This evening I welcome author Robert Rees to bookliterati blog to discuss some of his favourite books in A Life in Books.
Can you tell me a bit about yourself?
Hi, I am 57 years old and was born in Berkshire. My father was a teacher of History and then headmaster at various schools. I attended Eton College and Trinity Cambridge before pursuing a career in the City of London. After retiring from the City in 2007, I now divide my time between a house in Kent and Provence writing music, novels, and plays.
What was your favourite book from childhood?
I read a lot as a child, most of the normal canon – the Narnia books, Paddington, EE Nesbit being my favourites. I also loved all the various mythologies and graduated quickly from them onto the Lord of the Rings. However, after finding a book on how to make fireworks, my chief love became science and in particular chemistry – a love that I have never lost, despite not really using it in my later career. I particularly enjoyed reading about the history of science.
What type of books did you read as a teenager?
Heavily into Tolkien and similar fantasy books, including a lot of science fiction. But I also enjoyed Russian and French literature. Le Grand Meaulnes by Alain Fournier, and Father and Sons by Turgenev were my two favourites.
When you were at school what was your favourite book you studied?
As I was a scientist my English studies ended at 16. The books we were made to read – generally Dickens or Thomas Hardy, were not my books of choice – though for French I did enjoy The Outsider by Camus. I became interested around that time in philosophy ( here was a course for scientists who could write properly at school – not a big group!) so I should add in the History of Western Philosophy by Bertrand Russell.
What is your favourite classic book?
I think it is almost impossible to name one – but if you twist my arm then probably Jane Eyre (or maybe War and Peace)
What would you consider to be one of the best books you have had over the last 5 years
Difficult as there are so many – but I was very taken with both novels by David Nicholls, Us and One Day. Also The Imperfectionists by Tom Rachmann
What book to you think you should read but never get round to?
That is easy – I have taken a copy of Proust “a la Recherche du temps perdu” on holiday for at least the last three years and it remains unopened
What do you consider to be your favourite book ?
The book I have undoubtedly read the most – though at a much younger age would be The Lord of the Rings.
Is there a book that you have started but been unable to finish?
If you were stranded on a desert Island which 2 books would you want to have with you?
Are we allowed the Bible free, like on Desert Island discs? If not, that would be one. Then probably Shakespeare’s works – including the sonnets. If Bible allowed then War and Peace
Kindle or Book?
Robert Rees’s novel, A Season In The Sun, is available to buy now.