Monday 9 May 2016

My Life In Books ~ talking to author Cathy Rentzenbrink

My Life In Books is an occasional feature on Random Things Through My Letterbox
I've asked authors to share with us a list of the books that are special to them and have made a lasting impression on their life.

I'm delighted to welcome Cathy Rentzenbrink to Random Things Today.  Cathy's memoir, The Last Act of Love was published by Picador last year.  I read and reviewed on Random Things in July 2015. It's extremely rare that a non-fiction book makes it in to my list of Top Books of the Year, but The Last Act of Love was in my list for last year. Check out my review by clicking on the title, above.
It's so beautifully honest. 

The paperback was released on 5 May 2016. 

My Life in Books ~ Cathy Rentzenbrink

I've limited myself here to the first 21 years of my life. On a different day, I'd make a different list, but that's one of the joys of reading, I think. It's a partnership for me, between the writer's words and my tastes and my mood.

Anne of Green Gables by L M Montgomery   How I loved and still do love Anne Shirley. I got this and all the sequels out from the library and then my parents gave me my own boxed set one Christmas. My favourite might be the last one, Rilla of Ingleside which is a complete sobfest set during the Great War.

Little Women by Louisa M Alcott   It's partly due to Little Women that I was always making my brother and all our friends put on plays, make magazines and set up secret post offices. I completely identified with Jo, and rather longed to have a reason to sell my hair .....

The House at Old Vine by Nora Lofts   This is the first of a trilogy which tells the story of the inhabitants of the same house over several hundred years. I re-read it last Christmas and it is just as good as I remember.

Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie  I like (not to gruesome) murder mysteries and books set on trains so this does everything for me. This is one of the saddest Christies and I always cry at it, and at the thought of little Daisy Armstrong.

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen  My first Austen, the first classic that I enjoyed, and still a delight to me. I re-read it at least once a year. It's so funny and rather bitchy and I'm not sure has ever been bettered.

Riders by Jilly Cooper  Sex! I enjoy books about posh people behaving badly and Jilly Cooper is just so deliciously readable with such good jokes. I'm afraid that for years I though sex might make me lose weight and have fewer spots because that's what Rupert says to Fen ....

The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough  Ah, Meggie and her dress of ashes of roses. This is a gloriously engrossing read and I often turn to it when I want a good cleansing cry.

Metroland by Julian Barnes  I was at sixth form in Scunthorpe when I first read this and it filled me with a great desire to live in an attic in Paris. I then rattled through his other novels and I'm sure this is why I wanted to study French at university.

Ain't I A Woman by Bell Hooks  This blew my mind and I remember thinking how glad I was that I had come to university to experience new things. It was so urgent and real compared to lots of what I was studying. I'm due a re-read, I think ....

The Camomile Lawn by Mary Wesley   Sex and the Second World War are my dream ticket when it comes to novels. I'm also very partial to a novel structure that has interesting older people looking back at their youth which Mary Wesley does brilliantly. I also love the way her characters pop up in other novels, giving the impression of a wider fictional world.

Cathy Rentzenbrink ~ May 2016

Cathy Rentzenbrink grew up in Yorkshire and now lives in London.

A former Waterstone's bookseller, she was the Project Director of the charity Quick Reads until March 2016. She is the Contributing Editor at The Bookseller, and speaks and writes regularly on literacy, literature and everything in between on TV, radio and in print. She writes a monthly column about books for Stylist and regularly interviews authors for The Pool

She is currently writing a book of non-fiction about grief, loss and trying to work out how to live in a cruel world which will be published in January 2017 and a novel which will be published in Spring 2018

For more information visit
Follow her on Twitter @CathyReadsBooks


1 comment:

  1. Cathy's book sounds amazing and I will read it one day (now sadly isn't the right time) I'm really impressed with her life in books too - every single one of those featured strongly in my life too!