Monday, 25 November 2019

Books that influenced my life

Since I had a streaming cold last week I took a break from Long and Short Reviews' blog hop, but this topic had me thinking. I've read a lot of books in my life, but how many could be considered influential? I did, however, come up with a few possibilities.

Royal Blood - Bertram Fields. I love reading history, but my main interest at the time was Henry VIII. This book made me a staunch Ricardian and plunged me into the Wars of the Roses.

Gavin Maxwell: A Life - Douglas Botting. This was the first biography I ever read and was about a man I knew nothing of at the time, but introduced me to Maxwell's writing and also to the joy of reading biographies, even when you may not know much of the person in question.

Kiss Me Like A Stranger - Gene Wilder. Gene Wilder has always been a favourite of mine and was also the primary inspiration behind my novel Photograph. To get an insight into his life was fascinating.

So which books have influenced you?

Sunday, 10 November 2019

A strange or useless talent I have

This prompt from Long and Short Reviews took some consideration. I'm not saying I have no talents - I like to think I'm a good writer, I'm an OK singer, and I'm great at languages - but none of those things are strange or useless. However, one of my hobbies is collecting autographs, and I realised that this has given me an ability which a lot of people close to me have found both strange and useless.

If you name an actor, I can usually come up with at least three films they've been in.

"Was that Claire Danes in that trailer?"
"Who's Claire Danes?"
"Oh, she was in Igby Goes Down, Brokedown Palace, Terminator 3..."

This is actually quite handy if you're writing to a celebrity to request an autograph, because standard practice is to tell them which films of theirs you enjoyed, and it helps to be able to come up with more than one. That said, IMDB is pretty good for that. I just have the ability to remember them on my own.

I do, however, tend to check IMDB anyway, just to make sure I haven't got two similar-looking actors mixed up.

So what's your useless talent?

Monday, 4 November 2019

Books I've recommended and why

This topic from Long and Short Reviews was a tough one as I don't often recommend books to people unless specifically asked - everyone's tastes are different, after all. There were, however, a few I was asked about recently which I had to recommend.

Twas The Nightshift Before Christmas - Adam Kay. The sequel to "This Is Going To Hurt" and absolutely hysterical, despite convincing me I was right never to consider going into medicine.

The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood. Primarily because someone caught me reading "The Testaments", queried it, and was shocked to discover that the TV show had begun as a book.

So Brilliantly Clever - Peter Graham. "Heavenly Creatures" is my favourite film and so I decided to do some reading up on the original Parker-Hulme case. This is the best book I've read on the subject, giving fascinating background information without lingering too heavily on the nastier parts.

So what have you recommended?