An Interview with Carl Deuker - by Kyle Thumar
Kyle: How has reading helped you throughout your life?
Carl Deuker: Perspective. You read and the world opens up; you don't and you're like a horse with blinders on. You see straight ahead and nothing else. It's a big world.
Kyle: How do you think the issue of males being less proficient in reading than females can be solved?
Carl Deuker: One important thing is to show some respect to the books boys actually like and want to read--sports books, adventure books, myth, etc. Too often boys read a book and then hear something from their teacher/librarian like: "That's great that you finished that book, now try this one." Then they get handed a book that deals with interpersonal relationships. Real message: "The books you like are inferior. Now that you're done with your warm-up, try this superior book." Look at most reading lists for high school English classes, and you'll usually find very few that are "boy" books. Look at Newbery Winners--not too many intended for boys.
Kyle: What was your favorite book as a child? Now?
Carl Deuker: Baron of the Bullpen by Dick Friendlich. Great baseball story of defeat, misery, triumph. Jim Baron gives up a home run to lose the championship; fights his way back and wins the title the next year. Today . . . Moby Dick by Herman Melville. It has everything. A great story, natural history, compelling characters, even poetry and drama. I read it every two or three years.
Kyle: Why do you believe that it is important to develop and maintain a passion for reading throughout your life?
Carl Deuker: When you enter the work world, you find yourself friends with people who are -- in many respects -- similar in outlook. Books keep the mind active. Without them, complacency is a huge danger.
Kyle: How do you determine whether or not to read a book?
Carl Deuker: I read reviews, listen to friends, and then have some favorite authors that I go back to whenever I've read a couple of dogs and absolutely need a good book.
Kyle: Is there anything that I’ve missed that you’d like to address?
Carl Deuker: And . . . I'm a great believer that there is a time and place for books. What a person loves at 20 may seem stupid at 35. That doesn't mean the book was stupid, it means that the time when it spoke to the reader is past. So . . . I'm cautious about rereading favorite books. I hate to spoil the good feelings they created. Keeping the good feelings is more important than rereading the book. Moving on is a good thing.