The Mail on Sunday - Event - - BOOKS - JOANNA TROLLOPE

My child­hood crush Dodie Smith’s I Cap­ture The Cas­tle. It was partly be­cause of the hero­ine, Cas­san­dra, first en­coun­tered sit­ting on the drain­ing board with her feet in the sink, earnestly writ­ing her di­ary, and partly be­cause of the ro­man­tic bo­hemi­an­ism of her fam­ily. I wanted to be part of that fam­ily.

My first true love All the nov­els of Thomas Hardy, es­pe­cially Tess and Far From The Madding Crowd. I thought his al­liance be­tween na­ture and emo­tion was bril­liant (ac­tu­ally, I still do...) and I loved the way you could live that old Dorset life through the books.

The one I dumped Ulysses by James Joyce. I prob­a­bly took it away with me at least a dozen times, vow­ing to read it, and I never got be­yond the first chap­ter. Now I know more about Joyce as a man, I’m not even re­gret­ful I never got any fur­ther.

The one that made me cry It was the death of Pe­la­gia’s fa­ther in Cap­tain Corelli’s Man­dolin that re­duced me to floods on a plane in Amer­ica. The man sit­ting next to me said ‘Why on earth do you read it if it makes you cry?’ and I said, sniff­ing and in­dig­nant: ‘That’s ex­actly WHY!’

My per­fect hol­i­day fling It was the year I read Rose Ma­caulay’s The Tow­ers Of Tre­bi­zond to my daugh­ters and couldn’t read for laugh­ing at the scene where Lau­rie takes her aunt’s ape to church in Ox­ford­shire.

The one I’m tak­ing to bed now Elizabeth Strout’s Amy & Isabelle. I’ve fin­ished My Name Is Lucy Bar­ton and Olive Kit­teridge and, frankly, I can’t wait for the next one...

Joanna Trollope is a judge in the BBC Na­tional Short Story Award. The short­list was an­nounced on Friday. For more de­tails, go to bbc.co.uk/nssa

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