Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Stefan Bachmann

Stefan Bachmann is a writer and musician. He was born in Colorado and now lives with his parents and siblings in Switzerland. He is currently studying film composing at the Zürich Conservatory, and writing his third book. His debut, The Peculiar, was published when he was nineteen years old. It is followed by the newly released companion novel, The Whatnot.

Recently I asked the author about what he was reading. Bachmann's reply:
My to-be-read pile is basically a ridiculous, teetering jumble of books at the moment, and I'm just picking up the nearest one that won't send everything toppling. Which has been great, because I've been reading adult books, and children's books, and in-between books all mixed together, and it makes it super clear how they all have the same sorts of things that make them "work", make them touching or engaging or thrilling. Recently I've loved these three books, and am recommending them to everyone:

Burial Rites by Hannah Kent

This one's so great. A semi-murder mystery based on actual events in early 19th century Iceland. It's dark, chilling, atmospheric, and so terrifically written. Great characters, great setting, stark and haunting. When I think about it, it's actually a quiet book - it doesn't have any big set-pieces or chases - but it reads like a thriller, and the suspense is always high. It kind of reminds me of Agatha Christie, only 300 times darker.

The Year of Shadows by Claire Legrand

I've loved everything Legrand writes. Her first book The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls was one of my favorites from last year, and this one was so good, too. It's about a girl who is enlisted by a group of ghosts in her dad's old music hall to help remember the things that are keeping them from moving on. The back-stories of each of the ghosts are the highlight of this book, I thought. They become more and more heart-wrenching, right up until the hopeful, glowing finale. It's written for kids, but I think grown-ups who love ghosts and music will love it, too.

Harry Potter and The Philosopher's Stone by J.K. Rowling

OK, this one's a little bit obscure, and you may never have heard of it before, but it is so worth going on a million-mile quest over mountains and dales to find and read. I just finished the first book for the first time, and while it's a lot of "Harry Potter inherits a vault full of gold, and Harry Potter gets the best flying broom ever," it's written in such fun, charming, engaging way that you don't sick of it, and you kinda start wishing you got a flying broom, which I think is the appeal. Basically it's famous for a reason: because it's awesome. If you haven't read it yet, you should.
Visit Stefan Bachmann's website and blog.

My Book, The Movie: The Peculiar.

Writers Read: Stefan Bachmann (April 2013).

The Page 69 Test: The Peculiar.

--Marshal Zeringue