Do Tell: How One Woman’s Passion Project Lead Her to Her Dream Career

April 28, 2020

Meet Morgan Hoit.

Job: Associate Marketing Manager at Avid Reader Press
Passion: Reading!
Home: NYC

Everyone has their “don’t-leave-home-without” essentials. For some it’s a pair of sunglasses and a moisturizing lip balm, for others it’s as straightforward as their wallet and keys. For Morgan, founder of NYC Book Girl and self-professed reading addict, it’s a book.

On any given day, at any given time—whether it’s before she gets out of bed in the morning, on her commute to her job at a publishing house, or curled up on a Saturday afternoon—Morgan can be found nose-deep in one of the six books she’s currently reading. Needless to say, she has more recommendations than your local librarian.

We caught up with Morgan to talk books, NYC, literary style heroes and the power of a great pair of hoops.

ON NEW YORK

I am not exaggerating when I say I have always dreamed of being in NYC. Growing up in New Jersey, we were close enough to get a taste, but I always wanted the city to be my own. I moved to NYC directly out of college to work in the theater world, and it’s become exactly the home I wanted it to be. I feel most like myself in NYC. It’s loud, it’s colorful, it loves routine and drive but it’s unpredictable. It’s my place.

ON HER LOVE OF READING

I’ve been a reader for as long as I can remember, constantly eschewing other activities (read: sports), in favor of time to read more. There is nothing better than the moment you realize you have the power to read a chapter book all by yourself. It’s unlocked worlds of knowledge for me. I’ve discovered new places, pieces of history and life experiences through the adventures I’ve been on through books.

ON THE BOOKS THAT INSPIRE HER

I’m inspired by the books that make me want to write books. Books like Normal People by Sally Rooney, The Idiot by Elif Batuman, Trust Exercise by Susan Choi, The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers, Strike Your Heart by Amelie Nothomb, Places I Stopped on the Way Home by Meg Fee, Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado.

ON CHOOSING WHAT TO READ NEXT

I’m definitely a mood reader in that I’m most likely to pick up a book because someone I love said it made them feel something. I don’t read for specific plots or settings, but instead to fall in love with the characters or the writing or the author.

All of which is to say that I have a looming stack of things I want to read. And I pick the next book based on what jumps out to me at the moment I finish whatever I was just reading.

ON HER OWN WRITING

I’m not writing a book right now, but I am working on writing as often as I can. Writing is the way I process my world, and I need that now more than ever. Sometimes it’s a journal entry. Sometimes it’s a short story. Maybe someday (probably someday), it will be a book. But right now, it’s just me strengthening a muscle.

ON THE BOOKS SHE CAN’T GET INTO

I put it down! I normally know around a quarter of the way through a book whether it’s for me or not. It took me so long to really believe this, but life is too short to read books you don’t connect with. Even if it’s “the book” of the moment. There are too many good books out there. Go find the ones that make you tick.

ON HER FAVORITE TIME TO READ

My favorite time to read is on a Saturday afternoon. I’ll wake up, workout, come home and read until I finish an entire book. Then, I’ll pick my phone back up, start answering texts and rejoin the world.

ON STARTING HER PASSION PROJECT, NYC BOOK GIRL

I moved to NYC to work in the theater industry, and did so for three years. During that time, I started NYC Book Girl because I knew I needed a creative outlet of my own. I was reading so much—devouring new releases left and right—and have always loved photography and writing. So I just began! I started taking pictures of and writing about the books I was reading and the city I was living in, and it became this sort of part book review, part journal entry blog. It’s actually through blogging that I found my current job at Avid Reader Press, an imprint of Simon and Schuster.

ON CHANGING CAREERS

Changing industries [from theater to publishing] was a big deal for me. I did not know I was going to make the switch until the day before I was offered the job. I was walking in circles through the UWS after my interview, talking about it with my best friend, and it just became clear. This was the move for me. And it might not have been the perfect time but it was the perfect job with the perfect group of people and so it was worth the jump. That was just less than a year ago. It was the best choice I’ve ever made for myself.

ON HER PERSONAL STYLE

Everyday glam. Colorful! Confident. I like things that I feel my best in: patterns, colors, things cinched at the waist. I wear a lot of mini dresses and sneakers, high waisted pants with crop tops and heels, and hoop earrings. I think you can do anything if you’re wearing hoops.

JUST BECAUSE…

Listening to:

  • Audiobook: Mostly Dead Things by Kristen Arnett
  • Podcast: The Bon Appetit Foodcast
  • Music: Anything by Waxahatchee

Currently reading: Ducks, Newburyport by Lucy Ellman; Wine Girl by Victoria James; His Own Man by Martha Gellhorn

Last book that stuck with you: The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett (coming June 2020)

Last thing you Googled: “How long to blanch broccoli”

Three favorite writers: Lauren Groff, Carmen Maria Machado, Carson McCullers

Go-to comfort food: Cheese. And pasta. And cheese and pasta together.

First fashion memory: Purchasing ruby slippers to play Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz at age 6.

Biggest hero: My grandmother, for her creativity and perseverance. My mom, for her kindness.

Literary style heroes: I wore a Reformation dress with combat boots a few months ago and someone called it “Little Women chic”, which my have been the best compliment ever. And I’ve been tying my hair back in bows when I need to concentrate like Violet from A Series of Unfortunate Events for as long as I can remember.

Number of books on your nightstand: As many as will fit! I left it at about twelve.

Best advice you’ve ever received: People will remember how you make them feel.

Best advice you’ve ever given: A book is the best accessory.

Skill you’d most like to pick up: How to play guitar (really well).

One book everyone should read: The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid.

What can’t you live without: My friends and family. A good book (by a woman). Hoop earrings.

For more book recommendations, be sure to follow Morgan on Instagram, @nycbookgirl.