Welcome to Anne Ullah
Where are you from? I’m originally from Doncaster. I now live in Cyprus and East Sussex.
On average how many books do you read in a month? It very much depends on how gripped I am by what I’m reading. If a book has really captured my imagination I will make time to read it during the day as well as in bed and therefore finish it quicker and start the next one. And in the summer, which is lovely and long in Cyprus, I tend to read much more during the day anyway; lying in the sun. I can easily get through four books a month. Five even.
Why are books important to you and what does reading bring to your life? I loved reading from the minute I learned how to. It’s always been very important to me. It brings another dimension to my life by allowing me to experience other people’s lives…if that makes sense.
What genres do you prefer and why? Once again, it depends on my mood. I absolutely love humour and chick lit but I also enjoy a grisly murder mystery and occasionally something spooky, or historical…or a rambling family saga…I have many moods!
Do you have a favourite book or author, why do you think you like this book/author so much? My favourite authors are Wendy Holden (especially Simply Divine which is hilarious and I love the main character), Helen Fielding (I can definitely relate to Bridget Jones, pure genius), E F Benson (I adore the subtle, and sometimes not so subtle, rivalry between Mapp and Lucia) and Keith Waterhouse (Soho is a firm favourite for the way he wrote some of the dialogue in a northern accent – inspired). In fact, almost without realising it, I channelled all these influences into my own book, Trouble At Toff Towers. Oh, and I musn’t forget Stan Barstow and Alan Sillitoe for their gritty northern stories; they are firm favourites too.
What medium do you prefer – e-books, audiobooks or paper books? Would you care to expand on this? I love my Kindle and when I first started using it I thought I had waved paper books goodbye forever. However, I soon realised that there were particular books that I simply had to own a physical version of so I flit between the two. I’ve never tried an audio book.
How do you usually find the books you read? For example: recommendations from friends, promotion on social networks, your local library, following authors you already know? Historically a review in a newspaper or magazine would usually have been the thing that prompted me to buy a book. Recommendations from friends are always worth following up too. More recently I have read several books written by indie authors I follow on Twitter. They’ve been very good books too and lately I have been making the effort to review them. I have found that when I have had some personal interaction with an author I am more inclined to want to write a review for them.
When choosing a book what makes you stop and give it a second look? What makes you turn away? Do you read reviews by others and if so do they influence the choice? An eye catching cover is like a magnet to me. I turn away from any book with a picture of an unhappy child on the cover. Yes, I do read reviews and, yes, I am probably influenced by them.
What is the most important aspect in a book for you? Plot? Characterisation? Well written etc.? All the above.
What aspects turn you off from a book? Are there things you avoid? The most recent thing that turned me off a book was that it put me off someone I have always been a fan of. It was a biography of Marc Bolan. I put it to one side and probably won’t finish it. I have never read a “misery memoir” and never will. The thought of reading about a child suffering is unbearable.
Do you think bricks and mortar bookshops are in decline? I realise the world of publishing is changing dramatically but I hope not. I do love browsing in a book shop. It’s one of the best things in life.