Hi Mark, where’s your bookcase located, and what does it look like?
This particular one is in my office at home. Yes, there are obviously lots of books, but many are obscured by the collection of random tat and nerdy collectibles I’ve amassed over the years. There are probably far too many Beatles and James Bond toys than any grown man should have, but I don’t care. There’s a treasured photo of myself with Elvis Costello and other mementos from events. All a bit untidy and odd but not compared to the stuff on the mantelpiece just out of shot. At least this bookcase isn’t festooned with stuffed animals and dolls’ heads, though it IS watched over by the somewhat spooky fellow in the armchair. Here, behind the assorted ephemera there are my collections of first edition Rankin, Connelly, James Lee Burke and many other great crime writers. These books are hugely precious to me, of course, but if there was a fire and I had to choose between saving a treasured crime novel or my Yellow Submarine figures, I would be…conflicted.
Are there any authors that you have discovered recently that you’ve loved?
The American writer Lou Berney. He’s been around for a while, but I was late to the party. His most recent novels THE LONG AND FARAWAY GONE and NOVEMBER ROAD are breath-taking. So rich and beautifully written that they make you feel like a rank amateur.
For us, so much of reading is the comfort, and the curling up with a good book. Where is your favourite place to read?
In bed. If the bed happens to be on a sun-drenched island or in an enormous penthouse overlooking Central Park, so much the better. North London will do, though. It’s easy to lose yourself in a great book when you’re so comfortable. Though you should never forget that it’s also easy to drift off and, if you’re reading a chunky hardback, it can fall down on to your face and break your nose.
We all have genres we love, but are there any kind of books will not be found in your bookcase?
Certainly nothing about Formula One. Or jazz. Or morris dancing. In terms of crime fiction (which probably constitutes the majority of the books) there’s not too much at the…lighter end of the spectrum. I tend to go for darker stuff, so you won’t find any quilting mysteries or mysteries in which recipes are dotted between the chapters. You certainly won’t find anything in which a pet of any sort solves the crime. Don’t get me wrong, I love all sorts of crime novels, but I certainly don’t own any books with titles like, “Tibbles Cracks The Case” or “The Talented Mr Pickle.”