1. What author do you own the most books by?
Easy - I have a complete collection of Chalet School books so it must be Elinor M. Brent Dyer. Closely followed by Daphne Du Maurier as I have nearly all of her titles in the new Virago Modern Classics edition.
2. What book do you own the most copies of?
The school at the Chalet by Elinor M. Brent Dyer; I have it in hardback, Armada paperback and Girls Gone By anniversary edition.
3. Did it bother you that both those questions ended with prepositions?
I never got taught grammar at school so I'm hazy on things like that.
4. What fictional character are you seriously in love with?
Probably Mr Rochester from Jane Eyre; he was the first literary hero that I ever encountered so he has a special place in my heart.
5. What book have you read the most times in your life?
Probably The school at the chalet, that has been read a lot. Another book that I turn to for comfort reading is Village School by Miss Read or any of the Miss Read books. I capture the castle is another book I have read many times, although I don't own a copy.
6. Favorite book as a ten year old?
Difficult to remember what I was reading when I was ten, I suspect it was that year that I read Jane Eyre, so I shall say that.
7. What is the worst book you’ve read in the past year?
I honestly can't remember as the good books stay with me, but the bad books just disappear. The book I least enjoyed recently was The lifted veil by George Eliot but I'm a great believer in that there aren't bad books, just books which aren't right for you on that occasion.
8. What is the best book you’ve read in the past year?
I've read a LOT of good books this year, but highlights would include: The music room (Fiennes), Small wars (Sadie Jones), We bought an island (Atkins), The reluctant fundamentalist (Hamid), Fortnight in September (Sherrif), Bricks and Mortar (Ashton), The magic toyshop (Carter)...the list could continue indefinitely. I am very lucky to have had some really enjoyable reads this year. Authors I have discovered include Barbara Pym and Rosamund Lehmann, both excellent.
9. If you could force everyone you know to read one book, what would it be?
Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier. Bit predictable so perhaps I should opt for her Vanishing Cornwall which is a lyrical exploration of the county which inspired so much of her writing, illustrated with wonderful photos taken by her son.
10. What book would you like to see made into a movie?
Invitation to the waltz by Rosamund Lehmann. Not sure if this has been adapted - I think it would be wonderful.
11. What is the most difficult book you’ve ever read?
Gibbon's History of the decline and fall of the Roman Empire for my history degree. I couldn't get into it and just hated every minute I was stuck with it.
12. What is your favorite book?
Again, a tough question. Loved Rebecca, by DDM and her Vanishing Cornwall; I capture the castle (Smith), The music room (Fiennes), Liquid Assets (lovely book about Lidos), Brideshead Revisited... I also have the chance to work with some amazing rare books in Oxford; the Douce Pliny (see below) is truly amazing, as is Wolsey's Lectionary held in Magdalen College.
13. What is your favorite play?
Shakepeare’s Macbeth. I have to confess that I'm not hugely into plays (I'd rather see something with a bit of music!), and definitely not Shakespeare which I find very difficult to understand. However, I studied this at school and so it is accessible and I have seen 2 productions of it and would happily go to many more.
This is easy - it's Back home by John Betjeman which describes the discomfort of air travel and the contrasting loveliness of being outside in Cornwall and mentions one of my favourite landmarks in Cornwall, Stepper Point.
Haven't read many essays, not since college I'm afraid.
16. Who is the most overrated writer alive today?
Dan Brown. I'm not really a book snob, but I am snobby about Dan Brown.
17. What is your favorite desert island book?
I dread the thought of being stuck on a desert island with only one book. I can't think of one book I'd be prepared to read over and over and over.
18. And… what are you reading right now?
A Kid for two farthings, by Wolf Mankowitz, which is one of the new Bloomsbury group titles.