Of course, JaneAustens' P&P;When we were very young & Now we are six -AA Milne; Frances Hodgson Burnett's A Little Princess; The Bell Jar, Sylvia Plath,; Repossessing Ernestine by Marsha Hunt -an underrated writer whom I believe who has 'it'... I know what I mean!
Has a book ever fundamentally changed the way you see life? If yes, what was it?
yes! A Little Princess which first my mother read to me, then I read it over and over, of which I have several prints and copies. At a very young age it taught me however tough things get, however bleak there is always someone worse than you and there is ALWAYS hope. The same with Maya Angelous early autobiographies.
How do you choose a book? eg - by cover design and summary, recommendations or reviews?
Mostly by recommendations, mother, friends, reviews in Newbooks magazine for whom I write reviews, I rarely take notice of other authors recommendations on books, as I know they are paid for them and not all read them thoroughly; if I chose a book by its cover it is unwitting happenstance. Though I know some book covers give an indication of the genre, ie. chick lit, so actually, Yes!
Do you prefer fiction or non-fiction?
I prefer in the main fiction, as I can allow my imagination to run riot, with non-fiction and history I have to reign it in and let the brain work rather than my mind, if you get my drift!?
What is more important in a novel - beautiful writing or a gripping plot?
For me the prose and then the style is key, as this can turn me off faster than a feeble handshake or a sloppy kiss! The plot will overcome this problem, if it's really riveting and it has engaged me from the get go. As I WILL NEVER read the last page, which for me is a bit like smoking or eating in the street, my mother would kill me if she caught me.(Luckily these days I don't smoke and if I ate in the street I'd fall over my feet... need to concentrate!)
Most loved/memorable character (character/book)
Only one?! Sorry no can do, Sara Crewe and Becky ... oh the bond! Christopher Robin! James Frey in his 'memoir' A Million Little Pieces (whatever anyone says ... much RESPECT) Jane Eyre her strength of character and her love! All the characters in the wonderful (I wish I had written it kinda book) Ursula Under by Ingrid Hill Fabulous!).
Which books can be found on your nightstand at the moment?
Well I have a book case next to my bed with a few hundred book waiting not to patiently, I'm sure they call out to me and sing read me, read me...I feel the pressure sometimes...Um lets see, my nearest to me pile has Nigel Slater's Eating for England; James Frey's Bright Shiny Morning; Jodi Picoult's Second Glance; EckhartTolle's, A New Earth; Love letters of Great Men edited by Ursula Doyle; Trespass by Valerie Martin to name just six!
What was the last book you have read and when was it? I finished the warm duvet of a book- Miss Pettigrew lives for a day by Winifred Watson only last week, am currently on The Taming of the Shrew, for my Open Uni course and have just started Annie Proulx's new short story compilation Just the way its:Wyoming Stories.,
Have you ever given up on a book half way in? Yep, since I turned 40, (10 years ago) I gavemyself permission to not finish a book, allowing me access to 1000's of others! I have given up on Captain Corelli's Mandolin;100 Years of Solitude, Gabriel Garcia Marquez but I love Love in the time of Cholera!!
I'd be very interested in other preferences, do have a go too!