My Weekly Special
MY LIFE IN BOOKS
Author Miranda Dickinson was surrounded by books at an early age. Here, she shares some of her favourite stories…
I grew up in a house full of readers, so books were always around me. There are so many special books that made me a lifelong reader, but the first book I remember reading by myself and loving was Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome. I wanted to be Nancy Blackett and head off on amazing adventures!
I was quite late to romantic comedies, falling in love with them first as films before discovering the original books. When I did, Only in America by Dominic Holland – who is Spider Man actor Tom Holland’s dad – was the first book I read that made me want to write funny, warm and wise love stories. I also adored The Waitress by Melissa Nathan because I loved how it moved me from laughter to tears and to eventually hugging the book!
Sarah Addison Allen’s incredible story The Sugar Queen stole my breath the first time I read it. It’s magical and lyrical, heart-achingly romantic and beautifully written. I would love to write a book as hugely creative and utterly original as that one day. I love authors who refuse to be boxed and who write the stories they love – that’s why I love Neil Gaiman’s wonderful Neverwhere – which is a book that completely challenged my opinion of what a story could achieve.
I am a lifelong Terry Pratchett fan and when I need a bookish hug, a hearty giggle, and a story to wander happily in, I always reach for his books The Truth and The
Lost Continent. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve returned to re-read them. He’s also the first author that
I’ve grieved for – when he passed away, I actually felt like I’d lost a friend.
When I met my lovely husband Bob, the first Christmas present he gave me was an old edition of Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. It’s my favourite novel and the edition Bob found in a second-hand bookshop had beautiful illustrations. Later, we discovered that his dad chose Pride and Prejudice as a first Christmas gift for Bob’s mum, too – how’s that for a great tradition!
I hadn’t read many historical novels before, the genre being one that never really appealed to me. However, when I read the 1666-set The Ashes of London by Andrew Taylor I completely fell in love with James Marwood and Cat Lovett and the stunningly-set, thrilling adventure they have. It’s become my favourite series and I can’t wait for more!