I feared these books would be dull, staid and part of the establishment that I was so busy rebelling against; and then I read Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte.
How fantastic it would be for the writer to be granted an impossible insider's view; to hitch a ride on the tailcoat of her words and hear her reader's synapses crackle.
Should I give way to this common feeling that artists should contribute something to society; that is, in addition to our work? The writer throughout history has always been a defender of the individual.
My natural habitat is a book-lined room, so a habit can be something in which we swathe ourselves, symbolic and protective, denoting belonging, in which we wish to dwell; that sounds just like my reading habit.
Selling books is as necessary as writing them but many writers, and I am one of them, have a love-hate relationship with the marketing of their books. This nearly always results from a mismatch.
Penny Hancock speaks with John Greening about discovering dark inner places as a crime writer, inhabiting different characters, real-life story inspirations and her writing approaches and motivations.
One friend recently asked me to name the best five books I've ever read; I told him mine, he told me his, and we've been working our way slowly through each other's lists. That's a plan of a kind and it's been a revelation.
Between them, the writers in my two groups have have won prizes and published extensively, but what is infinitely engaging is leaning in to listen to someone reading a new poem.