Behind the Bookshelf: Interview with a bookseller, Suzanna Hermans

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Hey, gang, I'm super stoked about today's interview!

Suzanna Hermans is co-owner of Oblong Books & Music in Millerton & Rhinebeck, New York and co-founder of The Hudson Valley YA Society. I first stumbled across Suzanna on Twitter in a quest to follow more smart book people and am so glad I did. In addition to being a self-confessed cat lady and theatre nerd (both huge positives), her stream (and the Oblong Books sister stream) is chock full of book goings on and recommendations. Really, she's fabulous.

Also, what better way to celebrate Independence Day this week than to support our independent bookstores?! I'm going to spare you guys the full-on soapbox rant I'm itching to give and will, instead, leave you to read the interview below. Seriously, though, Suzanna has some great recs; just click on any of the titles to learn more about the books and pick up a copy from Oblong.

What are you currently reading? Thoughts on it? 

I'm halfway through Maggie Stiefvater's THE DREAM THIEVES, and it's fantastic. She really takes the characters to the next level in this one. I had listened to THE RAVEN BOYS on audio, and the narrator was fantastic, so I was torn between reading the ARC now or waiting for the audiobook. My impatience won out!

What books are you most looking forward to this year?

Oh my goodness, there are so many! I'm excited to read Trish Doller's new book WHERE THE STARS STILL SHINE, since SOMETHING LIKE NORMAL was a favorite of mine last year. Same with Jennifer Shaw Wolf's DEAD GIRLS DON'T LIE. Her last book, BREAKING BEAUTIFUL, blew me away. And I've already read it, but Rainbow Rowell's FANGIRL is the book I'm most excited to hand to my customers!

Did you set any reading goals for 2013? If so, what are they? 

I don't set formal reading goals, mostly because I really need to read across all genres and age groups. I buy all the books for my store, not just the YA books. I read as fast and as widely as I can, but my heart belongs to YA!

What three characters would you invite to the bar for a drink?

WOW. That's a great question. Eleanor from ELEANOR & PARK, Blue from THE RAVEN BOYS, and Karou from THE DAUGHTER OF SMOKE & BONE. It would be a kick-ass ladies night.

If you could convince any two authors to write a book together, who would it be?

I'd love to see what would happen if Sarah Dessen & Ally Carter teamed up, or Kristin Cashore & Libba Bray. Why? I love all of their books so much, and (as far as I know) they have yet to partner up to write a book with someone else. But these two-author books can be big hits or BIG misses, so they'd really have to work hard to pull it off.

What's the most annoying book you see flying off the shelves?

I'm cool with all kinds of books. If the book that gets someone to love reading is a super-commercial ghostwritten book, that's fine! I don't care what people want to read, as long as they're reading.

If you could give people one piece of advice to prep them for entering a bookstore, what would it be?

Give yourself time to browse. From tiny stores to large, let yourself be immersed in the store, and explore all the sections, even ones you tend to ignore. Bookstores are all about discovery, and if you haven't found the perfect book, ask a bookseller. We recommend books all day long, and love to help readers discover their next favorite book.