Hello and welcome to another instalment of Desert Island Books! This is a monthly feature where I chat to bloggers, authors and people from the book industry about the books they love.
The premise is simple – imagine you have ended up on a desert island. You have sufficient food and clean water but you need something to occupy your mind. You can bring 5 books with you to your island paradise, but what would they be? And why? Oh, and you’re also allowed to bring a fictional character from literature with you, who would you choose?
Today’s castaway is Linda Hill who is an award-winning book blogger over at Linda’s Book Bag. She has been blogging for just over 4 years and has found that it has become a bit of an obsession – same Linda, same!
In your spare time what do you like to do?
Reading goes without saying but I really love to travel. This year, for example, I’ve toured Sri Lanka, Malaysia and Thailand with a few days in Singapore in the mix, before heading to Barcelona and Krakow on city breaks and then it’s Croatia in September. My husband and I decided we’d start out as far as possible whilst we were young and fit and then as we get older we’ll end up with a day trip to Hunstanton in Norfolk! We’ve been lucky to travel all over the world from Australia and Antarctica to Zambia and Zanzibar. I think trekking to see mountain gorillas in Uganda, swimming with sharks (no cages) in the Galapagos and seeing the Northern Lights in Iceland have been some of the most special moments in my life.
I love gardening too and have an allotment. I lead a gardening group for my local U3A, but we are thinking of changing our name to the Gourmet Gardeners as we tend to eat more than we garden.
I also write a bit but whether I’ll EVER actually finish a novel remains to be seen!
Do you have any interesting facts about yourself?
I’m not sure there is anything interesting about me! However, I was once mistaken for a prostitute and rejected by the potential ‘client’. I was waiting in a car park for my husband to collect me and my sister when a man drove up, wound down his window and asked if we were leaving as he was looking for a car parking space. I replied, ‘On no. We’re waiting to be picked up!’ He looked me up and down, pulled an utterly disgusted face, wound up his window quickly and drove away so quickly his wheels were skidding! I didn’t realise I was standing in a ‘notorious’ part of the car park, but he needn’t have been so convincing in his rejection!
I seem to be the kiss of death too quite literally. When I worked in a local pub in the school and university holidays I prepared the starter for a meal one lunchtime for Arthur Lowe who played Captain Mainwaring in Dad’s Army and he died that night from a stroke. The starter was an egg mayonnaise and I often wonder if I tipped him over the edge…
Desert Island Books
A Bear Called Paddington by Michael Bond
First it would have to be A Bear Called Paddington by Michael Bond. I was late reading because my sight is so poor and no-one really noticed until I was almost 8 and got glasses. My reading age shot from 6 when I was 7 years old to 15 when I was 8 once I got glasses. I loved Paddington books. I spent all my pocket money on them and still have the ones I bought 50 years ago. Often over our 36 year marriage my husband has read them to me in bed, doing all the voices and being frustrated at reading the same page over and over again as I’ve dropped off and missed it! Paddington is woven into my life.
Tess of the D’Ubervilles by Thomas Hardy
I have to choose Tess of the D’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy too. I first read Tess in the summer between O and A’Levels as it was one of my A’Level English books. It was the first real ‘classic’ I had read as we didn’t really have books at home as my parents were very poor so their money went on food and clothing. I fell in love with Hardy there and then. If it hadn’t been for this book I might not have had my career in education, travelling all over the UK and as far as Paris and New York to work in schools and train teachers once I left teaching and became an independent educational consultant. I owe it a great deal. On the island I can have as many imaginary conversations with Angel Clare as I like, berating him for his behaviour towards Tess!
After You by Jojo Moyes
My third choice is After You by JoJo Moyes for the simple reason that I bought a very expensive signed copy the day it came out, having loved Me Before You, and I haven’t had time to read it as my blogging really took off at about the same time.
Jakob’s Colours by Lindsay Hawdon
I would also take Jakob’s Colours by Linsday Hawdon. It was one of the first books I reviewed when I began blogging and it’s special to me in so many ways. When I look back on that blog post I can remember how nervous I was about blogging and sharing reviews. I can also see how my blog has progressed and evolved over the last four years. However, the most important aspect of Jakob’s Colours is that although I’ve read a hundreds of books since I can remember it so vividly. It’s beautifully written and genuinely touched my soul. I think about it often. Lindsay was kind enough to grant me an interview too on my blog’s first birthday.
The Complete English Poems of John Donne
I struggled to choose a fifth book as I wanted to take one that I haven’t yet read. The thing is, I genuinely have over 900 physical books in the queue and to select just one was too hard as I want to read them all. So, I have decided to take The Complete English Poems of John Donne. The Flea is my favourite poem and rereading these will transport me back to my university days where there are so many happy memories (not all of which I could share in public!).
If you could share the island with a fictional character, who would it be?
I was very tempted to ask to take Christian Grey from 50 Shades of Grey (and yes, I have read it) as I thought he might make life ‘interesting’! I thought he might not be very entertaining to talk with though. I’ve already said I’d like to harangue Angel Clare but I don’t want a negative person to spend my time with. On reflection though, I have decided to spend my time with Paddington. We could reminisce all about his adventures and if it got chilly in the evenings I could cuddle up to his fur to keep warm. I’m sure Paddington would be considerable fun and make me laugh. What could be better?
My thanks to Linda for sharing her Desert Island Books with us. I too love Tess of the D’Ubervilles and reading her thoughts on it really makes me want to re-read it!
If you are an author, blogger, work in the book industry or just love books and you’d like to take part in my Desert Island Books series then I’d love to hear from you! You can contact me by filling out the form beneath.