My Life in Books is an occasional feature on Random Things Through My Letterbox
I've invited authors to share with us a list of books that are special to them and have made a lasting impression on their life.
Please join me in welcoming Sarah Ward to Random Things today. I met Sarah quite a few years ago at the launch party for Constable & Robinson's CR Crime imprint. Sarah is a well-know and successful crime fiction blogger at Crimepieces.
She is also a fabulous crime author herself, her first book In Bitter Chill was published last year by Faber, click on the title to read my review.
The follow up novel; A Deadly Thaw will be published in September this year.
My Life In Books ~ Sarah Ward
The Secret Island by Enid Blyton Blyton is considered a bit passe these days but, for me she embodies what I want from a book: to escape to another world.
I loved her Famous Five and Secret Seven books but The Secret Island has it all. A deserted island, children who want to escape their relatives and a mystery to be solved.
Crooked House by Agatha Christie Another great storyteller and this was, apparently, one of the author's favourite books too.
All Christie's usual tropes are there - a country house containing a dysfunctional family - but she makes a bold leap with her choice of murderer. Love it.
Bleak House by Charles Dickens Lots of readers have books they love to come back to every couple of years. This is mine. I have a few issues with Dickens. He is terribly sentimental in his portrayal of girls but, for setting and story, he is the master.
I love the different narrative voices here.
Excellent Women by Barbara Pym Pym creates a world of church bazaars and parish meetings containing heroines who are down but never out. Men are unreliable and often lightweight but her books are more than an examination of social manners. Unrequited love doesn't necessarily mean a life of gloom.
Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy by John Le Carre I first read this as a teenager but it was the BBC TV series starring Alex Guiness as George Smiley that made me return to the book with fresh eyes.
I love all Le Carre but this is his masterpiece.
Four Quarters by T S Eliot I read a lot of poetry and trying to choose a
favourite is impossible. However, Eliot is a poet I return to often. I even tried to quote him in my second book, A Deadly Thaw, but he is still in copyright and I decided it was too expensive.
Eliot is a poet to last a lifetime and beyond.
Sarah Ward ~ April 2016
Sarah Ward is an online book reviewer, whose blog Crimepieces (www.crimepieces.com) reviews the best of current crime fiction, published around the world.
She is a judge for the Petrona Award for Scandinavian translated crime novels.
She lives in Derbyshire.
Follow Sarah on Twitter @sarahward1