Reading is a safe way for me to experience a lot of things that I’m too afraid to deal with in real life
Our Type Reader for March is Type's Community Manager Jill Thorp-Shepherd
Jill Thorp-Shepherd is Type's brand new Community Manager and she’ll be hanging out at our Queen West store recommending books, posting on Instragram and throwing fun events. Please come by and say hi to Jill if you’re in the neighbourhood.
We gave Jill the Type Reader questionnaire!
What is the first book you remember loving?
Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder. I was a very annoying moralistic child and I became obsessed with the Little House books and the Michael Landon TV series. Back then; I liked things to be very black hats vs. white hats—with hard work and piety being rewarded. And, Nellie Oleson as a villain is hard to beat.
What is your favourite virtue in a book?
Empathy. I hate snark and showing off. I like being shown another world and a situation different from my own. Reading is a safe way for me to experience a lot of things that I’m too afraid to deal with in real life.
What do you appreciate most in a book character?
I like characters that are smarter than me and that give good dialogue—a little quirk is great, too. Selin in The Idiot by Elif Batuman, or Bobbi and Francis in Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney are recent examples of characters I loved hanging out with and eavesdropping on. Any Joy William’s character is my gold standard.
If you were to write a non-fiction book about anything, what would it be about?
Food. I spend about 99% of my day thinking about what I should cook, what I am eating and what I’m going to be eating and cooking later.
Your favourite prose authors?
Ottessa Moshfegh is my fav. I love how she balances creepiness, revulsion, humour and empathy. I also love George Saunder’s short stories. They’re funny, beautiful and concise— he makes it all seem so easy. It should however be noted that I’m probably the only person in the world that didn’t like Lincoln in the Bardo.
Your favourite poets?
Reading Claudine Rankin’s Citizen made me feel angry, terrified, depressed and exhilarated. I actually wept. It’s truly a work of art. I made a resolution last year to read more poetry and so far it's been a big success—I’d recommend How To Be Drawn Terrance Haynes, My Ariel by Sina Queyras and Madness by Sam Sax.
Your favourite cookbooks?
I love cookbooks. I read them like memoir. The recipes are secondary. My two favourites are An Everlasting Meal by Tamar Adler and Salt Fat Acid Heat by Samin Nosrat. If I buy a cookbook for the recipes, I only ever chose a book written by, or at least targeting, home cooks. Books by chefs can be too labourious —I don't have a sous chef, or the desire to shop for and prep 20 or more ingredients. I hate that. I want to eat like 10 minutes ago. Jamie Oliver’s 5 Ingredients looks like a good one. It’s transformed my friend Jen from a master of take-out ordering, into a master chef in a matter of weeks.
Do you read on public transportation?
I always have a book in my bag to read on the TTC. The 505 Streetcar is my version of a wood panelled library.
What book have you never read but have always meant to? Do you think you will ever read it?
Anna Karenina. My sister gifted it to me many years ago and I’ve yet to open it, but I still keep in on my bedside table in hopes that I’ll actually get into it some day. I’m thinking it’ll make perfect retirement home reading.
What book do you pretend to have read, but in fact have not?
Infinite Jest. And I’m probably not the only one.
If you could force a single celebrity to read a specific book in its entirety, who would you chose, and what book would you make them read?
*Totally obvious answer alert* I’d love to force Donald Trump to read anything, any book—his choice. Maybe start him on Little House on the Prairie. Surely Pa could set him straight.
What book(s) are you reading right now?
I’m reading Peach by Emma Glass. So far, it’s totally creepy. I’m about 20 pages in and I’m not actually 100% sure what’s going on—but I don’t really care.
I’m also dipping in and out of the new version of The Odyssey by Emily Wilson, the first female to ever translate it into English. If you’ve never read the classic tale by Homer, this is a great place to start—Wilson is a smart engaging guide.