1) ARE THERE ANY BOOKS YOU PLAN ON READING OVER THE AUTUMN SEASON?
There are so many books on my to-read list. I’m currently (slowly) reading Crime and Punishment by Dostoyevsky. I was initially gripped to the point my heart was racing during the suspense-filled lead up to the murder, though being ill I find it harder to concentrate. Amazing prose and dialogue, and as I anticipated, heartbreaking realism.
Here’s what I’ll likely read next:
The Peculiar Life of a Lonely Postman by Denis Thériault. It’s a short read, I started reading it before summer as I had the paperback — travelling I only brought my kindle. I was drawn to this initially for its beautiful cover illustration and intriguing title.
The Wild Sargossa Sea by Jean Rhys. For a long time I have been keen to read the work of more Anglophone writers who are not from the US or the UK. Jean Rhys is from Dominica and this is a postcolonial novel which starts with the abolition of slavery in the British Empire; the plot unravels in Jamaica. I often enjoy historical fiction and liked her short stories.
Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka. Sorry to say that I have not yet read any works by Kafka, so I think this would be a good place to start. Haruki Marukami who is one of my favourite authors is heavily influenced by Kafka’s magical realism.
The Long Goodbye by Raymond Chandler. Chandler is a favourite among authors, among many others, Fleming said that Chandler offered”some of the finest dialogue written in any prose today”. I’d like to see why!
What Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro. Simply because I loved Never Let Me Go and haven’t read enough of Ishiguro. Simple, concise language, unpretentiously gets across more profound ideas.
The Black Album by Hanif Kureishi. His dual perspective as son of first generation Pakistani migrants also arouses curiosity, especially when juxtaposed with his strange beginnings as a pornography writer. He has since gone on to be a respected figure of contemporary literary fiction. Quite a feat.
In the Miso Soup by Ryu Murakami. This will be a quick read, I read Almost Transparent Blue years ago and found it weird but wonderful.
2) SEPTEMBER BRINGS BACK TO SCHOOL MEMORIES: WHAT BOOK DID YOU MOST ENJOY STUDYING? AND WHAT WERE YOUR FAVOURITE AND LEAST FAVOURITE SCHOOL SUBJECTS?
Probably To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. At the time I was just starting to get interested in human rights, in particular the rights of minorities contextualised with the fall of the Empire and the abolition of slavery. My brother’s father-in-law had been a lawyer and an advocate and avid campaigner for black rights in Alabama, so I think this issue somehow felt closer to me. This was probably the first ‘real’ adult classic I enjoyed reading.
Favourite subjects: French, German, Spanish, English, Environmental Science, Physics, Biology, Art, Textiles.
Worst: Design Technology: Woodwork. I liked the initial design phase but hated making things. I was terrified that one day I would accidentally solder my own fingers together… I also disliked P.E. I liked sprinting and long distance running, but team sports? And running around in shorts in muddy fields in winter? Eurgh. Traumatic. Maths is a subject I almost forgot about here; strange because I HATED it. Looking back, I think I just had some pretty demotivating teachers. I tried to reengage with mathematics, and got pretty far along the way while reading Yoko Ogawa’s The Housekeeper and the Professor, but unfortunately all of this newfound curiosity was killed when I did the numeracy skills test.
3) OCTOBER MEANS HALLOWEEN: DO YOU ENJOY SCARY BOOKS AND FILMS? IF SO WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR FAVOURITES?
I do and I don’t. It’s a bit of a masochistic experience. Last year I watched It Follows and couldn’t sleep for a week because of it — needless to say, it was a great movie. Oculus had a similar effect on me. I get terrified when it comes to psychological horror stories that are not explicit.
Book-wise, I haven’t read much horror since R.L.Stein as a kid, though quite partial to Stephen King and Anne Rice.
4) WITH NOVEMBER IT’S TIME FOR BONFIRE NIGHT & FIREWORK DISPLAYS. WHAT’S THE MOST EXCITING BOOK YOU’VE READ THAT REALLY KEPT YOU GRIPPED?
Impossible to pick just one book here. Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale was a real page-turner, as was Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Marukami. Swedish author John Ajvide Lindqvist’s Let the Right One in was exciting, in a disturbing way.
It Follows, 2014 Source
The series that got me hooked in the last five years was George R.R.Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire. The televised series has now caught up though, which sadly might deter me from reading the next 1000-page book, if it’s ever released that is.
5) WHAT BOOK IS YOUR FAVOURITE COSY COMFORT READ?
Probably the books which I grew up with: Harry Potter, The Hobbit, more or less anything by Roal Dahl, The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S.Lewis, several books by Eva Ibbotson, R.M.Ballantyne’s Coral Island. Children’s literature in general. More recently I read The Hen Who Dreamed She Could Fly by the bestselling Korean author Seonmi-Hwang and loved it. Quick, cosy read.
6) CURLED UP WITH A GOOD BOOK, WHAT IS YOUR HOT DRINK OF CHOICE?
Cup of good black coffee or herbal tea. I like Pukka, particularly the Lemongrass and Ginger flavour.
7) ANY PLANS YOU’RE LOOKING FORWARD TO OVER THE NEXT FEW MONTHS?
Getting back into the swing of work and enjoying London after being abroad for so long. I have a few writing and photographic assignments coming up and I’ll be volunteering in the Charles Dickens Museum again in the weeks leading up to Christmas. The museum has such an amazing, Christmassy atmosphere in November and December, as does London in general. Excited to be back in town surrounded by so many great bookshops, art events, theatre productions etc.
I’ll probably be in South Korea for Christmas with my partner.