Saturday, July 10, 2010

Summer suggestions from two of Kepler's finest.

Book blast wizard and all around awesome person Megan ran this great interview with two of Kepler's buyers in her latest e-newsletter:

A Conversation with Frank Sanchez and Sarah Langlais

Frank is our head buyer. Sarah provides you with, among other things, genre fiction and graphic novels. Together, these two individuals of impeccable literary taste are going to tell you how to make this summer wonderful.

Q. What are you reading right now?
Frank. Skippy Dies by Paul Murray. (This book will be out at the end of August.)

Sarah. Unholy Ghosts by Stacia Kane. It's amazing, and if you don't give her "Unholy" series a try, you're missing out.

Q. What makes a book worth reading?
Frank. It must have a voice you want to listen to and it must travel an emotional landscape which transports.

Sarah. I'm a book junkie, so any of the following: dreamy prose (Alice Hoffman is spectacularly good at this), gripping plots, especially well-drawn characters (Meredith Duran and Jennifer Crusie are great). If an author can make me feel something, I'm theirs.

Q. What makes you want to throw a book across the room?
Frank. Clunky dialogue.

Sarah. Bad characterization is the worst, followed shortly by obvious proselytizing.

Q. If you could assign a mandatory summer reading list of three books to everyone, what would those three books be? Why?
Frank. The Tin Drum by G√ľnter Grass, imagination of the darkest order; To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, as we emote; A Childhood by Harry Crews, the sound of one man tramping.

Sarah. The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle, because it's the best book I've ever read - and, like the character this quote describes, "beautiful and terrible" at the same time. It's probably the only book I can regularly re-read; The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway, because poor Hemingway takes a lot of flack these days, and everyone should experience how effective and beautiful his spare, pure prose can be; The Painter of Battles by Arturo Perez-Reverte, because it's like reading in a dream - it sucks you in with its subtle madness, and when you come out you won't look at time or the world quite in the same way ever again.

Q. What should we eat if we get hungry while reading these books?
Frank. Fruity Pebbles.

Sarah. Don't eat and read! You'll ruin your books! (You may, however, drink tea. Properly prepared, and with milk and sugar.)

Q. On the off chance that we need a break from reading, do you have any recommendations for other summer delights?
Frank. Go to the SFMOMA and look at the Rothko (permanent collection.

Sarah. Hit California's coastline and just drive. Even better if you can snag a friend with a convertible. Muir Woods. Chichen Itza ruins (watch "Against All Odds" first for the full effect). Movies: "The Long Goodbye" (Robert Altman version), "To Live and Die in L. A." (for that gritty, neon-noir goodness).

Q. Why should we read this summer (or ever)?
Frank. Because reading is COOL.

Sarah. Because there's no feeling in the world like getting pulled into an author's vision - be it beach reading or Very Serious Fiction.