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Booked!

PUBLISHED: 10:52 09 March 2011

A footballer, a council leader and a newsreader all share a passion for reading. They talked to ROWAN MANTELL about books in the bath, books in bed and books in a Norwich City kitbag.

Everyone knows that Norwich City’s Russell Martin is an expert at reading the game of opposing players. Not so many football fans know he is also a big reader of books.

The 25-year-old Canary star reads every day and has almost always got a book tucked into his kit bag.

How often do you read for pleasure?

I try and read for around an hour day, just before I go to bed.

Fiction, non-fiction or both?

Both.

And what genres do you particularly enjoy?

A bit of everything really, although I have read my fair share of autobiographies. I like to read motivational books too and really enjoyed The Buddha, Geoff and Me (by Eddy Canfor-Dumas) recently.

Where do you read?

I read in bed. I take my book on the coach too but I never get the chance to read – there’s too much going on. Some of the others might be closet readers too, because there usually tend to be a couple of books left on the team coach.

What do you enjoy about reading?

For me reading is a chance to relax, to be taken away to new places and to learn something new.

Do you have a favourite book or books or author?

Two of my favourite books are The Damned United (by David Peace,) and Fever Pitch (by Nick Hornby.)

What was your favourite book as a child?

I don’t remember having a favourite. I’ve actually read more since I left school, because at school I used to be out playing football and other sports all the time.

What is the best book you’ve read recently?

Nelson Mandela’s Long Walk to Freedom. What a great story he’s got to tell

Are you a print and paper or an e-reader or an audio-book person?

Proper books, I’m not very good with all that technological stuff.

What are people who never read for pleasure missing out on?

You can easily get stuck watching rubbish television and an hour later think, ‘Why have I just been wasting my time on that?’ You don’t regret a relaxing hour spent reading.

Do you read aloud to other people?

When I was at school I was a reading mentor. It meant taking the younger kids to the library for an hour and help-ing them with their reading.

If there is one book which might get a non-reader hooked, what would it be?

There are a few of us in the team who enjoy reading sporting autobiographies. A couple of the lads have read Fever Pitch. It’s a great book.

They say everyone has a book in them - do you?

Probably not. My oldest brother is an actor. He reads a lot of books and recommends things to me. He also writes plays so that might be the nearest I’d get to writing.

<case study two>

Anglia’s Becky Jago reads a lot more than the news bulletins. The television presenter and mum of four-year-old twins finds time to read fiction, non-fiction and even teen fiction.

How often do you read for pleasure?

I would read everyday if I had time, but I guess it’s usually three or four times a week (excluding the bedtime read to my children.)

Fiction, non-fiction or both?

I like a good mix. I’m one of those people who have about four books on the go at the same time. At the moment I’m a quarter of the way through Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers, a third of the way through Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert (both fiction,) and half way through Dreams From My Father by Barack Obama (non-fiction.) I also get a huge amount of pleasure reading my boys’ encyclopaedia - it’s amazing what you can learn from children’s books!

And what genres do you particularly enjoy?

I’m not fussy. I just like to feel that I’ve learnt something at the end of the book, or been changed in some way.

Where do you read?

I read in the bath (being careful if it’s a library book!) but mostly I see it as a treat before bed and snuggle up for half an hour before falling asleep.

How do you find time to read?

When the children are in bed and the house is tidy, it’s my time! I’ve got a holiday coming up too – perfect reading time…

What do you enjoy about reading?

I’m a big day dreamer. Reading for me is just another way to transport myself into someone else’s world for a little while.

Do you have a favourite book or books or author?

No. I rarely read a book twice. One exception; Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden. I spent some time in Japan and this book takes me back there. The film didn’t do it justice… they never do, do they?!

What was your favourite book as a child?

As a child, I was an avid reader. At night I would read by torchlight under my covers… until my parents confiscated the torch! No one favourite book, but I was a bit of a tomboy and loved anything by Enid Blyton.

What is the best book you’ve read recently?

I’m ashamed to say that Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight books had me totally gripped. My world stopped for a few weeks as I worked my way through them all. I KNOW – they’re books for teenagers… but, in my defence, most of the women in my office at Anglia were hooked too!

Are you a print and paper or an e-reader or an audio-book person?

Well, my husband gave me an ipad for Christmas and one of the first things I did was download a few books. Great fun, and very useful, but I doubt it will ever replace the way it feels to work your way through a paper book.

What are people who never read for pleasure missing out on?

Apart from it being a fantastic way to learn, it’s such an easy way to chill out. Turn off the computer and the TV, take off the day’s makeup, put on my comfy PJ’s and… ahhhhh…

Do you read aloud to other people?

Well, I guess you have to enjoy reading to be a newsreader! In the studio it can be quite daunting thinking about the hundreds of thousands watching at home. Mostly I imagine reading to just a few people.

I read to my four-year-old boys a lot. They have always loved books and will happily sit for over an hour reading or being read to. I love trying to do all the different voices of the characters in the book. They are doing the same now and it makes me smile so much!

If there is one book which might get a non-reader hooked, what would it be?

That is an impossible question. Everyone is different. Something I love would perhaps not interest another reader.

They say everyone has a book in them - do you?

I’m not sure my life has been exciting enough for an autobiography… I wouldn’t have the patience to write a work of fiction. If I was to write a book (and it’s not on my list of ‘things to do in the near future,’) I would write down my recipes for my skin creams I make at home – all lovely natural, organic ingredients. I get almost as much pleasure making my lotions and potions, as I do reading.

Derrick Murphy is leader of Norfolk County Council and not only reads books, but writes them too. His career has ranged from rugby club manager to jobs as a history examiner, college administrator and teacher. His taste in books is eclectic too, and takes in poetry, economics and a Russian Nobel-winning novelist.

How often do you read for pleasure?

Almost everyday in the evening and at weekends.

Fiction, non-fiction or both?

Both. I enjoy novels by F Scott Fitzgerald, John Dos Passos and Mikhail Sholokov and poetry by Philip Larking and Seamus Heaney. I also enjoy many politics and history books, particularly US history and politics, and British and European history and politics.

And what genres do you particularly enjoy?

Novels and short stories, in particular James Joyce.

Where do you read?

In bed, and in my library at home.

What do you enjoy about reading?

The joy of reading good English. Gaining greater knowledge and understanding.

Do you have a favourite book or books or author?

History: Alan Bullock, Fritz Fischer, Arthur Schlesinger.

What was your favourite book as a child?

Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame

What is the best book you’ve read recently?

John Adams by David McCullough

Are you a print and paper or an e-reader or an audio-book person?

Print and paper.

What are people who never read for pleasure missing out on?

The joy of reading good quality English and the ability of authors to tell a story effectively and with insight are joys everyone should experience.

Do you read aloud to other people?

Yes, I have read to both children and adults.

If there is one book which might get a non-reader hooked, what would it be?

Animal Farm by George Orwell. It can be read and understood at different levels.

They say everyone has a book in them - do you?

I am an author. I have written and edited 77 history books for the 14-20 age group, mainly. I have also written a book on economics.

<panel>

The 12 books on the Norfolk Libraries list to get busy people reading.

Agent Zigzag by Ben Macintyre.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon.

Fingersmith by Sarah Waters.

Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.

Killing Floor by Lee Child.

Northern Lights by Philip Pullman.

One Day by David Nicholls.

The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark.

The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid.

The Spy Who Came in from the Cold by John le Carre.

Toast by Nigel Slater.

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