Meet John

John Fillmore (he/him) is one of the more recent additions to the Brilliant Books team.  Get to know him here.


Tell us about yourself:

I'm John (he/him), I'm 26 from southern Michigan and I moved to the Traverse City area in early 2021. I've worked a variety of jobs, but have always wanted to do something I love and have an active interest in. So when the chance to work at a bookstore presented itself, I had to take it. Other than the obvious choice, reading, I also enjoy traveling and live music, collecting macabre art and oddities, being involved in left-leaning activism, binging tv shows, playing video games, making art, spending time with my family, and always pursuing general weirdness and high strangeness.


What makes a good bookstore, in your opinion?

There are three things that really stand out to me when entering a bookstore for the first time, and will almost guarantee an amazing visit:

  1. Knowledgeable staff- There's nothing I love more than to be able to ask for real time recommendations or reviews of books in the store.
  2. Curated/rare selection- The thrill of finding a book in person for the first time is unmatched, and the goldmine of a well curated bookstore provides an exciting and fulfilling experience.
  3. It smells like books!- Weird thing to look out for, I know. But when it smells of new or used pages instead of coffee grounds or air fresheners, I feel truly at home and know that here, the books come first.


What's your favorite thing about being a bookseller?

When I recommend a book and someone trusts my selection enough to leave with it that day! Knowing you invited someone else into a world or cast of characters you've already fallen in love with is a very fulfilling feeling.


What's the first thing you notice about a book?

Oftentimes a beautiful cover will draw me in, but If it's a new book, the first thing I notice is the quality and condition of the corners/edges of the pages and cover, especially if they're poor. If it's a used book, the condition of the binding/spine sticks out as well as the publication date and edition number, as I try to look for the oldest used books possible that aren't at risk of falling apart.


If you could host a dinner party for five people, real or fictional, living or dead, who would you invite?

Philip K. Dick, Aleister Crowley, David Bowie, Paul Atreides, and Satoru Gojo.


One book that changed your life:

Condensed Chaos by Phil Hine.