Monday, October 20, 2014

Charlie Lovett

Charlie Lovett is a writer, teacher, and playwright, whose plays for children have been seen in more than 3,000 productions. He is a former antiquarian bookseller and an avid book collector. He and his wife split their time between Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and Kingham, Oxfordshire, in England.

Lovett's novels include The Bookman's Tale: A Novel of Obsession and the newly released First Impressions: A Novel of Old Books, Unexpected Love, and Jane Austen.

Recently I asked the author what he was reading. Lovett's reply:
In between writing blog posts, working on a new novel, putting together my Powerpoint for my upcoming book tour, doing press interviews, and increasingly rare trips to the gym, I do like to read. Some of the books that have transported, intrigued, and assisted me in the recent past and are likely to do so in the immediate future are novels, non-fiction, and even reference books.

I’ll start with an odd choice. While I have never read it all the way through, and never will, I read bits of it all the time—nearly every day when I am writing a novel. It’s the The Oxford English Dictionary. I don’t have an online subscription and I don’t have that compact two-volume edition with the magnifying glass. I have a twelve-volume set from 1933 sitting on the shelf next to my desk. It’s the first edition printed all at once and the first to bear the title The Oxford English Dictionary. Because I write historical fiction, it’s essential to know not just what a word means, but what it meant at a certain time. Inevitably, when I look something up in the OED I end up reading about other words I have never encountered. It’s a great rabbit hole to fall down.

I am the president of the Board of Directors of my local literary non-profit, Bookmarks, which hosts a fantastic book festival every year. I always discover some great reads at the festival and this year was no exception. My favorite new find was Lev Grossman’s The Magicians. Lev is a great guy and I enjoyed getting to know him, and as a kid who grew up on Narnia his book really hit the mark. I’m looking forward to the other two books in the trilogy, but in the meantime I delved into his brilliant article about reading Narnia in The Atlantic a couple of months ago.

Also at Bookmarks was A. Scott Berg—a dynamic presenter and author of doorstop-sized biographies. My wife is devouring Wilson at the moment, but I’m a little busy to undertake one of his right now. Still, when he talked about his Lindbergh biography it reminded how much I enjoyed Bill Bryson’s One Summer: America 1927. Bryson can make anything interesting, so when he chooses subject matter that’s already interesting, you know you’re in for a good read.

Looking to the future, I’ve got an intriguing book on my desk at the moment, just arrived from England. My English publisher, Alma Books, is owned by a delightful couple who are talented in many literary areas. Alessandro Gallenzi, in addition to being a translator and publisher, is also a novelist and he sent me a copy of his most recent book. The Tower involves mystery and ancient manuscripts, so it’s bound to be a perfect read for me.
Learn more about the book and author at Charlie Lovett's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Bookman's Tale.

My Book, The Movie: The Bookman's Tale.

--Marshal Zeringue