In My Own Time
- My Desert Island Discs choice would be Sean O'Casey's six autobiographies. But I have discovered new pleasures in a spool of reading that began long ago with King Solomon's Mines. Jonathan Franzen's Freedom was a family story satirising US values, like Philip Roth's American Pastoral without the corny politics. I can't wait to read Hilary Mantel's Bring Up The Bodies, a sequel to Wolf Hall, which set a gold standard for historical fiction. Alice Munro's unadorned prose conceals short stories of shifting depth and great understanding. Most of my reading is non- fiction: Terry Eagleton's Why Marx Was Right is a readable, reasoned explanation of the current crisis that will never feature on our news channels; The Invention of the Jewish People by Shlomo Sand is a scholarly demolition job on the Zionism that violently underpins the occupation politics of Israel. Last, I get endless pleasure from books as physical objects, and am working my way through an 1840s set of Edward Gibbon's history of the Roman Empire.
- I am hooked on Scandinavian killers: the Swedish Wallander series were excellent, and the two Danish series of The Killing. The SwedishDanish The Bridge was seriously stylish and darkly funny. These productions present real human beings, rather than the stereotypes filling UK and US schedules.
- My default radio station is Radio 3, but my favourite genre is StaxAtlanticMotown: Otis Redding, Booker T Jones, Martha Reeves, Wilson Pickett and Aretha Franklin.
- I like subtitles - they flatter my hearing loss. Recently I have watched The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, Broken Embraces, Nosferatu and The Artist.