Name: Ruby Tsaturyan
Neighborhood: Normal Heights
Where Interviewed: Borders Books in Mission Valley
What book are you currently reading?
"I just finished The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Luiz Zafon. It's by a young author who lives in Spain. I thought it was fascinating; it kept me up all night."
Who were your favorite characters?
"All the characters are rich -- I mean, not wealthy, but deep. My favorite character is the main one. He's a young guy who accidentally gets himself into a pickle. The book opens with talk about a cemetery for dead books, lost books, books that hardly anybody reads anymore. The main character's father takes his son to this cemetery, where he must pick out one book and become the guardian of that book."
Tell me about the style and language.
"The book was translated from Spanish, and the translation was wonderful, very easy to understand."
Any favorite passages?
"None from The Shadow of the Wind but I also just finished The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov, and I have hundreds of favorite passages from that. One was, 'Never ask for anything, especially of those who are much stronger. They will offer it themselves, and they will give it themselves." Another -- 'All people are good.'"
What book was most life-changing for you?
"The Master and Margarita. It had a tremendous impact, philosophically and spiritually. It challenged religion and people in their regular capacities by asking a lot of questions and not giving clear answers. Questions about likes and dislikes, and who we think we are. And I think it gave a better understanding of the life-old question of 'what is love.'"
Tell me about the style on that one.
"It's translated from Russian, and it's not a book that you would pick up for a light read. And if you do read it, you either love it or hate it."
Who are your favorite authors?
"I like a lot of Russian authors. Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, and Bulgakov are definitely my top three. I like them partly because I had a Russian education -- even though I am not Russian -- and also because they have written classics. Dostoevsky, psychologically -- he took a murderer and tried to give all the insight as to why he killed an old woman, and why he was justifying it."
What magazines or newspapers do you read? How many articles do you read to the end?
"I don't read many newspapers, because they upset me. As for magazines, probably things that have to do with my work: florals, weddings, all boring stuff. But anything I start, I read to the end."
Do you talk to your friends about reading?
"I belong to a couple of virtual reading clubs. Most of the friends that I talk to about books live in Europe. We talk on the phone or use e-mail or use a webcam. Most of them have backgrounds in the arts. The conversations are always long. I think we all accept that some people like things that some other people don't. It's always interesting to say, 'Oh, you really think that? You crazy bastard!' Things you disagree on, you explore further, and the more you explore, the more interesting it gets."