Eric Valenzuela
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What are you reading?

“Rick Steves’ Ireland 2015. And I also have Rick Steves’ Scotland.”

Why are you reading them?

“My travel agent with AAA recommended them by saying that no other travel writer does as good a job at providing first-hand knowledge. Rick Steves has been to the places he writes about, and he’s very hands-on.”

Who is your favorite author?

“Tom Clancy, because every book that he writes, whether it’s 400 pages or 1000 pages, keeps your attention. It’s intense until the very end, and it keeps you enthralled. At the same time, his writing is very detail-oriented, very well-researched, very skilled, and very technical. If you’re an analyst or have any sort of background in engineering, you’ll appreciate it because it’s so intricate. I have family in the military, and I think anybody from a military background would be attracted to his stories. The dialogue is often just like what you would hear on a military base. I’m about to start Debt of Honor again; I started it once before and got halfway through it.”

What’s it about?

“Have you seen the Jack Ryan movies with Harrison Ford? They’re based on Clancy’s books. In Debt of Honor, Ryan actually becomes president of the United States. The book follows him as he makes military decisions based on his background in the CIA. He has a tight group of advisors who did counterintelligence with him in the CIA, but now he’s brought them up to the executive level.”

What book has been most life-changing for you?

“Probably Interview with a Vampire, by Anne Rice. It’s a book to be read more than once. It showed me that while times change and surroundings change, the way people go about their business doesn’t really change. The human condition is always the same. In one story, the vampire Lestat comes back to life after being buried under a house for something like a hundred years. Instead of living in the shadows, he tries to fit in. He hides that he’s a vampire, but he doesn’t hide who he is deep down. He’s very upfront, very vain, very outspoken, and very seductive. He lures you in.”

And the fact that he can just slide into the world and keep doing his thing is an indication that the human condition doesn’t change?

“Right. Also, I like Rice’s Victorian style, the romanticism of being a vampire and all that.”

Do you read a lot?

“Probably about seven years ago, I was one of those people who would just go down to the bookstore to see what was new. At least once a month on a Saturday — see what they have, sit down, peruse.”

What changed?

“I used to live in East County, so it was much easier — there wasn’t as much to do. Now I live in Point Loma. I’m also more physically active than I used to be; I want to be outdoors and enjoy the summer weather as much as possible before the time change. But I still like coming here.”

When you do read, how long is a session?

“If I’m inside, maybe an hour. But if I’m outside, I’ll read for three hours sometimes.”

Do you talk to your friends about reading?

“One of my coworkers actually likes the same style of books that I do, and we used to talk about books. But he hasn’t been able to read as much lately because he’s been doing a lot of church stuff.”

Name: ERIC VALENZUELA | Age: 41 | Occupation: KAISER MEDICAL RECORDS CLERK | Neighborhood: POINT LOMA | Where interviewed: STARBUCKS IN HAZARD CENTER

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