1. The Victor Comic 1966
My step-grandfather was illiterate and had the Victor comic in his farm labourer’s cottage to help him to learn to read..I remember reading it to him when he in his sixties as he puffed clouds of tobacco around my head from his pipe….I was 7.
2. Ian Allen Combined Locoshed Book 1974
Any real trainspotter will know this volume and also the point in travelling to places like Birmingham New Street to collect train numbers…it was how I discovered the world….and honed my research skills:-) In fact most trainspotters would make better researchers than most academics.. they far more ‘rigorous’:-)
3. Roger Price – Droodles 1974
Shrigley before Shrigley…from a jumble sale I think…wonderful visual puns..
4. Percy Bysse Shelley – Poems 1976
Masque of Anarchy…..says it all..
5. John Clare – Poems 1976
Mrs Millington maddest most conservative spinster English Teacher who taught me value of writing…forever….bless her.
6. Joseph Conrad – Nostromo 1975
Mr Peyton my other English teacher who taught me the value of sarcasm…and Conrad who I loved…I went on to read every book I could I think I made 8 or 9……obsessive….
7. John Berger – Ways of Seeing 1977
Art Foundation a whole new way of seeing things and Punk Rock….went well together 🙂
8. Seamus Heaney – Death of a Naturalist 1978
A voice I could trust….still do.
9. Raymond Carver – Fires 1985
The book that made me a writer…literally salvaged from a St Anne’s Tottenham Haringey Library fire….I told that story years later to his widow Tess Gallagher..
10. W.G.Sebald – Rings of Saturn 2008
Fine art course Lincoln 2008 …read it every day on train to Lincoln as it coincided with a pretty pretentious art show there on themes associated with Sebald ( as pretty much every artist seems to have done since).
Still a good book….and way better than any art ever ‘influenced’ by it.
(Finally if this list went up to 11 and yes the first woman on the list)
11. Alice Munro – Too Much Happiness 2014
Back to creative writing and first volume of short stories I chose to read…great choice….now time to put pen to paper again and again and again and again…..