Read All Over — Emily Smith


Read All Over celebrates the bookworm in all of us, showcasing readers in Vancouver and the books they love most.
Emily Smith is a graphic designer, and the creative director for Vancouver Mini Maker Faire and Maker Foundation. She is an avid maker, hacker, knitter, crafter, writer, and cyclist.

What are you currently reading?

Makers by Cory Doctorow. It’s about the Maker movement and a company called Kodacell, which is like Kodak and Duracell that have merged together because no one is buying film or batteries, and a journalist who reports on makers who make crazy Elmo dolls that drive golf carts, and who find garbage in landfills and make new things from that.

Do you have a favourite Vancouver writer?

Douglas Coupland. I really enjoyed City of Glass. It’s full of photographs and is an interesting guide to Vancouver, with little anecdotes about the city. He talks about how sushi in Japan is like turkey to us, and interesting things like that. It’s like a flip book of Vancouver.

What was your favourite book as a child?

I was super into Anne of Green Gables. Judy Blume. The Phantom Tollbooth was my favourite book when I was a kid. And anything by Roald Dahl.

Are there any books that have had a big influence on your life?

The Rebel Sell, Why the culture can’t be jammed by Joseph Heath and Andrew Potter.  It’s all about  counter culture and how you can’t jam culture because in doing so you’re just expanding the market place. I read it in university and it made me think differently about a lot of things.

Crazy LIke Us, the Globalization of the American Psyche by Ethan Watters is another one. It talks about how North America is globalizing the way that we go insane. Certain mental illnesses that only exist in North America are now showing up in other countries because of our influence and our media, and how cultures change as a result of our description of and categorization of behaviour.  The author suggests that it can actually create a pocket area with the symptoms in an area where they didn’t exist before.

What magazines can’t you live without?

MAKE Magazine, CRAFT Magazine. I really like knitting magazines such as Interweave. Anything to do with arts and culture, and how to make really cool stuff.

What book makes you feel like a kid again?

No particular book but I like Neil Gaiman’s approach to children’s books and how he thinks it’s really important to scare kids and to create realistic narratives. In Coraline the parents are really busy and don’t have enough time for her and she has this vivid imagination, but it’s a real-world scenario. And the fears are ones that kids realy have. The idea of the Other Mother is absolutely frightening. I remember being a kid and being scared. Kids like to be scared and we forget about that. So Gaiman’s approach reminds me what it’s like to be a kid again.

Your life story is published tomorrow. What’s its title?