We’re amongst Friends for this month’s VIF aka Very Important Friend because it’s all about Alexis Patterson! We caught up with the Friends Book Club curator / host in between pages at her apt in Bed Stuy, Brooklyn about what she’s currently reading, how many books she really owns and why Kanye West is a major inspiration in her life. Get a peek inside what it’s like to work at iconic publisher Penguin Random House and shop her curated collection here with 5% of sales going toward We Need Diverse Books all month. 'Because it is really important for young Bipoc children to see that they too can be the adventurous, courageous, fun, carefree main character!'
Pronouns: She, her
Currently here: Bed Stuy
Really, wish you were here tho: Mexico City
I am a: Senior Partnerships Manager, Penguin Random House Audio
3 essentials you just cannot live without: my library card, headphones, lotion.
A self proclaimed bookworm, you’re an avid reader and we’re only just heading into month 2 of 2022, but how many books have you already finished?: Two. My goal for 2022 is 40
What was the last book you read?: The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillroy
What are you reading right now? I am currently reading three books: Beloved by Toni Morrison, Well-Read Black Girl by Glory Edim and The Secret History by Donna Tartt
If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?: Kraft Mac n Cheese
Describe your perfect vacation destination - are you alone or with a friend(s)?: Honestly any beach with friends and my bae Bryan
Fashion trend you’re crushing on rn: bright colored purses
Who is an influential muse or major inspo in your life?: This is going to be very controversial but Kayne West is a major inspo in my life. He’s crazy, his braggadocious attitude is cringy, but the man is a genius. It’s very challenging to separate the person from the art, but you cannot deny that his music is not incredibly influential and brilliant. I’ve seen him in concert three times and each time I am like damn that was the most magical, dreamlike experience I’ve ever had. The opening to Runaway will always give me chills, The Life of Pablo got me through a bad breakup, his new album Donda wow. Also again at times problematic, but I always do find it amazing that he is constantly pushing the envelope and is passionately and unapologetically himself.
Last instagram account you followed?: @passionplanner
Stressed when: bad or emotional communicators stress me outImpressed when: I go somewhere (someone’s house, restaurant, an event) and every detail has been magically curated and the experience is thoughtful and seamless
One piece of advice you would say to 12 year old Alexis today: less is more
How many books do you reallllly own - be honest: 200
Pre-pandemic, what is your top memorable moment in NYC?: A 2020 NYE house party with all my besties. The music, the food, and the company was absolutely perfect. We were all so hopeful lol
What inspired you to start The Brooklyn Bookworm?: I created The Brooklyn Bookworm in 2016 because I wanted to develop a digital space to connect with people on their favorite authors, what books inspired them and create a visual documentation of all the books I’ve read.
Can you give us a snapshot of what it's like to work in publishing at an iconic publisher (Penguin Random House, baby!)?: Working on the marketing audiobook team I get a view into the entire Penguin Random House ecosystem from children books, to young adult, fiction and non-fiction because in Audio we focus and market EVERYTHING PRH is producing. It’s A LOT lol.
My day to day involves researching, identifying and connecting with brands or influencers to partner with on promoting audiobook listening (ie AFROPUNK, sunglass companies, crafters, etc). A lot of what I do involves conceiving creative ways to get books and authors in front of new audiences, and then executing that process.
No shade to kindle readers but if you could describe how you feel holding and reading a physical book in a few words what would you say?: Luxurious, relaxing and safe.
Well-Read Black Girl: Finding Our Stories and Discovering Ourselves by Glory Edim is the next book for Feb bookclub, can you give us a sneak peek? Why did you choose this book during Black History Month?: It was really hard to choose just one book for Black History Month, so this book is a treat – we get 21 stories from legendary Black women authors! This collection of stories reveal intimate memories from each of these women's lives when they first discovered themselves in literature. This really resonates with me. A good book not only entertains or inspires you, but can be a mirror: you can feel seen or can see the possibilities of what you can become. It’s powerful.
What are some of your new year goals for yourself for 2022? What were you most excited to see come to life this year?: I like choosing a word to focus on for the year instead of setting goals and my word for 2022 is support. I want to create an encouraging and nurturing space for myself and for the people who are important in my world everyday. If I can, I want to listen, be supportive and receive support whenever I can. No ulterior motives, no private agendas. Just radical compassion and support in all aspects of my life.
Also I am freaking excited about getting married in Jamaica this fall!
Tell us more about We Need Diverse Books as your non-profit benefactor and why it's so important to bring awareness to this cause?: I’ve always been a reader. I loved reading everything, but it was sometimes an unsatisfying experience because the only characters who looked like a black girl like me were characters who were either experiencing trauma or were secondary characters, never the main protagonist. I think it is important for young Bipoc children to see that they too can be the adventurous, courageous, fun, carefree main character.
We Need Diverse Books™ is a 501(c)(3) non-profit and a grassroots organization of children’s book lovers that advocates essential changes in the publishing industry to produce and promote literature that reflects and honors the lives of all young people.
Where can friends find you on the internet and beyond? @thebrooklynbookworm