Books & Book Reviews

Unlocking Worlds

Unlocking Worlds: A Reading Companion for Book Lovers
Published by Griffins Wharf
ISBN 0983644616 (ISBN13: 9780983644613)
Book Description
Award-winning writer and teacher Sally Allen knows that good books don’t just draw us in; they talk to us, shape us, and transport us to times, places, and minds different from our own.
In Unlocking Worlds: A Reading Companion for Book Lovers, Allen deftly weaves personal stories with fifteen thematized, annotated, and illustrated reading lists for what to read next. By sharing some of the treasures in her library and the secret lives they reveal, she gives us permission to embrace the shameless book lover inside each of us. Unlocking Worlds is a testament to how reading passionately—and compassionately—can unlock the world beyond our back yard. Celebrating books and those who read them, Allen shows how the solitary act of reading can be a powerful thread that creates community and connection. Thought-provoking and eloquent, Unlocking Worlds: A Reading Companion for Book Lovers is a must-have for anyone who can’t leave the house without a book in hand.
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The author
Sally Allen
Sally Allen holds a Ph.D. from New York University in English Education, with an emphasis in writing and rhetoric, and a M.A. in English Language and Literature. She teaches writing, literature, and communications, leads book group discussions, and is the founder and editor of Books, Ink at HamletHub.
Connect with the author: Website ~ Twitter
Author interview
What inspired you to write a book about books?
One of my favorite genres is books about books, whether it’s a memoir about reading or a novel set in a bookstore or a collection in which writers share their favorite reads. They always expand my reading list (even if it’s by just one book!) and, at their best, are like having a conversation with fellow readers. Writing my own book about books was a natural extension, for me, of reading, another opportunity to start a conversation about my favorite subject, and a kind of love letter to the authors whose books have entertained, consoled, and inspired me in recent years.
Do you write every day?
I produce what sometimes feels like volumes of writing every day for work, but aside from that, I try to write at least a page every day for my creative projects. Some days, I have more time than others. Whether it’s taking notes in longhand or sitting down for a longer stretch at my computer, I try to make a little progress every day.
Do you have another profession besides writing?
I do! I teach communications and writing, write and edit for a book news website, and I lead book group discussions. Both feed my writing in wonderful ways.
What is the last great book you’ve read?
As I write this, I’m in the middle of an incredible young adult nonfiction book called Symphony for the City of the Dead: Dmitri Shostakovich and the Siege of Leningrad by M. T. Anderson. Anderson creates a compelling narrative that tells two stories simultaneously, Leningrad’s and Shostakovich’s, one through the other. It also explores the power of music (or any art) to uplift and inspire people going through unimaginable suffering.
What is the silliest thing you’ve ever done?
About three years ago, I was packing for a three-week trip to visit family in Greece. By “packing,” I mean filling my suitcase with books … twenty-five of them, to be exact (ten of which were hardbacks). I tried spreading the books around between carry on and checked baggage. Nevertheless, when I came home, I discovered that I’d torn my rotator cuff. Long story short, this is how I learned to appreciate e-reading!
My review [rating=4]
Although I chose to read, Unlocking Worlds I wasn’t sure whether it would make an interesting read. Why not read the books directly, instead of reading about them? Thankfully, the author’s easy and personal style made sure that I had no regrets about choosing to read this.
I found that Sally has covered quite a few genres. I thoroughly enjoyed this distillation of the author’s long and varied book reading history. Though she covered some of my old favourites like some of Austen’s, she also included some books, I’ve never ventured to read like The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, Fahrenheit 451. I realized that I need to be much more adventurous in my reading choices. Her descriptions of the books are concise, interesting and personal at the same time. I came away with quite a few additions to my ‘Must-read’ list.
If you’re a book lover, I’d recommend Unlocking Worlds to you!


5 winners will each get a copy of Unlocking Worlds & a copy of
Book Life: A Book Lover’s Journal

Please note that this Rafflecopter and Giveaway is hosted by iRead Book Tours and is being hosted across several blogs. They are overseeing the drawing and assume full responsibility for all aspects of this contest, including notification and prize fulfillment.
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Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from iRead Book Tours to review. However, the opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.

0 Comments on “Unlocking Worlds

  1. As a retired librarian and teacher, this looks like a book that I would like as I am always looking for those “lists” and ideas for the next read. Thanks for sharing this with us.
    Your neighbor at Literacy Musing Monday.
    ~ linda

  2. Well, i will admit that this stumped me too – a book about written books!
    But the more I think of it, the more it is something I would like to read. What immediately popped in my head was Stephen King’s “On Writing” where, for a change, he rambles about the art of writing rather than demonic cars and clowns. But in so doing, he actually showcases a method to his madness and makes you realize there is indeed more to him than meets the eye.

  3. Hi Corinne! This sounds interesting. I’m always on the look out for some really good books so this might be a “shortcut” to finding even more. Thanks for sharing it! ~Kathy

    1. I am laughing so hard from reading your comment that I can barely type. I’m imagining how ridiculous I must have looked trying to hoist my suitcase up stairs and into the backs of taxis, all the while grimacing in agony until, finally, I couldn’t lift my arm anymore. *shakes head ruefully*

  4. This is really cool, I really enjoy how you not only gave your personal true review but that you also have an interview with the author. Really good post.

  5. This book actually sounds awesome =D Especially because I am in desperate need for some new inspiration…lately I just went for the really easy reads, I knew I will like…but time to dive back into the bookworld again, I will check this out 😉

  6. I am not a big fan of book reviews. I always felt that there’s no right way to do it .. I came across this one and I specifically read it as I have got two books that are waiting to be read and reviewed,
    The Author interview is an interesting idea that I plan to use as well.
    Would also make the post personal just like you did..
    Sad that the giveaway is over though, coz your post made me wish I had dropped by a couple of months back 🙂

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