Get to know our Youth Ambassadors: Maisie Palmer
Maisie is an avid reader, writer and performer who loves all things to do with English and History. In her spare time she enjoys dancing, choreographing, doing the New York Times wordle and mini crossword and overspending on books. She is looking forward to studying a Bachelor of Advanced Humanities at UQ in 2023.
If you’re a writer, what kind of writing do you do? Are you working on anything right now?
I’m not a particularly passionate creative writer, so I don’t have any major writing projects in the works at the moment. I am definitely more interested in the analytical side of writing; I love a good analytical essay or book review!
What are your reading goals for 2023?
I honestly have not really thought much about my reading goals for 2023, but if I had to name one, it would be to try and keep up with leisure reading outside of university reading. Going into a literature degree this year, I’m sure I’ll have a lot of fascinating, but extremely dense, classics on my plate, so I also want to make time for some light-hearted romance or fantasy as well.
What is your favourite genre and why?
Not to be basic, but I always find myself gravitating towards the fiction section in any bookshop. Yes, it’s a massive genre, but, honestly, half the time I don’t even know what I feel like reading myself, so I love sifting through all the general fiction and seeing what catches my eye. Being a bit more specific, I would also say that I’m a big fan of literary fiction as I love more character driven books and social commentary, as well as historical fiction because I enjoy the intersection between history and literature.
What book or author do you always recommend?
An author that I always recommend is Taylor Jenkins Reid. Her writing style is very accessible, making it perfect for all types of readers, but is still highly engaging and can easily be devoured in a few hours, perfect for getting out of a reading slump. And yet, the worlds she creates are still intricate, interconnected and complex and her characters feel real and imperfect, making her books not only relatively easy reads, but also books of great substance, with characters and themes that stick with you long after you finish reading.
Do you have a book you always find yourself coming back to?
Personally, I rarely find the time to re-read my favourite books simply because my TBR is endlessly growing with new and exciting works. However, there are a few books that my thoughts are often coming back to. In particular, Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid and Piranesi by Susanna Clarke.
The former had such interesting but subtle commentary on race and privilege, and with so much content on these topics constantly circulating in the media, I’m often reminded of this book as one that tackled these issues in a nuanced way and had me really thinking when I finished it. In terms of the latter, I find myself thinking of it often, not because it relates to anything particularly in the real world, but just because it was nothing like I had read before; sometimes I just think, “wow that was a really cool and well executed concept for a book!” So, both of these books I would wholeheartedly recommend!
Any upcoming releases you can’t wait to get your hands on?
One upcoming release that I have my eye on is Old Babes in the Wood by Margret Atwood. I recently read her Penelopiad and thought her writing style was wonderful. I also love the short story genre, so this new collection of stories entailing everything from “beloved cats” to “George Orwell” to “an alien tasked with retelling human fairy tales” sounds incredibly fascinating and right up my alley.
Where is your favourite place to read?
My favourite place to read is definitely in my bed, at night, lit by my bedside lamp. I certainly do read elsewhere – on the couch, at the library, on public transport —and during the day, but that’s often when I’m cramming to finish some reading that needs to get done, whereas all my favourite memories of reading have been at night.
I also do love reading at the beach and find I get so much more reading done on relaxing, beach holidays!
Do you prefer paperback, hardcover or ebook?
I’m with fellow Youth Ambassador Kieran on this one—definitely paperbacks! Hardcovers, yes, look nice, but, in my opinion, they are just way to heavy and rigid for a comfortable reading experience and are not worth the extra expense. I do own a few collectors’ edition hardbacks which I love, but I rarely actually read these, they mainly just sit and look pretty! I definitely prefer physical copies of books (I think my bank account disagrees though!) so ebooks also aren’t my top pick. Often, I read as a way to get off a screen for a bit, so ebooks would defeat the point of this. Paperbacks are light and more flexible for everyday reading and also grant you the satisfaction of holding an actual book and turning actual pages, making them by far my preferred form of reading!