Reader Profile: Karyn Wisselink

For every day of our Indiegogo campaign, we’ll be sharing profiles from readers and supporters of Glass Bookshop both local to the city and from across Canada. Visit our campaign page now to claim cool perks and support us in building a beautiful brick-and-mortar space in downtown Edmonton. And read on to discover why today’s featured reader is excited to one day visit Glass Bookshop!

Karyn Wisselink is the queen of #Bookstagram. She uses her savvy social media and marketing skills in her role as the Marketing and Editorial Assistant at Athabasca University Press. She’s an inspiration to us for our own marketing and also an incredible friend and advocate for the bookshop. If you want to covet daily her perfect Instagram aesthetics and a thoughtfully planned grid, follow AU Press here. And read on to discover the most important books she read in the past year and why she’s excited to visit Glass Bookshop.

How did books and the act of reading come to be meaningful to you?
I have always understood the importance of books. My parents not only encouraged reading as a daily practice, they also exemplified this habit. They still read for about two hours every night before bed. So, books have always been central to my life and I have never wanted that to change.

What is your relationship now to books and reading?
So many people experience a lapse in their passion for reading when they finish an undergraduate or graduate degree. The act of reading becomes associated with work. After I finished university, I started a career in publishing, which meant books and reading continued to be related to work. It took some time to renew my energy for reading for myself. These days, reading lets me escape my anxiety and it expands my world.

Is there a book that has had significant impact on you?
I think every book I have read has given me something to think about, to tuck away for later, to hang on to, and sometimes something to reject. Of course, there are always those books that resonate deeply. Can You Hear the Nightbird Call? by Anita Rau Badami was the first book that made me cry and not just cry: weep. Seven Fallen Feathers by Tanya Talaga, I’m Afraid of Men by Vivek Shraya, and Notes from a Feminist Killjoy by Erin Wunker were important reads for me this past year. My world often feels small and books help me to expand my mind and my community.

How does literature influence your sense of community?
Literature is my community—from the characters in a novel to the poets I meet at readings. Not only do I have the honour of working with books and authors every day, I also live in a city where the literary community is passionate and growing. An interest in books is a wonderful conversation starter and a sure-fire way to find kindred spirits.

How do you find new books or writers?
My not-so-secret obsession with #bookstagram adds so many books to my list. Beautiful covers are my weakness and I appreciate high production value. I focus my reading on women writers and I love to scroll through the seasonal most-anticipated lists to find debut women authors. I also pay close attention to small presses in Canada because they are always innovating and challenging the way we think about publishing and writing.

Can you share a memorable experience you’ve had in a bookstore? What makes it stand out for you?
I always try to visit an independent bookstore when I’m in a new city. Bookstores have the magical ability to showcase the values of a neighbourhood or community. I visited Librairie Saint Henri Books in Montréal last summer and I suddenly felt like I belonged in that neighbourhood. It was almost they had curated their selection of books from my own library and based the décor on my dream home.

What do you think Glass Bookshop could offer Edmonton’s community of readers and writers?
I see Glass Bookshop as a gathering place for people who understand the power of literature and the power of diversity in literature. Books can change conversations and build communities and Glass Bookshop will offer a space for these things to happen.

Want to help make this reader’s dream for Glass Bookshop a reality? Support Glass Bookshop’s Indiegogo campaign by buying some cool perks today here:

Karyn Wisselink
Matthew Stepanic