My life in books

1st October 2010 at 01:00
Phil Tong is director of drama at the City of London Freemen's School in Ashtead Park, Surrey

What I'm reading now

One Night Stands: A Critic's View of Modern British Theatre

By Michael Billington

Theatre is my living, but it's also what I'm interested in. This book by the Guardian's Michael Billington, known as Britain's longest-serving theatre critic, offers the insights you get from working with theatre practitioners for so many years.

Leading playwrights such as Arnold Wesker and Harold Pinter, who turned me onto theatre, have been among Billington's friends. He talked to them and got insights into why they write the sorts of things they do and what in their backgrounds made them such groundbreaking writers.

The book I loved as a child


By WE Johns

I was an absolute mad fiend for the Biggles stories. I read them, loved them, devoured them all. I think it's the sense of escapism, adventure - they're the kinds of stories you can get lost in. I would read one and want to read the next one right away. I had another look at them recently, and they're very strange stories. A lot aren't politically correct. But when you're eight or nine years old, the whole idea of flying in a Sopwith Camel is a matter of some excitement.

Read this before you die

The Unbearable Lightness of Being

By Milan Kundera

This is an incredibly moving story. When I read it, I got this intense feeling of the frailty of being a human. It's the most human of books that I can remember reading, and I found that intensely moving.

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