Getting to Know Mary Murray & Sandra Taylor

18th February 2021

We love our campus community! Our crew think the best thing about working at a bookshop is talking to our wonderful customers about books of course! VUW is buzzing with book lovers and we're so lucky to catch up every day with two of the most voracious readers out there, Sandra Taylor & Mary Murray from the Biological Sciences School. We talk to these regular rays of sunshine, Sandra & Mary, about their latest reads over a coffee and scone at our Kelburn bookshop every day - we love being part of their campus story. Grab your bestie, a flat white and fit in a quick read today, just like our VUW regulars. 

What is your day job?

Both: We are Administrators in the School of Biological Sciences.

What is your connection to Vic Books?

Both: Destination for morning coffee and supplier of all our books.

What are you working on at the moment?

Sandra: A weekend seminar for students enrolled in the Post Graduate Diploma in Clinical research

Mary: Preparing for Trimester 1.

We're about to kick off the new academic year here on campus - what's your favourite part about this time of year?

Sandra: I love the buzz around new students on campus, sussing out the new fashion trend and amazing at their youth.

Mary: Seeing the Kelburn campus population on the rise.

How has the university community changed for you since lockdown last year?

Both: Less face to face interaction, so fewer students and academics are harder to find!

What's your favourite part of campus life?

Sandra: Social interactions.

Mary: Our morning visit to the bookshop for coffee and catch up with Vic Books bookshop staff.

You are both voracious readers! What makes a good bookshop to you?

Sandra: Vic Books sums up the perfect bookshop for me: amply stocked, good variety of fiction and non-fiction, comfy chairs, friendly staff, good coffee....what more do you want!

Mary: Vic Books is a prime example of a good bookshop, great books, nice coffee and wonderful people.

Some quick fire book recommendations please!

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles

American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins

Aue by Becky Manawatu

The Dutch House by Ann Patchett

The Residents: Made in Wellington by Lucy Revill

The Autumn of the Ace by Louis de Bernieres

Disappearing Earth by Julia Phillips

New Zealanders: The Field Guide by Tom Sainsbury 

Bella by Annabel Langbein.

What are you reading at the moment? What do you like about it?

Sandra: New Ships by Kate Duignan.

It is not a happy read but I am enjoying it immensely to see how it is resolved. It is set familiarly in Wellington and traverses Europe and Asia over a few decades following a father's quest to seek a meaningful relationship with his son and acquiesce his wife's death. There are many twists and turns as it runs parallel to a classical parable set on Lesbos. Published by Victoria University press a few years ago which I missed.

MaryBella by Annabel Langbein.

Her adventures and gorgeous recipes.

Which literary character do you most identify with? Why?

Sandra: Frieda Klein in the Nicci French series. She is a fearless psychotherapist who solves murders and is always in trouble. I love her character mainly because she is very unlike me, except she loves walking and doesn't sleep!

Mary: Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay). She is a great/smart dectective. 

Hardback or paperback?

Sandra: Paperback.

Mary: Hardback.

Favourite coffee? Favourite Vic Books treat?

Sandra: Cappa with chocolate and a cheese scone slightly heated with two butters.

Mary: Flat White. I cannot decide on a treat, as they are all delicious!