Saturday, May 31, 2008

Book Lover Interview #1: Cinnamon Dokken

Cinnamon Dokken opened A Novel Idea Bookstore in downtown Lincoln as a college senior in 1991. In 2006, she opened a branch shop—A Novel Idea Bookstore, Chapter Two—in the Book Town of Brownville, Nebraska. Her web site,, has virtual tours and information about book collecting. Currently, she is working to build her online bookselling business and has recently attained membership in the Independent Online Booksellers Association. She and her fiancĂ©, Jon Carlson, have spent the past several months renovating a circa 1900 house in Lincoln’s Near South Neighborhood. Between them, they have two children—Isabel (5) and Aidan (4).

What is your favorite book (or current favorite)?

I've been captivated by non-fiction lately - The Worst Hard Time, Band of Brothers, Undaunted Courage, John Adams, etc. etc. Reading about what others have accomplished despite great hardship inspires me to put full effort into my own life. I've also been reading LOTS of children's books to my 5-year-old daughter, Isabel. Kate DiCamillo and Beverly Cleary are current favorites. It's fun to revisit some of the books I read as a child with the new perspective of a parent. I have a huge amount of admiration for children's book authors who don't write down to kids but, rather, lead them to new levels of thinking. (And there's just nothing like reading a funny book to a laughing kiddo.)

What is your favorite book store (other than yours)?

I have to say that, although San Francisco and Portland and New York are all home to some quality bookstores, Nebraskans have it pretty darned good. Bluestem Books, here in Lincoln, and Jackson Street Booksellers, in Omaha, are excellent stores. Being located in the Midwest doesn't lower us any.

I'm also looking forward to the opening of The Antiquarium in Brownville, where we have our second shop. Tom's doing some extensive renovations in Brownville's old public school building, and hopes to open in a month or two. Despite Brownville's population of 148 dear souls, it has 4 bookstores. It's a book-lovin' town!

Do you have a favorite book cover?

Several, actually. I love the old cover of Dai Sijie's Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress - the one with the red shoes. I also love most of the covers of the trade paperbacks currently being published by Black Lizard, which is part of Vintage. Very sexy Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler. The covers also have a matte finish, which makes me just want to pet them. Gorgeous. There's really nothing that compares to the cover art of vintage paperback mysteries and sci-fi, though. Some of the old Erle Stanley Gardner (Perry Mason mysteries) covers are hilarious.

Do you have a favorite book-related website/blog/social networking

I think your site is pretty special! ;)

What are you reading now?

Pitifully little, as my home-remodeling projects are demanding most of my attention lately. I just picked up a copy of Kurt Andersen's novel, Heyday, which I'm looking forward to. He hosts my favorite public radio program, Studio 360, and will be in town for the Nebraska Writers' Conference in June. I'm very excited about that! I've also been dipping into something called, For the Love of Books: 115 Celebrated Writers on the Books they Love Most. It's gratifying to see how people are influenced and affected by books. It reminds me that what I do helps people explore and discover—and engage in the world. It feels really good.

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