In My Own Time
- It's terrible for an English teacher and a writer to admit, but I can't seem to settle into a book at the moment; however, when I'm in the mood, I devour dozens at a time. I love Kazuo Ishiguro's work; his The Unconsoled (pictured) is a masterpiece. I'm also partial to John Irving and Paul Auster, crime fiction from Denise Mina and historical non-fiction, especially Antony Beevor. The best book I've read in the past year, though, was James B. McPherson's Battle Cry of Freedom.
- I'm always searching for new music, and attend gigs as often as I can. I discovered the Womad (World of Music, Arts and Dance) festival this year, which will now be a regular date on my summer calendar. I love world music: Uzbek trip-hop, Scandinavian wonky-pop, Brazilian jazz-funk, sub- Saharan desert blues, Americana and so much more. My favourite is Portuguese fado. I've fallen in love with a band called Deolinda, who create the happiest music on the planet. My hero is Paul Simon, the greatest songwriter of the past 50 years. I still buy LPs, too, and my record deck is my pride and joy.
Film and TV
- I have a penchant for sci-fi, but avoid CGI blockbusters. I much prefer quirky films such as Moon, Never Let Me Go (pictured) and Another Earth. I also adore Asian cinema; martial arts epics such as Hero are among the most visually beautiful films I've ever seen, and Takeshi Kitano's gangster movies, such as Sonatine, are brilliant. I don't watch TV regularly, but occasionally overdose on box sets. I've lost many weekends to The West Wing, The Sopranos and the best cop series of all time, The Shield.