Tuesday, 22 February 2011
My Life in Books
If there's one thing I love as much as I do reading it is discussing what I've been reading with other likeminded people. Hence the three book groups to which I belong, not to mention being part of the blogging world. So, a programme where two guests each brings along five of their favourite books to talk about has to be my idea of heaven. In fact you can tell how much I'm willing to put up with to listen to a book discussion if I say that two of the three people involved in the first of these programmes are among the broadcasters I would normally go furthest to avoid and yet I still watched it and still enjoyed it.
The format is very simple. Anne Robinson invites two readers to choose books that mark particular points in their lives and explain why they have been important to them. It could become extremely formulaic and lifeless and indeed after the first five minutes, especially when Robinson kept jumping in to try and move the proceedings along, I was worried that it wasn't going to work. However, the two guests, writer P D James and radio presenter, Richard Bacon, suddenly started to interact with each other, ignoring whatever time constraints there may have been, and the programme immediately took off. I hope by the time the second in the series airs this evening Robinson will have relaxed a little and learned to let the discussion flow more easily. I'm not certain, though, that she does relaxed and it might be necessary for the guests to take over every evening.
Whatever the faults it is just so nice to have a programme that takes reading as a lifelong obsession seriously and I hope that it will be such a success that the BBC will have to think about giving it a regular spot in the schedules rather than just a short term project. Maybe we should all write and demand a second series.