Faces of SAL: Kristen Bechtold
February 13, 2019
The snow days continue and while we’ve been cozy and warm inside, SAL’s volunteers are busy inspiring our reading list! Kristen Bechtold joined the volunteer team a year ago—read on to learn her favorite books to read in this cold weather, along with some ideas on what to read when you want to laugh.
What’s been your favorite SAL event & why?
My favorite SAL event so far was Danez Smith’s reading in the Poetry Series. I hadn’t read their work before the event, and was I was unmoored by both their vulnerability and playfulness. I experienced the full range of human emotion in one evening—delight, sorrow, anguish, camaraderie—and left with the impression that something within me shifted. I’ve since read most of their published work and highly recommend it to others.
Why did you decide to volunteer for SAL?
I decided to volunteer after I attended Roxane Gay’s event in the Women You Need to Know (WYNK) Series last year. I met other people who shared my love of reading, learning, and being involved in the community. I left feeling sustained and encouraged. That’s been the case at each event I’ve been to since, and I feel lucky to have the opportunity to be a small part of facilitating that for other attendees.
What are you reading right now?
I’m reading Woman on the Edge of Time by Marge Piercy, Call Them by Their True Names by Rebecca Solnit, and Felicity by Mary Oliver. I tend toward prose that is dark, contemplative, or deals with current events, so have found it useful to keep something a bit more lighthearted on my rotation. I return again and again to Nora Ephron, Anne Lamott, or David Sedaris when I need to laugh.
What’s your hidden talent?
The talent I’m most proud of, though I’m not sure how secret it is, is event planning and hosting. I love getting people together, making connections, and telling stories. Being the host means I get to think of and create the details that make the event memorable and ensure guests feel at home.