6 questions we hardly ever ask: Kurtis Scaletta, author

You are about to experience a great moment in MN Reads’ history. Yes, we’re making history here today. How exciting is that?

I’m pretty pleased that Kurtis Scaletta now holds the unique honor of being the first person to appear twice in MN Reads’ 6 questions feature (read his first set of answers). That bodes well for both of us. First, it shows that MN Reads has been around long enough that our favorite Minnesota authors (two MN Reads reviewers loved his first book Mudville) are releasing their second books. It also means Kurtis has a new book out.

Today is the release of his second middle-grade novel, Mamba Point, about a young boy in Liberia and the deadly snake he befriends. On Saturday he’ll be celebrating the new book with a publication party and reading at 2p.m. at the Red Balloon Bookstore, 891 Grand Ave, St. Paul and today he’s humoring us by answering the 6 questions we hardly ever ask.

What's the last book you really loved and want everyone to read?
This is challenging because I may really love a book and not want “everyone” to read it, knowing that not everyone will love it as much as I do. And I might actually want everyone (or practically everyone) to read a book that I didn’t really love, but did think made some important points or shed light on something. So what I came up with is Life of Pi. I read it a long time ago, when it came out, but it hits both criteria. I really loved it and I think everyone should read it.

What are your six dream Jeopardy categories?

  1. Rodent or Not?
  2. Jazz-age Mixology
  3. State Capitals
  4. Classic Rock
  5. Rules of Baseball
  6. Grammar 101

Which book in your collection have you had the longest?
It’s hard to judge. I don’t have a battered & chewed-up copy of The Pokey Little Puppy that I’ve had since I was two to show you. I do have several paperbacks from when I first started buying my own books, though, and which survived several moves. Based on publication dates, the oldest might be Flowers for Algernon. The copy I have was printed in ’78 when I was ten, and I know I got it new, not used. So it was ’78 or ’79, not much later, when I got it. I re-read it several times. It’s not even really a kids’ book, but I was a weird kid.

If you could be a fictional character who would you be?
Bertie Wooster. Who wouldn’t want that lifestyle?

If you could be a superhero, what would your superpowers to be?
Teleportation has long been my fantasy. I dislike driving, hate flying, but love to visit other places. If I could choose an additional power, it would be sleeping soundly.

Which book do you keep telling yourself you're going to read, but probably won't?
There’s a lot of books I say I’ll read, re-read, or finish reading. It’s hard to pick one. Just glancing at my bookshelf, I see The Book Thief, several of Patrick O’Brien’s Jack Aubrey books (I loved the first and bought a half-dozen more in the series, but never started the second), The Turtle Catcher. . . a dozen books I wish like anything I’d already read so I could say, oh, of course I’ve read that. . . On the other hand, you never know what you might pick up and read out of sheer stubbornness.

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