Owen Laukkanen

Owen Laukkanen: 'as a society, we lose by restricting reading material'

"I have happy memories of spending time in the library surrounded by books, just wandering through the fiction, nonfiction"

As a kid my parents would take me to the library all the time, kind of on a weekly basis and I think we'd take half the library home with us at each time. And we'd read a bunch of books.

We had a big old house and the books would all get lost. Ultimately, we had to stop going to thelibrary, because we were racking up so many fines, because we'd takes so many books home, read them, and then never bring them back. So, my memory is of angry librarians shaking their fists at us when they ran our card through the scanner.

My parents did everything they could to foster reading and...I have happy memories of spending time in the library surrounded by books, just wandering through the fiction, nonfiction, adult fiction, teen fiction. So, I think that as a writer, you know, you have to be a reader first, and definitely my love of reading came, in large part, from trips to the library as a kid.

I think that any time we got a chance to go to a school library, go to a library, as a kid, was a wonderful time, too. I think, as I say, I was a reader, pretty much my whole life, so getting a chance to slough off math class and go read for a while surrounded by books, was certainly a joy for me.

Later, I did some mentoring work in the school library and have since come back to libraries to do talks in high schools, so yeah, so, a library in a high school, or a school in general is an oasis of reading and a really valuable resource for kids.

Today I do a lot of library visits and a lot of library talks, and I think they're fantastic ways to meet readers and to reach out to readers, which is uh...I really a lot of joy and pleasure out of talking to readers and meeting people who like books. I think that writer or reader, we're all book lovers at heart, so libraries are a good meeting point for that .

Ahh...I'm Canadian, so I'm...there's a socialist side to me.I'm all for libraries getting as much of the budget as possible. I think that they're valuable to the community and I'm anti-library budgets cuts to the extreme.

As a writer, banning books just kind of gets my proverbial goat. It's not something I'm into, I mean, I think that as a society we lose by restricting reading material. By restricting people's right to free expression. I'm against it. Sure.

Well, the book that's out now,"Criminal Enterprise," wil be out in March, is the second in my series of crime thrillers starring a Minnesota State Policeman and an FBI agent. This one's about a man, an accountant who loses his job and in order to pay the mortgage he turns to bank robbery and the cops have to go and find him. 

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