|Seattle area booksellers (l.-r.) Kim Hooyboer, Third Place Books; James Crossley, Madison Books; Huntsberger; Sam Kaas, Third Place Books; Emma Nichols, Elliott Bay Book Co.
Kristianne Huntsberger is Shelf Awareness's partnership program manager. She is currently reading her way through David Bowie's list of 100 influential books and is talking about them on the podcast BowieBookClub. Kristianne will be the first to admit she's not a bit KonMari about books; she'll soon be able to build a fort in her living room.
On your nightstand now:
In lieu of a nightstand, the titles scattered around the house are As Lie Is to Grin by Simeon Marsalis, which was recommended by my local bookseller; Silence by John Cage because it is next up for the Bowie Book Club podcast; and Geek Love by Katherine Dunn, which my partner and I just started reading out loud.
Favorite book when you were a child:
A few years ago, I tracked down the Maurice Sendak illustrated copy of George Macdonald's The Light Princess. I loved that book and Oscar Wilde's collection of tales, The Happy Prince and Other Tales. Apparently, fairy tales that made me cry were my big thing.
Your top five authors:
Rebecca Solnit, Annie Dillard, bell hooks, Pico Iyer and Italo Calvino.
Book you've faked reading:
It wasn't an intentional lie, but I may've let people believe I'd read Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë. It came up recently when my sister said it is to her what Herman Melville's Moby-Dick is to me--the book she reads most frequently. I've admitted the lie and now have a copy on deck.
Book you're an evangelist for:
My Favorite Thing Is Monsters by Emil Ferris. Get on board now so you can be ready for the second volume!
Book you've bought for the cover:
A 1969 book club edition of The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin with this great ink-and-watercolor illustration that looked a lot like the copy I loved as a kid. The very day I bought it we found out that Le Guin had died.
Book you hid from your parents:
I didn't hide the book itself, but I did hide the meaning of Loren Eiseley's The Immense Journey when I was in love with it as a teenager and beginning to favor science over religion.
Book that changed your life:
Though I'm sure a lot of it has or could be disproved, the revisionist history and mythology of Riane Eisler's The Chalice and the Blade was like a paradigm meteor when I was young. It not only shaped my current feminism, it also helped inform my graduate school research.
Favorite line from a book:
"There is no folly of the beasts of the earth which is not infinitely outdone by the madness of men." --Ch. 87, The Grand Armada, Moby-Dick by Herman Melville.
Five books you'll never part with:
Stories from the Nerve Bible by Laurie Anderson. Marcel Proust's Remembrance of Things Past, though I've been reading it for years and I'm still only on Vol. 4. Nostalgically, I've got to keep the copy of Moby-Dick I got from a swap meet when I was a teenager and then filled with embarrassing marginalia. I'll also keep the copy of Burmese Folktales by Maung Htin Aung that I picked up when I lived in Myanmar because I believe it's still not in print in the United States. And the Kate Beaton collection Never Learn Anything from History because sometimes you've just got to laugh your head off.
Book you most want to read again for the first time:
V. by Thomas Pynchon because I'm certain that reading it as a teenager means I missed a ton of what was going on.
Suggestions on a good book to read out loud?
My family always read aloud and I've kept the habit. A strong character and engaging voice are crucial for read-aloud success. Graham Greene's Travels with My Aunt was my first Graham Greene ever, so I was unaware how anomalous its snarky hilarity was. Auntie Mame by Patrick Dennis was another fun read and my partner and I just finished The Broken Earth trilogy by N.K. Jemisin, which is totally engrossing.