So nearly Meg Ryan…

Livs Mead

Hi, I’m Livs or the new SPAM assistant here at Hot Key Books.

My first ambition was to be Meg Ryan. Well, her character in You’ve Got Mail anyway, so I could surround myself with the best stories and most beautiful books I could find. At twelve I didn’t really care about the internet romance bit so much. In fact I was warned against meeting strange men online. At fifteen, when all my other friends had migrated towards Heat magazine and I was still obsessed by children’s books, I begged a family friend who owns the wonderful Tales on Moon Lane children’s bookshop to let me work on Saturday mornings. Saturday mornings turned into whole weekends, which turned into seven years of surrounding myself with children’s books at the shop –reading them, recommending them, endlessly alphabetising them and always talking about them.

I went off to university to study Theology, mainly because I became strangely fascinated with the medieval papacy while doing my History A Level and certainly because I re-read His Dark Materials a lot, but worked at the bookshop every holiday. Tamara and George at Tales on Moon Lane became my unofficial professors – always recommending books and discussing them with me. More than this they helped me remember how powerfully books I read when I was younger spoke to me, influenced me and transported me; ultimately I realised that finding those books as a child has given me a life-long passion for books.

I’ve seen how just one book can set a child’s imagination on fire, move them to tears, smiles, or even anger, act as pure escapism or resonate far more deeply. It makes them come back for more. (I did really enjoy Theology though I promise; especially because I was allowed to study lots of novels for my dissertation.)

My new, more worthwhile aim (sorry Meg) is to try and foster the same passion for books and reading in children and teenagers. What better way to do this than to try and find a job in a children’s publishing house? It’s the job equivalent of loving sweets and working for Willy Wonka in his chocolate factory – you’re right at the heart of it. So, after some really interesting work experience and my time in the bookshop, I have just started my new job as Sales & Marketing Assistant for the incredible Hot Key Books (my arm is sore from pinching myself).

What I loved most about being a bookseller was reading a new book and working out what type of child would fall in love with it, why it would work for them, and what made the book itself special. I am sooo (apologies but the added o’s are necessary) excited to start and to continue with all this, telling everyone who will listen about how wonderful books – especially Hot Key Books – are.

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