Courtesy of Simon at Savidge Reads.
What time do you find the best time to read?
Early in the morning on those days when I wake before my dog, otherwise for as long as I can in the evenings .
What are you spending time reading right now?
Henry: Virtuous Prince by David Starkey. The early years rather than the well-worn stuff about the six wives.
What’s the best book with time in the title you have read?
I was tempted to say the Time-Traveller’s Wife, which I loved, but then I remembered an even better book – Another Time Another Place by Jessie Kesson.
“In 1944 Italian prisonners of war are billeted in a tiny Scottish village in the far northeast of Scotland. Janie, who works the land and is married to a farm labourer fiftenn years older than herself, is to look after three of them. While her neighbours regard the Italians with a mixture of resentment and indifference, Janie is intrigued by this glimpse of another more romantic world – with almost inevitable consequences.”
Heartbreaking, but quite wonderful.
Also an excellent film.
What is your favourite time (as in era) to read novels based in?
I love so many periods. Victorian, Tudor, the Wars of the Roses … But at the moment I’m mainly reading books from the early and middle years of the 20th century. Authors like Molly Keane, Muriel Spark, Rebecca West, Barbara Pym, Margery Sharp. I think it’s the mixture of a time I don’t remember and a world with familiar elements that draws me in.
What book could your read time and time again?
I’m not a big re-reader – there are too many wonderful books out there that I have still to read.
There are lots of poetry collections that I regularly dip into, but the book that I have probably read cover to cover most is the Tailor of Gloucester by Beatrix Potter. It’s the perfect comfort read.
What recently published book do you think deserves to become a classic in Time?
Hunting and Gathering by Anna Gavalda. Absolutely gorgeous!
“Camille is doing her best to disappear. She barely eats, works at night as a cleaner and lives in a tiny attic room. Philibert Marquet de La Durbelliere is a stammering, erudite aristocrat who sells postcards outside a museum. One evening he overcomes his own excruciating reticence to rescue Camille, unconscious, from her freezing garret, and install her in the large, ornate apartment he is caretaking downstairs. He already has an unlikely flatmate, the foul-mouthed, talented working-class young chef, Franck, who is made more obnoxious by guilt about the beloved grandmother he’s had to put in a home. Together, this curious, damaged little quartet may be able to face the world.”
What book has been your biggest waste of time?
Everything is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer. I have tried to read it several times, but I just can’t make it through.
What big book would you recommend to others to spend time reading if they haven’t?
South Riding by Winifred Holtby.
I finished it a couple of weeks ago and it is still racing about my head.
I don’t know if I succeeded in conveying how wonderful it is, but I wrote about it here.
What’s your favourite read of all time?
Not a book, but a particular poem. My grandfather was an artist and teacher and, although he died when my mother was just seven years old, two poems that he illuminated still hang in our living room. This is the one that he told my grandmother was his proposal to her:
“Come live with me and be my Love,
And we will all the pleasures prove
That hills and valleys, dale and field,
And all the craggy mountains yield.
There will we sit upon the rocks
And see the shepherds feed their flocks,
By shallow rivers, to whose falls
Melodious birds sing madrigals.
There will I make thee beds of roses
And a thousand fragrant posies,
A cap of flowers, and a kirtle
Embroider’d all with leaves of myrtle.
A gown made of the finest wool
Which from our pretty lambs we pull,
Fair linèd slippers for the cold,
With buckles of the purest gold.
A belt of straw and ivy buds
With coral clasps and amber studs:
And if these pleasures may thee move,
Come live with me and be my Love.
Thy silver dishes for thy meat
As precious as the gods do eat,
Shall on an ivory table be
Prepared each day for thee and me.
The shepherd swains shall dance and sing
For thy delight each May-morning:
If these delights thy mind may move,
Then live with me and be my Love.”
(The Passionate Shepherd to his Love by Christopher Marlowe)
I have loved it ever since I learned to read it.
And strangely, my aunt gave me a book of poems for the day a couple of years ago and that same poem is poem of the day for the date that my fiancé and I met …
Who is your favourite author of all time?
How can I pick just one. I can’t and so I’m going for the author whose writing for children I love, whose adult novels I love and whose autobiographical writings look wonderful. She is – Rumer Godden.
I woud love to see more answers to these questions …