In My Own Time - Barbara van der Meulen

8th February 2013 at 00:00
English teacher at Ardnamurchan High in the west Highlands

Books

- For six years I've spent October to Easter reading books that my local book group has offered, so I've been introduced to work I might not otherwise have chosen, but it means I don't get through others I have at home. I enjoy Barbara Kingsolver, Sebastian Faulks, Michael Frayn, Alice Munro and David Mitchell. Also high on the list are countless Scottish writers I've been following for years, and more recent ones: James Robertson, Ali Smith, Don Paterson, John Burnside, Kathleen Jamie, Robert Crawford ... I try to keep up with contemporary Dutch writing, with modest success.

Film

- I think English teachers will be very excited about recent adaptations from literature: Midnight's Children, Life of Pi, Under the Skin, Cloud Atlas, Great Expectations, The Great Gatsby. As we live remotely, I've no idea how I'll be able to see them all, but will eventually.

Music

- I'm married to a real music fan who likes rock and blues, so there's a lot of that, and a couple of guitars in our house. I was influenced by the Americans in terms of music - I spent some formative years in the US, so I always return to the greats - Neil Young, James Taylor, Paul Simon, Fleetwood Mac, Steely Dan, Bruce Springsteen, Eva Cassidy, Michael McDonald and, more recently, Train.

TV

- The only things I've really watched in recent years are the Scandinavian crime series like The Killing and The Bridge - I absolutely love them, so it's always a good thing when they are finished, because then we get more other stuff done. It's been fun picking up words from Danish that you then begin to remember and understand.

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