'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Thursday, 28 November 2019

Look What I'm Reading! Alison Worrad

Alison Worrad is the Publicist at EK Books, the children’s imprint of Exisle Publishing. Alison has been with EK since their first picture book toddled off the press nearly 6 years ago, and has watched in awe as the little imprint grew into a strong brand known for publishing beautifully crafted Australian picture books with memorable messages on issues that matter.  

Which children’s book are you currently reading?
Jasper Jones by Craig Silvey.

Can you tell us in two sentences what the book is about?
 Set in a small Australian town, Jasper Jones is the story of a scholarly boy who finds himself embroiled in a ghoulish mystery. It holds up a mirror to prejudice that exists just below the surface (and often much more prominently) in many Australian communities. The Monthly described it as Australia’s To Kill a Mockingbird, which is a huge call and bang on point.

How much did you enjoy/are enjoying this title?
 It’s pacey, it’s empathetic and it did for me the thing I look for most in a book; it gave me a deeper insight into the human condition. Can you ask more from a story than that? I don’t think so. At the same time, it is deliciously Australian, so it feels a little like pulling on a familiar cardigan, that fits and smells just right (even if you are little embarrassed to be seen in it). 

What made you choose this title? Was it a review, advertising, the cover, the blurb, the author/illustrator, or the subject/genre?
My son read it as a text for school and came home wide-eyed and excited about the story. I just HAD to know what was between the covers of a YA book that had my teenage boy (who usually reads nothing but fantasy) so enthralled. I wanted to better understand what interested him but found myself swiftly falling down the rabbit hole too.

What other titles are on your bedside table /To Read Pile?
The Testaments (which I confess to be deeply disappointed up to date, despite being a HUGE Margaret Atwood fan.) Nine Perfect Strangers, by Liane Moriarty and Berlin: Portrait of a City Through the Centuries by Rory Maclean

How did you come by these titles: personal choice/request, publisher’s review copy, or other?
Personal choice and the recommendations of friends.

Do you have a favourite genre? If so, what is it, and why do you prefer it?
Historical fiction. I am a sucker for using personal narratives to travel through the worm hole of time to understand what it might have been like in another era. The mix of story and good old fashioned sleeves-rolled-up research, appeals to the would-be journalist in me. Geraldine Brooks is a god! I am fascinated that she moved from a career as a foreign correspondent, where she felt readers where unmoved by the social injustices she uncovered, to historical fiction in a bid to foster better understanding of the world around us.

Do you read from printed books or some other medium? Please expand a little on the why of your choice.
A bit of everything. I still like print books, but when I travel I use an ereader to minimise weight (and to sneakily make the text bigger to maintain the illusion that I don’t REALLY need glasses! I am a huge consumer of audio books as well. There never seems to be enough hours in the day and listening to a wonderful story while doing something I would rather not do (like exercising or cleaning the house) is a great guilt-free way to make more time for books.

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