Unlocking Worlds a Reading Companion by Sally Allen





Featuring Sally Allen author of UNLOCKING WORLDS a reading companion for book lovers








  • File Size: 1760 KB
  • Digital Length: 172 pages, Paperback 248 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Griffins Wharf (November 11, 2015)
  • Publication Date: November 11, 2015
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B017VOU7NC

















Have you ever wondered what life is like through the eyes of another? To see what they see, know what they know, experience as they do? Do you yearn to participate in another’s inner life journey as they learn to navigate through it? Well, today we have an excellent resource in talented author and book lover, Sally Allen. Her book Unlocking Worlds, does exactly that. Unlock worlds in book after book with amazing protagonists, heroes and supporting cast. I’ve already added several (and counting) of these books to my Goodreads account. Which seems to be growing like kudzu on steroids at the moment.

I love books, and I also yearn to experience the the world view through the eyes of voracious readers, bookworms and book lovers. To get a taste of what they appreciate and how books have shaped them over the years. Whoohoo! Fun stuff! Unlocking Worlds will introduce you to the familiar and uncharted territories of lands waiting to be explored. To boldy go where no man has gone before…(sounds like Star Trek).


Now we get to enjoy an interview with Sally! Yippee!! Take it away Sally…






Who affected your reading habits as a child?

My family was my strongest influence. My parents restricted screen time (meaning I wasn’t allowed anywhere near screens from Monday through Friday), and my parents and older siblings were all readers. So from house rules to house habits, I learned to turn to books for entertainment. And I did!

We do the same thing at our house and our kids hate this. My childhood was quite the opposite with unrestricted screen time, yikes!  Wish I could’ve read more books back then. 









Which stories, characters, or themes became part of your core values?

The two that first come to mind I read (and reread often) as a child: A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett and The All-of- a-Kind Family by Sydney Taylor. Both embodied the values my family instilled in me – community, family, empathy, and compassion – though in very different ways. They’re books I still think of, draw inspiration from, and enjoy rereading to this day.

These are very good values!  










How did your reading affect you in high school?

Reading was how I would relax and unwind. I remember spending countless hours lying on the floor of my room reading and rereading my favorite contemporary novels. High school was also when I first fell in love with classic literature Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, Mark Twain and learned to embrace a broader range of literary genres and styles.

I often hear these as sources of inspiration, especially Austen.











What did you appreciate about literature throughout college?

I most appreciated building on the close reading skills introduced in high school and learning how to research and discover more about the story behind a book. These highlighted how much we don’t understand and how much we have to learn. They taught me to have patience, to listen, and not to rush the judgment. Incidentally, all excellent life skills as well!

Reading is one thing, but learning the nuts and bolts behind it is another. Gleaning solid virtues such as patience, listening and understanding are excellent.




Who can find a virtuous woman for her price is far above rubies -Proverbs 31:10 




What was your goal in writing this particular book?

I wanted to share a way of reading for personal pleasure and enrichment. Reading preferences can be incredibly personal, driven by what we’re trying to figure out and by our personal experiences and preoccupations. I wanted to honor that and to show how books of all kinds can bring us both pleasure and growth, depending on how we approach them and why we’re drawn to them. I hope that readers will discover both books they’ve read and not read and that my book will inspire reflection and conversation.

Yes I’ve definitely appreciated reading your book and I’ve added many to Goodreads account already. Personally I believe we could benefit more from reflecting and conversing about what we’ve read and experienced. 








Tell us about your fascination with “aspects of wonder” from “Criticism” by Matthew Goulish. 

I encourage everyone to find and read Goulish’s beautiful essay! There is so much to treasure in and learn from it. What captured my imagination about “aspects of wonder” is the idea of being transported by beauty. In a way, it seems like it should be obvious that engaging with art is about transcendent moments. But that’s not always what happens in practice.

I’ll have to do some more digging to find it. Thanks for the reference!



…”it takes a keen mind and an open heart to recognize and value beauty.” I really enjoyed this quote and Ghoulish’s view of the critic changing, and not the work of art.

Thank you! Goulish’s view reminds me of the saying (I believe it’s Carl Jung’s), “You are what you do.” How we approach and engage with art can mirror how we approach and engage with the world around us. If we enter into an art experience with an openness and sense of possibility, it can change what we allow ourselves to get out of it. And that approach to books can translate into how we approach the world around us as well. So how we read matters a great deal.

I find this very fascinating. How we approach and engage with art mirroring how we engage with the world around us. EPIC!









