Steve Avery … baseball fan, bibliophile
For the next 14 days, we’ll be taking a little detour from the traditional marketing posts you’ve come to know and love on the Marcie Brock blog as I lead by example and follow my own writing prompts for the Author Blog Challenge.
Day 15 writing prompt:
Find someone you know, either online or in the real world, who is a true bibliophile and interview them about their reading habits.
This prompt was inspired by a recent conversation with my friend Steve Avery – the most avid purchaser, reader, and consumer of books I have ever met. In short, he is a true bibliophile. Steve and I have been friends for years. We met selling tickets for the Arizona Diamondbacks way back in 2000, and in all the time I’ve known him, I don’t believe I’ve ever seen him without a book. His house looks like what I imagine the back room of a book shop might look like, except there’s just one copy of each title. He recently admitted to me that he’s more of a collector than a reader, in that while he buys between one and two dozen books a month and starts all of them, he probably finishes fewer than 50 percent.
Steve was one of the first people I knew who owned a Kindle – but he seldom uses it now, because he has an iPad and an iPhone in part, but mostly because he just prefers printed books, hardbacks if he can get them. I went with Steve to the midnight release of one of the middle Harry Potter books (I couldn’t begin to tell you which number or title, but I’m sure he remembers) at a Waldenbooks up the street from his house that has long been converted into a check-cashing store.
A true sign of Steve’s friendship is that he has bought a book, read it very carefully so as not to make even the slightest crumple in a corner as he turned the pages, and then gifted it to you because you once mentioned it in passing. Almost as big a baseball fan as he is an avid reader, he’s probably got every baseball title ever printed. I always consider it a coup when I can alert him about a new baseball book or seminar before he’s heard of it.
Steve does not buy used books unless it’s a rare or hard-to-find title. If it’s not hot off the presses, he’s probably not interested. He is not only a consumer of books – but he devours book magazines and websites. His favorite authors are the father and daughter duo, James Lee Burke and Alafair Burke. The best thing he’s read recently is Gone Girl, by Gillian Flynn.
He loves to attend signings and considers his vast – and ever growing – collection of autographed books among his most prized. The most memorable signing he attended was that of Sophia Littlefield, who was interviewed by her longtime friend, Juliet Blackwell. As Steve tells it, they threw away the script and carried on an impromptu interview for an hour which he found utterly delightful. Questions he’d most like to ask his favorite authors include “How autobiographical is your work?” and “Are you considering moving into the YA market?”
The book that most surprised Steve recently was William Landay’s Defending Jacob “because he wrote beyond the obvious end of the story.”
A history major with an avid imagination and a very funny storyteller, Steve does not fancy himself a writer at all. I think he really shorts himself in this area – but he will tell you he’d much rather read the words of a true expert than dabble at conveying a convoluted message.
He recently left me a Facebook message with a new proposition. Because he reads almost any kind of fiction but would like to get to more nonfiction titles, we are going to begin a book club of two. He’ll choose two NF titles that interest him and ask me to choose the one I’d most like to read. He’ll buy it, read it, pass it on to me, and then we’ll discuss. Like grownups. Our first assignment is Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, by Susan Cain. I’ll let you know what I think of it when I find a moment to stop nattering.
We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.
In honor of our 1-year anniversary (May 2, 2012), we’re hosting the Author Blog Challenge! It starts June 2 and is open to published authors, authors-in-progress, and would-be authors. Come check us out!