitely always loved books. That helps a lot in here.”

What are some of your favorite books?
“I tend to read more nonfiction than fiction. I’ve been getting more into fiction in recent years. Do you want an author? My all-time favorite author is still Kurt Vonnegut, whom I read a lot of in college. I like nature writing, I like history, so I tend to read history. Especially local history. I read some mystery. I have a pretty wide, eclectic taste.”

What is something interesting about working here?
“It’s really neat to talk to every age, from little kids, and learning what they like and what they’re interested in, to elderly people who are re-reading an author they read when they were younger.

What types of unusual books do you see?
“Anything. You name it. We sell some online, and those tend to be the ones that have more value or are more old and unusual. It can be anything from an old cookbook, to a famous classic author first edition, to some obscure political treatise — it can be anything.”

Any interesting stories from working at the store?
“This is something that happens all the time: We’ll get a book, and we’ll put it out on the front table. Within half an hour, someone will walk in, and they’ll go, ‘Oh, I was looking for that book!’ It’s kind of this serendipity thing. It sounds like weird, but it’s true, it happens an awful lot. It’s like nooks find the people who want them.

Do you get a lot of regular customers?
“We do. We get teenagers who come on once a week, and we get older people who come up from Orofino twice a year. We get regulars who come in from quite a distance a couple times a year. We get alumni on weekends. On football weekends, we get a ton of people while they’re waiting to go the football game, or waiting to go out to dinner with their kid. ‘Oh, I used to come here 20 years ago when I was a student!’ There’s never a dull moment.”