As well as my local library, my other favourite place to find books is at the charity shop. You can find such a variety and some fantastic bargains. I love the idea of recycling books in this way – I read them, enjoy them, and then send them back to the shop so that someone else can enjoy them and benefit a charity at the same time.
Before she joined us last October, Hannah had worked in the international education sector at Oxford University Press and had developed hands-on experience in an independent school. She enjoys the challenges of working in the EdTech sphere, helping to promote best in breed education technology to schools in the UK and abroad. Now in her latest role with Reading Cloud, she is passionate about enabling schools to develop a whole school reading for pleasure culture.
Where would you say was your favourite place to read?
In the summer I love to head to one of the parks or the meadows near my house, with a picnic blanket to read with the additional benefit of doing some sunbathing. Although I often end up taking a nap! When it’s colder outside, I’ll read on the sofa with a blanket and hot water bottle.
Do you have a favourite illustrator?
Like many other adults my age, I grew up with Roald Dahl stories with their fantastic illustrations by Quentin Blake. But as a small child, I can remember enjoying the illustrations and stories of Beatrix Potter. I especially loved the Tale of Tom Kitten.
Have your tastes in what you enjoy reading changed all that much?
All the time! I seem to go through phases. I went through a Classics phase a few years ago - I read a lot of Austen (sometimes for the second time around for favourites like Persuasion and Pride and Prejudice) and Thomas Hardy. That was after I had been in Dorset camping and was inspired to read Tess of the D’Urbervilles and The Mayor of Casterbridge. At the time I was also reading classics like Frankenstein, Dracula, and Little Women.
More recently, I’ve got into non-fiction after a friend was raving about how much she loved it. I dipped my toe into non-fiction last summer when I read Tom Holland’s ‘Rubicon’ about the Roman Republic and was impressed with how accessible and entertaining Holland makes ancient history. Since then, I’ve read ‘Prisoners of Geography’ by Tim Marshall and ‘Silk Roads’ by Peter Frankopan. My current read is Bill Bryson’s ‘A Short History of Nearly Everything’ and I can’t wait to read more by him as he’s a really engaging writer.
I’m a Spanish language graduate and lived in Spain for four years so I always try to read in Spanish to keep my language level up. My favourite book which I would highly recommend is ‘The Shadow of the Wind’ series by Carlos Ruiz Zafón, which is about a secret library set in 1940s Barcelona.
Where do you often find your next book?
I go on a lot of recommendations from friends and family for what to read. At home, we have a huge bookshelf – they’re not all mine – so I tend to reach for something there if I have finished a book. As well as my local library, my other favourite place to find books is at the charity shop. You can find such a variety and some fantastic bargains. I love the idea of recycling books in this way – I read them, enjoy them, and then send them back to the shop so that someone else can enjoy them and benefit a charity at the same time. I had been looking at buying Stephen Fry’s ‘Mythos’ for some time but by chance, I found it at a charity shop back in my hometown for £1!
How do you think our Reading Cloud platform can benefit schools?
I am delighted to work for an organisation that is so invested in supporting schools to develop literacy engagement and encourage reading for pleasure. Reading Cloud helps school to create a library space which is more accessible and engaging, where they can independently manage their library books, and read and review books to share with their peers. The tracking data also helps the school librarian and senior leadership team to get a better view of students’ reading habits for better planning and prioritisation of library resource and budget.