Name: Shaun Gilbert

Age: 16

Neighborhood: La Mesa

Occupation: Student

Where Interviewed: Harry Potter book release party at the La Mesa Public Library

What books are you currently reading?

The book I most recently finished is Stormbreaker) by Anthony Horowitz. It's set in Britain, and it's about an American kid named Alex Rider. His uncle is dead, and he finds the cause suspicious: he's told that the uncle was in a car crash, and wasn't wearing a seat belt. Alex knows his uncle was always very careful. So he goes to the dump and finds that the car windows were shattered by bullets. Eventually, he's blackmailed into being a spy for his country. There was a lot of suspense and action, and it was very thorough and descriptive.

Favorite characters?

Alex -- he's basically a 14-year-old version of James Bond.

Tell me about style and language.

It's a normal writing style, written in third person. The only thing that might be confusing to some people is the use of British terms, like "snogging" for "kissing" and "snooker," which is like pool.

Favorite passages?

Well, I had a favorite scene, where Alex is playing snooker with the villain, and he acts like he's really bad at the game, and then later, beats the villain easily. It's full of smart, funny talk."

Compare with other books you've read?

Mostly, I read fantasy books, things like Eragon , Harry Potter , and Lord of the Rings . Books that have more complicated plotlines and go into more detail. Fantasy fascinates me. There's a very thin line between fantasy and sci-fi. What we think cannot possibly be would be categorized as fantasy, and what we think is not, but possibly could be, is classified as sci-fi. I've heard of reading for fun being called "escape reading." For me, fantasy is more of an escape -- to jump into a new realm, new ways of thinking -- than sitting in the same world with new inventions, most of which will be possible within the next decade.

What book has been most life-changing for you?

The Bible, because it's the truth, and makes me see what life is about. I have a favorite verse: "The King will answer to you, saying, 'Whatever you have done unto the least of these brothers of mine, you have done unto me.'" Matthew 25:40.

Tell me about your favorite authors?

My favorite author of all time is Christopher Paolini, the author of Eragon. He has a new style. He created a new language, a new world. In that way, he's similar to Tolkien, but he puts more detail into everything he writes. Dwarves have multiple gods, elves are vegans, human beliefs and skills are widely varied. In Eragon , when you cast a spell, it takes away your energy, as if you actually did the thing by hand. The spell is just a shortcut, a way to do it faster or in a different way. With Harry Potter, you just say a charm and flick your wand. You don't lose any energy; it just happens.

What magazines or newspapers do you read?

None.

What conversations do you have about what you're reading?

I talk about books in my book club here at the library. We have a sheet of questions, and the person who reads the question answers first. Then anyone who wants to answer can speak. I speak when I find the question interesting; usually they get me to think about the book in a different way.

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