Being a new father to an 11 week old girl, l read the Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle over and over and over again to my daughter Macy. She loves looking at the bright colors. I am also reading “My First Pop Up Book” to her. I’m personally reading “Oscar & Lucinda” by Peter Carey but The Very Hungry Caterpillar is getting in the way with my progress. Although it’s slow going with “Oscar and Lucinda, l am enjoying it.
What are your earliest memories of a book/reading?
Hmm!! Definitely the Little Golden Book series. Do you remember those? (I nod!!) Mainly fairytales including Goldilocks and the Three Bears, Little Red Riding Hood and The Three Little Pigs. I remember the distinct nature of the gold & black stripe spine and the hard cover featuring a picture of the fairy tale. The first book l managed to conquer myself was Dr Seuss “Wacky Wednesday”. From then on l fell in love with Dr Seuss that may explain a lot. How so? I’m slightly an odd ball!!
What is the funniest book you have ever read?
I have to say the BFG. Not in its entirety. It’s the Chapter titled Frobscottle and Whizzpoppers. I laughed myself silly when l read this. Sophie asks the BFG for some water to drink. He tells her there is no water; they drink frobscottle instead. Frobscottle is a sweet, fizzy, green drink a little like soda, except that the bubbles go down instead of up. When Sophie tells the BFG the bubbles go the wrong way, he becomes flustered and again treats Sophie as though she doesn’t know anything. He insists that bubbles going up are wrong since they will cause a person to rudely burp. Sophie correctly deduces that if bubbles travelling up make you burp, then bubbles travelling down must cause flatulence. The BFG calls this whizzpopping and says it’s a sign of happiness.
Sophie is embarrassed and says they don’t talk about “whizzpopping” where she comes from. There’s got to be something funny about reading about soda and flatulence!!
What is the saddest book you have ever read?
The Secret River by Kate Granville. It is an historical fiction set in Australia and it follows the life of William Thornhill, an ex-convict, and his growing family eking out a living in the newly established colony of Sydney. In an attempt to improve his life, William decides to take his family up the largely uncharted Hawkesbury River to claim a plot of land and grow produce and livestock to sell in Sydney. Soon though Thornhill and others who have also moved to the area encounter the indigenous people who already live there. Conflict breaks out between the indigenous people and the new colonialists. Thornhill has to decide between doing what he knows is right and the brutal and cruel intentions of other colonialists living in the area. This is an extremely sad part of Australia’s history that I think many people in Australia don’t know about or choose not to know about.
What book had the biggest impact on your life so far?
Can it be a textbook? “Trauma and Recovery”. It’s a factual book about experiencing trauma and the path to recovery. The reason l read it is because l started working at a refugee settlement center in Darwin Australia. I was working with child soldiers, and a plethora of young people coming from their home countries, grieving for the loss of family and the traumatic experience of flight. The leader of the counseling team gave it to me. L had a relatively privileged upbringing and it helped me to develop an understanding of the trauma experienced by the people I worked with. Along with the conversations with the young people I worked, it gave me the understanding that I needed to be able to sit with these courageous and amazing individuals as they worked through their loss. When I look at this book it takes me back there and ties me to the memory of their words and the time we spent together.
If you could be a character in a book for a day, who would it be?
Haroun from “Haroun the sea of Stories” by Salman Rushdie. It is a parable on all these different levels. I read this story to Macy when she was in utero. I will read it to her again when she is older. It’s set in the mythical city of Alifbay and the magical land of the sea of stories. Haroun’s father is a storyteller but when his family falls apart and the father doesn’t want to tell stories anymore. Haroun sets out on an adventure to reconnect his father to his gift of story telling and in the process restore the poisoned source of the sea of stories from which Haroun’s father’s story telling gifts come. On the way, he encounters many foes, all intent on draining the sea of all its storytelling powers. Haroun is a quiet hero, who won’t take no for an answer and doesn’t know how to give up. I admire him for that.
When and where do you enjoy reading the most?
In bed with Macy. We will sit in bed and read. Apart from that on a hammock at the beach.
Thank you for your time.