Dead or Alive

As the bookstore employees responsible for recruiting authors for in-store readings, Austin's CRCs spend a lot of time staring at the walls and trying to figure out how to get their favorite authors into the store. When I spoke with them, I asked each the following questions: "If you could get any living author to read at your store, who would it be, and why? What if you could get any dead author?" They all seemed to relish the question, even as they damned me for asking it. (Too hard, they said.) Herewith, their answers:

David Hutts

Living: "Harper Lee. Because To Kill a Mockingbird was one of those books that changed my life. Probably a toss-up between her and J.D. Salinger. Catcher in the Rye and To Kill a Mockingbird both are the books that probably landed me in the book business. I didn't realize until I read those two books the power of the written word."

Dead: "Shakespeare."

Fiona Cherbak

Living: "[I'd like to get] someone in here who's a really strong Texas icon. Like Kinky Friedman. Or Larry McMurtry. Either one of them."

Stacie Herndon

Living: "[Long pause.] John Irving would be great. I love John Irving... I've read some of his books so many times that they're kind of imprinted on my mind."

Dead: "Charlie Chaplin. I adore him, and his autobiography is so amazing. He just had the most amazing life. He came up from absolutely nothing... He's also a really tragic figure too, a very sad person."

Diane Everman

Living: "For the Guadalupe store, Stephen King. And I would love to hear Frank McCourt."

Dead: "Homer. I've got some questions I would like to ask him." - J.H.

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