Meet Team Savvy Reader!

Want to hear something wild, Savvy Readers? We were talking about how long we’ve been doing this recently and came to the realization that we’ve never properly introduced ourselves! We decided we needed to fix that and put some faces to the name. So, here are 10 questions with the 3 primary writers of Savvy Reader – Brianna, Marisol, and Jesse!

BRIANNA

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What is your role at HarperCollins Canada?

I’m the Creative Coordinator of Marketing. Essentially, I work with the marketing team to help bring their ideas to life through design! I’m responsible for print and digital design, including event posters and social media assets, as well producing videos like the ones on @hccfrenzy’s IGTV channel.

What is your preferred genre(s) to read?

My favourite genre is fantasy (especially YA), but I’ve recently come to love reading memoirs.

How many books do you read per year?

I’ve never really had a consistent reading rate. Last year I read 70 books, the year before 35. This year I’m planning to read 100 books (I’m currently on book #35). I’ve definitely started to read more now that I’m working in publishing and I find that listening to audiobooks while I work has played a huge role in increasing my number of books read in a year.

What 2020 releases are you most looking forward to reading?

There are so many 2020 releases that I’m excited for. A few of them include Blood & Honey by Shelby Mahurin, The Book of Hidden Wonders by Polly Crosby, and Before the Coffee Gets Cold by Toshikazu Kawaguchi (translated by Geoffrey Trouseselot).

What is your biggest bookish pet peeve?

My biggest bookish pet peeve is when I’m reading in public and people try to talk to me about things not related to the book (or talk to me just to be negative about me reading). This is especially bothersome because I wear noise cancelling headphones so they have to work hard to get my attention. If someone wants to talk to me about the book in a positive manner (I’ve met some awesome people this way one) that’s great and I’m more than happy to pause my reading to either give you a book recommendation or fangirl over what I’m reading. Anything else, I wish people would just let me read.

What is your favourite all-time book series?

I love series which is good considering YA fantasy is primarily series-based, so it’s hard to pick just one. To narrow it down, I absolutely love the Crown of Feathers series by Nicki Pau Preto (the last book is to be published in 2021) and I know when it’s going to be amazing when it’s complete. But I also have a special place in my heart for The Hunger Games series. I stopped reading for fun for awhile in high school and this was the series that brought me back to reading in 2012! I’ve read it multiple times since and I even have the 10th anniversary special edition box set.

Do you judge books based on their covers?

I definitely judge a book based on its cover. But if I’m really interested in the synopsis, I’ll ignore the cover and read the book anyway.

What are you currently reading? 

I’m currently re-reading The Hunger Games series for a few readathons I’m participating in and in preparation for the prequel that comes out next month!

Do you have to read in silence, or do you need background noise?

I prefer silence but I’ve gotten really good at blocking out background noise so I can basically read with anything happening around me. If it’s too loud, I will put on my noise-cancelling headphones to mute the noise

Where can people follow you on social media? 

You can follow me on Twitter @briannafbenton and Instagram @bookishbrianna!

 

MARISOL

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What is your role at HarperCollins Canada?

I work as a Digital Marketing Assistant helping to run the social media and influencer programs!

What is your preferred genre(s) to read?

I love reading contemporary YA novels and general fiction. Depending on the subject, I’ve also been known to pick up nonfiction titles!

What is the best book you’ve read recently?

I recently read Rules for Being a Girl by Candace Bushnell and Katie Cotugno which is one of our recent contemporary YA novels and I can’t stop talking about it. It’s an incredible feminist YA and I only wish I’d had a book like this one when I was in high school!

Where do you stand on the print vs. e-book debate?

I’m a fan of both. I personally love print books and for me, nothing can replace them, but I think ebooks are invaluable in how accessible they’ve made reading to a lot of people and their read-aloud capabilities. Since you can hold them with one hand I also find they’re easier to read while snacking which is a bonus in my opinion.

Which author do you wish more people knew about?

Jasmin Kaur! Her collection of short stories, poetry and prose, When You Ask Me Where I’m Going, really touched me and reminds me a lot of Rupi Kaur. However, where Rupi tends to focus on femininity in her writing, Jasmin doesn’t shy away from the nitty-gritty and dark side of being a woman and in particular a woman of colour.

What’s your favourite thing about reading?

One of my favourite things about reading is how easily you can slip into someone else’s story. It really takes you outside yourself and forces you to empathize with others which I think is such a valuable experience and from which a lot of people (who unfortunately don’t read) could benefit from.

