If it’s like Socrates said, that “the unexamined life is not worth living,” then we owe a whole lot to books for its meaning. I can’t imagine a day without them; in fact, I’d be unemployed.

My career in books started when I graduated from college and didn’t want to dress up for work. Barnes & Noble was even a bit much with their demand for khakis and polo shirts. Borders, on the other hand, allowed you to wear sweatpants if you wanted to do such a thing. About a year into my stint as Merchandising Supervisor I decided it was time to flee my hometown and got the idea to intern at a small hip hop magazine. It was a lot of fun—driving into Brooklyn once or twice a week, hanging out with a group of ambitious self-starters, and meeting underground artists–but when i realized I’d reached my earning potential, which was zero, I got serious about my venture into the publishing world. A few awkward interviews later, I now work for a large book publisher.

I spend my day surrounded by books, thinking about books, and writing about books for the purpose of getting other people to write about books. You’d think I’d be sick of it by 5 o’clock but, if that’s what you’re guessing, you’d be wrong. I have an incurable addiction and refuse to seek help.

Most of my free time is spent absorbing information off a page and while reading is often a solitary act, what comes after doesn’t need to be. The printed—or electronic—word doesn’t need to end in one’s head or stay enclosed within in the covers after the last page is turned. Profound paragraphs and enlightened phrases need to be shared. It’s with that in mind that I’m here to share my reading experience with what I hope will be an engaged community of fellow book-fiends.

In my monthly column I’ll bring you visiting and local authors. I’ll review their books and attempt to convince you to see them in person; I’ll talk to some great writers with a lot on their minds; and every so often I’ll find some stuff that will challenge and alter the way we read.

Stay tuned, we’re just getting started.

Gantzky admires Portland from afar and has fond memories of her visit to the city years ago. Living in Brooklyn and working in Manhattan, she pushes books on people for a living–whether they like it or not. When she doesn’t have her nose in a book, Gantzky can be seen wandering the streets listening to a variety of podcasts and taking pictures of wacky things that cross her path.

You can follow Gantzky on Twitter @contextual_life and check out her daily picks at www.thecontextuallife.com. If you’d like to send feedback or nerd out about books, Gantzky can be contacted at [email protected].