This is what the Scottish BookTrust says – Book Week
Scotland is 's
first national celebration of books and reading, taking place from 26 November
to 2 December 2012. The week-long programme of events is bursting with
fantastic opportunities for people from all ages, interests and reading
abilities, to embark or continue on a reading journey. Scotland
Now I’m all in favour of that, but I don’t need the excuse of a special book week to read. I’ve been reading non-stop since I was five years old. I have a very clear memory of returning from my first day at school, to tell my granny, that I could read. Of course, she didn’t believe me. After all, who on earth ever heard of being able to read after one lesson. I can’t remember whether I had been involved in books before that, maybe I had learned to read through osmosis when I was being read to. I don’t know, because I have no memories of being read to. However, in order to prove my reading ability to her, I opened my school book and read. I can even remember the first sentence in that book which was the very simple ‘The cat sat on the mat’. Nothing very ambitious there, but it was a start.
One of my favourite books was the Treasure Island one
This was a naughty book at the time but would be considered tame nowadays
Like most teenagers (I think) I became interested in naughty books. We had a wee shop in our town called The Trick Shop, which was run by an elderly couple – well, they seemed elderly to me at the time. This shop sold all kinds of tricks and puzzles, but they also sold under the counter books. This was where I was initiated into books like Forever Amber, and Lady Chatterleys Lover, although I never really understood all the fuss about the latter, and I found it so boring that when it was banned, later on, I couldn’t bear to reread it to find out what the four letter word was.
I didn't realise these books would still be available. They could be classed as penny dreadfuls
I grew out of the naughty books phase and moved on to horror, starting with Bram Stoker’s Dracula, then I read Frankenstein, but although I liked the former I never really got into the latter. It was only a slight jump from these horor stories to those of James Herbert. I see he has one of his books, The Secret of Critchley Hall, featuring on television at the moment. I started watching and it’s really good. Then, of course, there was Stephen King, I think I read most of his books, and Dean Koontz who is expert at writing suspense and keeping you on the edge of your seat.
But enough of horror. I also went through a saga phase, reading Catherine Cookson, Evelyn Hood, Margaret Thomson Davis and many others. I liked the earthy ones written about ordinary people. I never really got the taste for reading about lords and ladies, kings and queens, and the glitter and glam of some sagas.
Then I discovered dark crime, and as the years have gone on, the crime has become darker. Some of the best is written by Val McDermid, and Mo Hayder, and writers like that. Oh, and I can’t forget the American writers. I love their work. I’m reading a Jeffery Deaver book at the moment, but there’s also Harlan Coben, Michael Connolly and a score of others.
Lately I’ve also discovered Indie books, and some of them have been a revelation. I’ve read some very good books, although there have also been some turkeys. However, the good ones are really worth the effort of getting into. If you want to get a taste of some of these why don’t you pop over to the Indie eBook Review site, click on the Virtual Bookshelf tag and pick a category to check out some of the reviews.
So there you go, I’ve given you a quick walk through my reading tastes, and I am sure many of them influence me as a writer. I certainly feel that American literature has shaped my writing quite a bit, and I love writing suspense, although I sometimes take a break to write the odd saga or historical.
Now before you go, have a peek at one of my many bookselves - it's a mess, isn't it?