Thursday, 21 April 2016

My Life In Books ~ talking to author Julie Cohen

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 the books that have inspired them and left a lasting impression on their life.

Please join me in welcoming Julie Cohen to Random Things today.  

Julie's latest novel Falling will be published by Black Swan on 28 July 2016.  I'm really looking forward to reading it as I really enjoyed her last two books.  

I read and reviewed Dear Thing (April 2013), and Where Love Lies (July 2014), read my reviews by clicking on the titles of the books.

My Life In Books ~ Julie Cohen

The Complete Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle  This is my Desert Island book. This is the book that truly changed my life. I was 11 when I bought it and read it cover-to-cover, and it began a lifelong obsession. I moved to England because of Sherlock Holmes. I chose to study Victorian literature because of Sherlock Holmes. I've belonged to various Sherlock Holmes societies throughout my life, and I still get a thrill when I see the portrait of Sherlock Holmes in the tiles in Baker Street Station on the Bakerloo line.
I own a deerstalker and at one point, I could recite vast quotes of Sherlock Holmes stories. Even tody, I annoy people by pointing out the direct Sherlock Holmes quotes in 'Sherlock', and I draw a regular cartoon for the Sherlock Holmes Journal, called 'Overrun by Oysters'.

A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula Le Guin  This is the book that made me want to be an author (also age 11). 
I loved Le Guin's world of magic and islands and darkness, and as soon as I finished reading the trilogy I started writing my own version, complete with hand-drawn map. 

(See also: The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, which I also tried to copy as soon as I'd read.)

Rachel's Holiday by Marian Keyes  This is the book that made me want to write women's fiction (age thirty). I love all of Marian Keyes' books, but Rachel's Holiday is just something special. There's the unreliable narrator, and the deep, devastating portrayal of addiction, but there's also enormous humour and a leather-trousered hero of gorgeousness. How does Marian do it? I have no idea. She is magical.

The Princess Bride by William Goldman  I've read this book over and over. The last time I read it, I was in hospital with pneumonia, and it was the best medicine I could have asked for. It's a wonderful feel-good book which is also one of my top movies of all time, but the novel itself, along with being a rollicking funny action-packed fairy tale, is also a masterclass in storytelling and a satire on the film industry. Also, I want to marry Inigo Montoya.

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen  Character-wise, this is not actually my favourite Austen novel; I prefer Emma as a heroine, and Captain Wentworth as a hero. But Pride and Prejudice is the most exquisitely structured book in the world. Everything about this book is utterly, marvellously perfect. It is flawless in every single way: as a story, as a satire, as a work of brilliant art. I must have read Pride and Prejudice at least twenty times and every time, it gets better.

Julie Cohen ~ April 2016

Julie Cohen grew up in Maine and studied English at Brown University and Cambridge University. She moved to the UK to research fairies in Victorian children's literature at the University of Reading and this was followed by a career teaching English at secondary level.

She now writes full time and is a popular speaker and teacher of creative writing.

She lives with her husband and their son in Berkshire.

For more information about Julie Cohen and her work;
check out her website
Follow her on Twitter @julie_cohen


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