Presenting our third Reading Ambassador in the spirit of the National Year of Reading 2012 – Alan Ng.
What are you reading at the moment?
I’m reading A Call To Arms by Allan Mallinson. It’s the 4th book in his Matthew Hervey series. There are 11 in the series, it’s historical fiction based in the early 19th Century. It’s about an English cavalry officer’s adventures starting at Waterloo then going to places like India. It’s clear he’s researched the period thoroughly to get the voice of the times to be authentic.
[Allan Mallinson had a 35 year career in the British Army, rising to the rank of Brigadier & serving in numerous countries before retiring]
What’s your first reading memory?
The most vivid memory is that of reading a picture book that was about a traveller who came into a peasant’s house one day & the traveller taught the peasant to make chicken soup. It was very dramatic & the colours were very bold, & the twist in the end was that the traveller used a stone, used a tiny stone as a final piece & it was really interesting. I can remember most of the pictures in it, but I don’t remember the title. I remember that the peasant had to grab vegetables & a whole chicken & then finally the traveller plonked the stone in the pot.
Where’s the most unusual place that you’ve read a book?
Sitting in an airbus A320 at 2 o’clock in the morning on the way to Thailand for a holiday – a reunion with relatives. The book was Doctor Faustus by Thomas Mann. It was very difficult to read the words, it was really, really packed & I’ve got to admit it was really hard to read. But I finished the book – it was confusing but consuming.
Which book / character has made a lasting impression upon you?
One of the characters that I remember most vividly at times is Darnay – Charles Darnay – from A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens. It was dramatic, it was great – it was tragic to see him come & go at the hands of his relatives. Also his counterpart, Sydney Carton – it was an amazing sacrifice he made. I thought ‘what a man to sacrifice himself’ & the last bit, the very last bit – the expiation – was one of the finest pieces of prophetic writing:
“It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever
done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to than I
Thanks to Denise for the interview and the photo.