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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
Iris Murdoch: The Sea, The
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…