Read All Over — Bob Kronbauer

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Read All Over celebrates the bookworm in all of us, showcasing readers in Vancouver and the books they love most..
V.I.A. is celebrating its 5th birthday and so we thought it would be great to ask our Founder and Editor-In-Chief Bob Kronbauer about the books in his life. As you’ll see, there’s a heavy dose of local writers, fishing, with some hijinx thrown in for good measure.

What are you currently reading? Your thoughts on it?

Right now I’m juggling The Art of the Impossible by Rod Mickleburgh and Geoff Meggs as well as a biography on Roderick Haig-Brown written by his daughter. Both are biographical so it almost feels like I’ve been taking a class for the past few weeks. My next read will hopefully be complete fluff.

How do you like your books served up best – audio books, graphic novels, used paperbacks, library loaner, e-reader…?

I hope to never get an e-reader. Ever. When I worked as a professional photographer I was okay with the end of film, just because the technology of digital can’t be argued with, but I struggle the idea of not holding a book in my hands when reading. I value them as design items and I also love collecting them as trophies, and as personal markers. I can pick one up off of my shelf and remember the point in my life and the and the headspace I was in when I read it.

What books have changed your life?

When I read The Story of B back in my 20’s it really set in my mind that if I had children, I would only ever have one. David Suzuki’s The Legacy hammered the point home; I’ve fathered one child and recently got a vasectomy. We’re done.

The one book you always recommend is…

I’ve gifted a bunch of copies of Bright Waters, Bright Fish by Roderick Haig-Brown over the years. It’s a book about fishing in Canada that was commissioned by the government in the ’70s and all of its messaging about conservation and what fishing means to us as a culture still stands true today. It’s also got some incredible photography in it.

Favourite Vancouver/Lower Mainland writer?

Michael Christie, even though he doesn’t live here any more. His first book, The Beggar’s Garden, is another one that I love recommending and giving to people. It won the City of Vancouver Book Award for 2011 largely due to it being a really intimate look into the livers of some characters in the Downtown Eastside whom we only ever see from a car window, or when we view them down our nose. It humanizes them, tells real stories that involves them and ends up helping the reader understand a bit of what it’s like to live down there, and how and why it happens.

One of Bob’s bookcases at home…

What writer would you love to hear read their work?

I’m looking forward to hearing Grant Lawrence read from his next book. He’s an incredible storyteller, written but mostly verbally. He has this self-deprecating way of relaying stories that I’ve never seen anybody else pull off.

What book or story impressed you as a child?  Were you obsessed with any particular ones?

I was really into Gordon Korman as a kid. I read every one of his Mcdonald Hall series about these two kids who get into hijinx at their private school. I never went to private school but I could really get down with the hijinx angle.

What is the most cherished item in your library?

A few months back I splurged and bought a limited edition copy of Bright Waters, Bright Fish. It’s in a fancy slipcase, was released in an edition of 1000, never supposed to be for sale, and it’s hand numbered. Whenever I need to get a copy of the regular edition to give as a gift I go into McLeod’s and they’ve got them for $20, always, and this one was sitting next to the regular ones tempting me for months until I gave in. It was priced at $200 but they reminded me that if you buy 3 hard covers you get one for free, so I got a decent discount on it by picking up two other books at the same time.

…and a couple at the Vancouver is Awesome office.

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?

I’d rather choose a reader as a mentor: my father. He introduced me to the awesomeness of reading early in life and had a fantastic collection of books that I started digging into in my early teens.

Your life story is published tomorrow. What’s the title??

Nobody Will (Or Should) Buy This.

 

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