Since I moved several years ago, I’ve become ruthless about letting books go. I used to fantasise about building up a huge library of wonderful novels in my home but I’ve accepted now that I just don’t have the space. I’ve also started to think that, unless I’m going to read a story again, I should really pass it on to someone else. It seems a bit selfish to hang onto something just for the sake of owning it.
The books in the shelf above are an exception. These are stories from my childhood that I loved and still can’t bear to give away, even though I’m unlikely to read them again. Some of my absolute favourites are here.
I’m also hanging onto many of these. Most of them are written by contemporary YA novelists, quite a few by people I have had the good fortune to meet since becoming an author myself. Ah, I’ve just noticed that all-time classic read and personal favourite, Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier, has snuck onto the same shelf. (As you can see, there isn’t much of a system to my bookshelves and definitely no alphabetising!)
Here are some more classics. The top shelf contains mainly Shakespeare plays – which I studied for my English degree. I’m highly unlikely to read any of these ever again but they’re very useful for reference. The copy of Romeo and Juliet came in very handy when I was writing Falling Fast, which is all about two teens falling in love during a production of the play at one of their schools.
If I’m honest, I’m not very likely to read any of the books on the second shelf either - all except the Jane Austen books. Those I do come back to, over and over again.
And finally, some (mostly) contemporary novels including a few of my favourite psychological thrillers…
If I had to choose between reading and writing I would choose writing. But the books on my shelves that I’ve read and loved are definitely partly responsible for inspiring me to be a writer.