Sunday, February 17, 2013

Bookseller Taste Exchange: Josh & Sarah Part 1

We have a pretty wide range of taste in books here at Porter Square Books. None of us intentionally restrict ourselves to one genre or another, but, as with all things, we settle into patterns and fall into ruts. So Sarah had an idea to help expand our horizons a little bit; she’ll read a work of experimental fiction Josh suggests, and Josh’ll read a work of romance Sarah suggests. Then we’ll share our reactions to our trips to unfamiliar reading territory.

Josh Suggests: The Interrogative Mood by Padgett Powell. There are lots of different ways to experiment with storytelling and, admittedly, some are more obtuse than others, requiring some prior knowledge, or at least some experience in cracking your brain open in different ways. In a way, though, you have to learn how to read every book you read. Experimental (innovative, post-modernist, weird, whatever you want to call it) literature just brings that process to the foreground. The Interrogative Mood by Padgett Powell is a “novel” entirely of questions. It feels a little gimmicky, but there is real substance in the questions. The book took a powerful turn for me when I started trying to answer some of the questions. Like the Proust Questionnaire on steroids you can learn a lot about yourself by answering Powell’s questions.

Sarah Suggests: Angus, Thongs, and Full-Frontal Snogging by Louise Rennison. Stay with me here. Yes, it was published for teen readers, and yes, the pursuit of romance is at its core. But it also plays around with structure: It's epistolary, almost -- but not quite. And Rennison has some fun with language, too, letting her narrator develop a vocabulary that's almost as outlandish as what Kevin Barry does in City of Bohane. (Okay, not quite that level, but the odds that you're going to pick up some of Georgia's catchphrases are pretty good.) And also -- it's incredibly funny. And sometimes that's what you need from a book.

Check back to see what they think of the other’s suggestion.

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