Presenting our fourth Reading Ambassador in the spirit of the National Year of Reading 2012 – Christian Albrecht.
What are you reading at the moment?
Currently I’m reading 3 books – the first one is The Remembrance of Things Past by Marcel Proust (also known as In Search of Lost Time) It’s considered to be one of the longest books of all time – the English translation is over 4,000 pages long & over 1.5 million words, published in 7 volumes. I’m partway through the first volume, & the theme of involuntary – or Proustian – memory is a major theme that runs through the story. A major example of this is his having a madeleine in tea which brought back childhood memories. The other book I’m reading is Imajica by Clive Barker – a fantasy / sci-fi story about the reconciling of Earth (the fifth Dominion) with the other Dominions of the Universe; and the third book is the third book of Stephen King’s fantasy series The Dark Tower, called The Waste Lands. Although he’s known for his horror novels, he has written a substantial number of books in other genres that may even be considered better than his horror stories. This series is what he considers to be his magnum opus. He’s recently just finished the 8th book in the series.
Where’s the most enjoyable place that you read / have read?
My grandfather used to own a ski lodge up at Mt Hotham, and I would say that that would be the most enjoyable place that I’ve read – sitting on the couch in front of the open fire as it was snowing outside. It was a more traditional wooden lodge – like a chalet – and the atmosphere was enjoyable.
What character in a book or story has inspired you the most?
I would probably have to say Pip from Great Expectations [Charles Dickens] – I enjoyed the development of him as a person as he goes from not having much to having great expectations, and then at the end going back to not having as much again. During that time he comes to see that he had great expectations from the beginning. He came to realize what really mattered & I find that admirable, especially from the perspective of being in Year 12 & getting caught up with what really isn’t important. He wasn’t always likeable, but that’s the case with people in real life as well, but we get to know what type of person he becomes at the end.
What book / story has made a lasting impression upon you?
Catcher in the Rye [J.D. Salinger] would be the book that has left the biggest impression, & I would say that it was the age I was had a great deal to do with what an impression it left on me. At that time I hadn’t read a lot of teenage or coming of age stories, so that in itself was a big factor. Then reading it again & studying it in Year 10, and especially Year 10 being my first year at high school it had a much greater impression upon me. There are a lot more worries & things to deal with in secondary school, after the carefree years of primary school, & this is given prominence in this book. I know a lot of people seem to dislike Catcher in the Rye & Holden Caulfield and find him to have a rather whiny character, the feelings that he has are the feelings that most teenagers would have. The way it’s presented may be an exaggeration, but we often find people to be phoney & not genuine. The focus is not on relationships as many teen fiction stories are today, but on his emotions & his feeling of isolation.
Thank you to Denise for the interview and photo.