I love a list and, with lockdown moving beyond its first month, I have made more than a few.
My latest challenge, prompted by a Tweet by publishers Orion, is questions about books, one for each day of the month.
I share them with friends and family and read their replies avidly, taking them to task over some of their choices! For instance, I don’t read chick-lit. There’s more to life than shopping and chasing love. My sister loves it!
Having changed some of the questions, here we go ...
Book I turn to for comfortWind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame. The edition I treasure most is illustrated by Robert Inkpen. Escape into the countryside with Mole, Rat, Badger and Toad.
Book that makes me cryMan and Boy by Tony Parsons. Story of how a man becomes a father to his son, and a son to a father. There is so much love and affection in these pages. I did not just cry at the ending, I sobbed!
Book I cook from the mostThe Famous Brands Cookery Collection: The Heinz Book Of Baked Bean Recipes. There are five books altogether and it was a Christmas present. The lasagne is my specialty.
Book I’m finally planning to read during lockdownA Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth. Love story set in India. I don’t mind a tome, but the 1,474 pages has always been daunting!
Book that makes me laugh out loudAlmost anything by David Nobbs, my favourite is A Bit of a Do, about a series of functions that bring together two contrasting, intertwined families.
My favourite book coverI do buy a book on the strength of its cover, which was the case with Washington Black by Esi Edugyan. It is the story of discovery, slavery and an air balloon. It’s a fab read, too.
My favourite audiobookThe War of the Worlds by HG Wells. There are various free versions on YouTube as well as ones from Amazon. Martians invade Earth, landing first in Woking. Has to be listened to at the dead of night, when the wind is howling and rain lashing the windows.
Favourite line from a bookNo contest: It’s a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to than I’ve ever known.The last words of dissolute lawyer Sydney Carton, before he goes to the guillotine in the place of another man, in Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities.
The holiday read I never got to takeLucy Foley’s The Hunting Party, about a New Year’s celebration in a remote lodge in the Scottish Highlands. The weekend was cancelled.
Favourite independent book shopThe Bookshop, Wigtown. I have only visited it via the pages of its owner Shaun Bythell’s book about running it.
Favourite book from childhoodTreasure Island by Robert Louis Stephenson, read to me by my dad.
Book character I most wanted to bePeter Pan in the book by JM Barrie.
My favourite meal from literatureOmelette, roast lamb with beans and peaches in red wine as recommended by murderously mad Tarquin Winot in John Lanchester’s The Debt to Pleasure.
Number of books on my to-be-read pileI have nine book cases – one devoted to my collection of Biggles books – so to be read runs into hundreds! Immediately, though, are Ducks, Newburyport by Lucy Ellmann, Parrot and Oliver in America by Peter Carey, The Venetian Masquerade by Philip Gwynne Jones and The Last Protector by Andrew Taylor.
Favourite author’s best book (in your opinion)Of Charles Dickens’ novels, I put A Tale of Two Cities above them all.
Book character you would most like to invite to dinnerPilot hero James Bigglesworth, aka Biggles, created by Captain WE Johns.
Favourite crime bookAdventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
Favourite fictional detectiveSherlock Holmes, of 221b Baker Street, created by Conan Doyle.
Favourite book about books1001 Books to Read Before You Die.
Book that reminds you of your favourite placeGod’s Own Country by Ross Raisin, set in and around the East Coast and Yorkshire Moors.
Five books you would recommend to someone who wants to discover joys of readingFrenchman’s Creek by Daphne du Maurier, Dissolution by CJ Sansom, What a Carve Up by Jonathan Coe, Thank You, Jeeves by PG Wodehouse and The Firm by John Grisham.
Favourite non-fiction bookSeashaken Houses - A Lighthouse History from Eddystone to Fastnet by Tom Nancollas.
Sport book - fictionThis Sporting Life by David Storey.
Sport book - fact100 Years of Leeds United by Daniel Chapman.
Favourite biography/autobiographyCharles Dickens: A Life by Claire Tomalin.
Favourite non-British writerAmerican crime writer Don Winslow.
Favourite book centred round a song/musicIsle of Joy (a phrase from Manhattan, sung by Ella Fitzgerald) by Don Winslow.
Most inspiring readSpitfire: A Very British Love Story by John Nicol
Favourite sci-fi/fantasy bookThe Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkein
The book you would take to a desert islandThe Reggie Perrin omnibus by David Nobbs. Four books in one: Fall and Rise, Return of, Better World of, Legacy of. Nobbs, for me, was the warmest, kindest, most humane and funniest of writers.He makes me laugh, cry and is great company.