James Naughtie explains why he’d give Scoop to a lover, confesses which books by another BBC luminary he does his best to avoid and finally reassures us, in case you were wondering, that he doesn’t fantasise about Lolita. He will be appearing at the Wimbledon Bookfest on 14th October to talk about his latest book, The New Elizabethans (published by Collins on 11th October, £25). He tweets @naughtiej
1). What are you reading at the moment?
2). As a child, what did you read under the covers?
Treasure Island, again and again
3). Has a book ever made you cry, and if so which one?
I remember getting weepy over Wuthering Heights, an age ago. P.G.Wodehouse makes me cry laughing.
4). You are about to be put into solitary confinement for a year and allowed to take three books. What would you choose?
I think I’d take Moby Dick, my battered old school copy of Palgrave’s Golden Treasury and The Code of the Woosters.
5). Which literary character would you most like to sleep with?
Certainly not Lolita. Maybe Rebecca.
6). If you could write a self-help book, what would you call it?
‘A Laugh a Day keeps the World at Bay’
7). Michael Gove has asked you to rewrite the GCSE English Literature syllabus. Which book, which play, and which poem would you make compulsory reading?
1984, Hamlet and Fern Hill would be a good mix, wouldn’t it?
8). Which party from literature would you most like to have attended?
Gatsby’s birthday party was probably a good night
9). What would you title your memoirs?
Where Was I?
10). Which literary character do you dream of playing?
George Smiley, one of the meek who does not inherit the earth
11). What book would you give to a lover?
Scoop, so that things didn’t get too serious
12). Spying Mein Kampf or Dan Brown on someone’s bookshelf can spell havoc for a friendship. What’s your literary dealbreaker?
Jeremy Clarkson’s autobiography, which seems to have run to about 20 volumes already.Tags: James Naughtie, Jeremy Clarkson, Shelf Life