Name: Nick Berg
Position: Bookseller, philosopher, hunky dude
1. Why did you want to work in a bookstore?There are three things every great city must possess: an old movie theater, a good coffee shop and a great bookstore. In Milwaukee, you can find all of these components on the same block. From the moment I stepped onto Downer Avenue, and likewise, into Boswell Books, I knew I’d found nirvana.
2. Which section of the store would you consider your “specialty”?Normally nonfiction (history, science, cooking, etc), but I’ll admit to a fondness for children’s books. I’m an illustrator, and I draw a lot of inspiration from the work of the masters - Dr. Seuss, Tomie dePaola, Chris van Allsburg, Eric Carle, E.B. White, Quentin Blake, Don Wood, Maurice Sendak...
3. What book has kept a permanent place on your “favorite books” list?Cloudy With a Chance Of Meatballs. Ron Barrett’s illustrations were what inspired wee, little six-year-old Nick to pick up a pencil and draw.
4. What’s on your reading list right now?I’m digging science and physics writing lately – I’m working through Brian Cox and Michio Kaku at the moment. I’ve been a huge fan of cooking literature lately as well; can’t wait to read Blood, Bones & Butter by Gabrielle Hamilton, The Sorcerer’s Apprentices by Lisa Abend, It Must Have Been Something I Ate by Jeffrey Steingarten, and A History Of The World In 6 Glasses by Tom Standage.
Mary Roach; she’s brilliant. And Stephen Fry is hilarious.
5. Who is your newest favorite author?
6. Which writer would render you speechless if you met him/her?If he were living, I’d want to sit down for a mojito with Hemingway. Otherwise meeting Bill Bryson would be incredible – the guy’s a genius. I’d imagine a conversation with him would be amazing.
7. With which fictional character can you most relate?Calvin, of Bill Watterson's genius Calvin and Hobbes comic strips: Adventurous, an avid comic book reader, intensely imaginative, curious, inexplicably intelligent, loyal, extraordinarily well-spoken and deeply philosophical, yet prone to pure idiocy. Sounds like me!
8. Someone wrote your biography – what is the title?I Hope You Wore Clean Underwear.
9. If you were a super-villain, what would be your name and who would be your arch-nemesis?The Quoter – I’d speak only in dialogue from film and television - with terrible impersonations included, of course. My arch-nemesis would be Captain Copyright.
10. You’ve been asked to select four commercial-free hours worth of programming for a cable TV station, what shows/movies would you put on it?Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz.
11. What pop culture decade would help your team win Trivia Night, thanks to you?I have a certain affinity for all things 90's, but I believe I could hold my own with just about any other decade.
12. Coffee or Tea?Yes, please.
13. Can you bake a cake?Boy, can I! I'm also remarkably talented at eating them. I'm happy to show you.