Thursday, October 28, 2010

Recommendations from Nicole Krauss, Inspiration from Our Customers.

Thanks to everyone for braving Tuesday and Wednesday's wind storms. They didn't seem to do as much damage to our events as say, a snowfall, but Amie lost part of her car port and the ladybug building lost some windows.

Considering, we thought we had a great turnout for Nicole Krauss and her new book, Great House. Needless to say, the book has had amazing reviews in The New York Times, and from Mike Fischer in our own Journal Sentinel. Oh, and was shortlist for the National Book Award.
On our sort-of six month anniversary, 800-CEO-Read's Carol Grossmeyer introduced Krauss, and spoke warmly of discovering History of Love. Krauss herself spoke of remembering the Schwartz competition to see who could sell the most books. Krauss last appeared at the Shorewood Schwartz, and was happy to hear that our store had staff from both the Shorewood and Downer Avenue shops.

The reading was wonderful, and I was only sad that I'm only on page 100.

And now, some suggestions from Nicole Krauss. I normally listen to these and hear a lot of classic authors. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but there's not much you can do with that info. Another author likes Dostoevsky? I don't know if that would make a difference in sales. When you get these out-of-the-box and very passionate kinds of recommendations, you can't help but pass them on. So here are Ms. Krauss's gems:

1) The Loser, by Thomas Bernhard. Well, here's a book to recommend to all those authors who love Dostoevsky. It's about three pianists (including Glenn Gould) who study with Vladimir Horowitz. It's brilliant, complex, one of the best novelists of the 20th century--sorry I left out the quotes. George Steiner also compares to Kafka and Canetti. And it's translated from German, so you get double points for reading it.

2) The Last Samurai, by Helen Dewitt. This is a novel that comes up periodically in passionate love poems written by readers to books. It's about a young woman and her child prodigy and mixes in math and Kurosawa (I think at one point the book used the title, The Seven Samurai, but was changed--perhaps over movie confusion). It's a book that has stuck with Krauss for a long time--wouldn't you want to read a book you were still thinking about years later?

3) The Last Jew, by Yoram Kaniuk. A sweeping saga of history seen through the eyes of one family. Compared to Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Writes like a European master! Krauss could not say enough abou this author, and sadly, it had just bleeped by me. The author is Israeli, and I'm pretty sure the book was translated from Israeli by Barbara Harshav. All you folks reading David Grossman's To the End of the Land should be thinking about this one. Wow!

We did a little Facebook contest to help promote the book, where readers shared the object in their life that could inspire a novel (sort of the way the desk does in Great House). I found the answers so interesting that I thought I'd post them here:

1) Mary Catherine's father's fiddle.
2) Melissa's husband's doll from New Orleans.
3) Katie's E.T. lamp. This lamp could either inspire a horror novel, or perhaps slapstick comedy.
4) Michelle's grandmother's glass.
5) James' 1902 edition of Leaves of Grass that he found at Seven Mile Fair.
6. Jennifer's grandfather's pocketknife.
7) Sharon's family photo album dating back to 1850.

Hey, this is not a bad writing exercise. Perhaps someone can be similarly inspired at our NaNoWriMo orientation section, hosted by Rochelle Melander this Saturday, November 30th, at 2 PM.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for posting these recommendations from Ms. Krauss. She mentioned two books I haven't heard of, and from the way she described them, I really wanted to read them. But as it happened, I awoke this morning with no recollection of what they were, so your post is quite timely.

And thanks again for hosting her. I especially enjoy seeing (and bringing my friends to see) talented and thoughtful younger writers who speak eloquently, as she did.