Publishing assistant at Bookseller+Publisher Andrew Wrathall resisted telling us about the books he loves for some time, but we squeezed it out of him and this is what he said.
What are you reading right now?
Well… the list includes: Salamander (Thomas Wharton, Flamingo) a story about a mad count, an 18th-century printer and a strange clockwork castle in Europe; Fringe Dwellers (Nene Gare, Sun Books) a story about Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians a century ago; the classic novel Empire of the Sun (J G Ballard, HarperPerennial) about a boy in Shanghai when war strikes; Clive Hamilton’s latest book Requiem for a Species (A&U) about climate change; and an old memoir of a bookshop, Hill of Content (A H Spencer, A&R).
What book do you always recommend?
I’ll always recommend The Beach (Alex Garland, Penguin) because I love Garland’s imagination in creating the jaded backpacker Richard and the utopian travellers’ hideaway. And of course young adults (and old adults alike) must visit Pullman’s world of The Northern Lights (Phillip Pullman, Scholastic).
What book are you most looking forward to?
I want to read Dead in the Family (Charlaine Harris, Hachette), which has been sitting on my desk staring at me for quite a while, but I still haven’t read the nineth Sookie Stackhouse book, so I have to read that one first. Yep, I’m a fan of the television series True Blood too.
What book made you wonder what all the fuss was about?
I love a good spooky conspiracy, but I was too cynical to accept The Da Vinci Code (Dan Brown, Bantam).
What’s the best book you’ve read that no-one’s ever heard of?
A recent graphic novel called Rooftops (Mandy Ord, Finlay Lloyd). It’s a lovely book that is so very Melbourne, but not many people have seen it. I met Mandy Ord at the Emerging Writers Festival, who said she’s working on a new book, so I’ll be waiting for that one.
Obligatory desert island question—which book would you want with you?
I can’t choose between Perfume (Patrick Suskind, Penguin) for its wonderful narrative that delights the senses, or the Fabric of the Universe (Brian Greene, Penguin) so I can read it a over and over until I’m no longer in conflict with its concepts. (Someone else can bring the survival guide.)
Is there a book you’ve bought for the cover?
How can I not be impressed by all the beautiful book covers out there (see the APA Book Design Award winners for example), but my most recent acquisition is The New Annotated Dracula (Bram Stoker, ed by Leslie S Klinger, W W Norton & Co), which is lovely large clothbound book of a great classic. I want to buy The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet (David Mitchell, Hachette) because I love its beautiful cover.
Hardback, paperback or digital?
As a someone whose studies include IT and knows about creating ePub files and iPhone apps, I would say digital, but I hate reading from screens, and haven’t got my grubby hands on an ereader yet, so I’ll just say paperback.
If I were a literary character I’d be…
Bastian from The Neverending Story (Michael Ende, trans by Ralph Manheim, Penguin) because I’ll always be the strange, young-at-heart dreamer.
The best thing about books is…
Rereading books. Oscar Wilde said ‘If one cannot enjoy reading a book over and over again, there is no use in reading it at all’, but I think there are some good one-off reads (after reading those just donate them to the library).