I have never been able to answer simple questions like what is your favourite film/character/food/song/perfume, as my favourite things tend not to be as simple as Maria’s. My favourite things are capricious. My favourite things are influenced by my moods, my age, my experience, where I am and often by how much cash I am carrying. I have been thinking about favourite books recently and I find that I have different reasons for liking different books – I wasn’t aware of it but turns out, I have categories.

There are two books from my childhood that stand out in my memory so I suppose I could call them early favourites. I am a little annoyed though because I cannot remember the name of either. The first was a fictional account of the story of Ulysseus and was  I think called Odyssey. It had a white cover and was fabulous. The second was a fictional account of Dick Turpin and I seem to remember that cover too.

I also remember a book I read as a teenager called – well I can’t tell you because I am about to give you a plot spoiler. This book stopped me in my reading tracks because the main guy, the hero, the central figure was killed. With one sentence. You think everything is fine, tra-la-la, ok he is doing this now, tra la…what? I thought I had missed a couple of pages and turned back about five or six times to make certain. I even thought that perhaps the publisher had included pages from another book by some weird mistake. I was staggered. Strangely, when I gave this book to a friend and told her that she just WOULD NOT BELIEVE WHAT HAPPENS, she  never got that far with the story because an earlier incident upset her so much she burst into tears and refused to read further. A book for all seasons indeed.

You realise I am waffling to fill the time before they announce the winner of the Orange Fiction Prize. Time filling without a glass of wine is quite challenging. Oh – here we go – hang on … ok the winner is – Barbara Kingsolver, who apparently does not take risks in her personal life but does with her writing. I confess that I have never read any of her work and listening to her witter on about her children is not filling me with any desire to start.. Her winning book, The Lacuna, is her first novel for nine years. OK – it has just been added to the ‘to-read’ list.

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