Tonight’s episode promises to be very interesting or completely traumatising with JByrne taking the stage without her trusty sidekicks. The episode features Marlon James, Kate Tempest, Paula Hawkins, and Vivian Gornick, and they will be revealing the books that changed their lives. I’m nervous, hold me.
But before we kick off I’d like to jot down my predictions on the books that will be chosen and see how I go.
Marlon James – Voyage in Darkness by Jean Rhys
Kate Tempest – I had guessed Canterbury Tales by Chaucer until it was revealed that it was a book that DTrump loves, so I’m changing to The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli.
Paula Hawkins – Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger.
Vivian Gornick – The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath.
Let’s see how I go. Also, full disclosure, I’m dyslexic so this could get weird.
And the show begins. JByrne annouces that there are four exciting authors. She’s right. They’re all brilliant but none of them are looking all that excited.
Okay, Marlon James is the first cab off the rank for books that changed my life… he throws a curveball, he goes for a comic series instead. What? Too soon. You can’t curve on the first one.
He has gone with The Uncanny X-Men. I can hear a thud nextdoor. I assume it’s the little old lady who lives there flipping her table in rage at this sneaky choice. Props, I’m a geek, let’s do lunch and compare collections, but I think you might have killed my neighbour. I liked her.
X-Men inspired Marlon to write the fantastical and the extremes in the human condition. The brave to the cowardly. Good to evil.
JByrne tells of her surprise that X-Men is quite literary. Geeks of the world groan because intertextuality is huge in comics.
Next we go onto Kate Tempest who goes with William Blake. I love Blake. A poet who writes of simplicity and excess with equal deftness. I am surprised that Trump enjoys Blake. JByrne reveals he has quotes up in his Trump Towers. Kate suggests Trump should perhaps read more Blake. She is of course right. Blake links well with the intertextuality mentioned with X-Men because he speaks of acknowledging your inspirations and what came before you.
JByrne suggests that timing is everything when it comes to reading a book that changes your life. The panelists agree. You need the book with the right message at the right time. Some books you might miss the brilliance of because you are too young or too old… JByrne is possibly still upset over Wuthering Heights. Read about last weeks episode here. It got heated and hilarious. VirginiaGay and Marieke Hardy were so good.
Vivian Gornick goes with Son’s and Lovers. She came from a rough background and this resonated with her. JByrne also had an intense reaction to this book. She didn’t want to become like the wicked mother. Vivian speaks about how each time she reads it that she relates to a different character. She can relate to it through multiple stages of her life which makes it such a great book.
And Jesus, I’m tired. It’s past my bedtime. I’m 36 which makes me your fourth youngest viewer and I’m dying in the arse. But my fanatical love of the show urges me to persist. Okay, focus.
Paula Hawkins has chosen Notes on a Scandal. She loves the narrator. An incredibly lonely, bitter, unreliable narrator. Marlon James raised his hand as feeling personally victimised by the unreliable narrator. She was a bitch.
So in summary, I am rubbish at guessing things and the episode was fantastic. Books that speak of the duality of life and the human spirit tend to resonate with readers, even readers who also happen to be brilliant authors.
P.S. BLaw is on next week!!!!
Catch up on past episodes on ABC iView.