Angi Christiansen is a staple at Bookmans Flagstaff. We are thrilled to celebrate ger Half-Life Anniversary! This half-life anniversary is the combination of Angi’s forty-eighth birthday and anniversary of twenty-four years with Bookmans. Bookmans Flagstaff would fall apart if we didn’t have Angi as our Administrative Assistant. She keeps our store running smoothly while exuding a spirit that encompasses all that is good about Bookmans. To mark this momentous occasion, Angi shares with us what it means to love where you work and spend half your life with Bookmans.

Angi Christiansen
Photographed by Gina Dazzo.

What do you like about working at Bookmans?
Always my co-workers. Bookmans attracts the quirkiest, most unique, intelligent, creative and fun people. I have developed my strongest and most enduring friendships here. I feel like I would be, perhaps, “older” if I didn’t have the experience of being constantly inundated with fresh ideas, music, culture and creative people. This place keeps me young, or at least, feeling young.

How has the store changed in the 24 years that you’ve been here?
So many changes! When I first came to the Flagstaff store, we had a post office, a rare book room and a fantastic loft in the back room where our comic geeks spent a lot of time. I remember when we first started selling CDs. They were the new, big, exciting thing in the music world. We sold new magazines, newspapers from all over the world, and some new books, mostly regional titles and best-sellers, and we had quite a few postcard and greeting card lines. There have been a lot of changes throughout the years, with so many people coming and going, even having the roof cave in and being re-built from the ground up, but the soul of the store has always remained the same. The Cafe, in its most current state, is one of my favorite things about the newly re-built store.

What attracted you to Bookmans?
I have always had a deep and abiding love of books, from the time I was a toddler. I read everything I could get my hands on as a child, teen and adult. After graduating from college with degrees in Spanish and Liberal Arts, with a minor in Anthropology, I moved to Tucson and dabbled in a few “career” forays. But, I had discovered Bookmans within my first month of living in Tucson, and after 6 months of not loving the job I was doing, decided to apply there. I was already in love with the store, but fell in love with the staff on my very first day. It was my dream job, to work, every single day, surrounded by books. The music, magazines and movies were a nice bonus.

What kept you around?
Endless supply of books, awesome co-workers, four weeks of vacation, being able to have a flexible schedule when my kids were babies so I didn’t have to use daycare, being able to bring my kids to work until they started school, being able to come to work and have fun and laugh, on a daily basis, and being in a stimulating environment.

What is the funniest thing that has happened in your time here?
I don’t know if I can come up with the funniest thing that has happened, because there have been so many, but I will share the best question I have been asked by a customer. “I was in here a week or two ago, and you had a cooking magazine and it had this wonderful recipe in it. Do you still have it?”

And, some of the most fun you’ve had at work?
* Desiree Ducharme and I dressed up as Patsy and Edina, of the BBC show Absolutely Fabulous, for Halloween one year, and fully channeled them for the entire day, working the front counter with vodka bottles and cigarettes (fake, of course).
* Building and decorating and biking the only bike-powered float in the Flagstaff July 4th Parade, which we kept running for quite a few years.
* Dress-up days, another Desiree thing, where everyone would follow a theme (sarongs, ninjas, etc).

How does it feel to have spent half of your life working here?
I don’t know how to feel about that. It doesn’t feel like 24 years have passed. I know that is a long time to remain at a job, especially these days, but I’ve always felt that as long as I feel good about going to work every day, and am more than happy to be here, then I am lucky. Money isn’t the most important thing in life; I feel like it is really valuable to have a level of contentment, and the freedom to experience and live your life outside of work, while loving what you do and where you are at.

I grew up here. My kids grew up here. I met my husband here. I like to think that the experience of pretty much being raised in a bookstore has helped shape my girls, who are teens now, to be the incredibly intelligent and creative young people that they have become. One is an artist and poet, among so many other things, and one is an avid writer of novels.

What do you like to do with your free time?
Now that my kids are older and I actually have free time, I have found a real joy in trail running and racing. I love to take my dogs on daily hikes on the endless trails of Mt. Elden. Also, watching movies and television shows with my family, beating my husband at cribbage, and always, reading.

Thank you Angi for spending half your life with us here at Bookmans. We are so grateful to work with you each and every day. Happy half-life anniversary!