About Us: Nyjolene

In a series of interviews conducted by ABC’s Maria Minaya, we’re going to introduce you to (almost) everyone who works at The American Book Centers in Amsterdam and The Hague.

Books form an integral part of our lives not only because they’re our bread and butter, but because our passion for them came first. Our mission is to pass them on. By reading these interviews you’ll discover the faces behind your favorite sections and get a glimpse of who we are.

Meet Nyjolene

Where were you born?
I was born in Lambeth, England.  I don’t actually know where Lambeth is.  My parents are Jamaican and they met in England.  Shortly after I was born we moved to Holland.

What was your favorite food as a kid and what did you hate?
My favorite food was a white rice concoction of my mother’s with tuna, peas, onions and tomato puree.  It doesn’t really have a name, but I think my Mom probably calls it poor people’s food.  I hated peanut butter.  I’m allergic to nuts but not to almonds.  So I can eat a Toblerone without any problem.  And I would not want to miss that for anything in the world!

Were you read to as a child?
Yes.  My mum use to read to me when I was very young.  She didn’t do so often, only when she had time.  What we often did as a family is read our own books. My dad bought a lot of our books at The American Book Center and we also went to the library a lot.  We learned to read before we went to elementary school.   Whenever we were bored my father would say:  “Get a book and read!” This became a standard phrase in our house.

Did you have books in your house while growing up?
Yes.  My father had a lot to do with that.  The entire house was full of books.  My dad reads a lot.

Quick free associations:
Paperbacks: Books!
Sale: Cheap.
Magazines: Fun.
Piano: Beautiful.
Price gun: Stickers.
Cash Register: Use it.
Discount Card: Sell it!
“I’m looking for a book…”: What kind of book?

What is your connection to books and the written word now?
I’m allergic to the written word.  I associate the written word with literary criticism, or poetry, or general fiction and I find I can’t really appreciate all that yet.  Poetry is at the top of that list and this is strange because I do write lyrics.  Poetry is a bit too sensitive, floaty, deep but not really deep just difficult…it’s really not my thing.

When I think of books I think of children’s books, fantasy books, cookbooks, business books, psychology books, new age books and astrology books and this makes me really happy!  I love books that help you understand why you are here and imbue a deeper meaning to everything you do with a self empowering element.  I am also a slow reader and read many things at the same time.  I’m snippet reader.

What sections do you oversee?
The New Age (or Consciousness), Fashion and Beauty, Childcare, and NY Times Bestsellers books.

What is the best part of your job?
Everything!  I love contact with customers, explaining how the discount card works.  I love putting up books and really love making the sections look good.

How would you describe your customer service, i.e., how do you do your job in terms of:  cars (Ferrari or Fiat?),  pastries (Hema or Holtkamp?), or shoes (Puma or Prada)?
Customer service is important to me and I take it seriously.  I think it’s important to make customers glad they came into the store even if they don’t buy anything.  I love giving people good service and being friendly.

How long have you worked at ABC?
About four years.

Who is your favorite author? Or what are you reading now?
At this moment my favorite author is Neale Donald Walsch.  I miss the way he writes when I haven’t read his books in awhile.  When I read him I feel at home.  I think he’s absolutely marvelous!

What is the opposite of bookselling?
The opposite of book-selling is being the director of Shell.  It’s kind of like freedom vs responsibilities so intense that you can’t budge and your not happy.

What do you think people should know about ABC?
That books are not our only venue.  There are also the activities side of ABC.  We can organize events around customers suggestions.

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