How do you feel about the current 5 star rating system for books?

I am not a fan. Reading is such a rich, transformative, dimensional experience. To reduce a book to five stars has a way of draining the complexity, life, and beauty out of it for me.

Wow. I love your statement on this. It provides a totally different mindset when it comes to books. 








If you had to choose another time period in which to live in, which would you choose?

So many of the books I love were written in the 19th century. I’m also fascinated by ancient Greek literature and by all that we can’t know about that time. It would be interesting to visit and experience everyday life in either of these times. Though I must admit, I’m quite happy to read about the past from my comfortable perch in the 21st century!

Hah! True enough. Greek is pretty fascinating, love the language. The 19th century sounds cool…but I’d rather read about it. 




How does reading shape and transform us?

Reading allows us to see the world through another set of eyes and from another position in space and time. It introduces us to new ideas and new ways of looking at the world. Research is beginning to help us understand how reading experiences can rewire our brains. Having felt changed by my experience of books – Boris Pasternak’s Doctor Zhivago, Toni Morrison’s Beloved, and Zadie Smith’s White Teeth come to mind – I can believe it!

I’m very intrigued how reading affects our brain development and experience. Recent books have touched on this using cognitive science. It’s affects are amazing!













Tell us about your favorite literary Mom.

The first one I thought of is Marmee from Little Women because she’s such a steady, comforting presence. But I also adore Miranda’s mom in When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead. She’s quirky, gives great advice, challenges Miranda to think harder and be kinder, and she is 100 percent devoted as a parent.

Moms are the BEST! Like you said, steady and a comforting presence. That’s a mom. I’ll have to add these books to my ever-growing TBR list.












Do you have a favorite father figure?

My favorite literary father figure is Joe Gargery from Great Expectations. He’s kind, loving, patient, loyal, forgiving. My favorite literary dad is Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird. He never talks down to his children, and he embodies empathy, even when it is most difficult (and therefore most valuable).

Splendid. Empathy can be rather challenging at times, but it’s definitely worth it.



If you had to pick a protagonist to marry who would it be?

I love Hamish Macbeth from M. C. Beaton’s murder mystery series. He has the right priorities: the desire for a peaceful life (somewhat ironic, since he’s constantly having to solve murders!) and deep care for his community. Another favorite is Obinze from Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Americanah. He’s patient, loyal, and an empathetic listener, (and he’s a reader!).

This was a fun one! Hamish Macbeth and Obinze. By the way, thanks for recommending Americanah. It sounds like a very moving story. 










If you had to pick a hero for president, who are your top 3 choices?

I agree with Albus Dumbledore that those who want power are probably the least to be trusted with it. So my choices would lean towards those who have neither expressed a desire for power nor pursued it. My three picks will stick with the Harry Potter theme: Kingsley Shacklebolt’s focus, discretion, and principles put him at the top of my list. I would also vote for Hermione Granger, who is highly rational, clever, and has a strong sense of justice. Finally, Mr. Weasley seems happy to sacrifice prestige for doing the right thing. He would get my vote.

Great picks! Love your philosophy on this. Sounds like it would make a great book, or perhaps fan fiction?










If you were a damsel in distress, who would you call on to rescue you?

Hopefully, I would be able to rescue myself. 🙂 But in a pinch, Hermione would be a good person to have in my corner.

Being rescued is more fun 🙂  I’m noticing a pattern here. If Hermione would become president, then rescued you, that would be a blockbuster.









Do you have any other books in the works?

I’ve been working on an idea for a book on classic literature. It’s still in the beginning stages, so we’ll see where it takes me.

Stay tuned!

Absolutely. A book on the classics sounds great. 







Sally Allen is an award-winning author who holds a PhD in English Education from New York University, with an emphasis in writing and rhetoric, and an MA in English Language and Literature. She has taught writing and literature at New York University and Fairfield University, and is the recipient of New York University’s Willy Gorrissen Award for Dedication and Skill in the Academic Development of Student Writing. Currently, Allen is a faculty member at Post University where she teaches literature, writing, and communications. She is the founder of Books, Ink at HamletHub, a website dedicated to Connecticut books news, where her writing has earned her three Connecticut Press Club awards.

Unlocking Worlds (Griffins Wharf, 2015) can be purchased from Amazon

and other booksellers nationwide. More information about Sally Allen can be

found at www.sallyallenbooks.com, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Goodreads.







Benjamin Thomas






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