1. One book that changed your life.
A Wind in the Door by Madeleine L’Engle. After years of kiddie literature, at 10 years I was absolutely transfixed by this story that connected the cosmic with the cellular and the fight by a group of friends to save Charles Wallace’s mitochondria and farandolae from attack. Been hooked on science fantasy since.
2. One book that you’ve read more than once.
Too many to remember. However every year, I read Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkein to remind myself of why my imagination is the most important thing I possess. Others are And the Angels were Silent by Max Lucado, A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson, The Virgin Blue by Tracey Chevalier, Them: Adventures with Extremists by Jon Ronson and the list goes on.
3. One book that you’d want on a desert island.
Always wanted to read the Bhagavad Gita and have never had the time.
4. One book that made you laugh.
Another Jon Ronson – The Men Who Stare at Goats. Read it in a day and a half and went no, no, no really on every second page. It’s a LOL and a jaw dropper at the same time. I am going to cheat because I have to add The Brief and Frightening Reign of Phil by George Saunders and of course the ultimate Queen of Chic Lit, Bridget Jones Diary by Hellen Fielding.
5. One book that made you cry.
House of Sand and Fog by Andre Dubus III. I knew the tragedy at the end what inevitable, but I kept hoping that such a beautiful story would end differently. I tried to stop it, but the darkness overwhelmed me.
6. One book you wish you had written.
If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things by Jon McGregor. Beautiful, lyrical, stirring, strong story, great characters … He’s a god and I want to be him. I have read him over and over and over and over and over
7. One book you wish had never been written.
Rules of the Wild by Francesca Marciano. This book is a white woman’s view of life in Kenya, a country I love and adore. Her views are painfully stereotypical – wazungu are always right and adventurous and clever. The blacks are thieves, violent, dirty and have big penises. She describes a country that I know in name, but cannot identify because she refuses to see it for what it is and chooses the easy way out – the story of the white savior/adventurer in wild Africa. Rules of the Wild like Swahili for the Brokenhearted and Black Star Safari is pure unadulterated literary shit.
8. One book you’re currently reading.
Inheritance of Loss by Kiran Desai. Amazed at the depth of her first book. Like her mother Anita, Kiran is a wonderful writer.
9. One book you have been meaning to read.
Art of War by Sun Tzu because I will die if ‘She’ quotes from it again.