I recently had the pleasure of talking to Nancy Pearl, whose new series Book Lust Rediscoveries launched this week. It's a thrill to be able to ask her some questions (I compare it to being a basketball fan and getting to talk to LeBron James). So if you're interested in her new series, or how to get your kid to read, or how she got on the path to being the world's most famous librarian, read on:
Chris: When did you first get the idea to do a selection of out-of-print books?
Nancy Pearl: I’ve wanted to do a series like this for years and years. When Book Lust: Recommended Reading for Every Mood, Moment, and Reason was published in 2003, I talked to the folks at Sasquatch (who had published Book Lust) about doing a series called “Book Lust Rediscoveries” (sound familiar?), but they decided that they really couldn’t take it on. So the years went by and I kept busy writing the Book Lust series, but still feeling peculiarly hampered in doing my radio program because there were so many books I couldn’t talk about because they were out of print and listeners were annoyed whenever I tried to sneak one in because they were difficult to find and usually quite pricey. Then, when Sasquatch Books published Book Lust To Go in 2010, I raised the idea of Book Lust Rediscoveries again. For perfectly understandable reasons, Sasquatch didn’t want to do it. When I was telling an old friend (who works in New York for a large publishing company) about how much I really wished that many of my old favorite novels were back in print, she introduced me, via email, to her good friend Victoria Sanders, of Victoria Sanders and Associates. Victoria (bless her!) thought BLR was a wonderful idea and agreed to represent me for the project. I was thrilled that Amazon Publishing was as excited about BLR (as we call it) as I was.
And the rest, as they say, is history.
Chris: How did you pick the books in this series?
Nancy Pearl: It’s really easy to answer how I selected the books – they’re all novels that I’ve gone back to and reread time and time again. I own every one of them, all in beat-up condition, most of them acquired at used bookstores, library book sales or garage sales. In many ways, BLR is a totally selfish project, because what I really wanted (and want) is to own beautiful copies of each of these novels.