Rob’s Intro: Last week in a welcome return to the series, I featured one half of the dynamic duo who run the Books on the Nightstand blog – Ann Kingman, and this week it gives me great pleasure to feature the other half – uber book nerd Michael Kindness.
It may sound a bit rude of me calling Michael a ‘nerd’ but I mean it in the nicest possible way. Here is a reader who is hugely passionate about his books, so much so that he even spent many man hours recently, building an homage to his passion. Intelligent, articulate and charismatic, I can think of no one better suited than Michael to be working in the book industry (expect for his blogging partner Ann of course), and it’s a real honour for him to take some time out of his busy schedule to answer a few bookish questions. So without further delay I give you Michael Kindness, this week’s more than deserved Reader of the Week:
I’ve been a reader for my whole life and have worked in bookselling and publishing for the last 24 years. For the last year I’ve worked on the blog and podcast Books on the Nightstand, with my friend and colleague Ann Kingman. I live in Rhode Island with my wife, son and a new baby due in October.
1. Favourite Genre? Definitely fiction, mostly literary fiction, though it doesn’t have to be “literary,” just good. I also read tons of comics and graphic novels, and the occasional non-fiction book, as long as it has a good narrative drive.
2. Favourite Book? Wow, you had to make that question singular, huh? I’m going to ignore the lack of an “s” and just name a bunch of my faves: 1984 by George Orwell, The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Secret History by Donna Tartt and The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak.
3. Why do you love reading so much? No great surprises here. Entertainment, education and the power of great writing. I’m one of those people who will seek out someone (usually my wife) to read a great sentence aloud.
4. Favourite reading place? We have this large piece of furniture that we call a “chouch” (chair + couch), though I think it’s technically called a chair-and-a-half. It’s in the front room of our house which gets full sun in the winter when the trees are bare. I love curling up in there on a winter’s afternoon. Reading is usually followed by napping!
5. How BIG is your reading addiction? My house is definitely full of books: on shelves, in piles… basically most flat surfaces. I read every night before going to bed, even if I’ve stayed up late. Life and work have certainly cut into my reading time over the last few years, but I will always find times to read, even if they are stolen minutes here and there.
6. How do you normally add books to your collection? Working for a publisher, I get a lot of free books. (I can feel the envy radiating off my computer right now.) I still buy books, mostly from the wonderful independent stores I work with. I’m a sucker for a great cover and a quirky story. Lately I’ve been borrowing audio books from the library as well.
7. How do you decide what to read? For work, I read a little bit of everything and read more of whatever grabs me. As for non-work reading, Twitter has been great in this regard. I follow so many fantastic booksellers and readers, that I’m constantly making note of what they’re raving about.
8. Ebooks – love or hate? I both love and hate ebooks. I was so excited to get my Sony Reader from work and was shocked at how much I didn’t like reading on it. It’s great for the mountains of excerpts and manuscripts I need to dip into, but there are physical characteristics I miss when reading whole books. I always flip ahead to see when the next chapter or section break is. It helps me decide how much longer I want to read and whether I should start that new section. That’s not as easy to do on an ebook. I was recently reading a great book on my Reader. The physical advanced reader’s copy arrived and I immediately switched to that.
9. Has reading inspired you to do any serious writing yourself? Not really. I once thought about researching and writing a book on Boston’s Molasses Flood, but then I found out someone else was already writing a history of the event and I thought, “I’ll just wait and read their book.” I guess the only real writing I do now is for Books on the Nightstand. (and call reports for my job!)
10. What single piece of advice (or tip) would you give to fellow readers? If you’re not enjoying a book, DON’T FINISH IT! There are far too many wonderful books out there to slog through something you don’t like.
Michael, thank you so much for sharing some of your valuable time with the RobAroundBooks readers.
So there we have it folks! We’ve now met the entire team behind the Books on the Nightstand blog, and it’s been a real pleasure to feature them both. As I’ve said before, Books on the Nightstand is a remarkable place to visit, and I wholeheartedly urge that you do. And while you’re there, do make sure that you tune into Michael and Ann’s regular bookish podcasts, for it is through this ‘medium’ that their passion for books and reading really shines through the most.
Next week I’m featuring journalist and writer Rick Seifert. He’s a man who along with possessing a big passion for reading, also has a bit of a thing for old typewriters. Sound intrigued by the enigmatic Rick? Well tune into Rob’s Reader of the Week next week to meet him.