Our Staff

Melinda Beatty (bookseller) is a theatrical crafternaut, writer and literavore. Specializing in bookish geekery, she can usually be found with her nose in a book containing magic, spaceships, zombies, vampires, wizards or just good, old fashioned feudal shenanigans. After working in the book trade for many years, the Iguana has reignited her passion for bookselling and the indie shop movement. The Iguana also offers her the opportunity to indulge her artistic side in the shop’s windows, causing the shop to run out of chalk. Often.

Marlene England (co-owner) brings a lifelong love of words (and proper punctuation) to her role as chief Iguana. Prior to plunging into the bookstore business in 2013, she was a freelance copywriter for 20+ years. These days, when she’s not reading, she’s thinking about what she should be reading—mostly literary fiction, cultural studies, or a vegan cookbook. She is passionate about social justice and loves books that open hearts and minds to new ways of seeing our world and our neighbors near and far. Marlene and her husband Tom also own Dancing Bear Toys and Gifts, just 100 steps away from the Iguana at 15 East Patrick Street.

Lauren Nopenz Fairley (operations manager) has been a bibliophile since she could talk; even her first word was “book.” Lauren spent four years working at her college library, solidifying her passion for books as a career. A voracious reader, she devours up to five books a week. Her favorite literary genres include historical fiction, YA, science fiction, and fantasy, but anything with words will do. A fangirl to the core, Lauren loves cats, tattoos, binge-watching TV shows, and sleeping.

Kari Kelly (bookseller / children’s book buyer) is a children’s literature fanatic whose favorite books involve headstrong girls and fantastical worlds. She has spent her adult life advocating for children, libraries, books, and the community in various roles, and though she spent many years exploring the wide world she eventually settled back in her hometown of Frederick. Kari thinks there is no greater joy than cozying up to read with her husband and daughter in their century-old home, which is bursting at the seams with books.

Emily Perper (bookseller/content coordinator) loves memoirs, short stories, essays, plays, and pretty much every other form of written word (except YouTube comments). She works behind-the-scenes for Curious Iguana, combining her twin loves: fulfilling the Millennial internet-addict stereotype and reading everything she can. When she’s not at the Iguana, Emily writes for Longreads.com, stage manages at the Maryland Ensemble Theatre, and commutes to a top-secret government job.

Melissa Walker (bookseller) is loving selling books at the Iguana after 15 years as a stay-at-home mom in Frederick. When not at the bookstore, she’s homeschooling, traveling, volunteering, hiking, painting, taking photos, and shuttling her two teenage daughters around town…and, of course, reading! She loves all nonfiction–especially cultural studies and science, as well as humor, apocalyptic fiction, religion, and, most of all, travel books. She and her husband are making plans to someday ditch all their stuff and travel/serve around the world full-time.

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