Linda Michel-Cassidy interviews speakers at the Mill Valley Library After Hours series to discover the eight books that made them who they are.
8 Books Remix: Nina LaCour
Librarian Natalie McCall talks with Nina LaCour, the bestselling and Michael L. Printz Award-winning author of four critically acclaimed young adult novels: We Are Okay, Hold Still, The Disenchantments, and Everything Leads to You. Born and raised in the East Bay, Nina received her undergraduate degree from San Francisco State University and an MFA in Creative Writing at Mills College. Her graduate thesis became her first novel, Hold Still, which received a William C. Morris honor from the American Library Association.
Before the terms, “social distancing” and “shelter-in-place” were part of our daily vocabulary and experience, Natalie and Nina met in the Library’s cozy, purple-walled recording booth and chatted over a small stack of books that impacted Nina’s life as a child, teenager, young woman, and burgeoning writer. They talk about why adults should read picture books for their own pleasure (and edification), whether children should be protected from certain content in the books they read, and the beauty of relating to a character in a book who is outwardly different than you in every way.
8 Books Remix: Grant Faulkner
Librarian Natalie McCall talks with Grant Faulkner, Executive Director of National Novel Writing Month and co-founder of 100 Word Story. He has two books on writing: Pep Talks for Writers: 52 Insights and Prompts to Boost Your Creative Mojo and Brave the Page, a writing guide for teens. In November 2019, Faulkner gave a talk at the Mill Valley Public Library about the creative benefits of trying to write 50,000 words of a novel in a month. Find his podcast, Write-minded: Weekly Inspiration for Writers on your favorite podcasty app.
The Librarian and the Director talk about the appeal of the homesteading life, a book that’s all about walking through the city, and writing for the joy, not the publication, of it.
8 Books Remix: Traci Chee
Librarian Natalie McCall chats with Traci Chee, New York Times bestselling author of the Reader trilogy (an imaginative fantasy with suspense, magic, and mysterious objects called books). Her historical novel, We Are Not Free (about four San Francisco teens forced into Japanese Internment camps during World War II) will be released in June 2020.
The two book obsessives talk about how revisiting childhood favorites can lead to epic disappointment, the cat that started following Traci home when she read House of Leaves, and book art.
Jose Antonio Vargas
Journalist Jose Antonio Vargas shares the eight books that made him, and you can sense a theme: from James Baldwin's Notes of a Native Son to Carlos Bulosan's America is in the Heart through Howard Zinn's A People's History of the United States, Vargas seeks out the underheard voices of overlooked people. Hear his in this wide-ranging interview.
8 Books Remix: Mariko Tamaki
Librarian Natalie McCall chats with award-winning Canadian author Mariko Tamaki in this episode of 8 Books Remix. In 2015, Tamaki received the Michael L. Printz Award and a Caldecott Honor for her graphic novel This One Summer (two of the three major literary awards for youth awarded by the American Library Association). Her most recent book, Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up with Me, is a sweet, spirited graphic novel about a Bay Area teen whose girlfriend keeps breaking up with her. Tamaki is one of the few graphic novelists with the distinction of writing comic books for both Marvel and DC (about characters from Harley Quinn to She-Hulk to the X-Men).
Natalie and Mariko talk about the book that invented the term “Generation X” back in the day, what it’s like to be a girl in rural Canada, and hitchhiking across the galaxy.
8 Books Remix: Megan Whalen Turner
Hey, sometimes you just gotta do a double album, and in this generous portion of 8 Books Remix, librarian Natalie McCall chats with Megan Whalen Turner, recipient of a Newbery Honor for The Thief, the first installment of a classic, still-continuing, book series with passionate (obsessive?!?) fans of all ages and backgrounds. The endorsements on her book jackets are a who’s who of some of the biggest names in fantasy for children and young adults. If you love them, Megan probably inspired them!
Natalie and Megan talk about why kids should read old books even when they are #problematic, the awesomeness of hypercompetent characters (no scrubs or slobs for Megan), and the struggle to get people to read fabulous books with hideous covers.