Clare Zinkin is a book blogger, a writer, an editor and a children’s reading consultant..
She was kind enough to answer a few of our questions.
1 – Which books did you most enjoy as a child?
I can think of a few seminal books that influenced me as a child. The first would have to be The Magic Finger by Roald Dahl. I was quite a quiet child, but I sympathised greatly with the anger of the protagonist. She possesses the ability to change things with her magic finger – which is triggered by her anger. I really wanted to have that magic power to change the world. As I got older, I realised that I didn’t have a magic power, but I could use my anger and transform it into action – I have done this by things like campaigning for road safety and playground facilities in my local area.
I also loved Winnie the Pooh stories by AA Milne. This is because I remember it being read aloud to me by my father, who would do wonderfully diverse voices for all the different voices. This made books come alive for me and showed me their power. The third book that massively influenced me was Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. It showed me how novels can conjure such defined rounded characters – how a book could make you cry – and take you into an entirely different time and place.
2 – Which books have had the greatest impact on you life? In what ways?
That is such a difficult question! To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, which showed me how to tell a great story and give social commentary at the same time. The Great Gatsby, which taught me that you can’t always trust the person telling the story, but perhaps most influential was Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng, which finally motivated me to finish writing my own novel.
3 – How many books do you read every year?
I couldn’t possible count. In an average week I probably read one adult book, two children’s novels, and a few picture books. Sometimes though I read an entire novel in a day.
4 – Where do you do most of your reading?
I read everywhere. I always carry a book, and have been known to read whilst walking down the street. Other favourite places – at my desk, on a train, during breakfast, in bed, and lying on the sofa.