I have begun keeping a list of authors on my phone for those days in the library when you have no time and yet don’t want to leave without something decent. There are some names I will never need to write down; Elizabeth Strout, Jane Harpur, Jane Smiley, Stephen King, Wally Lamb, Kate Atkinson, Nicholas Butler, John Irving, Denis Lehaine, Ian McEwan and Richard Russo to name just a few; but the ones on my list are new and exciting and I don’t want to forget them just because the well-established writers hit with such a wallop. All authors need time to grow but sometimes it’s us that move on. I still love a good Stephen King because I know the story will be satisfying but now I miss the passion and fear which when I think about it, were possibly both supplied by a much younger me. I remember reading ‘Cujo’ and literally turning each page in tiny increments – God knows why, I knew the dog was not real, but it felt real. Wilbur Smith did that to me in ‘A Sparrow Falls’ when I was a newly-wed. I recall walking out to my car to go to work, still reading the book because it was about love and loss and I was only beginning to discover the depths of those. I think that’s why we read. To get some of the emotion that an extraordinary author can put on the page. I also think we are drawn to the stories of our lives. I acknowledge that if I read those books again I may not feel the same way because I have moved on. Yet every summer as a child, I re-read Little Women, (alongside a bit of Tennyson and would you believe, Neville Shute and Tolstoy), because every summer I saw something different in the March girls. As I grew, they grew and I can understand their legacy even if the story now appears mawkish. The one thing I do know is that my list will never be someone else’s list. We may agree on Elizabeth but hate Kate. It’s all a matter of perception and that’s why there are so many books in the libraries and the stores and as an author it needs to be the thing I hang on to when I hear “no thanks, not for us.” Fingers crossed, I’m about to dive back into that world.