Grace Tierney, author of How to Get Your Name in the Dictionary: The Lives Behind Eponyms has some great interview answers and book recommendations this week! Before jumping into the interview, please check out Grace's book How to Get Your Name in the Dictionary: The Lives Behind Eponyms:
Q. Do you have a favourite smart thinking book (and why that book)?
As a history geek with a special love for all things maritime I have to nominate The Fabled Coast by Sophia Kingshill and Jennifer Westwood. My copy is covered in post-its as it sparked so many ideas for my unusual words blog and helped me research for my next book “Words The Sea Gave Us”, but is far from being a dry history book. The two authors have tracked down sailor's stories old and new from the shores of Britain and Ireland. The folklore stretches from the kraken to the fate of the Mary Celeste with plenty of pirates, superstitions, and smugglers along the way.
Q. What's the most recent smart thinking book you've read (and how would you rate it)?
I’m currently reading Einstein - his Life and Universe by Walter Isaacson. I watched the series based on the book starring Geoffrey Rush and loved it but decided I wanted more detail. The book covers Einstein’s entire life and it is fascinating. Quite apart from being a ground-breaking theoretical physicist, he was also an unusual human being who lived through tumultuous times. The background to his winning of the Nobel Prize, his struggle for acceptance in German academic circles, and his complex romantic life makes for compelling reading. You don’t have to be an expert in maths or physics to read the book but anybody with an interest in science and history couldn’t fail to be charmed by his creativity and zest for life.
Q. Do you have a favourite childhood book?
My favourite childhood book is The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien. I really struggled to learn to read despite growing up surrounded by books and book-lovers at home. It wasn’t until I was nearly nine that it finally clicked. That year my teacher decided to read The Hobbit aloud to our class. The adventures of Bilbo Baggins and his dwarf companions on a quest to regain treasure from the evil dragon Smaug had me hooked from the first chapter. Unfortunately she only read half the book before the summer holidays, so I dragged my father to the bookshop and he bought me a copy which still sits on my best bookcase and is regularly re-read.
Q. Do you prefer reading on paper, Kindle or listening to an audiobook?
I prefer reading on paper in most cases although I also read on my iPad thanks to Kindle, AppleBooks, and Kobo. If I’m travelling it’s usually a selection of ebooks. Gone are the days when I had to choose between extra clothes in my rucksack or another couple of paperbacks. I have tried audiobooks, and have friends who adore them, but unfortunately I find they send me to sleep.
Q. Do you have a favourite bookshop (and why that shop)?
My local bookshop is Waterstones in Drogheda and it’s great for a browse. Several of my writing friends in National Novel Writing Month (I mentor the Ireland North East region each November for this writing challenge) are staff there so I have to give them a shout out.
My favourite bookshop is Charlie Byrne’s Bookshop on Middle Street in Galway City. It’s the best second-hand bookshop I’ve ever visited. Every type of book is there and the building itself appears to exist in several dimensions. You turn a corner and find another room filled from floor to ceiling with books, or step out a door onto a completely different street to the one you left. My family know that whenever we visit Galway they can count on my disappearing there for a few hours and reappearing with a very large bag of books.
Huge thanks to Grace for taking the time to answer my questions and give me some fascinating book recommendations, that I've added to my own reading list!
Please don't forget to check out her book How to Get Your Name in the Dictionary: The Lives Behind Eponyms.
Image Copyrights: Wordfoolery Press (How To Get Your Name In The Dictionary), Cornerstone (The Fabled Coast), Simon & Schuster Ltd (Einstein), HarperCollins Publishers (The Hobbit)