Sunday, 26 February 2012

Bookshelf Snooping - Sara-Jayne Townsend

1. Your childhood favourite
I’ve been doing a series of books from childhood on my blog, and there are many.  Though one of my favourite authors as a child was Enid Blyton.  I loved her Famous Five books.

2. Your current favourite
I have read so many fantastic books, I really can’t pick an all-time favourite book.  Everything by all the authors listed below is in my list of ‘best books ever’.

3. Your top five authors
Stephen King, Sara Paretsky, Jim Butcher, Kathy Reichs, Mike Carey.

4. Book(s) you're reading now
THE ASSASSIN’S PRAYER by Ariana Franklin.  I’ve really been enjoying this series about a female Sicilian doctor who finds herself in unenlightened England during Henry II’s reign, where women doctors are unheard of and women with any kind of healing skill are considered to be witches.  I love books about strong women, and this series is about a strong woman in a time when women really had no rights at all.

Sadly, Ariana Franklin died last year, so there will be no more books in this series, which is a tragic loss to the literary world.

5. Book(s) you've pretended to read
I haven’t.  My reading tastes are very straightforward, and I’ve never pretended otherwise.  There are a lot of classics I haven’t read, nor never will.

6. Book(s) you've bought for the cover
I don’t buy books solely for the cover.  I’ll read the blurb, and maybe the first couple of paragraphs first, before I make a decision.

7. Book you're a champion for
AND THEN THERE WERE NONE, by Agatha Christie.  Still the most perfect whodunit ever written.

8. Book that changed your life
BURN MARKS by Sara Paretsky.  The first book of hers that I read, it introduced me to V.I. Warshawski, who remains a shining example of a tough, intelligent, strong-minded woman, and she inspired me to want to write about a similar strong-minded woman, which is the moment my actress amateur sleuth was conceived.

9. Book you most want to read again for the first time
DISSOLUTION by CJ Sansom.  This is the first book in an amazing series featuring the hunchback lawyer Matthew Shardlake, against the backdrop of Henry VIII’s ever-changing wives.  Shardlake is an intelligent and sensitive protagonist, with the education to make a comfortable life for himself, whilst reconciling himself to the fact that his deformity means he will always be ridiculed and shunned, and that he will likely never find someone to share his life with.  The politics of the era are blended cleverly with some murder mystery Matthew is trying to get to the bottom of.  I will read these books again, because the wonderful writing makes them a joy to read, but it would be fabulous to do so again with the foreknowledge of ‘whodunnit’.

10. Book you turn to for comfort
Douglas Adams’s HITCHHIKERS GUIDE TO THE GALAXY.  It always makes me laugh out loud.

11. Favourite line from a book
No one line springs to mind, but I love Jim Butcher’s books about his Chicago wizard Harry Dresden, because they are full of snappy one-liners.  Harry is forever getting into trouble for them, but they are wonderful to read.


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