Today on Chuck A Book, I am pleased to welcome journalist Diane Shipley, who runs the brilliant life changing website No Humiliation Wasted.
1) The best book you have ever read.
I don’t think it’s the best book of all time or anything (although I have no idea what is) but Postcards From The Edge by Carrie Fisher means a lot to me. It made me realise that you can write about challenging experiences like mental illness with a lot of irreverence, opened my eyes to the kind of writing I’d like to do, and made me feel less alone. It’s also really funny.
2) A book you loved from your childhood.
This Place Has No Atmosphere by Paula Danziger, which I discovered in the school library when I was 11. I not only loved it, but based my handwriting forever after on the samples of Aurora’s writing in the 1980s hardback edition.
3) A book that made you laugh.
Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim by David Sedaris is tears-rolling-down-your-cheeks, stuff-a-hand-in-your-mouth-to-keep-from-laughing-in-public hilarious. (And foulmouthed, FYI.)
4) A book you could not finish.
I know a lot of people liked White Tiger, but I couldn’t get into it at all.
5) A book that made you swoon.
Between, Georgia by Joshilyn Jackson. The perfect sultry summer read. I do declare.
6) A book you can’t wait to read.
I’ve been hearing so many great things about Kate Atkinson’s Life After Life, mostly from people on Twitter who were sent advance copies, which is NOT FAIR. But I’m eleventh on the library waiting list, so it won’t be long now…
7) A series you have read and loved.
I don’t read many series anymore, but I loved all of Enid Blyton’s growing up. My favourite was Mallory Towers, which made me want to go to boarding school and play lacrosse (even though I had no idea what lacrosse was).
8) A book that made you cry.
Oh, there are so many! But one that really moved me was Red China Blues by Jan Wong. It’s a memoir by a Canadian writer who was a student and later a journalist in China. It gives a fascinating personal insight into life under communism, elevated by a heartbreaking account of the Tiananmen Square Massacre, which Wong witnessed from a hotel room balcony. She risked her life (literally dodging a bullet) to report on what happened. Amazing book.
9) Your guilty pleasure book.
I don’t feel guilty about books! I do have comfort reads though, mostly anything by Nora Ephron. I read I Feel Bad About My Neck every year and the essay about (not) having an affair with JFK makes me laugh every time.
10) A book that took you out of your comfort zone.
Speculative/dystopian fiction isn’t something I’m naturally drawn to — as my grandma always used to say, “I like stories that could actually HAPPEN.” But I read Day of the Triffids when I was a teenager after hearing my dad rave about it, and to my surprise, I absolutely loved it. I’m not sure if I’d feel the same way about it now (I suspect I’d be irritated by the heavy-handed “disability as metaphor” stuff) but it opened my eyes (no pun intended, for people who’ve read the book!) to stories I might have otherwise dismissed. I’m now not entirely closed off to sci fi. (Just mostly.)
Thank you Diane for some brilliant book choices. I used to read a lot of books by Joshilyn Jackson and you have just reminded me how awesome she is.
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