READ ALL OVER — Tracy Stefanucci


Read All Over celebrates the bookworm in all of us, showcasing readers in Vancouver and the books they love most..
Tracy Stefanucci is the Executive Director of OCW Arts & Publishing Foundation, which runs Project Space and puts on the Vancouver Art/Book Fair. She is also the Publications Coordinator at the Vancouver Art Gallery and teaches in the Master of Publishing program at Simon Fraser University.

What was the last book you read?

It Chooses You by Miranda July. I loved it. It was really amazing to hear about her process while creating her film The Future and to get a glimpse of her personality. It was the first thing I’ve read by her where she was just talking in her own personal voice. It was interesting how the photos in it come across as photo essays, and that the people she meets really come across as characters through the way she interviews them. Hearing her inner narrative, her inner dialogue as she meets theses people, is really fascinating.

Who is your favourite Vancouver writer?

It would be a tie between Amber Dawn and Cathleen With. Two of my favourite books are Sub Rosa and Having Faith in the Polar Girls’ Prison.

Where is your favourite place to read?

I started really loving getting short story books and reading them in the bath. Previously I wasn’t really satisfied by short stories, but I love that one short story is a good length of time to be in the bath. It’s a good therapeutic activity when I’m really stressed out.

In general, though, my favourite time to read is when I get to go on some sort of vacation, somewhere quiet, where I get to read in natural surroundings.

What stories impressed you as a child?

I was the kind of kid who just tore through a bunch of books. My elementary school librarian really loved me because I’d come in and it would be like, “You’ve got to read this! And this! And this!” and I’d be loaded up with books.

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

Libraries make me a little bit nauseous because there are so many books and I don’t know where to start. I like print books and I usually like them borrowed from a friend because I like that element of the people who know me saying, “Oh you’ve got to read this book, I think you’ll really like it.”

I think eventually I might be open to reading digitally, but right now I don’t own a tablet or a reader. And for some of the things I really love to read, particularly art books, the form is an important part of the content. Even, for example, the Miranda July book I mentioned earlier—I actually have both the paperback and the hardcover (I bought one and one was given to me as a gift). I thought I would sell one, but they’re both so beautiful. The paperback has these great French folds and the hardcover makes the book feel so significant. They both feature bright orange endpapers, beautiful layouts and typography, and large type that makes the text feel very conversational, informal and intimate. In addition to loving the narrative, interviews and photos in the books, I really like both as objects.

What magazines, print or online,  can you not live without?

I’m actually a fairly frustrating audience member for magazine publishers … I’m insatiably curious about magazines, particularly print art, design or literary magazines, and even more particularly those that in some way use the print form to create a unique experience for the reader. But I like to read a bit of this and a a bit of that and to flip through and look at magazines, rather than to read specific magazines with loyalty. Project Space is also enabling in that I can look at everything without buying it (I’m a terrible role model for our customers!).

However, I do consistently read A Public Space (a literary magazine out of Brooklyn that has a very beautiful, book-like format and features excellent writing) and Lucky Peach (the food magazine published by McSweeney’s, which is unpredictable, cheeky and also finds little ways to do special things with the print magazine) cover to cover and am a big fan of both.

Is there one book that you always recommend?

Everything is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer is probably my favourite book in general. I always recommend it to people because it was the first time I saw someone so successfully play with form as well as content in their writing. I love the way that the book is split into sections written in three completely different voices, each one totally captivating. And the way that he plays with words on the page, even though it is a novel. This is commonplace in poetry, but it’s more rare to see someone do this in fiction. And the way he does it, it doesn’t feel gratuitous—it doesn’t feel like he’s using playing with form in order to be different or experimental or weird. It feels like that’s the only way he knows how to translate the emotion or meaning of particular moments in the story. I’m really captivated by how his use of form is able to take me on such an emotionally resonant journey.

And it made me cry.

Project Space is currently hosting a Book Sale Fundraiser benefiting the Real Vancouver Writers Series and Project Space. Hundreds of books from Sean Cranbury‘s personal collection are up for grabs. Thursday Feb 28 – Sunday March 3, 1-5pm at 222 E. Georgia St.