Jodi Wilson is the author of Practising Simplicity – a stunning and (legitimately) inspiring book about small steps and brave choices for a life less distracted. Wilson wrote the book after spending two and a half years caravanning around Australia with her partner and four kids (so she knows a things or two about brave choices).
She also co-authored the bestselling book The Complete Australian Guide to Pregnancy and Birth, and writes a weekly substack about reading, writing and the simple things. Oh, and did I mention she was an avid reader?
I caught up with Jodi to find out about her reading rituals, the book that made her cry, and one she thinks everyone should read.
A book you recommend to everyone.
Small Things Like These by Claire Keegan who is so economical with her language, every sentence is a lesson in simplicity. I often wonder how long she spent wrangling each word because they’re all so considered and then placed with utmost care. I’ve just finished Charlotte Wood’s Stone Yard Devotional and it’s the same kind of mastery. I agree with Michael Williams from Read This who said it’s a book that tells you how to read it; you open the page and it carries you and that is a rare and marvellous thing.
You open the page and it carries you and that is a rare and marvellous thing
A book that made you cry.
We All Want Impossible Things by Catherine Newman which actually made me laugh and cry in equal measure and that’s not an easy task. Newman has a very distinct voice and she is so wonderful at capturing what it means to be human; the joy, the heartache, the hilarity in the most devastating of circumstances. I’ll read whatever she writes and I’m so looking forward to her new novel, Sandwich, which will be published in 2024.
A book you think more people should read.
Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri which is the most exquisite collection of short stories that I first read when it was published in 2000. I know short stories are often considered less-than but I think that’s changing (perhaps the perfect literature for the short attention spans of 2023?). If you want to start with one of the finest, Lahiri is guaranteed to enamour.
A book you return to or have re-read
Motherhood and Creativity – The Divided Heart by Rachel Power. Whenever I find a copy at the op-shop I buy it because it’s the book I always pass on to mothers who are in early postpartum and wondering if they’ll ever have the time and space to write/paint/perform again. It’s a series of interviews with well-known Australian creatives who speak of the push and pull of being a mother. Along the way it offers the reader permission to create in the scraps of time available. It’s out of print but as with most motherhood memoirs, it transcends time.
Do you have a reading ritual?
Yes! Early to bed because sleep is essential, a cup of tea, a HB pencil and a book (plus a hot water bottle in the colder months which is often here in Tasmania). Always, without fail, a ritual that I look forward to all day.
You read everything this author writes. Who is it?
Elizabeth Strout. And I caveat this with the fact that I haven’t read all her books and for good reason; I save them for those times where I need a hug in literary form. When life is challenging, when all I really need is comfort, when I’m in doubt…I read Elizabeth Strout.