Canberra United's Grace Gill has signed on to be an ambassador for the National Year of Reading. We found out a little more about how Gill got into reading, how she likes her books, and what her ambassador role involves ...
You’re an ambassador for the National Year of Reading. First, can you tell us what the National Year of Reading is?
The National Year of Reading is a campaign to encourage and inspire people across Australia into reading. Close to half of the Australian population struggle with basic literacy skills, 46% being unable to read a newspaper, follow recipes, understand basic timetables, etc. It's a concerning statistic that this campaign is hoping to turn around, or simply to reintroduce the joy of reading to those needing some inspiration.
What does your role as an ambassador entail?
The role of ambassadors in the National Year of Reading is to further encourage people in our respective fields, and I am particularly honoured to be sharing this title with a collection of other fabulous state, territory, and national ambassadors.
I attended the launch in early February, which had an incredible turn out of representatives. Names such as Julia Gillard, Simon Crean, Peter Garrett, and Kate Lundy were present, just to name a few. It was impressive to see the type of nationwide support this campaign is already receiving.
You’re obviously a big fan of reading. What sorts of books do you read? Any recommendations?
I absolutely enjoy reading but admittedly don't read as much as I'd like to. That is partly the reason why I was enthusiastic in taking on board this ambassador role—it was an opportunity for me to get back into reading while encouraging others to do so as well.
At the moment I'm reading a book called A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle. It was recommended to me by a teammate and has proved a worthy recommendation. That's one of the great things about reading: the social aspect of sharing ideas and thoughts and the reviews you pass on to others afterwards. I tend to base my choices simply by suggestions I'm given, which offers a diverse range of authors and genres.
How did you get into reading?
As with many other kids, reading was introduced to me at school. My strength fell in reading and writing, not so much maths, which probably contributed to my enjoying it more so than other subjects (except for PE, of course!) I was determined when I was younger to get through the 'Top 100 Books of All Time' list. I made a significant dent in it, although the list is continually changing, which makes getting through it quite a task. It’s safe to say it's still a work in progress.
How do you like your books? Physical, audio, electronic, or all three?
This question continues to arise as books outside the traditional paperback or hardback format become more prevalent. As a personal preference, reading a book in paperback form is far more enjoyable than through a screen. Physically holding a book and the relaxing experience I've grown up with doesn't involve a screen of sorts, and the character a book builds over its life tells a story in itself.
E-books and the like are convenient and efficient, comparable to the way digital and film/print photography exist. The traditional book form holds a certain charm, while the newer technology is tidier and practical for many people. I think, though, as long as people are reading and enjoying themselves, the format in which this occurs isn't a point for concern.
What sort of response have you had to being a NYoR ambassador?
My involvement in a role somewhat removed from the football world has had only a positive response. While I'm there as a representative from the sporting world, it's particularly important to recognise the academic and literacy aspect of our lives too. I'm looking forward to the rest of the year and my role as an ambassador.
How do books and reading fit in with your full-time football training schedule?
This stems back to my point of not reading as much as I'd like to. Working and training full time tends to occupy a significant portion of my days, so the spare time and time I find to read is either on weekends or while travelling. Plane rides and rainy days make for ideal reading time.
Are you a member of a book club (formal or otherwise)?
The closest thing to a book club that I'm involved in is the chats Jen Bisset and I regularly have over our favourite reads. We often recommend books to each other and come back with thoughts and critiques while multi-tasking book club with juggling at training. It's an informal, free-to-all club with no sign-up fees.
Congratulations on your new role, Grace. We're looking forward to seeing it unfold and picking up some book tips for you throughout the year.