It is the end of the week – but, fear not, it is still not the end of My Life in Books! Tomorrow is the final day – for now, taking the spot usually reserved for Song for a Sunday, I hand over to two bloggers, both of whom (incidentally) were introduced to me by Simon Savidge…
Gav, who blogs at Gav Reads, couldn’t have a much more different reading taste from me if he tried – such is the charm of the blogosphere! I came across Gav through the excellent podcast he co-presents, The Readers.
Gav: My dad definitely isn’t a reader, he doesn’t like reading instruction manuals. My mum though definitely is. I didn’t really grow up in a house of books. Though my mum used to but me the odd book. I recall a copy of Wind in the Willows that stayed in a drawer in the living room for years and years. And I never could get on with it.
I think if I had to choose one book from childhood it would have to be The Twits by Roald Dahl though really it could be any Dahl novel from Matilda, The Witches, BFG, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I think The Twits is probably the least fanciful but most grotesque of his novels especially the part of about food in beards. But Dahl in general is an amazing children’s writer. He just gets what childhood is and how adults seem to children. Plus he gets how easy it is a child’s imagination can run wild. Oh I forgot the illustrations by Quentin Blake! Absolutely perfect.
Gav: Now that’s really grey I didn’t get bookie until I was 16 and I delved into science fiction and fantasy mostly, which to most people isn’t really grown-up reading. And I really can’t recall what I was really reading. I can see snapshots. But if we’re looking for challenging language, you could say it was Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien. I’d read The Hobbit but that is definitely more a child’s book as it’s simpler in lots of ways. But Lord of the Rings stretching over a trilogy
I’ll let you into a confession though: I’ve never read the very ending of the book.
Gav: Ha well that’s got to be Equal Rites by Terry Pratchett. I’ve already said that I didn’t read a lot. I tried to read but found it hard to find an author that really connected with me. Well this book started a passion for reading that’s lasted the last 17 years. It helped I think that he had a lot of books out so I could read them all to satisfy some internal hunger. That I’ve just kept feeding
Gav: One?? You’re kidding right! But if you insist it’s going to be The Draining Lake by Arnaldur Indridsaon. It was the first book of cold crime I’d read and it took me in to the whole area of cold crime and then crime in translation in general. And that’s one of the thing that I love about blogging is that there are bloggers who stick to one niche. They do it very well but they never seem to grow or change as readers. And I do like to see my pushing the edges of my reading flipping from one literary obsession to the other. And The Draining Lake was a great doorway for me.
Gav: I’m pretty honest about my reading. I don’t really think of anything as a guilty pleasure as I don’t see anything to feel guilty about. I guess that I love Bridget Jones’ Diary might cause a moment for pause…
The Lord of the Flies: You know I’ve never fancied reading this book. I shy away from books that reinforce that we are only one stage removed from other animals. I’m not sure if this book does show humanity in a good light at some points but I must admit to not wanting to go into those dark places first. The person that loves this book is much braver than me. Though it might be they were forced to read it in school and just happened to fall in love with it.
Muriel Spark: I always think of Muriel Spark’s work as fun and intelligent. I could be very wrong. I know she’s best known by me as the author of The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie but again I’ve not read her and not sure she’d be my cut of tea. But I think this shows a bit of refinement in a reader. I wonder what affect Spark had on them as a person as well as a reader?
The Shuttle: I’m going to stick my neck out and say this book is somewhat obscure? With all the Britishness of the other choices I can’t see this person as an American so it does make me curious about why this was an important book in their life.
Daphne du Maurier: Daphers has been mentioned a lot to me this last year. I honestly didn’t know how diverse a writer she was. Rebecca is such a favourite by so many people. Jamaica Inn and My Cousin Rachel come up frequently. It say this shows again a reader that likes the darker side of humanity. Though we seem to have lost that childhood pleasure in reading we started off with in Terry Jones’ Fairy Tales.
If I had to place bets I would say this person’s name starts with the letter S… But I might be wrong!
[Simon: who could you have been thinking of, Polly?]