save the children

The Extraordinary Ordinary: Susan Linz

[Originally published July 30, 2015]

Susan Linz exudes freshness, warmth and a deep love for Davis. You might know her from Logos Used Bookstore, where she manages all the details of running the shop. 

She and her husband, Peter, started Logos out of love for their community and for humanity. Logos, a nonprofit, is in its sixth year. All profits from book sales go directly to Doctors Without Borders and Save the Children. In 2014, Logos donated $45,000 to Doctors Without Borders and $47,000 overall. Since its inception, Logos has contributed $200,000. 

Susan carefully nurtured and coaxed Logos into becoming a gathering place, a “browsing bookstore.” For example, it’s open on Saturdays until 8, so people can amble over to Logos after dinner with their ice cream cones and enjoy meandering through the store’s 7,500+ books.  

"Conversation is really important. We're good at shouting at one another these days. It's lovely to talk about a book," said Susan. One of Susan and Peter’s favorite questions to ask the students who wander in wanting something to read other than textbooks is, “What do you like to read?” Susan said, “It’s fun.” They help the students sleuth out great books according to their interests—“Steppenwolf by Hesse, for example, for the kids who are getting existential,” said Susan.

A retired French instructor who taught at Solano College, Susan brings her love of languages to Logos with its Spanish, Italian and French Language Circles that meet once each month. A topic is shared beforehand, so people have time to prepare. Then people converge to practice conversing in the language. Poetry readings, shows that feature local artists, and music flood Logos' calendar of events, also à la Susan.

Susan began at UC Davis as a medical student, taking the likes of organic chemistry, but experienced France when she signed up for UCD's Junior Year Abroad program in Bordeaux. Upon returning home, she switched her major to French and went on to earn a Master’s in French, as well. She then returned to France to live for two years in Bordeaux and Tours.

Susan and Peter met in an elevator, as Susan was making her way up to the math TA's office for tutoring. They've been married for forty years. Regarding marriage, Susan said, "Nobody should ever think that it's an easy thing. You have to really work at it."  They have two sons, Davis and Thomas, both of whom have just returned to grad school for their PhDs.

Susan relishes new challenges and experiences. When I asked her how she first responded to Peter's idea of opening a nonprofit used bookstore, she said, "Whoa, that's something that neither of us has ever done before!" Well done, Susan and Peter!

“It’s a joy for us. We’re enjoying it for all it’s worth right now,” said Susan.

Merci, Susan, for shining so brightly. Grazie for all the joy, cultural adventure and affection you share with us. Gracias for being so extraordinary.