Home/Blog Post/A Book-ish Conversation with Charles 

A Book-ish Conversation with Charles 

1. Charles, let’s start by talking about who you are as an independent bookstore. Can you tell us more about what makes Eagle Eye Books so special and important to the fabric of our community for 20+ years now?

One of my favorite things about being an independent bookstore – especially one that’s been around as long as we have – is how we are a reflection of the community itself. In addition to new books, we carry used ones and all of those used books are from people right here in the community. In that way I feel like we’re more curators than a retail business. Also, we’ve been around so long that I’ll be talking with a family in the store, and they’ll mention they’ve been shopping here since they were kids themselves. It shows my age, but it makes me smile much more than wince at the end of the day.

2. What is your favorite thing or hidden joy about independent bookstores?

Every indie is unique. I know that is said quite a lot, but it’s true! I’ve been to independent bookstores all over the country and each one has its own unique vibe. We’re not seeing real innovation from corporate America, I mean…Barnes & Noble is in the middle of a big makeover, attempting to make their stores look more like ours [indies]. 

3. What are two titles folks should grab off your shelves now, and two upcoming titles they should pre-order?

On the shelves now: 

Get Honest or Die Lying: Why Small Talk Sucks by Charlamagne Tha God. This is fresh, straight-talk about why we should cut through the static of ultimately insignificant issues that either keep us from talking to one another or create such division we can’t talk about the bigger issues we should be discussing. CTG makes his “out of pocket” nature really work for him in his new book.

The Thief by Fuminori Nakamura. This is a relatively short novel by one of the most exciting authors writing in Japan currently. The basic premise is simple. A guy who’s a pickpocket (a very good one) is hired for a heist with a big payoff…and things do not go to plan. The author spent 6 months learning about the art of pickpocketing to write the story and it’s reflected in the writing. You feel like you are there with him stealing in the moment.


The Book of Elsewhere by China Miéville & Keanu Reeves. Yes, you heard that right. These two are co-writing this upcoming novel based in the world of BRZRKR, which started as a graphic novel written by Reeves. The main character is an immortal whose only desire is to die. A secret governmental organization promises to assist him…if he takes care of some of their dirty work. 

The Lost Boy of Santa Chionia by Juliet Grames. Set in 1960’s Italy, Francesca is an American trying to establish a nursery school in a very remote part of Calabria when she is approached by a local elderly woman. The woman implores Francesca to solve the mystery of whatever happened to her son so many years ago. So when an outsider enters an isolated and insular community and starts asking questions…they often get more than they bargained for as does the community itself. 

4. The Decatur Book Festival has been a treasured community event for almost 20 years. What makes it so special to Decatur? 

There are a surprising number of authors that live either in Decatur itself, or in the immediate area. This isn’t Brooklyn where you can hardly throw a baseball without hitting a writer, but DBF does a great job of shining a light on the literary community that is Decatur and serves to showcase downtown Decatur at the same time.

5. In an increasingly digital-age, why do you think it’s important for a festival that’s centered around books to exist?

After going through the pandemic we all learned just how easily we can get burnt out on screen time. The last thing people wanted to do after Zooming all day was look at another screen to read. Books are the apex of technology in many ways. You can pick up a book printed 100 years ago or longer and read it. We live in an age when cars aren’t even being produced with CD players by contrast. There is not only an appeal, but a real need for the printed word.

6. When you think of the Decatur Book Festival, do you have a standout memory that comes to mind?

Chelsea Quinn Yarbro and Charlaine Harris doing their sexy vampire talk in the sanctuary of First Baptist of Decatur. Witnessing that just showed me how this is a very different book festival, in all the best ways.

7. What are you most looking forward to at this year’s festival?

Definitely the cookbook talks and demos! I love cooking, talking about cooking, eating…all of it! We do a lot of cookbook events here at Eagle Eye and it’s even better when you can present that on a much larger stage.

8. What’s an older title that you think deserves more attention?

The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas. Not the abridged version! There have been some good attempts at adapting this for the screen, but nothing beats the original book. I consider this to be the defining revenge story for the ages. Both a book and an author that are much more influential than either is given enough credit for. 

9. What book made you fall in love with reading? Can you tell us why? 

There are a lot of books that could fall under this heading, but an incredibly seminal work was The Stand by Stephen King. The summer between 5th and 6th grade I read the uncut/unedited version of this in two days, which must have been about 1,300 pages in all. Was it a bit early in life to read this book? Probably. But then it explains a lot about my taste today. King famously does not outline his novels and always writes from a character first perspective and all of those characters felt like real people to me. I couldn’t get enough.