Rachel Pastiva has a Bachelor of Fine Arts in creative writing and a master’s of library and information science. She has been a bookseller for over 20 years: at Borders Books & Music, as the bookstore manager of Crazy Wisdom Bookstore, and currently as the director of the Friends of the Ann Arbor District Library. Rachel was on the board of the Ann Arbor Book Festival for three years, an adviser to the Board of the Kerrytown BookFest for one year, and facilitator of a book club about consciousness and spirituality for almost ten years. A great lover of her adopted home of Ann Arbor and the state of Michigan, she enjoys reading books related to regional history, historical fiction, psychology, spirituality, consciousness, health, social sciences, and any other topic that jumps off the shelf at her while perusing Ann Arbor’s independent bookstores.
Tori Booker has master’s degrees in social work and in public health. She has spent her entire career thus far working with Latina/o, migrant and immigrant communities in the nonprofit field. An original member of Aunt Agatha’s Book Club, Tori was introduced to the AABS by Aunt Agatha’s co-owner Robin Agnew and is excited to serve on the Board and share her experience with nonprofit management. A lifelong avid reader, she enjoys reading historical and contemporary fiction and non-fiction (World War II and civil rights are of particular interest), mysteries, and an occasional magazine. The daughter of a Chilean mother, she usually seeks out books by international or multicultural authors.
Karen Alvarez has a bachelor’s degree in art history and a master’s degree in medieval studies. She is a self-described history geek whose favorite activity is visiting museums and historic buildings. She began her career as a museum assistant and eventually became a grant writer for nonprofit organizations. She loves traveling and often seeks out independent bookstores wherever she goes. Her reading interests run the gamut, but her favorite subjects are history, literature, and historical fiction.
Gabriella (she/her) holds a B.A of English and is soon to graduate with an M.L.A of Creative Writing & Literature. She has moved recently to Ann Arbor after a dedicated six years working in a social justice-centered contemporary art space. She began her career in arts administration at the Ethelbert Cooper Gallery of African & African American Art at Harvard University, where she was the program director. She established the Cooper Gallery LIT, a museum-centered literary initiative for which she curated a dedicated reading list of recommended books per exhibition to supplement the museum visitor experience. In 2018, she became a freelance editor, and has been copyediting and proofreading academic manuscripts, nonfiction books, SEO articles and literary novels. She is a member of the Editorial Freelancer’s Association and spends her free time writing and editing short stories with her graduate writing group. As a Puerto Rican woman with an active imagination, she likes to read socially-conscious speculative fiction, science fiction, fantasy and horror. She is excited to further integrate herself into the Ann Arbor creative and literary community.
Betsy is a website programmer and did our recent website redesign. She fell in love in Ann Arbor when she was an English Lit. major in the 80’s. After 30+ years living other places, she has returned to Ann Arbor and is excited to be part of the literary and bookstore culture! She enjoys reading historical fiction, utopian and dystopian fiction, and books that take you to a different place and time.
Crysta Coburn has a Bachelor of Arts in creative writing. She has been a bookseller, book buyer, library aide and clerk, and currently works for the Ann Arbor District Library. She also works as a staff writer and editor for the Crazy Wisdom Community Journal, is a freelance writer, editor, and published author. Originally from Southwest Michigan, she loves living in a book town and enjoys reading just about everything, but especially speculative fiction, historical fiction, the paranormal, and odd histories.
Kim Gray is a published author originally hailing from Southern California. She has been a tutor, a preschool teacher, and currently works in a museum where she continues to pass on her love of learning to the next generation. She adores living in a book town and loves that she can pick up the newest urban fantasy, paranormal, or science fiction novel from so many unique bookstores.
Melanie has a bachelor and master’s degree in anthropology. She has performed administrative work in a variety of settings, and currently works as the residency coordinator for the Emergency Medicine program at St. Joseph Mercy Hospital. Melanie grew up in the Ann Arbor area, and is excited to be a part of it’s strong literary culture as a writer for the Ann Arbor Book Society. She enjoys reading many genres including science fiction, fantasy, classic fiction, spiritually, autobiographies, and true crime.
Linda Kimmel has a B.A. in political science and history and a Ph.D. in political science. Linda moved to Ann Arbor nine years ago and spends her days as a research manager at the Center for Political Studies in the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan. In her spare time Linda has been actively involved in the Ann Arbor book community. From 2012 through 2017 Linda was on the Board of the Kerrytown BookFest, serving first as the Operations Chair and then as the Exhibitor Chair. Linda is active in several local book groups and attends numerous author events at area independent bookstores. Linda is an avid reader of a variety of genres including literary fiction, fantasy, urban fantasy, steampunk, mystery, women’s fiction, history, and archaeology.
Stephanie (she/her) holds a BA in International Relations and received her Masters in Library and Information Studies in 2021 from the University of Wisconsin-Madison where she pursued her interests in digital collections, archives, and accessibility. A recent newcomer to Ann Arbor, Stephanie completed her graduate practicum at the Ann Arbor District Library’s Archive helping to digitize the Old News collection from Ann Arbor News, getting a very personal introduction to Ann Arbor and its communities. Stephanie started volunteering with Ann Arbor Book Society helping with web development in 2022, after seeing some of their fliers up at Vault of Midnight. When not working as a developer, she enjoys exploring the beautiful parks of Southeastern Michigan, painting, Nintendo, and of course, reading. Her favorite genres include comics, speculative fiction, and non-fiction.