Meet the Bookseller with Chris Dite from Readings Carlton

We chat with Chris Dite from Readings Carlton about post-climate change adventure novels and possible government assassins at a book launch.


Why do you work in books?

It’s an opportunity to push your tastes onto other people. But more than that, the social capital is intense. I don’t think there’s any other retail job people actually envy you for. It’ll also be nice to look back on when I’m older and tell my grandkids (who won’t care), ‘I worked in a bookshop when everyone started to panic about the end of bookshops.’ Very important, historically.

What’s the best book you’ve read lately and why?

Paolo Bacigalupi’s The Drowned Cities (his follow-up to Ship Breaker) was awesome: a post-climate change adventure novel for teenagers where the protagonists are child soldiers in a flooded, Mad Max-style America. Beth Revis’s A Million Suns was pretty decent, too. A revolution on a spaceship is the perfect combination of epic and claustrophobic.

What have you noticed people buying lately?

A few months back heaps of people were buying 23 Things They Don’t Tell You About Capitalism, but they’ve moved on and now everyone’s into the feminist classic, Fifty Shades of Grey.

What’s the strangest experience you’d had in a bookshop?

It’s a toss up between a woman asking me who wrote The Diary of Anne Frank the other day and my old boss making me introduce Andrew Wilkie at his book launch in 2004 because she thought there might be government assassins in the audience. Probably the latter.

What’s the best experience you’ve had in a bookshop?

This little kid came in once to ask for a Bruno Mars CD but he’d forgotten Bruno’s name. To describe it to me he showed me the cover of Ray Charles’s album Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music.

What’s your favourite book of all time and why?

I’ll regret any answer I give, but I’ll go out on a limb and say Vasily Grossman’s Life and Fate.

Name a book that has changed the way you think – in ways small or large.

Orwell’s Down and Out in Paris and London probably set the tone for my lifestyle over the past decade.

What was your favourite book as a kid?

I loved Emily Rodda’s Teen Power Inc., which follows this gang of kids who run a newspaper/detective agency sort of thing. I actually co-founded a private investigators’ club in primary school because of that series. I was also a big Tomorrow When the War Began fan, though I was shattered when John Marsden said recently that he wrote it because he thought people weren’t taking national security seriously enough at the time!

Ship Breaker: Number 1 in series

Ship Breaker: Number 1 in series

Paolo Bacigalupi

$17.99Buy now

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