19. Getting ‘The Question’

Posted By matthew on Jun 16, 2015


Getting ‘The Question’ – And whether to lie: The list of things no one told me continues to grow, but an interesting one is how to react when an interested blogger or keen-eyed literary journalist turns to you at your first PR event, drink in hand, and utters the seemingly innocent icebreaker… ‘So, what do you read?’

Be prepared. Especially if, like me, you have something to hide. And a mouthful of mushroom voulevant.

So… confession time:

‘I don’t read only crime fiction.’

There… I’ve said it. You can quote me.

I read some. I also read espionage thrillers, historical fiction, Sci-Fi, fantasy, non-fiction about space and underwater exploration or anything else that piques my interest. At least I used to before writing elbowed everything else out of my life that wasn’t essential to earning a living and being a half-decent husband and father. I can just about keep the book I’m reading and the book I’m writing (though not editing for some reason) ticking along side by side in my head, but only because they happen in different types of snatched time. (Absolutely not complaining – see all earlier posts).

If you think that’s an unsatisfying answer – fair enough. For you then, here is a hasty and above all in-exhaustive list of some non-crime books I would recommend but never lend:

To Kill A Mocking Bird, Great Expectations, Pride & Prejudice, The Mars Trilogy (Kim Stanley Robinson), all twenty and a half Aubrey/Maturin novels (Patrick O’Brian), The Lord Of The Rings (Tolkien), I Robot (Isaac Asimov), Moondust (Andrew Smith), A Place Called Armageddon: Letters from the Great War (Michael Moynihan), Diver (Tony Groom), Good Omens (Neil Gaiman & Terry Pratchett) and every other Pratchett book, Cloud Atlas (David Mitchell), The Hitch-Hikers Guide To The Galaxy series (Douglas Adams) and the radio play version on CD (God bless Radio4 and all you sail in her), Jennie (Paul Gallico), The Essential Calvin & Hobbes (Bill Watterson) and, if I’m honest, most of the books in my house. Were I standing in front of mybookshelves as I write, this the list would be longer… and I might start getting a bit emotional.

To Kill A Mockingbird 50thEdGreat Expectationspride_and_prejudice




Master & Commandertolkien-LOTR-cover-2I Robot


moondustA Place Called ArmageddonDiver - Tony Groom




Paul-Gallico-JennieEssential Calvin & Hobbes