My bookshelves are a reflection of who I am. No, not a reflection, they are an extension of me. Which is why they are a bit all over the place – you’ll find Ismat Chughtai next to Judy Blume and Stephen Fry. I can tolerate people who don’t read but I don’t really get them.
To what lengths have you gone to acquire a book you wanted?
Other than your regular fiction/non-fiction, I am also into some speciality stuff, like old children’s books, especially the Ladybird hardbacks from the 60s with illustrations by Eric Winter, and Quentin Blake’s stories. I’m also mad about illustrator Tom Tierney’s brilliant paper-doll art, in particular his series on movie stars of the pre-60s period. I’ve scoured online book stores and paid a pretty penny to get my hands on some of them!
[quote]I’m mad about illustrator Tom Tierney’s brilliant paper-doll art[/quote]
What do you currently have on your bedside table?
Saul Bass: A Life in Film & Design, by Jennifer Bass and Pat Kirkham. It’s a fantastic monograph on the legendary graphic designer.
The three books you’d take with you on a desert island
My Uncle Oswald by Roald Dahl. Dahl does ribald so well, smut with pedigree! And MUO is hilarious. If I’m going to be stuck on a desert island, I want something that’ll keep my spirits up.
Hitchcock/Truffaut by Francois Truffaut (conversations with Alfred Hitchcock) – A genius discussing the intricacies of his 50 year career, I can never tire of it.
The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, Aged 13 and 3/4 by Sue Townsend – The first book that for me captured the tragic absurdities of adolescence, and it never grows old, it is as poignant and funny as when I first read it.
An author you would like to dine with
Living: Harper Lee. She probably wouldn’t say much and might even make her displeasure at her privacy being invaded quite obvious, but it would be worth it.
Deceased: Ismat Chughtai, Dorothy Parker, or Groucho Marx, all for the same reason really: I think they’d be sparkling company and have the best anecdotes in the world to share.
Your favourite genre
I don’t have one as such, I enjoy reading almost anything. I do generally prefer non-fiction, though – memoirs, biographies, social history etc. But then I also enjoy the old crime fiction classics, like Mario Puzo’s The Godfather, Frederick Forsyth’s The Day of the Jackal, and some of Patricia Highsmith. Frank Herbert’s Dune is an old sci-fi favourite.
A book everyone should read
Jhoolnay by Sufi Tabassum
[quote]The Bridges of Madison County is probably the most godawful drivel I’ve ever read in my life[/quote]
I instinctively know which terribly successful book I will probably not like, so for the most part, I’ve managed to steer clear of any major disappointments. Unless one counts The Bridges of Madison County, which was HUGE when it came out in the 90s, and is probably the most godawful drivel I’ve ever read in my life.
What kind of a reader are you? Unbroken spine, not a speck on the pages, or everything underlined, lots of marginalia?
I keep my books clean, but I don’t use bookmarks. I love dog-ears! I think they give books character, make them look lived-in, and loved.
Despite my best efforts, I was unable to complete…
What To Expect When You’re Expecting. Mostly because I was too busy dealing with morning sickness while also feeling like a beached whale.