The Wonder Of Words

Melissa Field
marie claire

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==Maeve Dermody, actress== ''WUTHERING HEIGHTS'' BY EMILY BRONTË "Choosing my favourite book is like asking a mother to choose her favourite child," laughs actress Maeve Dermody. "It's impossible!" Reading is a passion for the ''Beautiful Kate'' star, 24, who is completing a degree in English and psychology at the University of Sydney between acting jobs. "I think having a broad education really helps you as an actor," she says. As for ''Wuthering Heights'', Dermody recalls reading the brooding masterpiece when she was 14. "I fell in love with the passion and the poetry of it. It's so dramatic and heartbreaking." Having just finished filming Australian indie rom-com ''Griff The Invisible'' with ''True Blood'' star Ryan Kwanten, the actor is happy just finding a moment to read right now. "I wish I had more time to curl up with a good book," she muses.
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==Sarah Blasko, singer/songwriter== ''BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY'S'' by TRUMAN CAPOTE [[img:6741395|size=l]] "The thing I love most about reading is that it offers a glimpse of a world you might otherwise never inhabit," says the two-time ARIA-winning singer/songwriter. "When I'm on tour, I've always got a book or two on the go." Of Truman Capote's 1958 novel, Sarah Blasko, 33, says, "Everyone who's ever wanted to leave a small-town upbringing behind or reinvent themselves in some way can relate to Holly Golightly. She gets lost for a time in the big city, but still retains her spark, wit and character. Her appeal is timeless."
==Asher Keddie, actress== ''THE GREAT GATSBY'' BY F. SCOTT FITZGERALD [[img:6741396|size=l]] "I've read this book countless times," says Asher Keddie, who called on her dance training to break out some impressive charleston steps to pay homage to ''The Great Gatsby'''s decadent flapper, Daisy. "I love that this story is so debauched and theatrical, but with a dark undercurrent, too." In fact, there's nothing Keddie loves more (apart from husband Jay Bowen and her five horses) than losing herself in a good book. "I've always loved to read," says the ''Underbelly: Tale Of Two Cities'' star. "I recently had a three-week holiday booked, but Jay and I decided at the last minute to hole up at home and do nothing but look after the animals and, for me, laze around with the stack of books I'd been meaning to get through all year."
==Sophie Lowe, actress== ''ALICE'S ADVENTURES IN WONDERLAND'' BY LEWIS CARROLL [[img:6741397|size=l]] For ingenue Sophie Lowe, 19, there was only one choice when it came to her all-time favourite book. "I've always loved the crazy and fantastical world evoked by ''Alice's Adventures In Wonderland''," she laughs. "It transports you to a whole other place. As an actor, I love to be carried away by a story." Since leaving Sydney's McDonald Performing Arts College 18 months ago, Lowe has appeared in ''Beautiful Kate'' (for which she received an AFI Best Actress nomination) and ''Blessed'', and has scored roles in upcoming thrillers ''The Clinic'', ''Road Train'' and horror flick ''Blame''. "The past year has been mad," she concedes, with a laugh.
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==Frances O'Connor, actress== ''VALLEY OF THE DOLLS'' BY JACQUELINE SUSANN [[img:6741398|size=l]] Actor Frances O'Connor, 42, moved to LA a year ago, but so far there are few parallels between her life and those of Anne, Jennifer and Neely, the protagonists of Susann's iconic novel. "The girls in ''Valley Of The Dolls'' conquer Tinseltown initially, but, ultimately, fame and stardom consume them, which as a theme still resonates today," says the ''Cashmere Mafia'' and ''Blessed'' star. Thankfully, there's little chance O’Connor will succumb to a dissolute, doll-popping existence. "Growing up in Perth and being married to a Glaswegian [actor Gerald Lepkowski] means I'm pretty immersed in a down-to-earth lifestyle," she says. "My life is about doing work I can be proud of and being a good partner, and a good mother to my son, Luka."
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==Vanessa Amorosi, singer/songwriter== ''EAT PRAY LOVE'' BY ELIZABETH GILBERT [[img:6741399|size=l]] As a songwriter, Vanessa Amorosi, who topped the ARIA charts last year with her anthemic single "This Is Who I Am", admits that life experiences help her in her career. "The words just flow when you've lived the story you're writing about," she says. "Whether it's a bad break-up or the joy of new love, writing from experience really lends the work a truth." It's that kind of truth that Amorosi, 28, responds to most when reading, and it helped her connect with Elizabeth Gilbert, who documented her spiritual journey to Italy, India and Bali in ''Eat Pray Love''. In the process, Gilbert discovers who she really is. "My career has had its highs and lows, but I'm grateful for all the experiences I've had," notes Amorosi. "They've made me the stronger, more confident woman I am today."
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[[block:feature| '''Make A Difference''' Donate a preloved book this month – and help disadvantaged children. Books offer a lifetime of pleasure, but some Australian children in remote and marginalised communities simply can't access them. With its Share-A-Book program, The Australian Literacy & Numeracy Foundation (ALNF) collects new and quality preloved books, and donates them to school libraries and community groups throughout Australia. '''How you can get involved:''' ''marie claire'' has teamed up with the ALNF and Officeworks to help you donate a children's book to kids. From February 3 to March 31, there will be a Share-A-Book bookshelf in every branch of Officeworks across Australia. 1. Donate a book at Officeworks stores. Simply leave a preloved children's book on the shelf. 2. See a book you like on the Share-A-Book bookshelf? Pick it up and it's yours for a gold-coin donation to the ALNF at the checkout. 3. Make a donation at any Officeworks branch nationally.
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Photos: Emma Phillips