I had the pleasure of speaking with Brian O'Connell, author of The Personals, about some of his favourite books this week. Brian was kind enough to answer the questions below to share with you all. Before jumping into the interview, please do check out Brian's new book The Personals:
Q. Do you have a favourite smart thinking book (and why that book)?
There are a lot of books over the years which have changed the way I think or deepen my understanding of issues. One book that stands out though is Christopher Hitchens Hitch-22. While not perfect or without criticism in some of his opinions, when viewed as a whole his body of work in this book is really impressive. It's a memoir, but is utterly candid and captures a lot of what made him stand out - the fact he could be both infuriating and engaging at the same time! Not many people can pull that off!
Q. What's the most recent smart thinking book you've read?
Because I have been writing this past year I haven't had as much time to read as I would like. But as part of the research for my book, The Personals, I read a book by HG Cocks called Classified - The Secret History of the Personals Column. It was a fascinating insight into the hidden history of those who use the classified ads from the 18th century onwards in their search for love.
Q. Do you have a favourite childhood book?
The one that stands out is by Enid Blyton called The Children of Cherry Tree Farm. I'm reading it to my 5 year old at the moment and it's a thrill to see him getting the same delight from it that I did.
Q. Do you prefer reading on paper, Kindle or listening to an audiobook?
I'm old fashioned, and because I'm in front of a screen for a lot of the day I like to read on paper.
Q. Do you have a favourite bookshop (and why that shop)?
If I can name two - in Cork I love Waterstones on Patrick Street because I began buying books there when in university and now I'm buying my children their books there so the shops contains all sorts of memories for me. The other shop I love is the Ennis Book Shop because they have such a strong commitment to local writers.
Image Copyrights: HarperCollins Publishers (The Personals), Atlantic Books (Hitch-22), Cornerstone (Classified), Hachette Children's Group (The Cherry Tree Farm Story Collection)