Meg Mason: “Jane Austen taught me that there really is such a thing as reading for pleasure” | books

My first reading memory
My mom read Terry Furchgott’s Phoebe and the Hot Water Bottles to me when I was four or five years old. it is A playfully illustrated book, about a A young girl’s widowed father leaves her home alone while he’s at work, and one night, the house caught fire, and Phoebe put it out using a hot water bottle. This means that from a biblical perspective, things were much darker at the time. Oh my God, I loved him.

My favorite book is growing up
Although I used to read endlessly when I was young, once I got to school, I refused to read altogether, preferring to draw. Sunrise By Jean Ormerod is the only book I remember going to on my own, probably because it has no words, only illustrations of a family rushing to get ready one morning. I was very fascinated by it: home, home photography, moms, dads, watching daughter and ingrained humour. And these are all my interests as a novelist, and it’s clear that it has gone a lot deeper.

The book that changed me when I was a teenager
My resistance to reading continued throughout my adolescence. I find it hard to name a single book at the time. But in my last year of studies, I moved to countries and was immediately without friends – I had nothing to do but read. When you come to Jane Austen’s whateverAnd I finally understood what everyone was talking about – that there really is such a thing as reading for fun.

The writer who changed my mind
When I set out to write novels, I was desperate to be literary, and thought this meant keeping everything so gloomy and not letting any “jokes” get into things. But during that unhappy time, I went on vacation and took a dark and difficult novel and Heaven’s Inn by Nina Stipe. In the end, I was unable to encounter the first, and I read Stibbe twice instead. I then realize that if that’s what I want as a reader – humor and compassion combined – why do I do my best not to write this way.

The book that made me want to be a writer
They had more libraries than any one writer. Walking around places like Daunt in Marylebone When I was living in London in my early twenties I imagined what your book would look like on a shelf. (It feels like you go into a stranger’s house and discover your wet swimsuit in a pile in the corner of the living room, horrified and confused as to how something intimate is going to happen to you there, is the answer.)

the book I went back to
There are favorites that I come back to once a year, but I never go back to anything I ran into with passion the first time because, as a late starter, I read with a constant feeling of being late and feel like there isn’t enough time for a second attempt at things.

The book I reread
I have a copy of Fox 8 by George Saunders Far away in my writing shed since I first read it, in 2013, in awe and exhilaration of revelation. I pick it up and read a page most days. It’s perfect. that it So perfect. I can not explain it.

The book I could not read again
I’ve been completely obliterated before Edward St AubinPatrick Melrose novels, and I thought I’d keep going back to them, but never worried, thinking that if it wasn’t the same as a complete and perfect reading experience, her memories would be ruined.

The book I discovered later in life
I don’t know how I managed not to discover the Casalet Chronicles by Elizabeth Jane Howard until last year. When I did, it was like going to a party and finding all your friends there already. They are as amazing as everyone says. But it’s also true that you have to deviate number five if you don’t want to break your heart with a hammer.

The book I’m reading right now
Someday I will amaze the worldAnd Brand new and perfect Stibbe. Once I started it, my camera roll became exclusive shots of the best lines, even though it everyone The best fonts.

Read my comfort
Nancy Mitford’s The Pursuit of Love, which I re-read so often, I fear may one day lose its efficacy in terms of comfort. For this reason, I am trying to replace it with I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith. It’s just, in many situations, Just Mitford will do.

Meg Mason’s Sorrow and Bliss was released in paperback and was nominated for a Woman’s Award.