Reader Profile: Natalie Cook

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!

Anyone who’s lucky enough to follow Natalie Cook on social media knows she’s brimming with wit and is a strong advocate for artists and their stories. Formerly, she was the Program and Events Coordinator for the Writers’ Guild of Alberta, where she worked tirelessly to promote and support writers across the province through events and programs. Now she works as the Grants Coordinator for CKUA, which similarly works to inspire and connect Albertans through music, art, and culture. She shared with Glass Bookshop some of her favourite books and why she believes bookstores and friends are integral to finding your next great read.

How did books and the act of reading come to be meaningful to you?
I have very happy memories of visiting the community library when I was really young. It wasn’t just about the books; it was about the outing and being given that time and space to make a choice. And I got such good books as gifts when I was a kid: Paddington books, Ramona books, the whole box set of Laura Ingalls Wilder. I remember writing my name in them and being thrilled that they were mine to keep.

What is your relationship now to books and reading?
I love reading. I did less of it for a while when my kids were little; now I’ve made it part of my daily life again. I’m the person who sits with a book while my kids are at swimming lessons. It can be tempting to choose social media or my phone instead, but I just want to hang on to that habit of having a book with me on the train or in the doctor’s office. I’m also in a book club, which prompts me to read things I might not choose on my own.

Is there a book that has had significant impact on you?
White Teeth by Zadie Smith is hugely smart and funny. I needed to rest on my fainting couch for a while when I learned that Smith wrote that book in her early twenties. More recently, Vacationland: True Stories from Painful Beaches by John Hodgman charmed me.

How does literature influence your sense of community?
The people who show up at literary events in Alberta are amazing: interesting, informed, supportive of each other.

How do you find new books or writers?
I’m always open to recommendations from friends. Social media helps, too. I follow authors and readers on Twitter, and when they are all talking about a particular book, I pay attention. That’s how I heard about Heavy by Kiese Laymon and those people did not steer me wrong!

Can you share a memorable experience you’ve had in a bookstore? What makes it stand out for you?
I went to Audreys at Christmas time and Liz helped me find some great books for my kids. Everyone who works there reads a lot, and it sure helps when you’re shopping for gifts.

What do you think Glass Bookshop could offer Edmonton’s community of readers and writers?
Tell us about local authors, pop-up events, and new books!

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:

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Matthew Stepanic