Book Keeping: A Reader's Community

Book Keepers

Miroslav Penkov

Miroslav Penkov’s debut novel, Stork Mountain, is full of “strange and vertiginous language.” It was with great pleasure that we asked him about the Balkan lineage of his book and what he’s reading lately.

What Lies Between Us by Nayomi Munaweera

Author Nayomi Munaweera won the Commonwealth Regional Prize for Asia for her first novel, Island of a Thousand Mirrors, so it was with great anticipation that were able to ask her about her followup, What Lies Between Us, out last week from St. Martin’s Press.

Every Anxious Wave by Mo Daviau

From her new forever home in Portland, Oregon, author Mo Daviau reflects on what makes a writing community, the importance of first books, and her favorite bookstore in the world (which curiously is not Powell’s!). Every Anxious Wave is her first novel.

The Crooked House by Christobel Kent

The job of being a mother (and make no mistake, it is hard labour, even if no-one pays you to do it) is pretty compatible with writing, as long as you let your standards of cleanliness and decency slide.

The Great Forgetting by James Renner

What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever believed? Because James Renner’s “blasphemous, riveting, insane, and glorious” (Andy Howell, astrophysicist) conspiracy thriller The Great Forgetting might just have something to top it. We were quite excited to get the chance to ask James about the books and experiences that have shaped him into the writer he is today.

Novelist Karen Olsson as photographed by Matt Valentine in 2015.

It was a great pleasure to get to bend the ear of sophomore novelist Karen Olsson for her new book, All the Houses. From the unique pleasures of longform to the exact ratio of stick-to-itiveness and megalomania necessary for writing, Karen had a lot of intriguing things to say!

The Clasp by Sloane Crosley

Sloane Crosley’s “signature wit is sharp as ever” in The Clasp, her debut novel. From carrot forests to Maupassantian necklaces, Sloane shares the genesis of her reading and writing.

Only the Animals by Ceridwin Dovey

My ideal reader is anybody who also feels that reading fiction has saved her life, who believes there is no greater pleasure than falling into a world of somebody else’s creation, and that reading fiction is an important pathway to empathy for others.

Wilberforce by H. S. Cross

Wilberforce, H. S. Cross’s stunning debut novel, is out this week. In celebration we were only too glad to pick her brain. See her dig into the literary archaeology of the school story, and even produce the very first yarn she ever finished solo—from second grade, no less!

Make Your Home Among Strangers by Jennine Capó Crucet

Debut novelist Jennine Capó Crucet shares her most recent recommendations, the nuance between fact and fiction, and the childhood dream-theft of a tomato that (arguably) set her on the path to writing.

Landfalls by Naomi J. Williams

In today’s Book Keeping, we set sail with novelist Naomi J. Williams, who turns out to be as voracious a reader as she is a talented writer. Naomi’s debut, Landfalls, is a beautifully written and absorbing tale of the high seas, scientific exploration, human tragedy, and the world on the cusp of the modern era.

The Night Stages by Jane Urquhart

Jane Urquhart’s newest novel is The Night Stages, an elegiac work of unusual depth. She was kind enough to spend some time indoors from the beautiful Canadian summer to answer a few questions about her life and love of reading.

The Last Pilot by Benjamin Johncock

Benjamin Johncock, author of The Last Pilot, tells us about the love of reading he’s taken with him every step of the way to the publication of his first novel.

Death and Mr. Pickwick by Stephen Jarvis

As the U.S. release date for his vast, richly imagined, Dickensian novel Death and Mr. Pickwick nears, Stephen Jarvis was generous enough to answer our questions about his debut.

The Unfortunates by Sophie McManus

Sophie McManus, author of The Unfortunates, generously answered our questions about her life in books—from eating to reading them.

Hell's Gate by Richard Crompton

We accosted mystery writer Richard Crompton in a dark alley and shook him down for the whens, wheres, and whys of how he became the reader he is today. Fresh from penning his new book in the Detective Mollel series, Hell’s Gate, here is what he coughed up! So Richard, is there a book you […]

Laura van den Berg

Laura van den Berg makes the time mid-tour to sneak away and answer some questions about the books and nooks that made her the author she is. Book Keeping: Who is your ideal reader? Laura van den Berg: Anyone who reads my fiction and sees something of value in it! I feel inexpressively grateful to […]


When I stumbled upon that line from Faulkner, I had to stop myself from whipping the book across the room—I could not believe that someone had put into words an experience that was so close to my own.


You never know what physical thing is actually going to greet you when you order books. One day a tiger cub will crawl out of my Amazon box.


All my personal writing goes back to Montaigne. Although he was a modest man, who didn’t think himself extraordinary in any way, he believed that everyone’s mind was unique, and he wanted to leave a record of his own.