Since my Ishiguro experience a few months ago and having the honour of seeing and at least saying hello to the great man in the flesh (albeit for all of 5 seconds) I’ve been given some serious food for thought. Reading is an essential part of my life. An activity I spend a whole chunk of that life doing and, given the time, would do a whole lot more of. I delve into these magnificent worlds, the fantastic imaginings of brilliant minds…it’s a pretty intimate experience when you think about it. But am I particularly bothered about getting to know these minds I feel I know so well in the flesh? I can’t say I do. Harsh, I know.
One astute blogger recently wrote a thought-provoking piece on escapism that really spoke to me. I have a fairly frenetic lifestyle and escapism is a necessity to keep me from going completely bonkers and to give my head a break from reality. Some do it with TV, etc, I do it with books and frankly, I suppose coming face to face with the creators of these worlds I love so much makes things just a little too real and, well, let’s face it, could leave a reader open for some serious disappointment….
That said, I’ve been mulling on those writers, living and not-so living, that I could make an exception for…..
1. Terry Pratchett (1948 – 2015)
I haven’t read nearly enough Terry Pratchett in my life and am worried I feel a little too old to be able to delve into Discworld as deeply as I once might have been able to. Regardless of my woeful familiarity with his work, Pratchett’s public battle with Alzheimer’s Disease brought much-needed publicity to the illness, along with welcome donation to Alzheimer research. An inspiring man and author.
2. Margaret Atwood
This woman is just epic. The creator of so many wonderful worlds; from the Canadian wilderness to 1930s Ontario to the terrifying, dystopian Republic of Gilead. I can’t read her back catalogue too quickly… What happens when I run out?!
3. Donna Tartt
Totally peeved that I can’t find a picture of Donna Tartt I’m allowed to use because she is too cool. So cool with her androgynous vibes that I’d probably feel a bit intimidated if I met her…but I wouldn’t mind too much. Anyone who came up with the wonderousness that is The Goldfinch is worth a meet in my book.
4. Joanne Harris
Joanne Harris’ novels are just sweet as pie and, as I read a Dickens’ every Winter, I’m beginning to wonder if I should read one of her books every Summer, for that bit of sunshine-filled magic. Mmm. Plus she’s hilarious on Twitter. Someone I could definitely see myself partaking of a few gins with… chin chin!
5. Beatrix Potter (1866 – 1943)
A country girl like myself, I feel like Beatrix would have been a joy to be around. Full of imagination and sweet stories and passionate about nature and animals, I love Renée Zellweger’s interpretation of her the best.
6. Derek Tangye (1912-1996)
Derek Tangye was my kindred spirit. Leaving his city job to retreat to the countryside with his flowers and animals (most famously, his cats) I would give anything to follow in his footsteps. Perhaps I will one day!
7. Neil Gaiman
Another author I haven’t read nearly enough of but, after reading the wonderful, comforting The Ocean at the End of the Lane, really need to experience more. Plus. He’s a total dude. (Another favourite Twitter account)
8. Paul Gallico (1897 – 1976)
Another author chosen almost purely (as well as his wonderful writing of course) based on his love for cats. Purrr!
Another engaging lady I would be honoured to meet. She’s so utterly smart and passionate and, let’s face it, although a novelist knows her onions when it comes to the Tudors. Her 2013 speech on the Royals was powerful and just check her hold her own against the patriarch of Tudor historians David Starkey;
10. Ernest Hemingway (1899 – 1961)
Oh Ernest, I’m sure the rumours are true and you were a total pr**k, but cor blimey I’d like to tussle with you. You live loving, hunting, fishing, bullfighting son of a gun.