Reading Ambassador #7 – Michael Tran

Michael TRAN – NYOR12 Ambassador #7

What are you reading at the moment?

Currently I’m  reading Harry Potter & the Chamber of Secrets [J.K. Rowling] for about the thousandth time (I’ve read them all before). I haven’t had the time to read much recently, so it’s good to pick up a book that I’ve read before (and one that I like) to get back into the reading routine. When I’m able to read more, I prefer the fantasy / adventure genres. In class – for wider reading – we’ve been reading classics. Recently we read The Merchant of Venice by Shakespeare – we read it out aloud as a class. I’m also reading Thursday’s Child by Sonya Hartnett.

Where’s the most enjoyable place that you read? 

When I’m reading I like to get into the atmosphere of the book as well, so I like to go to the park to read – somewhere where there’s nature. Otherwise – when the weather’s not so good – I like to read in bed, with a dimly lit lamp, a cup of hot chocolate and my iPod.

Where’s the most unusual place that you’ve ever read a book? 

As I mentioned before, I like to get into the atmosphere of the book that I’m reading, so when I first read Harry Potter & the Philosopher’s Stone I took it to my auntie’s house. She actually has a cupboard under the stairs. So I thought how – in Harry’s perspective  – would he feel, so I went into the cupboard to read a few chapters of the book. I didn’t stay there for much longer though, I couldn’t handle all the dust!

Thanks to Denise for the interview and photo, and a big thank you to Michael for sharing his reading habits with us!

Reading Ambassador #5 – Sai Ponnaganti

What are you reading at the moment?

I’ve started The Hunger Games – I’ve read the first one & the third one [Mockingjay] & I’m reading the second one at the moment [Catching Fire] – it’s not really confusing reading them this way, it makes sense – for me. The first one was really involving & engaging; the third one is better, but darker. I’ve also started reading Shiver  [Maggie Stiefvater], it’s about vampires & a bit chick lit, but I like it.

What was you first reading memory?

It  would probably be reading TinTin & Asterix  – I read them all. They’re really funny – I didn’t actually pick up on all the puns in Asterix at the time, but I looked through them again when I was older – all the way through, they’re all puns. They’re so good. I also read Star Wars books & Aussie Bite stuff, too. I remember in kindergarten correcting the teacher for skipping out parts of the stories that were being read to us – that really annoyed me.

Where’s the most unusual place that you’ve ever read a book?

That would probably be while walking – in Year 3 I got into trouble from my parents & teachers because I was walking upstairs reading – I literally was reading while I walked everywhere. I never fell or tripped – you get used to it.

What book / story has made a lasting impression upon you?

The story that has made a really great impression on me because I didn’t like the character was probably Perfume [Patrick Suskind] – it was horrible & I couldn’t get it out of my head. He was a totally psychotic character & his actions were disgusting. I don’t really want to remember it but can’t help it.
There are a few books that I remember in a positive way – Harry Potter, for example, & The Hunger Games will stay with me because it’s so realistic – the third one in particular – and I can really empathize with the characters, especially the main character even though I found her really annoying at the same time. I felt the same with His Dark Materials [Philip Pullman] – I felt a great deal of empathy with the characters & felt quite depressed at the end.

Thanks, Sai, for sharing your reading background with us, and to Denise for the interview and photo.

Reading Ambassador #4 – Christian Albrecht

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.

Reading Ambassador #2 – Padraig Gilligan

I’m happy to feature our second Reading Ambassador – RA#1 was too shy to be featured online. We’re a little late to the party but the party is still going, so why not? In the spirit of the National Year of Reading 2012, I present to you – Padraig Gilligan.

Thanks to Denise for hunting down the Reading Ambassadors, interviewing them, photographing them and creating the display.

Here’s the interview:

What are you reading at the moment?

I’m reading Looking for Alaska by John Green. It’s a teen romance novel that has some very zany, very relatable characters. It’s set in contemporary America, in a boarding school in Alabama.

Where’s the most unusual place you’ve read a book?

I guess it would be The Chronicles of Malus Darkblade [Warhammer, by Dan Abnett] on a cadet exercise, half underground in a machine gun nest. It was pretty dark, I was in my cadet cams & had cam paint on. I had a mock rifle & just a little head torch to read by. I was in that observation nest for about 10 hours, and my partner & I took turns of 2 hours each on lookout. This was in the Rushworth State Forest near Graytown – it’s used for military training.

Where’s the most enjoyable place that you [have] read?

I really enjoy reading on trains because even if you don’t get a seat, which is sometimes not an option, you have these nice little chronological markers – in the form of the stops & stations that you go through – so you know how long you’ve been reading & how long you have left to read. So I have fun reading on a train & I find that I challenge myself to read a certain number of pages between each stop. I really like reading on trains.