The one which kickstarted your reading habit: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C S Lewis
Now, we are going back into the mists of time, but this book and its sequels grabbed me because children were having an exciting adventure in a strange, yet familiar place. I saw it as ‘goodies v. baddies’; the symbolism completely escaped me at that age!
The one which changed your view of the world:
I knew choosing was going to be fiendish! The problem is that different books change people’s worlds at different stage of their lives. Often they give a jolt or open a new door just at the stage the individual is ready to receive it. At age 11, Rosemary Sutcliff’s Eagle of the Ninth (and visiting a lot of Roman sites in Europe) opened the Roman world to me, a fascination I’ve never shaken off, as witnessed by my Roma Nova books! At 14, the worlds of Georgette Heyer, Anthony Hope and Simon Templar reinforced my sense of the romanticism of ‘doing the honourable thing’ and Jean Plaidy was teaching me history. But John Le Carré and Robert Harris shook a lot of that out when I became a student. But by then, I was deep, deep into science fiction with Heinlein, McCaffrey and Asimov…
The one you go back to again and again: The Falco series by Lindsey Davis (for the moment)
Your question made me revisit my bookshelves. Dynasty by Robert Elegant, and Sarum by Edward Rutherford are dog-eared as is M M Kaye’s Far Pavilions and Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonflight. My Georgette Heyers, some with pre-decimal prices (3/6 was typical) are dropping to bits, but so are the Tom Clancys…
But the stories of Falco, a cynical detective with an evil sense of humour and a kind heart and who works in first century Rome, are the major seducers of the moment. If you haven’t read any, you’re in for a treat and there are twenty of them!
The one which is your guilty pleasure:
The one which you had an unexpected response to: The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
Fascinated by Greek and Roman myths since I was very young, I always look out for these themes. When I began it, I expected it to be just another re-telling of the Trojan War but from the first few pages I was gripped by the authenticity and poetic language. Apart from recounting Patroclus' and Achilles’ developing bond from young manhood sensitively, but without sentimentality, the author threw me into Ancient Greece, the anger of the gods and the battlefields of Troy, dust and blood to the fore. I didn’t expect to feel so emotionally tugged by the love story between two men, but this book should be read by everybody looking for an emotional ride as well as a historical one.
The one you wish you had time to read:
I actually have read War and Peace, so that’s ticked off the list. ;-)
The crux of the problem is that there are so many and so many sorts of books to read that I feel pulled in every direction, so I can’t name one special book!
The one with sentimental value:
I think I must go back to childhood! The Emerald Crown by Violet Needham fascinated me with its lost heirs, mysterious atmosphere, stern heroes and gallant heroines, and children growing up in central European country not unlike Ruritania, and trying to make sense of the adults’ concerns while having exciting, sometimes dangerous, adventures.
The last one you read: An Unknown Woman by Jane Davis
This is not the type of book I read – it was given to me by a fellow author for my opinion. Set in the present, it featured a professional woman in her forties and examined mother and daughter relationships. Sensitively and cleverly written, it drew in this sci-fi and historical thriller reader!
My beverage of choice is: chilled white wine from the Loire Valley
My snack of choice is: palmiers – delicious cheese flavoured savoury biscuits
My comfy chair and bookshelf are located: I tend to lie on the sofa or read in bed, and I have bookshelves in every room in the house except the kitchen and bathroom.
And if readers would like to find out what I write after all that reading, they can find out more about the Roma Nova thrillers here: http://alison-morton.com