Friday, 4 January 2013

Guest Post: Andrew Kaufman's Imaginary Bookshop

I love all of Andrew Kaufman’s books and have talked about them on my blog in the past. I read and loved All My Friends Are Superheroes . I have also read and loved Waterproof Bible and I read The Tiny Wife all in one sitting, which is definitely a sign of a great book.

Yesterday I reviewed Andrew Kaufman’s book, Born Weird

Andrew has kindly agreed to pop over to Writer’s Little Helper and answer 9 questions on the subject of running an imaginary bookshop.


Hi Andrew, congratulations on the publication of Born Weird in hardback and The Tiny Wife in paperback and thank you for popping over to Writer’s Little Helper.

1. What would be the name of your imaginary bookshop?
Paper Tigers.

2. Where would your imaginary bookshop be located?
It’s two or three blocks from my house but there’s a tunnel, a secret tunnel that only I know about, which leads from a trapdoor in my kitchen to a revolving shelf in the bookstore. Late at night I take the tunnel and just sit in the shop, soaking it all in.

3. Would your bookshop have any special features? E.g. a performing stage, a cocktail bar, etc.
There would be a back room, with six or seven desks, and on each desk is a manual typewriter. Writers can rent a desk for five dollars a day and I’ll give them free coffee for as long as they’re typing. The only rule is that there’s no revision allowed - you can only go forward.

4. What would make your bookshop different from all of the other ones?
Buy a book, take it home, read it and the way it changed you would be expressed physically. If the book made your heart grow bigger, you’re heart would grow bigger. If it changed how you look at the world, you’re eye colour would change, things like that.

5. What sections would you have in your bookshop? And what sections would you ditch?
I think a big part of the fun would be constantly rearranging the sections. One week by colour, the next by plot structure, the next all the books with happy endings are on the left side and unhappy endings on the right. The thing I love about bookstores is that I rarely go into one looking for a specific title. I usually do this on line. A bookstore is about adding random chance to your reading list -- Paper Tigers would be organized to maximize this.

6. Every bookshop needs a display table. Which books would you have on your display table? Why?
The display table would be covered with every book I wish I wrote. So, Franny and Zooey, Catch-22, The Seamstress and the Wind, Never Let Me Go, The Middle Stories, The Girl in the Flammable Skirt, The Children’s Hospital, If On A Winter’s Night A Traveller, Cat’s Cradle, The Windup Bird Chronicles … let’s just go with the idea that it would be a really, really big table.

7. If you could run only one author event who would you have? You can pick a living or dead writer. What sort of event would they run?
Kurt Vonnegut, who’s one of my favourite writers, always claimed to love “The People’s Court” which is an American TV show which was, basically, a televised version of small-claims court. Sort of a pre-runner to Judge Judy and all those shows. I would love to have given him a TV, a remote control, three episodes and then had him illustrate what made him so fascinated by it.

8. A customer comes up to your till with a copy of Born Weird and asks you to give them a reason on why they should buy it. What would you say?

“Listen, I gotta tell you, I actually wrote this book, so I’m a little biased, but… weren’t you?

9. What sort of cake would you offer when launching your book in your bookshop?
Is scotch a cake?

Author Bio:
Andrew Kaufman was born in the town of Wingham, Ontario into a family of librarians and accountants, who wrote everything down. Wingham is the same town that Alice Munro was born in, making him the second best writer from a town of three thousand. His first published work was All My Friends Are Superheroes, a story following the adventures of a man turned invisible only to his wife. This novella, published by Coach House Books in Canada, has been translated into eight languages. His other books include The Waterproof Bible, The Tiny Wife and Born Weird. His wishes to state, once again, the family depicted in Born Weird in no way resembles his own, and any similarities are completely coincidental. He also writes for film and television, having completed a Directors Residence at the Canadian Film Centre. Kaufman lives in East Oz district of Toronto with his wife and their two children.


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You can purchase Born Weird in ebook or hardback version from you preferred book retailer. 

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