Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Rachael Ball

Rachael Ball is a cartoonist and a teacher. The Inflatable Woman, her first graphic novel, was a Guardian Best Graphic Book of 2015.

Recently I asked Ball about what she was reading. Her reply:
OK terrible guilty secret here but my reading habits have completely altered since I was diagnosed with breast cancer, (inspiration for the book.) I went from being an avid but eclectic reader of books to a veeery occasional reader. I used to read all sorts--such as Scandinavian detective novels with a human touch like Karin Fossum's, anything by David Sedaris (wonderfully witty New York chronicler of human foibles and his family misfortunes), the fantastically imaginative Jonathan Strange and Mr Norell by Susannah Clark. I love the way she makes the fairy world so believable with the historical footnotes.

Then in a different mood I would read something sad and nostalgic like Alain Fournier's Le Grand Meaulnes. Anyway I think a lot of my treatments (steroids and such), made it difficult to watch TV or concentrate on a book for any period of time. Then working on The Inflatable Woman was so demanding I became the occasional reader I am today.

Since the book has been completed my reading habits are still not terribly sustained. I'm also more likely now to read philosophical texts like Pema Chodron (an American Buddhist monk); she has written several books to support people through change. When Things Fell Apart is a great example. My Mum died last year and reading texts by Pema has really helped me during this grieving time.

I also often check out Maria Popova's brilliant site Brainpickings. This has introduced me to many new and great writers such as Anne Lamott (Small Victories), which examines the spiritual in the everyday. A combination of working on my book and this site has also got me into poetry. A big passion of my Mum's. Poetry by Rilke I discovered after listening to podcasts by Joanna Macy (a Buddhist writer and activist). No doubt my reading habits will change again!

I'm still waiting for John Ajvide Lindqvist to write his next book. I think I could be sustained enough to read that!
Visit Rachael Ball's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Inflatable Woman.

--Marshal Zeringue