Willem Van Lancker, left, and Eric Stromberg, who co-founded mobile reading service Oyster
with Andrew Brown, on their start-up and the best books for travel

Favorite vacation books…
Willem: Books you can pick up and drop easily. Short story or essay collections are great — you can finish one on your flight or in an afternoon on the beach. My favorite essay (and essay collection) would have to be A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again by David Foster Wallace. It chronicles his trip on a Royal Caribbean 7NC (seven-night cruise). Probably best to not read this while on a cruise.

The book I’d want if stranded on an island…
Willem: How to Win Friends & Influence People. Seems like it would come in handy.
Eric: The book I forgot to pack, of course.

Best book to gift…
Willem: The gift of hundreds of thousands of books on Oyster! In all seriousness, the best to gift are beautiful physical objects, like the Penguin Drop Caps editions by Jessica Hische or pretty much anything designed by Peter Mendelsund.

Oyster is…
Eric: The best way to read books. Unlimited access and beautiful design on devices at the center of your life.

The inspiration…
Eric: To change the way people read, both in quantity and quality. We’re already hearing from readers everywhere that they’re picking up classic books in their spare time as opposed to playing mindless games on their phone. Because the cost is so low, our readers can try authors and genres they would not have otherwise explored.

The story behind the name…
Willem: It’s based on the now-famous line “the world’s mine oyster” uttered by Pistol, Falstaff’s servant, in The Merry Wives of Windsor. Of course, he’s angry that Falstaff won’t lend him any money, so he means to cut open whatever he needs (purses, men) to find his pearls. But we see it as more metaphorical.

New authors to love…
Willem: Patrick DeWitt, author of The Sisters Brothers, is the new author I am rooting for.
Eric: Our editorial team is especially excited about Leigh Stein, Chinelo Okparanta, Sarah Bruni and Jonathan Miles — all on Oyster.

And lastly, favorite type of oyster to eat…
Willem: Whatever Hemingway’s eating: “As I ate the oysters with their strong taste of the sea and their faint metallic taste that the cold white wine washed away, leaving only the sea taste and the succulent texture, and as I drank their cold liquid from each shell and washed it down with the crisp taste of the wine, I lost the empty feeling and began to be happy and to make plans.” — A Moveable Feast

Photographed by Mimi Ritzen Crawford
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  • anonymous

    this is great

  • Nancy

    One of the left is a cutie. Love that sweater :*