Meet Tory

Tory joined the Brilliant Books team in mid-September, 2023, and we're thrilled to have them here with us!  It took about two seconds flat for them to get the hang of bookstore life, so if you're in need of a good recommendation, stop in, say hi, and see what Tory recommends for you!

Tell us about yourself:

I'm originally from St. Louis, Missouri and I went to Oberlin College in Ohio, where I majored in Anthropology and Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Studies. I lived in Ann Arbor until January 2023, and I'm thrilled to be living Up North now! My spouse and I live in Interlochen with our 2 cats and 1 dog. Currently, I am earning my MSW from University of Michigan. When I'm not at work, I can often be found swimming in the lake(s), watching TV snuggled up with my pets and spouse, cooking and baking, and walking or reading in the hammock in the woods.


What are the five books you’ll never part with?

My childhood copy of Waggy and His Friends (Patricia M. Scarry), the board book copy of Guess How Much I Love You (Sam McBratney) that my mom gave me when I went off to college, my copy of Sister Outsider (Audre Lorde) from college, the first copy of Who Needs Gay Bars? by Greggor Mattson (the book for which I was lead research assistant and co-author on a chapter!), and the copy of Winnie the Pooh (AA Milne) that one of my best friends gifted me at my wedding, signed by my wedding party. The best books make you think of the people you love.

Quirkiest job you’ve ever had?

I have had so many quirky jobs! I am a professional sex educator and loved my time working at Planned Parenthood of Michigan. I host LGBTQ+ trivia, teach medical students how to perform sensitive exams, sell stickers and zines with my partner, do LGBTQ+ allyship trainings, and mentor early-career social justice professionals!

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

I'm going to go with living folks because all people ever is overwhelming. I'd say adrienne maree brown, Ross Gay, Alok Vaid-Menon, Bowen Yang, and John Green.

What makes for a good bookstore, in your opinion?

Quiet, calm music, lots of nice comfy seating, booksellers who are helpful and kind and give recommendations and/or let you browse in peace, squeaky wood floors, no fluorescent lighting, a tangible and visible commitment to diverse representation/ racial justice/ LGBTQ+/ mutual aid, great puzzles, and cute, clever displays!

You’re browsing a bookstore. What’s the first section you gravitate toward?

Always the LGBTQ+ and Sociology section right away, then the Nature section.