First Flight…

August 23, 2007

Well to kick this off I thought I’d start with a meme that’s been doing the rounds in some of my favourite book blogs :

What are you reading right now?
Just completed Truth and Consequences – my first Alison Lurie (as hailed by litlove) which was enjoyable and wise. So now 15 pages into This Book will Save your Life –A.M. Homes (shame it was on Richard & Judy’s list but “c’est la vie”) I do like to have some contemporary fiction on the go, that’s easy to get in to & this one seems to express something of a current zeitgeist of isolation.
On the non-fiction front I’m savouring John Berger’s Hold Everything Dear – it’s a little more political than some of his earlier essays, but so poetic and true. One of those books I wish everyone I know could experience, both for the content and the inimitable style.
And always some short stories on the go – No One Belongs Here More Than You by Miranda July is a great, varied collection, as idiosyncratic as you would expect from her film work.

Do you have any idea what you’ll read when you’re done with that?
I’ve got my usual, maximum number of library books out – from both my local and the London library, so due back dates usually dictate this (see the Departure lounge) – though I have Patrick Gale’s new release Notes from an Exhibition on hold to collect so once I pick that up I’m unlikely to resist.

What magazines do you have in your bathroom right now?
None – though we always have a copy of The Week on the dining table, good for snippets of current and curious news.

What’s the worst thing you were ever forced to read?
Honestly can’t think of one – must have blocked it out!

What’s the one book you always recommend to just about everyone?
William Boyd’s Any Human Heart is a safe one that seems to appeal to lots of different people. If asked for a personal recommendation it’s The Hours by Michael Cunningham (and hence encouraging them to go on to Mrs Dalloway –probably my favourite book by my favourite author). And I’m still surprised by the number of people who haven’t read The Corrections (Jonathan Franzen).

Admit it, the librarians at your library know you on a first name basis, don’t they?
Yes, well they did when we had a small local library at the end of our street. Where we live now, they don’t know me by name (though some staff recognise my frequent visits) & I’ve been capriciously dropping into different branches as they charge (70p – albeit a small fee) to transfer titles! I only seem to make it to the London Library about once every 4-5 weeks but have started requesting holds to streamline my visits, so no doubt the familiarity will come.

Is there a book you absolutely love, but for some reason, people never think it sounds interesting, or maybe they read it and don’t like it at all?
Desperate Characters by Paula Fox – it’s one that Jonathan Franzen championed and since first reading it about 6 years ago, I’ve read it at least 10 times – a little obsessive I know but it’s a short novel and sooo well written. I mustn’t pitch it very well, you’d think after so many readings I’d be able to articulate the storyline in an interesting manner – but that’s just it- I always describe the writing style, and I honestly don’t think anyone’s read it yet. So there’s a challenge for me to write an interesting post about Desperate Characters which will have you all rushing to get a copy!

Do you read books while you eat? While you bathe? While you watch movies or TV? While you listen to music? While you’re on the computer? While you’re having sex? While you’re driving?
Yes, though I always try to cultivate zen & mindfulness e.g. “when you eat, just eat” – I do invariably end up reading books, or newspapers or even blogs while eating!
Definitely a book in the bath is a must – and I haven’t managed to ruin one yet, though sometimes the odd corner may end up a little soggy!
I often read if my other half is watching something I’ve no interest in but if it’s a loud or violent movie I relocate to quieter reading spot.
Music (classical or mainly instrumental) can be good especially as I spend a lot of the day home alone, but sometimes it distracts too much.

When you were little, did other children tease you about your reading habits?
Not that I remember, though in more recent times a friend we were holidaying with was astonished to observe me pacing up and down devouring the last few pages of The Aerodynamics of Pork (Patrick Gale), and yes some kind teasing ensued.

What’s the last thing you stayed up half the night reading because it was so good you couldn’t put it down?
The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffennegger