By the Book: Quill & Quire’s Dory Cerny’s reading highlights

Q&A conducted by Jennifer D. Foster

Dory CernyHave you ever wondered what fellow editors like to read? We have, too. In our new interview series, “By the Book,” we get the inside scoop on editors’ all-time favourite books, their top style guide, and what their alternate-universe career would be.

Tell us about your current job, Dory, plus a little-known quirky fact about you.

I’ve been the Books for Young People editor at Quill & Quire for three years, a job that entails assigning and editing reviews of Canadian children’s books (picture books, fiction, graphica, and non-fiction), writing about the publishing industry from a kidlit perspective, and hanging out with the wonderful people who create and publish kids’ books. I was a freelance reviewer for the Reviews (adult fiction and non-fiction) section for close to a decade before becoming a feature reviewer shortly before I joined the staff. Though I already have my dream job, I still harbour a secret desire to be “discovered” and offered a starring role on Broadway.

What is your all-time favourite book and why?

Like most bibliophiles, there is no way I can narrow it down to just one favourite book. So many have meant so much to me over the years, from Else Holmelund Minarik’s Little Bear stories to Kit Pearson, Janet Lunn, Christopher Pike, Madeleine L’Engle, and Frances Hodgson Burnett—and that’s just before I hit my teens. Then I discovered the Gothic horror of Dracula, the snarky wit of Holden Caulfield (I read The Catcher in the Rye every year from age 11 to 16 and somehow avoided becoming a mass murderer), the Brontë sisters, Thomas Hardy, and the brilliance of Timothy Findley and Roddy Doyle. My love of CanLit developed in university: Ann-Marie MacDonald’s Fall on Your Knees, Richard B. Wright’s Clara Callan, Rush Home Road by Lori Lansens, and more than one novel by Jane Urquhart, to name just a few. Sadly, years of reviewing have taken much of the pure, innocent joy out of reading; so I can’t say I have any “favourite” books from the last 10 years, though I have thoroughly enjoyed many.

What is your favourite editing manual, style guide, or other book about editing/writing?

I’d say my default is closest to The Globe and Mail style, but only because it’s what I’m most familiar with. And I am a firm proponent of the serial comma.

What do you think you’d be doing if you weren’t an editor and why?

In recent years I’ve come to think that I would have been happy as an interior designer. I love old houses, and I’ve yet to come across a property in which I couldn’t see the potential. My dream is to restore century homes, but editors aren’t known for their hefty bank accounts, so I’ll just have to make do trolling open houses and daydreaming.

Jennifer D. Foster is a Toronto-based freelance editor, mentor, and writer, specializing in book and custom publishing, magazines, and marketing and communications.

This article was copy edited by Joe Cotterchio.

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