Behind the Bookshelf: Interview with a bookseller, Liberty Hardy

bookspastic

Given the upcoming holiday weekend (yay), I decided to post this next bookseller interview a little early. I may also be a tad excited to feature another awesome lady. Meet Liberty Hardy, aka The Demon Bookseller of Fleet Street. Liberty is a bookselling beast. She's a bookseller at RiverRun Bookstore in Portsmouth, New Hampshire where she runs a popular book recommendation service called Paperback to the Future. Let's all pause and sign up for this immediately!

I'm nowhere near done telling you about Liberty's book cred. She also finds time to write the Well-Readheads column on Book Riot with another person we follow, Rebecca Joines Schinsky. As if that weren't enough, she also runs a couple of her own Tumblrs. Basically, listen to what this lady says.

What are you currently reading? Thoughts on it?

Let's see. I just read Save Yourself by Kelly Braffet, which was flipping fantastic. And I'm going to start The Sound of Things Falling by Juan Gabriel Vásquez, as soon as I finish answering these questions. Which I hear is also flipping fantastic.

What books are you most looking forward to this year?

Well, it had been The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt. I have read her first book, The Secret History, once a year since it was released, so I was foaming at the mouth for her new one. And because I am a lucky, lucky girl, I got to read an advance copy of it and it is AMAZING. Loved it so hard. Other books I'm excited for are the new Margaret Atwood and the new Catherine O'Flynn. I want everyone to read Catherine O'Flynn. She's amazing! And I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a wee bit curious about Doctor Sleep, the sequel to The Shining. And Melville House is reprinting The Haunted Bookshop by Christopher Morley - I can't resist a book about a bookstore. Oh, and the new Lauren Grodstein! Love her, love her, love her. I'm going to stop there, or we'll be here all day.

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

I set the same goal every year: read 250 books. Most years I meet it, some years I far exceed it, and some years I fall a little short. I don't beat myself up about it too much - as long as I'm reading, I'm happy. Damn it feels good to be a reader.

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

Ohhhhh, good question. I'm just going to say the first three that come to mind: The Judge from Blood Meridian, Shem Shem Tsien from Angelmaker and Asher Lev from My Name is Asher Lev. There's one table that would tip in favor of evil. I would have said Turtle Wexler from The Westing Game, but she's not old enough to drink.

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

Chuck Wendig and A. S. King! Because I think they are two of the most innovative, kick-ass, conscientious authors out there and they would make an awesome book! It would be unstoppable. I'm imagining it now like the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man in Ghostbusters II. Only nicer. And with tattoos. It would rule the world.

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

I don't know about annoying book, because people read what they want to read, and that's great, because YAY BOOKS. I will say it's a little frustrating when it seems like almost everyone wants the same book when there are so many other amazing books out there. That's one of the great things about working in an indie bookstore - we can tell people about books we love that they may have never considered on their own.

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

ASK QUESTIONS. Ask a bookseller to help you locate a book - it may not be where you think it is because it's on the staff pick table, or the new hardcover table. ASK. And ask them to help you remember the name of a book. We love this game, and we're good at it! You'd be amazed what we can figure out from a few adjectives. And ask for recommendations! I guarantee some of the best books you'll ever read will be recommendations from a bookseller. Booksellers love to talk about books like Dobby loves socks. We never get tired of making suggestions. ASK.