Downtown People

Downtown People Three summers ago, Alyson Powers started working at Arcade Books. It was a natural next chapter for Powers, a literature major at SUNY Purchase.

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Published August 22, 2013 5:00 AM
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DOWNTOWNthumbDowntown People

Three summers ago, Alyson Powers started working at Arcade Books. It was a natural next chapter for Powers, a literature major at SUNY Purchase.

 

By Robin Jovanovich

 

A1 DOWNTOWN PEOPLEThree summers ago, Alyson Powers started working at Arcade Books. It was a natural next chapter for Powers, a literature major at SUNY Purchase.

 

“Growing up in Harrison, Arcade was always my bookstore,” she said. “My mother’s bookstore, too. We joke that we have a book club.”

 

Powers is something of a throwback. “I understand the appeal of e-books being a person in the 21st century, but so much of my time is spent looking at a screen that it’s good to escape to print.” She added, “There is a visceral experience to reading a book.”

 

At college, Powers “approaches text with a sense of detachment.” At Arcade, she can “gush or rant.” 

 

Among her favorite classic novels is “Lolita.” She said dreamily, “ I love Nabokov’s writing about preserving memory through art.”

 

On Powers’ recommended list of recent good reads are “Me Before You” by Jojo Moyes (a best-selling novel in the U.K), “Transatlantic” by Colm McCann (which spans continents and centuries), “A Hundred Summers” by Beatriz Williams (set in the 1930s), and “The Interestings” by Meg Wolitzer (takes place right after Watergate).

 

Most of Powers’ work day is not devoted to reading, but she manages to get in a few pages in between helping customers pick out books for themselves or others, ordering books, unpacking them, and the occasional picking up a broom.

 

She enjoys talking with other devoted readers. “Word-of-mouth accounts for so much of the inventory we carry.”

 

She also enjoys the fact that Patrick Corcoran, owner of Arcade, is “the same person he was when I was 6.”

 

While a lot of Powers’ friends have migrated to the city, she’s just moved to town.  A year away from graduating from college, she’s thinking about the “places she’ll go.”  She said, “I love this industry, and there are enough people that like the tradition of bookstores and trade publishing that I don’t think they’re going away any time soon.”

 

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