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Saturday, February 23, 2013

Readers Writes - All About Reading from a Reader's POV

Emily Eva Hetherington

After a little break last week, I'm very pleased to bring back Readers Writes today, especially because my guest is Emily Eva Hetherington, who is not just a discerning reader but also an excellent editor.  That makes her opinions doubly worthwhile and interesting.  You can find out about Emily's editing services via her website.  In the meantime she's here with us today to talk about her reading habits and preferences.  Here are her answers to some of my standard readers' questions.

Did you have a favourite book or author as a child?

There were so many that I enjoyed as a child, but Tony Ross stands out above any others. I loved all of his books and read them countless times. When I was a little older I enjoyed Anne Fine’s books among others.

Yes, I'd happily recommend Anne Fine's books to any young readers.  Do you have a treasured book from your childhood?  If yes, what is it?

Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell, which was given to me when I was a baby.

It must be very special for you to have preserved it.  How important was reading to you as a child?

It was extremely important. Our parents read to us frequently and my sister and I both learned to read at a very young age and loved it.

Music to my ears!  I do believe all parents should read regularly to their children to instil a love of reading from a very early age.  How important is reading in your life now?

More important than ever! I now work as an editor, so I’m reading every day for that, but I also currently have two books on the go at once that I’m reading for pleasure.

Have you ever revisited books you read in childhood to try to recapture the magic?

Of course! All the time! Unfortunately I had to leave a lot of my childhood books in my old place and can’t get them back now, but if I could have brought them with me I would still be reading them now, without a doubt.

What a shame.  I've moved around a lot too and of all the things I've ever regretted having to leave behind, books are highest on the list. 

Have you ever wished you could change places with any character from a story?

Occasionally, when I read a good romance novel, of course. Usually, though, I picture myself as the main character, but I don’t often wish I could change places with them. It’s enough just to lose myself in their world for a while.

Ah yes, definitely the sign of a good story.  Is there a fictional world you would love to visit or live in?

Discworld. You just have to!

Snap!  That would be one of my choices too. 

Do you think the young of today read enough, and if not, how might you try to encourage them to read more?

I don’t think they do read enough anymore. I would first target the parents and urge them to read with their children more often. Reading should be fun, but when certain books are forced on older children for schoolwork, the fun is often removed. They need to be taught that reading isn’t just for boring school stuff and then hopefully they would want to read more often.

I couldn't agree more.  Do you have a favourite book or author as an adult?  If so, who/why and have you read it more than once?
Jenny Twist. Now, I may be a little biased as this is my grandma, but I do truly love all her work to date. Most people would say that her first novel, Domingo’s Angel, was the best one, but I think her latest novel, All in the Mind, just tops it. I’m reading it for the third time now!

I love Jenny Twist as well and All in the Mind is certainly a lovely story, but Domingo's Angel must be one of the best books I've ever read.  Do you have a preference between print and e-books?

I do prefer print books in theory, but for practicality and convenience (never mind cost) I find e-books are far easier and I rarely read print books these days.

A sign of the times, perhaps.  What are you currently reading and in what format (hardback, paperback, e-book)?

All in the Mind by Jenny Twist – paperback, and a friend’s unpublished book – e-book

Lol, best of both worlds.  Do you think e-books will ever totally replace printed books?

No. I think they might come close, but there is still a lot of love for print books. I would have them even if they only sat on the shelf and looked good! It encourages me to read more when I have books on display anyway.

I know what you mean and actually, when I've read an excellent book on my Kindle, I sometimes buy a hard copy just to sit on my bookshelf. 

What about films?  Do you think books transfer to films well?  What is your favourite/worst book-to-film transfer?

My thoughts on that often depend on how well I know the books. In general I think that the films work well, but there are almost always small deviations from the book or details have changed a little. Usually that doesn’t bother me because I have a terrible memory for the details. If there are obvious changes that I feel were unnecessary then it does annoy me.

Have you discovered any new writers you'd recommend to other readers?  If so, what was great about their work?

Apart from yourself (the lovely Lynette Sofras) and my grandma (Jenny Twist), I’d say Tori L. Ridgewood, Tara Fox Hall and Daphne Olivier. All of whom are very clean, succinct writers who make reading their work effortless. You just escape into their world. The characterisation is great, the descriptions are great, and the plots are great! (Same goes for Lynette and Jenny!)

It's a good job you can't see my face right now - thank you for the compliment.  Now let's change the subject.   Is there a book you know you'll never read or found impossible to finish?

At school, when we had to read Wuthering Heights, Little Women and Pride and Prejudice, I found it really hard to follow the plot. It was hard enough to get my head around the language – it’s surprising just how different the language was then! However, I would like to try reading all of those again to see whether I find it easier now. Who knows whether I’ll manage it or not!

Oh I think you should, especially the first and last.  Some of the dialect in Wuthering Heights is a bit tricky to read but once you've got the hang of it, you can hear it very vividly in your head.  Pride and Prejudice has such beautiful prose and gentle wit, I do hope you'll give them another go

What is the most memorable or exciting plot or story opening to any story you can recall?

The first to spring to mind is Daphne Olivier’s latest (which I don’t think has been published yet), in which a man stumbles in a greenhouse breaking the glass dome surrounding one of several strange plants proceeds to have some sort of reaction. He calls for help, but when people arrive they are wearing strange suits, they ignore him lying on the ground and they start a fire before leaving, closing the door on him as they go. That’s just in the prologue! I was hooked before the first word of the main story!

It sounds awesome.  Do let us know the title - that's definitely one to watch out for.  Do you think there is anything new and exciting in modern fiction, or has it "all been said before"?

As hard as it might be to believe, there are always new ideas. Granted, some plots or ideas have been done again and again, but there are new ones out there and I believe there always will be.

I certainly hope so.  Emily, it's been wonderful chatting with you and thank you so much for stopping by and sharing your thoughts with us.

Don't forget, for details of Emily's editing services, click:

And if you're an avid reader and would like to air your views about books on this blog, please contact me at 


Mary L. Ball said...

very nice blog article to wake up too.

ManicScribbler said...

Thank you, Mary - we aim to please :)

Eva87 said...

Thank you Mary. And thank you, Lyn, for having me. I don't think I've ever been on anyone's blog before. It was very kind of you to invite me. Just need to mention that I was wrong about Daphne Olivier's latest book, it has been published by Melange Books and it's called The Pegasus Project. I highly recommend it!

Jenny Twist said...

What a lovely surprise! Thank you, both of you for all the nice things you've said about me. You kept this quiet!
I agree with everything Emily says about reading and her choice of books. Perhaps it's not surprising that we have the same tastes, given our relationship. I haven't read Daphne Olivier yet, but she's going straight into my TBR pile.
I actually did try reading Pride and Prejudice again after a friend at uni said it was the best book she'd ever read. I thought I must have missed something. I'm afraid I still think it's boring. Oh dear, maybe I'm a pleb after all.

ManicScribbler said...

Dear Jenny - well, you don't think we're going to say nice things about you to your face, do you? LOL.
Thanks for stopping by.
I wouldn't say P&P is the best book ever - but it is very pleasing, the language is delightful and I think Emily will enjoy it. I'm trying to persuade her to give it another go, so shhh, grandma!!
;) It's always lovely to see you on my blog. xxx

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