1 March 2018

World Book Day 2018: What We’re Reading

Here at Redactive we love a good book. In celebration of World Book Day, we asked some of our staff to share their favourites.

Simon Wicks – Deputy Editor, The Planner for RTPI

Simon Wicks

  • What is your favourite book of all time/the book that has had the biggest impact on you?

I couldn’t possibly pick a favourite, so I’m just going to go with one that I like and appreciate – Nights at the Circus by Angela Carter. It’s the story of Fevvers, a Victorian Cockney girl born with wings who becomes a celebrated circus performer across Europe and Asia. It’s one of those books that is absolutely bustling with life and colour and character and incident, in an almost Dickensian way. What really stayed with me though, was how brilliantly Angela Carter can make the extraordinary seem familiar and the quite ordinary seem utterly unfamiliar.

  • What are you reading right now?

I’m reading The Blackest Streets, by Sarah Wise, an historian who writes about the lives of ordinary people in Victorian London. The Blackest Streets is an account of life in the Old Nichol – London’s most notorious slum, which was on the boundary of Bethnal Green and Shoreditch (about 20 minutes’ walk from our office). The slum was cleared in the early 1900s to make way for London’s first council estate.

The book has a particular meaning to me because my great-great-great grandfather lived in the Old Nichol. Sarah has a great eye for social detail, compassion, a readable writing style and a liking for acerbic asides.

It’s so good that I invited her to write an article about the Old Nichol for The Planner magazine, which you can read in April!

Sharon Maguire – Editor, The Actuary for IFoA & TRANSFORM for IEMA

Sharon Maguire2

  • What is your favourite book of all time/the book that has had the biggest impact on you?

Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China by Jung Chang. I never really enjoyed history at school for a number of reasons, but this book changed my mind. After reading Wild Swans a lot of my reading interests tend to be based on human stories of hardship and survival against the backdrop of political upheaval and social change. However, nothing so far has surpassed this masterpiece!

  • What are you reading right now?

All Out War: The Full Story of How Brexit Sank Britain’s Political Class by Tim Shipman

Yep – once again, human stories of hardship and survival against a backdrop of political upheaval and social change!

Laura Edgar – Senior News Reporter, The Planner for RTPI

Laura Edgar

  • What is your favourite book of all time/the book that has had the biggest impact on you?

I have many favourite books, but at the minute it is a series of books that read as one story.  Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan Novels, translated from Italian by Ann Goldstein:

My Brilliant Friend (2012),
The Story of a New Name (2013),
Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay (2014); and
The Story of the Lost Child (2015)

The writing is incredible, her characterisation of people is incomparable and her descriptions of Naples makes you feel like you are part of the story.

  • What are you reading right now?

I am currently reading Because You Love to Hate Me, edited by Ameriie. It is a collection of short stories by different authors, including twists of fairytales, that invites you to question the role of the villain.

 Daniel Butcher – New Business Manager

Daniel Butcher

  • What is your favourite book of all time/the book that has had the biggest impact on you?

I love The Martian because it sums up why we human beings are so amazing – we are, mostly, innovative, adaptable and ambitious. People ask why we should spend money going to a mostly barren planet like Mars – the answer is because we are human, and it is there.

  • What are you reading right now?

The book I’m reading at the minute is Lock In by one of my favourite science fiction authors, John Scalzi. However, he has taken a slightly new direction with this book by attempting something in the ‘police procedural’ crime genre. He shouldn’t have – it’s not his best work.

Martha Harris – Digital Content and E-communications Manager

Martha Harris

  • What is your favourite book of all time/the book that has had the biggest impact on you?

The book I readily admit to when asked is The Lesser Bohemians by Eimar McBride – a coming of age tale from the perspective of a young Irish girl in 90s London, written in the most beautifully lyrical, broken prose. The book I have read the most times is Audrey Niffenegger’s The Time Traveler’s Wife, and I love it – but won’t admit to it since the film ruined its reputation!

  • What are you reading right now?

Hag-Seed by Margaret Atwood – a modern re-imagining of Shakespeare’s The Tempest. I’m not the biggest Shakespeare fan but I will read anything that Atwood writes – she’s a genius.

 Joanna Marsh – Director

Joanna Marsh

  • What is your favourite book of all time/the book that has had the biggest impact on you?

Love in a Cold Climate by Nancy Mitford, closely followed by Perfume by Patrick Susskind. I love Nancy Mitford’s acerbic wit – her books have me laughing out loud and are my go-to cheer me up read.

  • What are you reading right now?

Over and Out by Henry Blofeld. I love watching cricket and Blofeld’s autobiography was a Christmas present from my brother. I suspect he just wants to read it himself, but he’ll have to wait for me to finish it first.

Becky Clewarth – Senior Marketing Executive

Becky Clewarth

  • What is your favourite book of all time/the book that has had the biggest impact on you?

 The Reader by Bernhard Schlink. I couldn’t put this down, really thought-provoking and very moving and the story stayed with me long after I’d finished.

  • What are you reading right now?

 Don’t Look Now by Daphne du Maurier.  I love anything scary, and this is really eerie and chilling – a really original horror story.