for writers and readers….

MY BOOKS from knights in armour to Simon Schama…First lines, first books, first literary loves….and more

books drawingThis is the start of a new series on the books we remember, the books that have changed our lives and the books we are reading right now…and by ‘we’ I mean anyone who wants to take part. I will be asking writers to contribute and book reviewers, book club members, musicians, artists, athletes, postal workers, call centre staff, teachers, students, people who are just learning to read and people who don’t care much for reading…tall people and people who are metrically challenged, working, not working, bald and the hirsute…everyone.

Scroll down if you would you like to contribute. I’d love to hear from you.

It’s my blog so I’m going first…

What’s the first book you remember reading (or being read to you)?

Alice in Wonderland and Through The Looking Glass (much preferred Through The Looking Glass). Recently I found the actual book in my home XXX years later and after at least a dozen house moves. I have no idea where it had been in the meantime: maybe it was needed elsewhere. I never really believed that The Borrowers was a work of fiction…

What’s the first book that a made a big impact on you?

The Gauntlet by Ronald Welch. Historical fiction set in the Welsh Marches near Kidwelly in the 11th century. I wanted to be a knight so much…

What book are you reading right now?

A Legacy of Spies by John le Carre

First Line: What follows is a truthful account, as best I am able to provide it, of my role in the British deception operation, codenamed Windfall, that was mounted against the East German Inteligence Service (Stasi) in the laste nineteen fifties and earl sixities, and resulted in the death of the best British secret agent I ever worked with, and of the innocent woman for whom he gave his life.

And the one you read before that?

Our Kind of Cruelty by Araminta Hall

 First Line: The rules of the Crave were simple.

We all know burning books is wrong on every level. What contemporary novel (and by contemporary I mean one published in the last 30 years or so) would you put your hand in the fire to save.



Troubles by J.G. Farrell – a novel about Irish politics like no other – and Toni Morrison’s Beloved THE novel of the 20th century (probably) and Miss Smilla’s Feeling for Snow by Peter Hoeg – Nordic noir before the term was invented. And I haven’t even mentioned my favourite authors such as Thomas Keneally and Kate Atkinson. This is harder than I thought…

Same question but this time what classic would you save from the bonfire? (And you can work out your own definition of classic.)

Not sure – probably L’Assommoir by Émile Zola

Favourite non fiction book?


Citizens by Simon Schama. He writes wonderful history

Favourite poetry book?

Complete Collection of Yeats’ poetry

And a short story that has lived with you ever since you first read it?

James Joyce’s The Dead – said to be the most perfect short story ever written, but don’t let that put you off. Reading Hills Like White Elephants by Ernest Hemingway is a lesson in how to write tight.

Finally, what do you prefer: a real book with pages that move, an ebook, an audio device?

Real books, but I’ve just read an entire novel on my phone and feel oddly pleased with myself, as if I’d acquired a new skill.

Page Break ClipartWould you like to take part?
Drop me a line at bridgetwhelan At Please put MY BOOKS in the subject line.



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This entry was posted on June 6, 2018 by in My Books and tagged , , , , , , .


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