A PASSION FOR BOOKS
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