What Is Sarah Rettger Wearing?

Sarah Rettger is the invaluable — Swift! Accurate! Discreet! — transcriber for all those Talks with Roger sponsored interviews I do, and also a children's bookseller at Porter Square Books in Cambridge, MA, which earlier this week was named Best Bookstore of 2020 by Publishers Weekly. What is she wearing? "I don't get the work-from-home-no-pants people, but for me it's all about going barefoot." Five more questions below.

1. April Fools' Day was also your birthday! How did you celebrate in these times?

I told my husband that I'm postponing for a bit, and we're both going to celebrate on his birthday, at the end of June. We'll do something fun then. (He also brought home a cake, and so we hit our sugar limit for the day.)

2. Annnnd, as a present, Publishers Weekly named the bookstore where you work the Bookstore of the Year. Why do you think Porter Square Books won?

We have a phenomenally committed and creative group of people at the store, and we've got a strong connection to our community, both our immediate neighbors in Cambridge and Somerville, and our metaphorical neighborhood online. Case in point: when we shut down the store after non-essential businesses were closed last month, we started nightly bedtime stories on Instagram and YouTube. And Bear, who usually holds court in the children's section, is now working from home and checking in regularly.

3. What are you reading that you would recommend?

For adults: A Long Night in Paris by Dov Alfon (imagine a Daniel Silva thriller with the absurdity of In the Loop) and Ask Me Anything by P. Z. Reizin (a house full of smart appliances decide it's time to get their hapless owner's life in shape). And in kids' books, I can't say enough about Linda Sue Park's Prairie Lotus or Santiago's Road Home by Alexandra Diaz.

4. And listening to?

Lots of NPR. And silence — while I miss the busy office at the store, I do appreciate the quiet now that I'm working from home.

5. What is your top tip for getting through social distance?

Animal videos. Whether it's the bear who stopped to put a traffic cone back in place or penguins taking field trips to the rest of the aquarium, they're my go-to for both humor and calm. (Runner-up: the phone. I'm usually an "anything but a phone call" person, but now I can — and do — talk for hours.)

Roger Sutton
Roger Sutton
Roger Sutton has been the editor in chief of The Horn Book, Inc, since 1996. He was previously editor of The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books and a children's and young adult librarian. He received his M.A. in library science from the University of Chicago in 1982 and a B.A. from Pitzer College in 1978. Follow him on Twitter: @RogerReads.

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