Meet the bookseller with Kim Gruschow
In this month’s Meet the Bookseller column we chat with Kim Gruschow, a buyer and experienced children’s and YA specialist at our St Kilda shop. She chats about the pleasure of translated fiction, the rise of books about climate crisis, and shares who she’d invite to a dinner party – and why.
Describe your taste in books.
I like very specific visual catalogues. I like sharp novels that come in at around 200 pages. I like innovative and creepy comic books. I like big, comprehensive cookbooks with beautiful photography. I like funny books about gross and depressing things, and some deeply nerdy stuff about music and movies. I like books about misfits and loners and headstrong girls. I think the best picture books feature dogs, witches and cakes.
What kind of trends do you see in books right now? Do you have any predictions for the future?
Unsurprisingly there has been massive interest lately in books about climate change. I just read a book called Notes from an Apocalypse by Mark O'Connell by which is an exceptionally good example, but as far as predictions for the future go well…
What is something new you’ve observed in bookselling over the years?
There’s definitely been an increase of books in translation that are available to us in Australia, and from a broader range of places. Many books I’ve recently loved, and many of those that I’m most looking forward to, have been translated. At the moment I’m especially excited about Sayaka Murata’s Earthlings (available October) because her Convenience Store Woman is so good!
What’s the best book you’ve read lately and why?
I really loved The Hard Tomorrow by Eleanor Davis. Her drawing is absolutely incredible and I found it an extremely moving, timely and book about care, activism, and finding hope in bleak times.
If you were going to host a dinner party with authors, who would you invite?
I’ve lately been making really good use of cookbooks by Fuchsia Dunlop, Meera Sodha and Samin Nosrat so I’d love to have them over to hang out, talk about food, share tips, and of course, stuff our faces.
What books are sitting on your bedside table right now?
I have so many books next to my bed at any time. A few kids books I’m really looking forward to are Pet by Akwaeke Emezi and Hattie by Frida Nilsson, the latter a newish one from the most excellent publisher Gecko Press. I’m halfway through Love After Love by Ingrid Persaud, I think it’s the first book I’ve read set in Trinidad and it’s absolutely fantastic so far! After that I’m going to start on Seasonal Associate by Heike Geissler which was lent to me by a colleague.
News of an upcoming Almodóvar adaptation reminded me I’ve been meaning to read A Manual for Cleaning Women by Lucia Berlin so I have a copy of that waiting too.