Meet Your Literary Matchmakers


Brandy O'Briant, Founder and Idea Generator on Overdrive

My love of books and bookstores started with a small independent store in Corpus Christi, Texas, in the 70s, called Page One Books.  Run by a beautiful red-haired woman named Ginger, I spent hours in the store, devouring books, Nancy Drew, Trixie Belden, The Boxcar Kids, Judy Blume, Beverly Cleary.

I simply couldn't get enough.  My mother put me on a book budget, which I found completely unacceptable.

Frustrated with this new arrangement, I got on my bike, rode to Page 1 and offered Ginger my services in exchange for books.  She paid me $5 in merchandise for every day I stacked and filled shelves, which was TWO Nancy Drew books.  I was in heaven.

After university (English major, of course), I entered the world of advertising, but my love of books never abated. I believe in the power of books to expand horizons and generate understanding between humans. It wouldn't be going too far to say I believe books can change our world for the better.

I started Page 1 Books because I am that friend who always has a book recommendation for you, that friend who knows just which books you will love and will love you back.  


Sara Berlowe, Subscription Manager and Wandering Jew

I recently graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where I studied English and World Literature. As a wandering Jew and scholar, books are where I dive in, meander around, create a palimpsest of often-incomprehensible scribbles and annotations, and then leave, hopefully, with a glimpse of truth or higher understanding. I am drawn towards works in translation and am usually reading Latin American and Slavic stories.

I prefer to be surrounded by books than people. Luckily, I work at Page 1 Bookshop. Here, I manage our subscription service, which allows me to see the entire process through, start to finish. We wrap our books with love, pack with zest, speed, and sore backs, and hopefully soon, those across the US and Canada receive the perfect book box. It's indeed a lucky job, and every month I get to feel a little bit like the tooth fairy.


Cheryl Defrancheschi, Buying and Store Manager and Genius Matchmaker

I've been pushing books into people's hands since I forced my younger brother to learn how to read when he was 4, because I thought this was the greatest gift that I could ever give him. 
Reading has been the one constant joy in my life. Words and the way they are strung together are my drug of choice! Brautigan, McEwan, James McBride and so many more can just intoxicate me.
I have 15 years of bookselling experience, and a lifetime love for reading, so being a Literary Matchmaker is both a dream come true, and a moral imperative - I need to find books the right forever-home!
Here are a few fun facts about me -
    1. My phone autocorrects the word "the" to "TBR"
    2. Long before the days of Goodreads and Excel, I kept a handwritten log of what I read. It goes back to January of 1980.
    3. My Tsundoko game is strong! I was once featured in an Atlas Obscura article about it -
    4. The psychic Sylvia Browne once told me at a book event that "on the other side of the veil", there is time to read every single book that there is, so we have that going for us!
    5. My favorite book is Darconville's Cat by Alexander Theroux


      Lisa Olson, Customer Service Queen and Nicest Person Ever

      For as far back as I can recall, books were an essential part of my life. The library was a haven where my love of reading took root. It was there you could find me escaping into Narnia or solving mysteries with Nancy and Ned.  Reading sparked creativity and wonder, so it seemed only natural that as a kid I wrote and illustrated my own books as well. 

      As I grew and my interests expanded, I developed a passion for cooking. I shared this great love with my husband and family, as well as the rest of the world. Working as a food stylist and pastry chef, I regularly pored over cookbooks and food magazines. 

      C.S. Lewis wrote, 'Eating and reading are two pleasures that combine admirably.' For that reason, when I was asked to lead the Page 1 Cookbook Club, I knew that I had found my grown-up happy place.

      Another joyous part of my job is that I am the children's book buyer. The biggest perk of that task is reading to youngsters at story time. It seems like just yesterday I was doing the same with my own (now grown) sons. 


      Gerri Sciarra, Resident Wrapper/Rapper

      I’ve been enthralled by books my whole life. I feel giddy with the anticipation of cracking open a new book and getting lost in a story for a couple of hours. It’s a precious commodity in this world dominated by screen-time. As a graphic designer, I have particular interest in the printed word—title treatment, cover artwork, page layout, fonts used—it’s all so magical! And, as an avid reader, I’m fascinated and awed by the infinite ways that authors communicate with a simple, well-written sentence. I’m that person who reads the same paragraph many times over just to absorb the beauty of it. Ahhh.

      These days, I find myself reading YA and graphic novels to keep up with what my kids are reading, and if you haven’t checked those genres out lately, you’re missing out. When it’s my choice, I go for historical and contemporary fiction, and there is usually a relevant non-fiction book I throw into the mix at the same time. How I wish I could read faster!


      Rachel Rothe, Social Media Maven and Resident Millenial

      I have always felt most comfortable when surrounded by books. The second I turned five, I was at the library requesting a library card and from that day on, I rarely left. I befriended all of the librarians and spent my summer breaks voluntarily restocking the shelves. My love for books started with Nancy Drew and Goosebumps and for a year straight, I read a Babysitter’s Club Book every single day. I could always be found carrying around a written list of every book I had read that year, a habit I continue to this day. 

      Now with a non applicable Biology degree from Mizzou under my belt, I enjoy being Page 1’s resident millennial by running all things social media. Creating literary content and discussing books with subscribers is a dream come true. I love seeing subscriber’s reactions to their picks through unboxing videos and sharing bookish memes and quotes. 

      My reading preferences have evolved over the years; I will read just about any genre although literary fiction and nonfiction are my consistent favorites. Though I now reach for Stephen King instead of Goosebumps, I feel just as excited every time I open a new book and I still get butterflies every time I walk into a book store.