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WORLD BOOK DAY: What stories inspire you? Here The Standard’s resident bookworms share their inspirations

It's World Book Day!

It's World Book Day!

 

There’s no better time to get your nose in a book than on World Book Day. No matter whether you own more tomes than Boston Library or think a novel is a kind of original idea, there’s no excuse not to thumb your way through some pages today. But are you stuck for inspiration? Below, the Boston Standard’s newsteam have each picked out a book which inspires them. But we also want to hear what you, our readers, think their favourite story is. Why not email your suggestions to duncan.browne@jpress.co.uk and we’ll publish them online later on today...

GIVE ME TEN SECONDS by John Sergeant

Stephen Stray - Editor

“I’ve opted for an autobiography...and an obvious one at that. I have always respected John Sergeant as a journalist and broadcaster, not so much as a dancer, and he was one of those who inspired me to take up the profession. Reading his autobiography at a time when I was completing my training, it was interesting to see how he started out in the world of newspapers before working his way to become the BBC’s political correspondent. I also felt able to relate even more to what I was reading, and was to some degree following in his footsteps, given we had both completed like-for-like courses at Darlington...I don’t plan to follow him on to the Strictly dance floor! The autobiography was inspiring and insightful. His version of the ‘she’s behind’ you moment while waiting for Margaret Thatcher to emerge from the British Embassy was also a highlight. This book is a must for all would-be journalists out there.”

IN DEFENCE OF HISTORY by Richard J. Evans

Andrew Brookes - Deputy Editor

“Ok so it may sound a bit sad but this book was a genuine inspiration to me. I’ve often thought it is odd to start off a history degree with the question ‘can we ever study history?’ since if the answer is ‘no’ then I’d signed up for three years of pointless study. Still, as we looked into why and how people study history this offered a fantastic rebuttal of some of the post-modern theories (essentially - although probably too simplistically - that no-one can produce an ‘objective’ account of history) serving both as a justification of why the study of history is important and how historians can and should work to give the best possible account of the past. It’s not written in a dull or incoherent way - managing to be intellectual, informative and interesting. I put this book down feeling inspired for the rest of my degree and, although it may sound cheesy, I’ve tried to carry the lessons into my working life. It also helped me win a debate in a seminar - so double thanks are due to Professor Evans.”

NEITHER HERE, NOR THERE by Bill Bryson

Duncan Browne - Sports Editor

“So, as a sports editor my favourite book has to be the biography of some playboy Formula One ace, a womanising footballer or a beer sodden rugby legend, yeah? Well, sorry to disappoint you. Although I do enjoy a good yarn about someone who lives their life as fast as they play their games, sport remains my work. And when my time is my own, especially when I’m far away on a sun lounger, I do need other stimulants in my life. I spent my teens enthralled by the American classics (The Catcher In The Rye by JD Salinger, The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald and Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck spring instantly to mind) but these days I just want to get away, quite literally. And that’s where travel books come in. No author makes me publically and embarrassingly snort with laughter in the way Bill Bryson does. He is the master of witty observations, the king of ridiculous anecdotes and, at times, an accidental philosopher. Neither Here, Nor There is his account or a random, formless ramble around Europe - from the bleak north of Norway to the beaches of Capri and the hustle and bustle of Istanbul, with plenty in between. His genius lies in the way his descriptions makes the reader feel they are actually in an exotic location with him, while his observations often make you glad you still have those home comforts. Bryson is a tight-fisted, grumpy, slightly unhinged journalist with a constant fear that things aren’t what they used to be. I don’t know how I can even begin to relate.”

FINGERPRINTS OF THE GODS by Graham Hancock

Gemma Gadd - Reporter

“I read this as a teenager - and was instantly gripped. The book essentially proposes that civilisation is much, much older than we are led to believe. Piecing together ground-breaking evidence from across the globe, from the pyramids of Giza in Egypt and South America, to ancient maps of Antarctica and astounding astrological alignments - it is truly compelling. A few renegade scientists add weight to the theory - particularly notable is geologist Robert Schoch who identified deep gullies on the back of the Sphinx which he concludes could only have been created by thousands of years of heavy precipitation. But the last time the Sahara desert had enough rain to do this was thousands of years before Egyptian civilisation is said to have begun. It was published in 1996 and the central theory is stronger than ever today, with more and more scientific evidence emerging to suggest some of the ancient history books should be re-written. With nearly 600 pages, it’s a real wedge of a book too - which is testament to the sheer volume of evidence and research Hancock has compiled.”

WIZARD’S FIRST RULE by Terry Goodkind

Daniel Jaines - Senior Reporter

“There have been several books which have hit home to me as I’ve grown up; Timbuktu by Paul Auster and Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess to name a couple. However, since World Book Day is often aimed at the younger folk, I’ll look at a book which I enjoyed as a secondary school pupil - Wizard’s First Rule, by Terry Goodkind. The book is the first in a fantasy series by the author which tells the tale of Richard Cypher, whose decision to help a woman in the Upper Ven near the Boundary between the Midlands and Westland creates more trouble than first appears. The story itself is compelling and the history and description of the setting - introduced as three lands, split by their philosophy on magic (those who use it, those who avoid it and those stuck in the middle) is both brilliant and intriguing. One thing which has always stuck out to me is one of the key philosophyies of the rules of wizardry in the book... the Wizard’s First Rule told to Richard by his mentor Zed - people are stupid. This sounds like a rather brazen way of viewing people at first, and you could be forgiven for being insulted or suspicious of why a journalist would like that line, but when you read the explanation you find it’s more of a warning and here’s why: Zed says: “People are stupid; given proper motivation, almost anyone will believe almost anything. Because people are stupid, they will believe a lie because they want to believe it’s true, or because they are afraid it might be true. People’s heads are full of knowledge, facts, and beliefs, and most of it is false, yet they think it all true. People are stupid; they can only rarely tell the difference between a lie and the truth, and yet they are confident they can, and so are all the easier to fool.” It’s that which has stayed with me since I first read the book in a library in secondary school, and one which makes it my favourite book.”

 

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