To be fair I was 15 when I was reading these über macho, high-octane thrillers but shame still stings my cheeks especially regarding the naughty Lord Archer. What was I thinking?
All of these authors have completely fallen off my reading radar and I suspect with the exception of Dick Francis and the perjuring Lord Archer of Weston- super- Mare most of these scribblers are largely unread today. Fiction is indeed a fickle mistress.
I do love bookish memoirs recounting formative reading experiences, I’m thinking particularly of Francis Spufford‘s The child that books built. Spufford re-read his favourite childhood books discovering “both delight and sadness”. In my case this diary has triggered both profound embarrassment and amazement that I had the audacity to study English at university! If these are the books that build the adult I am today I’d be a gun-toting, flares wearing, libidinous space-rogue. Life on Mars’s DCI Gene Hunt in a spacesuit.
If I could re-write the past I’d display a more accomplished and precocious reading list, maybe a little Proust, James Joyce or Dostoevsky.
Or maybe I just need to be satisfied that the thriller and science fiction schlock I read of yesteryear was nonetheless sufficient fodder to set me up on a longer, more accomplished reading journey.
To help ease my humiliation please feel free to share your most shameful formative reading experiences in this public forum!