A website I like called The Reading Lists interviewed me recently. I thought I would share it here…
When someone asks you ‘what do you do for a living?’ – How do you respond?
It depends! Normally I don’t like talking about my adventures so I often say I am a teacher. But otherwise I would say “I’m an adventurer and an author.”
What are you reading at the moment?
I am currently reading Caught Inside by Daniel Duane.
What’s your earliest memory of reading?
Sitting as a kid on the floor of my bedroom, my back against the warm radiator, devouring Willard Price books.
If you could encourage young people to read one book in particular, what would it be?
That’s so hard as people are all chasing different things. I’d encourage people to read the autobiography of their hero whoever that may be. If that is too lame an answer, I’ll recommend Living Dangerously by Ranulph Fiennes, purely because that stoked MY fires when I was young.
What is the worst job you’ve ever had?
Wearing a sandwich board and standing on the high street all summer advertising Ye Olde Mill Shop.
Do you read as much as you’d like to?
Yes. I read loads.
What books do you feel are important reading for people on your career path?
I don’t really think I have a ‘career path’ in my life! However, assuming my career is either Adventurer, Author, or Small Business owner. I’ve listed some of the books that have helped me here and here.
Is there a book that you’ve read more than once? What is it and why did you revisit it?
There are so many books I have read more than once. In fact, if I haven’t read a book more than once it probably won’t make it onto any list of recommendations. Normally I re-read a book because I am looking for inspiration to do something.
What book have you recommended the most to friends and family?
Probably As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning by Laurie Lee. It’s my favourite travel book.
What’s your favourite genre of book?
I’ve read so many travel books and for many years that was my favourite. Perhaps I’ve over-indulged, as these days I tend to read more general biographies of interesting, impressive people. I also read too many self-help style books when I’d be better off just ‘doing’ rather than ‘theorising’ about life!
What do you think a world without books would be like?
Books give people ideas, insights, different perspectives, and hopes. If we all had fewer of those the world would be a duller, less inspired, less understanding place. Books are also fun, calming, and escapism-esque (not a word, I know!). Without books we would be even more stressed and self-obsessed.
Is there an author whose writing you’re such a fan of, that you’ll read everything they release?
No. I’m much more of a dabbler.
Do you think digital books will ever completely replace real books?
Every book form in history has evolved to something new. That suggests that at some point they will. But I suspect not for a few decades.
What book do you feel humanity needs right now?
One of my resolutions for 2017 is not to rant to similar-minded people about the state of the world. So I’ll steer clear of politics and suggest we need a book about slowing down, turning off our phones, getting more exercise, and being less self-absorbed.
What is the book that you feel has had the single biggest impact on your life?
Living Dangerously by Ranulph Fiennes made me start to think it might be possible to make a career from what I loved, adventure. Tribes by Seth Godinhelped me turn that vague daydream into a reality. East of Eden by John Steinbeck and For Whom The Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway set my personal high water mark on powerful storytelling.
Are there any books you haven’t mentioned that you feel would make your reading list?
The Streets by Mike Skinner (if you like his music). Bill Bryson really makes me laugh. So too Scoop by Evelyn Waugh and Lucky Jim by Kingsley Amis. I read The Quiet Soldier by Adam Ballinger a dozen times a decade ago. Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life by William Finnegan will make you want to surf the world. Riddley Walker by Russell Hoban I found fascinating, for its style and its perspective.
What books or subject matter do you plan on reading in the next year?
I want to read more broadly. More fiction, more poetry, more of the classics.
If you were to write an autobiography – what would it be called?
All the books I write are autobiographical! I wish I had the imagination to write about something else…