5-4-3-2-1: Rosalind Jana

By Jim Dean, June 9, 2016

With so much attention being given to all the amazing YA novels out there, it’s easy to overlook some of the fantastic non-fiction aimed at teens today! Bearing this in mind we are ESPECIALLY delighted to have superstar blogger/model/author Rosalind Jana, who wrote the superb Notes On Being Teenage, to tackle 5-4-3-2-1 today!

 
Authors you’d want with you if you were stranded on a desert island

I’m interpreting this as authors I would actually want to hang out with me on a desert island. I reckon the following four would provide some sparkling, challenging conversations and debates. Imagine the dinner parties! (With whatever food we managed to scavenge on the island – though I’m hoping there might be lots of coconuts, at least?) However, I’d be happy with just their books too, if transporting five fantastic writers to a remote location wasn’t looking logistically possible…

1.) Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
2.) Ali Smith
3.) Jeanette Winterson
4.) Olivia Laing
5.) Louise O’Neill

Books you’d save from a burning bookcase

This is so difficult to choose, especially as my favourites shift and change all the time. However, currently:

1.) The Waves (Virginia Woolf) – Though really, I’d be trying to save all the Woolf from the flames. Novels, essays, diaries. All of them.
2.) Girl Up (Laura Bates) – I want to press copies of this on everyone. It’s funny, frank, and takes teenage girls seriously. It’d be worth saving alone for all the hilarious illustrations.
3.) A very specific, very old edition of As You Like It, bound in green with beautiful colour plates inside. This actually sits on my shelves at home, and was a birthday present from my dad. I’m named after Rosalind in the play, and this means a lot to me.
4.) A Song for Ella Grey (David Almond) – Mainly because I’m only a few pages in, and would be very frustrated if it was burned before I could finish it.

Places you love to read

1.) Whenever the weather is good, it has to be outside. There is nothing more delicious than sitting in the sun, with birdsong/ chatter/ car traffic (depending on where I am) singing in the background. Best of the best though has to be at the top of a hill, or in a field. Good views and good words are the ideal combination.

2.) Cafes. Snatching some time to hide away with a coffee and a book feels blissful.

3.) Finally: bed. I was one of those children who always turned the light back on to grab another few pages before sleep. Now I can stay up as late as I like. Recently I’ve spent a lot of (accidentally) early morning hours exploring some of the marvelous worlds dreamt up by Frances Hardinge.

Classics you wish more people were reading today

This year I’ve really got into reading various female writers from throughout history who would DEFINITELY be better-known names if they’d been male – from the poets Mary Robinson, Phillis Wheatley and Mina Loy, to the letter-writer (and poet) Lady Mary Wortley Montagu. However, that’s a cheat of an answer, so here are two classics I’d love more people to read:

1.) The Owl Service (Alan Garner) – Alan Garner is one of my all-time favourite writers. He’s a strange, unsettling story-maker, and The Owl Service is brilliant: reimagining an especially eerie myth from the Mabinogion. Although technically a children’s book, Garner is a writer for all ages. I re-read it in a single sitting last year, and surfaced from its depths feeling dizzy.

2.) Franny and Zooey (JD Salinger) – Everyone talks about Catcher in the Rye. Holden Caulfield looms large. But this book, following the two characters of the title, is my favourite. It lingers in the mind long after reading, and really shows Salinger’s ability to burrow deep into family dramas, awful dates, and plenty else.

TV shows you can watch all day long (when not busy writing)

1.) I’m still scrabbling to catch up with Game of Thrones (I’ve only reached the end of the third series), and really can watch it all day long – and did an awful lot of that the week after my final year university exams finished!

What do you think?