Sophie King’s Nightstand
In honor of the release of her chick lit collection of titles featuring The School Run, Second Time Lucky, and Love is a Secret, author Sophie King shares her current reads.
What do I have on my bedside table? If you’d asked me that last month, I’d have had to confess that there was rather a lot of dust – plus a pile of to-be-read books so big that it threatened to rival the leaning tower of Pisa. That’s because when I’m in the middle of writing a novel, I’m not that hot on housework. But then I finished the novel and bought a new bedside table. It was easier than dusting the old. (Only half joking here.) So at the time of writing, it’s looking quite neat.
I’ve also reduced the tower of books because my husband convinced me that I wasn’t going to get through them all by the end of the year, let alone next week. Mind you, the pile on his side is pretty tall …
Anyway, in the interests of domesticity and reality, I’ve now got four books on my new table. There’s a book of sayings which my mother left me when she died. Its called Daily Strength for Daily Needs selected by Mary W Tileston and it was first printed in 1904. There are three different quotes for each day so you can take your pick. Some are religious and others are just full of common sense. They keep me going and help to put a perspective on life.
Underneath that, is Midnight in St Petersburg by Vanora Bennett. It’s not normally the type of novel I read but it’s so beautifully written that I can’t put it down. The story is about a Jewish girl seeking refuge in St Petersburg in 1911. She tracks down a very distant cousin who makes violins and then she shocks him by playing far better than he does. That’s the point I’m at now and I can’t wait to go to bed tonight to find out what happens.
Then there’s Helen Fielding’s Mad About The Boy which I should have read ages ago when it first came out. But I lent it to my daughter and then used it as a doorstop for a bit. I’m sort of looking forward to it but I’m not quite ready for a book with lots of first-person internal thought instead of a fully flowing third person narrative. I find that books are like food. You want something different at different times. So maybe that one will wait until next month.
My fourth book is a really old hardback which I found in a junk shop. Readiness At Dawn by ‘Blake’ is the story of a Royal Flying Corps pilot from the First World War whose flying days were over. During the Second World War, he was appointed to the Operations Room, the nerve-centre of the Fighter Centre. I bought it for my 90 year old father but he said he’d already read it years ago. So I thought I’d keep it for myself. My father always used to read me a bedtime story when I was young. His own father was at sea and read a lot like many sailors. I did the same to my own children. When my husband was in hospital last year, I made him up a new story every day. I think he got better just to make me stop.
I know that’s four books but I’ve got a secret. Inside my new beside table is a hidden compartment. I’ve got five more books stacked there – the ones that my husband said I wouldn’t get round to reading. In fact, I feel a bad cold coming on. Maybe I’ll just ignore the housework for a bit (and the new novel I’m meant to be starting) and just go to bed and read …
Sophie King (also writing as Janey Fraser) is a journalist and novelist. She has had seven novels published, including The School Run (2005), which was a best-seller, and The Wedding Party (2010), which was short listed for the RNA Love Story of The Year. For three years, she was writer in residence at HMP Grendon, a high-security male prison. For more information about Sophie, visit her here.
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