Board & Volunteers

Rachel Pastiva

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.

Karen Alvarez

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.

Betsy Bloom

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.

Jeanne Joesten

Jeanne was one of “those” English majors who spent 10 years after college working at jobs that were just jobs. But when she moved to Ann Arbor in 1985, she found her niche, career, and many of her best friends working at the first Borders Book Shop for 16 1/2 years, and then for 9 years working at the Borders Corporate Offices where she remained until the bitter end. In 2013 Jeanne was hired as one of the original employees at Ann Arbor’s Literati Bookstore, where she wore many hats. After delaying her retirement several times, she finally took the plunge in July of 2023, in large part to tackle the many unread books she has accumulated in her library after 25 years working in bookstores. Jeanne reads mostly fiction (both classics and contemporary), with a smattering of poetry, biographies, memoirs, political science, and history thrown in when the spirit moves her.

Crysta Coburn

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

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.

Linda Kimmel

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.

Tori Booker

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.