Sunday, November 30, 2008

Jaclyn Moriarty

Jaclyn Moriarty lives in Australia.

Her young-adult novels, Feeling Sorry for Celia and The Year of Secret Assignments, are both international bestsellers. Her newest novel is The Spell Book of Listen Taylor, about which Martha Brockenbrough wrote: "It's marketed as a young-adult novel, but I can't imagine anyone well into old-adulthood (sigh) not loving it."

I recently asked Moriarty what she was reading. Her reply:
At the moment, I’m writing a ghost story – the characters are grade twelve students who are studying gothic fiction. So I’ve been reading a lot of ghost stories and gothic novels. Most recently: The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins and The Mysteries of Udolpho by Ann Radcliffe.

Last night, I finished The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer, and I thought it was deliriously lovely. A couple of days ago I read a young adult book: the sharp, macabre and funny Martyn Pig by Kevin Brooks. Much of Martyn Pig is spent in the presence of a slowly decaying corpse. The smell is so vividly depicted that I’m still opening windows in my house, trying to let in some fresh air.

I read a lot of picture books to my 2-year-old, Charlie. Some of his favourites make me want to suffocate myself. But others, including Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown and Clement Hurd, Night Cars by Teddy Jam and Eric Bellows, and Winter Afternoon by Jorge Elias Lujan and Mandana Sadat are so enchanting that, although I’ve read them to Charlie hundreds of times, I sometimes read them to myself.

And finally, two books have kept me turning pages fast in the last month. One was What Alice Forgot, the upcoming novel by my sister, Liane Moriarty. It is fantastic (and I’m being objective). The other was Great Expectations: Twenty-Four True Stories about Childbirth, edited by Dede Crane and Lisa Moore. I have to disclose that the only reason I read this was because I have a story in the collection. But once I started, I was addicted. Setting my own story aside, this book is a strangely compelling collection of beautiful, funny, and powerful narratives about having babies – with some breathtaking twists and turns. It kept making me cry.
Visit Jaclyn Moriarty's website and blog.

--Marshal Zeringue