Meet the bookseller with Robbie Egan from Readings Carlton

We chat to Readings Carlton Manager Robbie Egan about how he came to be a bookseller, meeting Jim Shepard in a New York bookstore and his love of Don DeLillo’s White Noise.


Why do you work in books?

I was 25 years old with a young daughter and I’d been living in London for a couple of years and suddenly had responsibilities. The only thing I wanted to do was work in a bookshop. I loved reading and writing and I was lucky enough to get a job at Dymocks in the old Melbourne Central.

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

Jim Shepard’s collection of stories, You Think That’s Bad. I like his style of storytelling, and that he seems to have no fear of any topic. He often writes about people with high technical knowledge but looks at the emotional side of these over-achievers, which tends to be contrastingly inadequate.

What have you noticed people buying lately?

Anna Funder’s first novel, All That I Am, is flying off the shelves, as is Julian Barnes’s Sense of an Ending. Design Sponge is doing well – a lovely book of home design ideas that comes from a blog of the same name.

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

Dymocks had a camera on the erotica section. Not nice …

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

Too many to nominate one. In recent times … I was in New York and walked into a small bookshop to find that Jim Shepard was giving a reading that night. I heard one of my favourite authors read, met him and had a chat about American football-writing. He was a really smart, self-deprecating, funny guy.

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

At the time I read it, I would say The Road by Cormac McCarthy. I sat up until the early hours reading it, and cried so hard when I finished that I woke my wife.

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

White Noise by Don DeLillo. I devoured it in about two days. It is a novel that spoke directly to me about the modern world. The characters talk around each other, and their conversations become a part of the information overload that is the white noise of the title.