Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Desert Island Books...

Image courtesy of: Arztsamui / Free Digital Photos
Many thanks to Angela Maddock for her amusing contribution to Desert Island Books this week! Angela is Senior Lecturer in Contextual Studies and also Pathway Leader in MA Textiles, School of Research and Postgraduate Studies for the Faculty of Art & Design...

I don't come from a family of readers. My Mum is dyslexic, my brother was and my sister is…so reading was neither enjoyed nor celebrated, though I do remember the usual classic collections, mostly works of Shakespeare, that sort of thing. These volumes display lovely pin pricks at their spines, my brother would hang his dart board in front of them. I did A level English, badly, very badly. I spent too much time swimming, playing hockey and tennis  and went to the cinema to watch Polanski's Tess so that I was able to write about it in my exam. I was not a good student. Yet in that sleepy gap between exams and my miserable results, I lay in the sun, working my way through the reading list I should have started two years earlier. In that summer I read Nabokov, Orwell, Plath, Salinger, Hardy, Solzhenitsyn, Sagan, Kundera, Murdoch…mostly depressing stuff that I found deeply engaging and the kind of book to which I am always returning - except that now I also like books that make me laugh too, Anne Tyler is a particular favourite. I also love Kazuo Ishiguro's writing, Carol Shields, Iain Banks,  Philip Roth, Toni Morrison. Those few weeks of summer were a real turning point; I can't say that I am especially well read, but I understand what books mean to me and how other people's words live inside me. Having been asked to do this, I found myself looking at the bookshelves in our home, picking up old favourites. Last night I started to reread Iris Murdoch's The Sea, The Sea  and then dreamt I lived in that extraordinary house, swam in the sea! Well here goes…ask me next week, or even tomorrow, and this list would be very different.
My favourite four books:
John Irving: A Prayer for Owen Meaney
Iris Murdoch: The Sea, The Sea
Daphne du Maurier: Rebecca
Iain Banks: The Wasp Factory
All four are books I carry in my head, Owen Meaney reduced me to tears,  Wasp Factory was so fantastically dystopian and The Sea, The Sea and Rebecca are such classic books and bring me back to water, which I love!
Which character would I like to bring to life? Owen Meaney, no contest!
What would be my luxury item? My husband reckoned I'd ask for a really good pillow, but I know that I would want a very excellent pair of tinted swimming goggles.
If I was rescued and could take only one book, oh dear! I think I would glue the pages of The Sea, The Sea inside those of Owen Meaney…I'm not good at sticking to rules!
And if you had asked me about music, I have no taste, it would be 80s all the way…

1 comment:

  1. There's nothing wrong with 80s music, Angela!

    I must admit, I haven't read your other choices (The Wasp Factory was recommended to me a number of years ago, but I'm waiting till I feel strong enough to read it!), but I'm pleased to see Rebecca making an appearance!