Reader Profile: Steven Sandor

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!

Steven Sandor is an award-winning magazine editor, author, and sports broadcaster. In Edmonton, he may be most famously known for his work as the editor of Avenue Edmonton, but he’s written on a variety of topics for over 100 magazines and newspapers. He’s also the author of several young adult books including Stick PickTrolledReplayPlaying for Keeps, and Crack Coach. He writes and splits time between his son's baseball games and his daughter's soccer practices. Read on to discover how he got hooked on reading and why he values accessibility in a bookshop.

How did books and the act of reading come to be meaningful to you?
It’s really hard to say… I mean, I was a fairly sickly kid and would absolutely devour comic books and Hardy Boys novels by the time I was in Kindergarten. I remember shocking my Grade 1 teacher by reading The Three Musketeers. So I was just fed a lot of books. And I loved it. I mean, it’s always been there for me

What is your relationship now to books and reading?
Well, one, as a writer and editor, it’s a mix of business and pleasure. For sure, I like to escape sometimes and read candy (like my love of horror) and then I also read to see if there are professional takeaways. What did I like about this writer’s style? POV? I try not to be TOO analytical, but I fail.

Is there a book that has had significant impact on you?
When I was about thirteen or fourteen,  I got up at a stupid early time and the radio station was playing some bizarre British radio show. I couldn’t stop listening to it. Then, I got the novels — The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. As I read them over and over, I really “got” the satire, from mocking religion to full-out support for atheism, to the idea that sometimes coincidence is just, well coincidence. For a kid wearing a uniform at a Catholic school, it felt about as rebellious as bringing porn into the classroom.

How does literature influence your sense of community?
It’s opened up new communities to me. Writing has allowed me to meet people I’d never thought I’d meet, or the research has taken me to places I would never have imagined going.

How do you find new books or writers?
Personally, my favourite thing is to simply go to a bookstore and browse — and say “Huh, that looks neat.” I try not to overthink it or specialize; I want to read stuff from a series of diverse viewpoints.

Can you share a memorable experience you’ve had in a bookstore? What makes it stand out for you?
When I was young, the absolute BEST thing was going to the World’s Biggest Bookstore in Toronto. My parents would say something like “Here’s $10” and I could just get lost in there for a day. Sure it was corporate, and immense, but it felt like you could allow it all to engulf you.

What do you think Glass Bookshop could offer Edmonton’s community of readers and writers?
A platform for smaller publishers — as someone who writes for a Canadian publishing house, the frustration of not getting on Amazon searches is real. Start reading clubs or book clubs. Make it a space where people not only buy books, but talk about books — or the topics raised in the books.

BE DISABLED-FRIENDLY. It means a lot. My brother is disabled, and so things like aisles that can fit a wheelchair or walker, not too many stairs or steps, easy to get help to get things off higher shelves; that goes a long way.

Don’t be afraid to be overwhelming. Great bookstores are meant to be overwhelming.

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:

Steven Sandor
Matthew Stepanic