Read All Over – Karyn Huenemann


Read All Over celebrates the bookworm in all of us, showcasing readers in Vancouver and the books they love most.
Karyn Huenemann is an educator in the areas of Canadian and Children’s literature, as well as a freelance writer, world traveller and Steampunk enthusiast. She is currently the Project Manager, Canada’s Early Women Writers at Simon Fraser University.


What are you reading right now?

I have recently re-read A Wrinkle in Time, in honour of its 50th anniversary this year, and have posted a review on my children’s literature blog, That Which Matters. I am also reading Outside the Box, a biography of Canadian radio and journalism personality Mona Gould. I tend to have one book that I HAVE to read (Outside the Box) and one that I WANT to be reading, on the go. I am about to move on to Blackdog by KV Johansen, one of my favourite Canadian authors. It is, she claims, an “adult” book. I have loved her Children’s and Young Adult literature, and look greatly forward to Blackdog.

How do you like your lit served – audio books, graphic novels, used paperbacks, library loaner, e-reader, or other?

Absolutely: small paperbacks. I love a beautiful, old, musty hardcover, but they are harder to read—my arthritic hands get sore holding them open. When Harry Potter: The Goblet of Fire came out, I actually wrote to the publisher, as it hurt so badly to read them.

Photo by Geoff Huenemann

What publication could you not live without?

As in journal or newspaper? I only read what is put in front of me; I don’t actually subscribe to and read any one journal faithfully, but I do like BC Bookworld.

Where is your favourite place to crack open a book in Vancouver?

Used to be on the foredeck of my parents’ sailboat, but they sold it! Now, I guess, in the dappled sunlight in the back yard—anyone’s back yard!—with a cool jug of lemonade or ice water beside me.

What books have changed your life/influenced you the most?

Louisa May Alcott’s Eight Cousins, certainly, at an early age. Previous to that, I didn’t read much; I would rather have been out climbing trees. Alcott showed me another world, with a girl-character I wanted to be like. And then I met Anne of Green Gables, and I was off. But there have been so many since then: James Anthony Froude’s Nemesis of Faith , Sir Thomas Browne’s Religio Medici, Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own, Sara Jeannette Duncan’s The Simple Adventures of a Memsahib; all these I read at pivotal moments of my life—or rather, they were the anchor points upon which my ideological or emotional life pivoted at particular moments.

What is the most cherished item in your library?

Can it be my whole library? I have an extensive collection of books written by the British in India; I’m rather fond of it as a collection. Otherwise, I think my most cherished book must be the signed first edition of Flora Annie Steel’s A Book of Mortals. Or maybe my lovely first edition of Peter Pan. I treasure my Sara Jeannette Duncan first editions as well, but alas, none of them are signed.

The one book you always recommend is…

To young readers? To Kill a Mockingbird or I Heard the Owl Call My Name. Adults? Mrs. Dalloway or Anil’s Ghost: I love an author who is in love with the English language -Virginia Woolf and Michael Ondaatje so obviously are.

Your life story is published tomorrow, the title is?

“Vicariously in Retrospect: A fictional account of the life I wish I’d had”

Photo by Geoff Huenemann

Check out some of Karyn’s projects:

Canada’s Early Women Writers at Simon Fraser University
That Which Matters