Monday, 7 August 2017

My Life in Books ~ talking to author Abi Silver @abisilver16 #MyLifeInBooks

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

It's my pleasure to welcome Abi Silver to Random Things today. I recently read and reviewed Abi's debut novel; The Pinocchio Brief for the Blog Tour.
Here's a snippet from my review:

"There is a refreshing authenticity to this story, and it is clear that the author's legal background adds depth to the story.

Extremely well written, this keeps the reader on their toes and is a fine debut. I look forward to reading more from this author."
Find out more about Abi Silver and The Pinocchio Brief

Follow on Twitter @abisilver16

My Life In Books ~ Abi Silver

Fantastic Mr Fox – I devoured all of Roald Dahl’s books but this one has to be my favourite, with the ebullient fox who pits his wits against “Boggis, Bunce & Bean, one short one fat one lean!” and comes out on top.  A story of victory, against all the odds and in the face of adversity. 

The Original Illustrated Sherlock Holmes – I was given a hefty volume of these stories at around the age of 10 and was constantly caught out reading it under the bedclothes late at night.  Apart from The Hound of the Baskervilles, which will never leave me, Holmes’ pronouncement, in The Red-headed league, that “as a rule…the more bizarre a thing is the less mysterious it proves to be” has stuck with me to this day.

The Mill on the Floss – This tale of the feisty Maggie has tons of drama and is full of moral dilemmas; Maggie, stifled by her poor provincial life, desperately trying (but failing) to please her stubborn brother, befriending and then falling in love with the son of her father’s mortal enemy and being lured away by a selfish suitor, ultimately leading to tragedy. Wow!  As an adolescent, I devoured it and loved every minute.

Midnight’s Children – I still have the severely dog-eared version which accompanied me on my student-days travelling around India; clothing was lobbed out of my rucksack at every opportunity but this book remained, steadfast.  I had never read anything like this before; this story of two boys switched at birth, born on the stroke of midnight on the day India declared independence.  Boys with supernatural powers; in Saleem, the narrator, it’s telepathy. But it was the language which amazed me; coarse words, repetition and jarring sounds to create the backdrop of the new country heading into chaos and confrontation. What a read!

Girl with a Pearl Earring we had a family holiday to Holland in 1977 (Silver Jubilee year – I insisted on wearing a Union Jack t-shirt wherever we went – probably not something I would repeat now post-Brexit) and took in various museums and galleries and my sister bought a tiny reproduction of this vibrant painting by Vermeer, which she kept on her desk in her room.  The fictional account of how the painting came to be was one of the first books I read after the arrival of my first child, snatching rare moments of pleasure in between all those exhausting activities which accompany the early days of motherhood.

Jeffrey Archer:Stranger than Fictionin the early noughties, when I remained at home with young children, I read a number of biographies of famous people.  My interest in this book, clearly, was Mr Archer’s well-documented fall from grace and the underlying tragic story of the woman, Monica Coughlan, whose evidence he challenged in court.  So, this book had a legal edge to it too, but it sparked off for me an interest in other books written by investigative journalists and what they were able to uncover, with a little patience and dogged determination.

Atonement – I didn’t read this till everyone was talking about the film and I was busy preparing myself to return to the world of legal work.  I have read and enjoyed most of Ian McEwan’s books but I particularly like this story because it’s the misunderstanding of a 13-year-old girl (with whom I could relate) which causes so much misery.   And the emphasis on how the events of one moment can have such dramatic and lasting consequences.

Started Early, Tookmy DogI loved Behind the Scenes at the Museum but I was drawn to this detective story partly because of its Leeds (my home town) setting (it’s also a great read and funny too, despite the serious issues covered).  I read it on holiday in Corsica in 2011, cover to cover in a day, the first holiday post-children in which I had the opportunity to read uninterrupted - they were attempting to master wind surfing and sailing at the time.  The opening chapter was a revelation for me because it mentioned so many aspects of my youth and there was a sudden realisation that all those things (the fear of the Yorkshire Ripper, never having eaten an avocado, watching Mike Yarwood) have shaped me, my view of the world and the things I write about now.

Abi Silver - August 2017 

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