What are you currently reading?

I just started reading Michelle Good‘s Five Little Indians which was incidentally recommended by Margaret Atwood on a live chat with UBC over the weekend! It follows five residential school survivors in 1960s Vancouver.

What book do you want to see made into a film or TV series?

I’ve only read a little bit of it but Dan Vyleta‘s Smoke series 100% deserves to made into either a movie or TV series. Think a dark and Dickensian version of Sherlock Holmes infused with magic.

What do you care about more: plot, characters, or writing?

Characters for sure. I can read a story where nothing happens as long as I care about the characters. I’ve always been a fan of character-driven novels and while writing and plot are important I think a connection with the characters is what always keeps me reading.

Where can people follow you on social media?

You can follow me on Twitter and Instagram @marisolfokes for more bookish content, snarky humour and cat pics.

 

JESSE

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Remember when we were allowed to go outside and travel? Good times.

What is your role at HarperCollins Canada?

I’m a Creative Assistant in the marketing department. That sounds pretty fancy, but really all it means is that I do a little bit of print and digital design, some video work, a bit of digital marketing work, and a whole lot of mailing.

What is your preferred genre(s) to read?

My go-to genres are literary fiction and horror, though I have been known to dabble in history and sociology from time-to-time. Also, if anything is described as “experimental,” I’m there.

What are your top 5 reads of 2020 so far?

Most of these are advanced copies, so sorry about that! It’ll definitely be fuel for your TBR piles. The first book that comes to mind is Thomas King’s Indians on Vacation. It’s funny, smart, and quintessentially Thomas King. Next, I read a little book called The Lost Shtetl by Max Gross. It is gut-bustingly funny and reminded me a lot of Everything is Illuminated. One of the first books of the year that I read was Memorial Drive by Natasha Trethewey, and it might just be the most beautifully written memoir I’ve ever read. As a gigantic hip-hop fan, I listened the the Beastie Boys Bookaudiobook and it was just as weird and wonderful as the band themselves. And, finally, I am a massive David Lynch fan and read it surreal memoir Room to Dream earlier this year, and it was exactly what I was expecting from such a bizarre, polarizing filmmaker.

What is one book that’s been on your TBR pile for far too long?

This is definitely a tie between Jonathan Franzen‘s The Corrections and Steven Hall’s The Raw Shark Texts. I’ve had both on my shelf for 10 years, and I only know that because I remember buying them from my favourite indie bookstore on its last day open.

What is your worst reading habit?

I have a lot of VERY bad reading habits – I’m an English major, what do you expect? – but I’d have to say the worst one is that I mark up the pages with marginalia notes, thoughts, and observations, as if I’m prepping to write a paper on the book or something. It’s why I struggle to read on an e-reader!

What is your all-time favourite book-to-film adaptation?

This is really hard for me to answer because I really love both books and film, but I’d have to go with… The Shining. Obviously the film adaptation is very different than the book, but they are both my favourite horror novel and film of all-time, for very different reasons. A very close second would be The Silence of the Lambs.

What are you currently reading?

I always have a couple of books on the go, so bear with me! First, I am just about to finish The Ghost Notebooks by Ben Dolnick, and I just started The Road by Cormac McCarthy on my lunch. I’m also knee deep in Edward Parnell’s wonderfully evocative Ghostland and Emily Danforth‘s upcoming gothic horror-comedy Plain Bad Heroines.

What is the last book that gave you a book hangover?

Easy. The Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel. I read an early draft this time last year, and I didn’t get more than 50 pages into a book until a couple months later. It’s that good.

Why do you read?

Because I like to. I know it sounds like a cop out, but we need to do more of what we enjoy doing and what entertains us, right? Well, I enjoy reading and am entertained by it, so I will continue to do it. I also paid a lot of money for two literature degrees, so I better put them to use.

Where can people follow you on social media? 

If you don’t mind incessant tweeting about sports, TV shows, and movies, feel free to follow me on Twitter @JesseDorey15. If you want to see photos of what I’m reading and me posing awkwardly with my beautiful fiance, feel free to follow me on Instagram at @jdorey15.

 

Well, there you have it, Savvy Readers… We’re the friendly faces behind Savvy Reader! Feel free to follow us on our social accounts if you want to get to know us better!

Happy reading,

Team Savvy Reader

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