Whatcha Reading, Susane Colasanti & Lauren Myracle?

Over the weekend, I went to Books of Wonder for a group signing by nearly twenty different YA authors. Several of my friends were taking part, and I was also excited by the opportunity to meet Lauren Myracle, who I’d interviewed by email after Shine had been nominated for a National Book Award very briefly, until it turned out that there’d been a clerical error—the foundation initially offered to keep her on the list, but some contingent of the nominating jury balked at that compromise, and she wound up graciously withdrawing from the whole thing. So I got to meet her, and I was also introduced to Susane Colasanti, who seems really cool; her latest novel is So Much Closer.

Colasanti was very gung-ho in her recommendation for The Difference Between You and Me, a Madeleine George novel she’s reading an advance copy of (it’s not coming out until March 2012). “It’s one of those books where every sentence is such a masterpiece that you have to read the sentences over and over again,” she says. Meanwhile, Myracle praised Adele Griffin’s Tighter, which she described as a contemporary psychological horror story with a vibe like a Victorian melodrama.

6 December 2011 | whatcha reading |

Whatcha Reading, Henry Rollins?

Earlier this year, I began shooting short interviews with writers, based around a single question: “Whatcha Reading?” While the videos have been hosted on YouTube, the accompanying blog posts appeared at inReads.com… but since I’ve got a backlog of interviews, and more on the way, I’m going to start featuring them here.

Henry Rollins, the former lead singer of Black Flag and the Rollins Band, has done his share of traveling. “Rock’n'roll will get you far and wide,” Rollins told a crowded room full of fans at the McNally Jackson bookstore when he came to New York a while back. “You can be broke and see the world if you’re in a band.” These days, he’s more likely to be out on a spoken word tour, or filming on location for National Geographic, or maybe just heading out for his own reasons. Wherever he is, he takes his camera with him, and he recently compiled some of his best photographs from more than 20 different countries in Occupants, which also includes a strong dose of his uncensored thoughts on political and economic globalization. “I leave for about 100 days at a time with my backpack and my other backpack, which has camera gear,” Rollins said. “The only times I’ve ever had to run for my life have been in America, where I almost got killed.”

Rollins takes an eclectic assortment of books with him on the road, in a combination of print and digital formats. Recently, he’s been reading the memoirs of President George W. Bush and Vice-President Dick Cheney, which he describes as “crime fiction,” culling them for raw material to use in his speaking engagements. He’s also reading books about the history of Haiti, the life of Abraham Lincoln, and a century of Middle East conflicts. It’s not an unusual mix for Rollins, who describes himself as “to the left of most people, except maybe my mom and Joan Baez.”

(I was so stoked to do this interview, because I’ve been a fan of Rollins since discovering Black Coffee Blues and his band’s CD The End of Silence near-simultaneously in college.)

4 December 2011 | whatcha reading |

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