We want to introduce you to the faces behind the books. First up is one the largest sections, in both stores: Fiction. Meet Simone, Fiction buyer at ABC The Hague, and Renate and Reinoud, Fiction buyers at ABC Amsterdam.
How long have you been the Fiction buyer?
Simone: Since 2000.
Renate: Since 2009.
Reinoud: From 2005 – 2010 and again since 2013.
Which author(s) do you ALWAYS keep in stock?
Simone: James Clavell, Jean Auel, Philip Roth, John Irving, Haruki Murakami.
Renate: Clarice Lispector, Joan Didion, Virginia Woolf, Jonathan Franzen, Lydia Davis.
Reinoud: James Salter, Natsume Soseki, John Updike, Evan S. Connell.
Which author(s) should be read more widely and why?
Simone: Lorrie Moore. She has a unique voice, and a wonderfully quirky use of language. She’s gaining popularity in the US. Hopefully her new short story collection (Bark) will make her more well-known in Europe, too.
Renate: Clarice Lispector because she is Virginia Woolf-meets-Kafka-meets-Joyce, all wrapped in a Brazilian layer of passion. Alejandro Zambra also; every one of his books is a gem. Truly stunning!
Reinoud: Soseki. He is a Japanese author from the Meiji period who wrote the first modern novel. Besides that he pretty much tried every literary style. Oh, Janet Lewis also deserves an audience.
How do you decide what new titles to buy for stock?
Simone: Through customer queries, publisher suggestions, newspaper and/or internet reviews. Anything that has a buzz about it, really.
Renate: I check the positive reviews in the New York Times or the Guardian. I also order books I would love to read (besides the big names you have to have). I want to create a bit of a niche; books that other bookstores wouldn’t have. It’s very much a question of feeling, intuition.
Reinoud: Whatever takes my fancy. (It’s chaos.)
What has been the best-selling Fiction title of 2014 so far?
Simone + Renate + Reinoud: The Circle by Dave Eggers.
Name some hotly-anticipated summer releases.
Simone: The new Murakami, the paperback edition of Bleeding Edge, the small paperback edition of The Circle, Tigerman by Nick Harkaway, and the small paperback of Donna Tartt’s Pulitzer Prize winner, of course.
Renate: The new Francine Prose and the new Rivka Galchen. I’m also waiting for the new editions of Muriel Spark’s works, like The Informed Air, from New Directions press.
Reinoud: Updike by Adam Begley. Updike was a genius.
Ebooks (currently) available for: Bonsai, Botchan, The Circle, Bleeding Edge and Updike.