Once upon a time ...
Alex George, Owner
Alex George has published six novels, both in the United States and abroad. A Good American was a Barnes and Noble Discover New Writers Pick and a national and international bestseller. His most recent novel, Setting Free the Kites, was published by Penguin Books in February 2017 and was also a bestseller. Both books were chosen by the nation’s independent booksellers for the “Indie Next List”. His new novel will be published by Flatiron Books, an imprint of Macmillan, in 2019. Alex is also the founder and director of the Unbound Book Festival, which is now approaching its fourth annual event. He is also an attorney, and has run his own law firm in Columbia for the past thirteen years. A native of the UK, he moved to Columbia fifteen years ago.
Currently reading: ABSOLUTELY ON MUSIC by Haruki Murakami and Seiji Ozawa and THE BIRDS OF OPULENCE by Crystal Wilkinson
Carrie Koepke, Manager
Carrie has lived in the Columbia since the age of two, when she became firmly rooted. She feels at home in wild green spaces, or anywhere if there is a book to read. Admittedly, sidewalks have proven to be safer for reading while walking. When she pretends to have spare time, she likes to grow things… in gardens, on paper, in her home, and in the community. Favorite genres include Literary Fiction, Picture Books, Science, Memoir, and Books That Refuse Definition.
Currently reading: WITNESS: LESSONS FROM ELIE WIESEL'S CLASSROOM by Ariel Burger
THE KINSHIP OF SECRETS by Eugenia Kim
Becky Reed, Senior Bookseller
Becky Reed has been a book lover for her entire life, so becoming a bookseller was a very easy decision. She came from St. Louis to attend Mizzou in 1998, fell in love with the small town feel and just never left. Armed with a degree in English, she has worked as a bookseller in Columbia for most of her adult life.
The only thing that Becky likes more than books is talking about books. As a bookseller, her favorite thing is pairing the right person with the right book. It doesn't matter if it's for you, your child, your grandma, or your mailman, Becky will help you find the perfect book, and hopefully put a smile on your face while doing so.
Having been a small child obsessed with books, and currently raising three young readers of her own, Becky's biggest passion is children's literature. She believes in getting them while they're young. She is well versed in helping guide kids in starting, growing, and loving to read, and is more than happy to share what she knows. Becky is thrilled to begin this new adventure with Skylark Bookshop and can't wait to see the community ties we build and how we can further literacy in our own tiny corner of the world.
Currently reading: KILLERS OF THE FLOWER MOON, by David Grann
Beth Hemke Shapiro
Beth Hemke Shapiro hails from Chicago but is close to considering herself a native of Columbia after having lived here for more than two decades. With degrees in philosophy, law, and library science, Beth has enjoyed careers ranging from arts administrator to tax consultant to high school librarian. In her spare time Beth likes to travel, attend arts events, hang with her family, and read. Her favorite genres include literary fiction, young adult, and current events. Beth is thrilled to be part of the Skylark Bookshop team and looks forward to connecting with more readers.
Currently reading: THE ASTONISHING COLOR OF AFTER, by Emily X. R. Pan.
Travis grew up in Jefferson City and after seven lovely years in Portland, Oregon has returned to mid-Missouri to rediscover the magnificent bluffs and woodlands of his youth. Fond of silent forests, he can often be seen kneeling trailside with a book, identifying and learning about native plants, mushrooms or small creatures. In the urban setting, he is an advocate of alternative transportation and enjoys getting around by bicycle just as much as he does working on them. When not enthralled in nature or on one of his many bikes, he enjoys writing, gardening and reading many different genres from around the world.
Currently reading: The Curious Incident of the Dog In the Nighttime by Mark Haddon and The Cunning Man's Handbook by Jim Baker.
Michaela Marshall Dungey
Michaela Marshall Dungey spent her childhood frolicking in the mountains of Boulder, Colorado and Pocatello, Idaho before migrating to Mid-MO. She is happy to now call Columbia home. Michaela has been captivated by the written word since her childhood and believes in the powerful nature of storytelling. When she's not reading a book, she can be found hiking through the woods, biking along trails or practicing yoga. She relies on the sustenance of a plant-based diet (particularly vegan tacos) to fuel her many pursuits.
Currently Reading: WHEN THINGS FALL APART: HEART ADVICE FOR DIFFICULT TIMES by Pema Chödrön and WE WERE EIGHT YEARS IN POWER: AN AMERICAN TRAGEDY by Ta-Nehisi Coates.
Abby Manzella writes wherever and whenever she can: creative nonfiction, public scholarship, reviews, interviews; ask her, and she's on it. She is the author of Migrating Fictions: Gender, Race, and Citizenship in U.S. Internal Displacements and is now writing a book of creative nonfiction essays on fires in U.S. history, especially in her childhood home of Pennsylvania. She also loves reading widely and will gladly connect you to your next book.
You can tell by my blond hair, great tan and sunny disposition that I was born in San Diego. After stints on both coasts of the U.S. (where my favorite book was “Make Way for Ducklings”—I still own it), my family and I settled in West St. Louis county. With a brief but memorable 3 ½ year stint in California, MO (which explains my notable tendency to call the place where I was born “the state of California”), I graduated from Kirkwood High School (when I actually wanted and received a lovely bound copy of the complete works of Shakespeare) and started heading east. I received my undergraduate degree at Purdue in Indiana and went on to get my Master’s of Science in Justice at the American University in Washington, D.C. Against all odds, I found my first job through the Washington Post, went on to work for the Justice Department until I moved to a private company, then out on my own. Mainly, I have spent a great deal of time in police departments and jails researching issues and evaluating programs to try to make the justice system work better and make decisions based on data-driven sources. I moved to Columbia to be closer to my immediate family and besides devouring books at an alarming pace, I like to spend time outdoors, borrow my friends and family pets, cook, and dream of cooler (climate-wise) places to travel to than mid-Missouri in the summertime.
Currently reading: THE ESCAPE ARTISTS by Neal Bascomb and ALL THE LIGHT WE CANNOT SEE by Anthony Doerr.
Annie Shahdadi grew up in a beautiful small town in Southeast Missouri and moved to Columbia in 2005, not thinking she would stay. She soon learned what an amazing community exists here, and after meeting her husband and starting a family, it was pretty much a done deal.
When not chasing her 4-year-old around, Annie enjoys working in the yard, crafting, attempting to learn new skills, and books of course. Her favorite genres include Historical Fiction, Creative Nonfiction, Classics, and Short Stories.
Faramola is in her junior year at the University of Missouri. She is also on the track and cross country team for the university. She is a Kinder Scholar and Kinder Fellow, a McNair Scholar, and a Mortar Board Friar. She loves to explore new worlds by reading, and to clear her mind by running. Reading books has always been a passion of hers, and by working at Skylark Bookshop, she gets to surround myself with books every day!
Nobody is quite sure how old Theo (short for Thelonious) is, but then nobody really cares, either. He is a friendly soul, and will be delighted to administer a brief but affectionate welcome on your arrival in the shop – if he’s not hard at work snoring behind the counter, that is. He loves swimming, playing with his friend Ivy, and turkey. His favorite book is 101 Uses for A Dead Cat.
Currently reading: DOG MEDICINE by Julie Barton
We're not currently looking for any more booksellers to join our team, but if you're interested in knowing more about working at Skylark, click here.