Earlier today I posted a review of the spookily good Witch Dust by Marilyn Messik, and this evening Marilyn joins me on my blog to take part in my feature A Life in Books.
Can you tell me a bit about yourself?
Well, my default setting is definitely mild hysteria, but I don’t like to tell too many people about that! I earn my living as a copywriter working for businesses, so feel I should at least attempt to project a cool, calm and reasonably responsible exterior.
My vice is books. I have a TBR pile of about 50 and goodness knows (I certainly don’t!) how many lurking on my Kindle. I should also confess, if I don’t have a book (or several) lined up to read after the one I’m currently enjoying, then I get decidedly twitchy. And trust me, you wouldn’t like me when I’m twitchy!
What was your favourite book from childhood?
So hard to name just one – how to choose between Anne of Green Gables, What Katy Did and Little Women (why, oh why, did Beth have to go?). But my father also had a brilliant collection of probably highly unsuitable stuff into which I stuck my nose at a very early age, devouring Somerset Maugham’s Of Human Bondage alongside Edgar Rice Burroughs output – loved the Mars series – that Thuvia, Maid of Mars was a real trouper!
What type of books did you read as a teenager?
Rebecca of course and Beverly Cleary’s Fifteen. Tons of science fiction – Alfred Bester, Damon Knight, Isaac Asimov. Also loved Georgette Heyer – she used humour so brilliantly in her writing. And then of course there was the rather torrid Angelique series by Anne and Serge Golon in which, I seem to recall, there was a fair old amount of bodice-ripping and a suitably scarred, yet still unbearably handsome hero.
When you were at school what was your favourite book you studied?
Probably, Golding’s Lord of the Flies – although I’m not sure I ever enjoyed it.
What is your favourite classic book?
What would you consider to be one of the best books you have had over the last 5 years?
One? Just One? Now you’re being really tough! OK, I’m going to go for Justin Cronin’s Passage trilogy – yes I know that’s three books but can we stretch a point?
What book to you think you should read but never get round to?
War and Peace, but, life’s too short!
What do you consider to be your favourite book?
Now, that’s like being asked to choose your favourite child! Can I have two? The House Next Door, Anne Rivers Siddons – one of the best haunted house stories ever. The other one would be Time and Again by Jack Finney, a time travel tale that’s always stayed with me. Ooh, and Stephen King’s It! I’m so sorry I know I’ve failed miserably to answer the question accurately – that was always my problem in exams!.
Is there a book that you have started but been unable to finish?
Yes, Margaret Attwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, many years ago when it first came out. I found it totally distressing, maybe because it was so dystopian yet so scarily not really that far out. I’ve been watching the TV series which is brilliantly done, completely compelling and probably even more distressing, because there’s nothing in there that any of us can dismiss.
Which two books would you take to a desert island?
How to build a Hut and Teach Yourself Smoke Signals
Kindle or Book?
Real life book, because you can’t replace the scent, weight, cover texture and sheer pleasure of one of those. I do dally with a Kindle occasionally, if push comes to shove, but it’s definitely not the same experience.
If you haven’t read my review of Witch Dust please take a look, thank you.