Mid-Week Intermission Friend Edition: Eugenia Vela with BookPeople
Posted on August 11, 2020 by Long
This week’s Mid-Week Intermission features our friend Eugenia Vela from BookPeople. If you’ve ever taken your kiddo to a BookPeople event, chances are you’ve seen Eugenia in action. Learn more about her work, what she’s listening to while working from home, what she’s reading (obviously), and best of all, her dog Chandler.
My name is Eugenia Vela. In the Before times, you probably saw me at BookPeople or one of our many offsite events around town, introducing bestselling authors to thousands of screaming 8-year-olds. Just kidding. That has only happened a couple of times. But I do work at BookPeople, the largest independent bookstore in Texas, located in downtown Austin.
I specialize in kids’ events and marketing, which keeps my life interesting. As we’ve pivoted from business model to business model over the past five months, our community has been incredibly supportive by buying books, gift cards, and gift bundles, supporting the café, ordering cards through our new greeting card program, donating books through our partnership with the Austin Council of PTAs, attending author events, and so much more. Austin has an amazing community of readers!
I hope after this, folks remember how simple it is to support independent bookstores, both in person and online — and that many of us ship, even worldwide. Austin alone has many great indies like BookPeople, BookWoman, Black Pearl Books, Malvern, and more.
The Long Center is a fantastic partner to BookPeople when hosting big-name authors like Neil Patrick Harris or David Sedaris. But I’ve also been to the Long Center many times as a guest. I spent my 30th birthday sweating on the great lawn watching Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban with about 2000 other people. Oh, the Before times!
A few things that keep me sane these days: books, movies, music, and food. Sounds pretty basic, but don’t overestimate the power of a good meal, a great song or book, and sitting in a drive-in theater in 95-degree weather. It’s pretty great, actually. Here are some favorites — oh, and I can’t forget my dog Chandler. No offense to my husband, but the best part of WFH are Chandler cuddles.
EUGENIA’S RECS FOR TACOS, BOOKS & VINYL (AND BATMAN)
EATING // CON MADRE KITCHEN
Nothing like Sunday mornings with Con Madre’s chorizo, egg, and cheese on flour with green salsa. It’s my favorite breakfast taco in town.
WATCHING // THE BLUE STARLITE DRIVE-IN
The Blue Starlite is one of my favorite places in Austin, and they’ve proven to be a fantastic place to escape to during quarantine. If you’re not familiar with the Starlite, check ’em out — especially if you need a change of pace from your living room couch. I watched Tim Burton’s Batman there a couple of weeks ago (Michael Keaton, the best Batman).
LISTENING // END OF AN EAR
I admit I’ve been doing too much vinyl shopping during quarantine, but I’m spending so much time at home that I’m not as lazy about flipping the record. Shouts to the wonderful, helpful folks at End of an Ear who make the curbside pickup process super easy. Recent purchases include Leon Bridges & Khruangbin’s Texas Sun, Townes Van Zandt Live at the Old Quarter, and Folk Singer by Muddy Waters.
READING // PUNCHING THE AIR by Ibi Zoboi and Dr. Yusef Salaam
One of the perks of working at a bookstore is getting advanced copies of books! Recently, I read an amazing book that releases September 1st: Punching the Air by Ibi Zoboi and Dr. Yusef Salaam of the Exonerated Five. It tells the story of 16-year-old Amal, who is wrongfully incarcerated. Readers dive deep into his story, learning through a series of flashbacks what really happened that day. We are haunted by the “what ifs,” by the failures of the educators who were supposed to guide, support, and uplift him, and the devastating reality of the school-to-prison pipeline. Zoboi and Salaam also remind us of the impact of expression through poetry and art, with writing that absolutely SOARS. I read it about a month ago and haven’t stopped thinking about it! I highly encourage pre-ordering it — from an indie bookstore, of course.
Hope you’re keeping your reading list interesting — see you next time!
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