Original Recipe Cannonballer Brian Prisco stepped into the crosshairs for this month’s Q&A. This whole shebang is partially his fault, and we love him for it.
How many times have you participated in CBR?
I kicked off the original. And then I bowed out for a while. I did the last one, Cannonball Read Seven. And maybe possibly probably I will do the tenth one, when it comes around.
Since you’re an Original, can you tell us a quick AlabamaPink story?
No. But I can tell you a long one. Because I love to hear myself talk.
A friend of mine was making a list of New Year’s resolutions. One of which was “I would like to read 100 books in a year.” And so I said, “I think I can do that. Does anyone else want to read 100 books?” And Amanda said, “Hell yeah.” And I said, “Oh, great. I literally have to fight someone with cancer. This is bullshit. You monster.” But then began our Phileas Fogg-like sprint. We established the ground rules: you had to post a review to prove you read it. None of this Book-It, I wrote five titles didn’t I gimme my goddamn Personal Pizza horseshit. And I added the caveat that if someone recommended a book, I had to read it. And then Dustin decided he would post it on the site. And from there it spiraled out of control. It was so much fun, and we would send each other taunts and encouragement back and forth. When we were in Austin for SXSW, we talked about maybe getting some folks together and swinging over to where she was receiving treatment, but then we thought that’d be weird and intrusive and plus, SXSW is sort of a non-stop film-a-thon. So we didn’t go. And then Amanda passed. So I trudged across the finish-line, and I thought that would be it.
What you folks have made of this is so much more than I ever could have imagined or envisioned. I kind of dropped the torch and muttered off in a corner like the malcontent that I am. And then Nicole Fuscia took it over for a few years and kept it alive. And then MsWas just sort of made it a real boy. I mean, there’s a website. There are hundreds of participants. It legitimately raises money for cancer, and in the name of a pretty terrific woman that I never got to know nearly well enough because she was taken before her time. I can only take credit for starting the fire, but you all, you kept it burning bright and fierce and incredible.
Has being a participant changed the way you read? If so, how?
I used to read more than one book at a time, but now it’s constant. I’ve got three or four books going at a time. A ton of that is the glory of the Kindle. Right now, I’m jumping back and forth between The Elf Queen of Shannara and League of Dragons, the final Temeraire book (which was among many of the phenomenal recommendations I received during the original Cannonball Read). I’ve got The Familiar, Vol. 3: Honeysuckle and Pain out from the library. And I’ve got House of the Seven Gables on my phone to read if I’m out and have a little free time.
I also have learned how much reviews matter. If you read someone’s book and you put out your review, someone’s going to read it. Be it the author, be someone considering the book, they are going to use that. Even if it’s 250 words. Even if it’s a star rating on Goodreads. It’s awesome when someone reads your book. It’s awesomer when someone reviews your book. It’s awesomest when someone tells you they read your book and they loved it.
What’s the first book you recommend to new friends?
From my days working in a bookstore, I always asked someone, what were the last two books you read that you liked? And then I would spiral off into recommendations. Right now, I’m trying to get people hyped about Megan Abbott and her neo-noir. And I think a fun summer read for folks are the Hap and Leonard books of Joe R. Lansdale. Can’t go wrong with Chuck Wendig either.
Do you read the Cannonball reviews of your own book, or is that too fraught?
I will absolutely read reviews of my own book. There aren’t that many, and everyone has been relatively kind. More people were pissed off about HOW I wrote my books rather than the content. Kickstarter: Ruining What You Thought Were Friendships Since Whenever The Shit It Started. I hope more people read my stuff and write reviews. I’m gonna still be writing them so I hope someone’s at least enjoying them. I’m currently working on putting out the second Twenty-Sided Die book, Other Worlds Than These in August, and then October will see the fourth Boogeymen novelette, Game Shows Touch Our Lives.
Pizza crust: Chicago or New York?
The best pizza in the world is made in Scranton/Old Forge, PA. Where I grew up in Quakertown, there were like six pizzerias in town, and they were all outstanding. In all the subsequent cities I’ve lived, they essentially put Ragu on crackers and then smother it with a Whole Foods salad bar and call it pizza. It’s an atrocity against humanity.
So I guess New York style? I don’t consider Chicago pizza to be pizza. I consider it to be a pot pie made with marinara sauce, and it is ridiculously delicious. But I don’t think it’s pizza.