One of the bookshelves in my study. As it’s closest to hand, there’s usually a lot of research related books on it, which are ever changing depending on what I’m working on. The permanent features are the Oxford English Dictionary and trusty Thesaurus. My old desk was rescued from a junk shop and the fully operational Bakelite phone was a find at the Imperial War Museum. Mosey’s in charge of stationary (no make that stationery which he excels at) and there’s usually a price to pay if I want to make use of the Moleskine notebooks - nuzzling/grooming/treats, preferably all three and before his sister Bea gets back.
A mish-mash of fiction and non-fiction, if there’s a system to my bookshelves I’ve never figured out what it is. A reaction perhaps to having once run a bookshop in Brighton where it was my job to know the location of everything in stock. Perhaps I’ll sort them one day. Having said that, this motley bunch snapped at random are all (almost all) like ‘The Savage Kingdom’, thematically related to the environment and/or the mysteries of our universe, and include some really thought-provoking stuff: Lovelock’s ‘Gaia’, Coats’ Living Energies, H Mortimer Batten’s wonderful ‘Red Ruff’, and a very dog-eared ‘Alchemist’ (see below) which I first read in Sri Lanka in the early 90s. And veggie or no, I think everybody should read ‘Eating Animals’ by Jonathan Safran Foer.
Also on the shelf, J G Ballard’s ‘Vermilion Sands’ which I adapted for TV (for the wonderful producer Jane Tranter) only to spend 10 years watching it gather dust as no-one else ‘got it’. Jim loved my scripts however, and I’ve a fax (remember those?) from him framed on my study wall. It’s there to remind me to always try to enjoy the creative journey, as quite often you don’t get to actually reach the intended destination! Jonathan Carroll’s magical ‘The Land of Laughs’ is in there too. Another project I had hoped to adapt for the big screen. Who knows, maybe one day I still will. Are you listening Alex Kitman Ho? :)
Never tire of revisiting Coelho’s classic. Deceptively simple, deliciously profound.
The Popular Science Educator in 2 volumes. I spent many a winter’s night curled up with these as a kid. Absolutely brilliant stuff covering everything from how clouds are made to the internal workings of a combustion engine to ‘termite romance’! Do they make ‘em like this anymore? They should!
The giant keys are a prop from my last stage play, a musical adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen’s ‘The Little Match Girl’. The books… more H G Wells than you can shake a stick at. 24 titles in 12 Volumes for 35 shillings back when the printing press was still steam powered! OK. Not quite. They were actually printed by Odhams in the 1920s and my dad brought a set in the 50s. But given he was working two jobs just to pay the rent and keep food on the table back then, it was quite a bold investment. ‘The Invisible Man’ was probably my first brush with sc-fi/fantasy, so maybe that’s when the seeds were sown for my ‘Animalian’ novels. Thanks dad!
This blogpost was part of Simon's blog tour for the release of his new book The Savage Kingdom