So I have come to the end of my Desert Island Books list – 8 books that I would take to a desert island, and which also say something about my life. Books that are important to me, or that have influenced my writing, or have stayed with me for some reason.
In no particular order:
The Velveteen Rabbit
The Chronicles of Narnia
The Time Travellers Wife
Beneath The Surface
Captain Corelli’s Mandolin
His Dark Materials
The inspiration behind these posts, Desert Island Discs, is a BBC Radio 4 programme in which celebrities choose 8 songs and 1 book that tell the story of their life in music. Well, I have selected 8 books, so I really should add one more item to this list – not a song, but with more of the written word. A book or author that could be described as the soundtrack to my reading life, something that is always playing in the background.
There are a few options for this. The soundtrack to my childhood would have to be Roald Dahl. I absorbed everything he produced, from short stories to poetry, to the almost too scary for children tales like The Witches and George’s Marvellous Medicine. As I got older, I went through several book phases, reading piles of books by one author before moving on. I consumed dozens of Judy Blumes, Point Horrors, Catherine Cooksons, John Grishams, Stephen Kings, Dean Koontz… Any of these, really, could be classed as a soundtrack to a certain part of my life.
I don’t really tend to go through phases like that any more. So I suppose that the underlying theme to my reading life would have to be fantasy/magical realism. Just looking at the books on this list, the majority of them include some kind of magical or fantastical element; something a little out of the ordinary, though each one is still quite different to the other. I have always thought of myself as being quite broad in my choice of reading material, and I do read books from a variety of different genres. However it is clear that both fantasy and magical realism are where my real passions lie – a soundtrack that is always playing in the background, something I keep gravitating back towards, no matter what else I might read in between.