Skip to main content


March 25, 2014

Valerie Giambona on THE PRESERVATIONIST and meeting Justin Kramon

Posted by emily

Last October we gave 150 groups a copy of THE PRESERVATIONIST by Justin Kramon, as well as the chance to meet the author. Justin visited the “Red Pages Book Club” of Secaucus, NJ on February 26th, and the members were so pleased that founder Valerie Giambona was kind enough to share their experience with Here, Valerie talks about Justin, THE PRESERVATIONIST and why having an author visit is “the icing on the cake.”

(Val pictured back row fourth from the left) What did you and your group members think about THE PRESERVATIONIST?

Valerie Giambona: Our book club enjoyed the thriller THE PRESERVATIONIST. It was a burst of energy in comparison to our usual reading and discussion of literary and historical fiction. The author of THE PRESERVATIONIST, Justin Kramon, visiting our book club put the icing on the cake and made the meeting so much better. Bellisimo!

RGG: Have you had authors meet with your group in the past? What works for you about this kind of an experience?

VG: In the past three years we have had three authors visit our meetings. Being a librarian, I am lucky to meet and speak with authors at library conferences and events throughout the year. My club members, however, do not have such a great opportunities. When an author comes to our meeting and answers many of our questions, he or she brings so much more to the reading experience.

RGG: What were some of the topics that you discussed with Justin?

VG: We discussed Justin’s writing process in comparison to other authors that have attended our book club, as well as the background and development of the different characters. We also spoke with Justin about our opinion of the characters in the book and, most importantly, the question of whether we should look out for a sequel or not.

RGG: What suggestions do you have for book groups who have an author join them at their meeting?

VG: My best suggestion for other book groups would be to have their members have an open mind while reading the book and developing questions for the author. Personally, I don’t choose to read thrillers because I feel like I’m going to have a heart attack while reading, but I walked into reading the book with an open mind and, after speaking with Justin, I appreciated THE PRESERVATIONIST so much more.

RGG: Did you come away from your discussion with any new insights into the book?

VG: One of the main things that we walked away from the meeting with regarding the book was that we weren’t supposed to like the characters. It seems like a strange notion, but Justin told us that he wrote the characters in a way that none of them was supposed to be likable. Prior to the meeting a few of our members had mentioned to me that they didn’t have a sympathetic feeling toward any of the main characters and they were worried, but thankfully Justin put their minds at ease.

RGG: Has your group read many thrillers in the past?

VG: Our group does not often read thriller books because we have a hard time discussing them. At the end of the book a character or a few characters are dead and the story is, generally speaking, cut and dry, so we prefer a little more of a lively discussion. Though we will certainly look into a thriller that Justin mentioned as one of his favorites, THE BUTTERFLY COLLECTOR, as a future attempt at reading thrillers.

RGG: Why do you think this book works well for book groups?

VG: THE PRESERVATIONIST works well for book groups because there is more to the story than just a killer and a dead body. Having the author give a little more insight also helps the discussion immensely.

Our book club thoroughly appreciated having Justin Kramon attend our meeting and adding his background to our book discussion. Not only was the book a great read, but the author was a brilliant addition to the meeting. We would love to have him come back and bounce future book ideas off of us any time.