Library's Amanda Barnhart joins author Christopher Paolini for virtual National Book Festival interview

The Library's Amanda Barnhart, manager of the North-East Branch, participated in an online conversation with author Christopher Paolini about his new book To Sleep in a Sea of Stars on September 8, 2021, as part of PBS Books' video interview series tied to the 2021 Library of Congress National Book Festival: “Open a Book, Open the World." The discussion was livestreamed and is available to watch on YouTube.

Towards the beginning of the conversation, Barnhart asked Paolini, "What books opened your world as a child and made you interested in becoming a writer?"

"I read a lot as a child," Paolini shared. "My mom is a trained Montessori teacher and has studied education all her life, so I read a lot growing up. A lot of children's books — Dr. Seuss, Beverly Cleary, Tom Swift... those sorts of things.

"I didn't really, truly fall in love with one genre or style of story until I picked up a copy of David Eddings' book. It was The Ruby Knight, and I think it had just been published, and I was 8 years old, and I saw it in the bookstore with my grandfather. I had no idea what the book was about, but it had this scaly monster on the cover and this  knight in full armor with a spear facing the monster. All I knew is that any book that had that in the book had to be the most awesome book ever written, and I had to read it.

"That just opened my eyes to fantasy as a genre. So many books that completely changed not only my perception of reading, but my perception of reality and of life itself."

Paolini was born in Southern California and has lived most his life in Paradise Valley, Montana. He published his first novel, Eragon, in 2003 at age nineteen, and quickly became a publishing phenomenon. His Inheritance Cycle—Eragon and its three sequels—have sold nearly 40 million copies worldwide. To Sleep in a Sea of Stars is his first adult novel.

Previously a teen librarian for 16 years at the Library's Trails West Branch, Barnhart is also the immediate past president of the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA).

Explore more books by Christopher Paolini in our catalog >