MY BOOKS by an award-winning film-maker: from fantasy and dodos to out-of-fashion spy novels First lines, first books, first literary loves….and more
BY EDWARD MILNER, an award-winning documentary film-maker and author of Trees of Britain and Ireland published by the Natural History Museum. Edward has just completed his first novel which he hopes will be published in the near future. You can hear him reading here:
Review: Happiness is one of a handful of contemporary novels that take both the human condition and the animal condition seriously. Entering Forna’s sweeping universe transports you to a place that feels familiar, but also totally feral and full of surprises Financial Times
And the one you read before that? The City and the City by China Mieville Description: When the body of a murdered woman is found in the extraordinary, decaying city of Beszel, somewhere at the edge of Europe, it looks like a routine case for Inspector Tyador Borlú of the Extreme Crime Squad. But as he probes, the evidence begins to point to conspiracies far stranger, and more deadly, than anything he could have imagined. Review: You can’t talk about Miéville without using the word “brilliant”. Ursula Le Guin Guardian
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. Certainty by Madeleine Thiem or Austerlitz by W.G. Sebald. The first line of Certainty is tremendous! ‘In what was to have been the future, Ansel rolled towards her, half awake, half forgetful’ It isn’t till much later you realise what the real significance of this is. He’s thinking about his wife, who has in fact just died suddenly, far away, but you (the reader) don’t know that at this stage – it only becomes clear much later on, so it seems as if this and what follows is a real scene but then we slowly realise it is all imaginery, it’s what he would have like to happen…
Same question but this time what classic would you save from the bonfire? (And you can work out your own definition of classic.) Great GatsbyBy F.Scott Fitzgerald and Dr Zhivago by Boris Pasternak
Favourite non fiction book? Song of the Dodo: David Quammen Opening lines: Let’s start indoors. Let’s start by imagining a fine Persian carpet and a hunting knife.
Favourite poetry book? Not sure: individual poems but not books of poetry!
And a short story that has lived with you ever since you first read it? On the Yankee Station by William Boyd. The title story in a short story collection published in 1981; the same year as Boyd’s first novel.
My underestimated/neglected writers: Flannery O’Connor
Wikipedia: An American novelist, short story writer and essayist, she wrote two novels and thirty-two short stories, as well as a number of reviews and commentaries. Quote:Everywhere I go, I’m asked if the universities stifle writers. My opinion is that they don’t stifle enough of them. Eric Ambler
Wikipedia: An influential British author of thrillers, in particular spy novels, who introduced a new realism to the genre. Ambler also worked as a screenwriter. Quote:The important thing to know about an assassination or an attempted assassination is not who fired the shot, but who paid for the bullet.
Would you like to take part in MY BOOKS? Drop me a line at bridgetwhelan At hotmail.co.uk if you would like to contribute. How much or how little you write is up to you. Please put MY BOOKS in the subject line.