Occupation: Tourist/Former recruitment consultant
Neighborhood: London, England
Where Interviewed: Outside the San Diego Natural History Museum
What book are you currently reading? What page are you on?
"Three to Get Deadly by Janet Evanovich -- it's a series, and this is the third in the series. I'm on 308."
Tell me about the book.
"The series has been about the main character, called Stephanie Plum, and she's a bounty hunter. So she basically works for her cousin, and what happens is, they bail out people who are arrested for whatever reason. And if they skip out on the bail, she has to go and find them and then collect a percentage of the fee. So, each one of the books is that someone has gone missing, and she's got to try and find them. This one is about a candy-store owner who's wanted for carrying a concealed weapon and speeding. The plot is that he's linked to the murders of drug dealers in the local area. And she's trying to figure out how he's connected to the murders, why he's involved, and obviously bringing him back so she can get the money."
What do you make of it?
"The first thing I picked up when I left to go traveling was the last one in this series, and I hadn't realized it was a series. So I've read the 12th one, and the 11th one, and then the first and second and then this one. They're really good, and I'm staying with a Swedish girl and she reads them as well. Another Stephanie Plum fan!"
Any favorite characters?
"Stephanie's such a funny character. The first book is her beginning as a bounty hunter, and she's making rubbish. And she's quite accident-prone, kind of like your everyday kind of hero. Very likable, very funny. Great characters. In this one she's got two romantic leads, and it's, like, who's your favorite? And you're sitting there going, who's she going to end up with? It's very funny. There's also her crazy grandmother, who's a fan of guns. In every book, whenever there's a funeral or a viewing for someone, the grandmother's attempting to open up the casket if it's closed. She's completely over the top and crazy. Really such humorous characters. But Stephanie's definitely my favorite."
Any favorite passages?
"There's two scenes in here where she meets up with her ex-husband, who's a slimy lawyer. And in the first occasion she takes along with her an ex-hooker, who's kind of her crime-fighting buddy. The scene is basically Stephanie and her ex squaring off and trading insults. And it's really funny -- she's great with insults. That single scene is brilliant."
What book was most life-changing for you?
"My favorite one -- one that I'd always go back to read -- is After You'd Gone, by Maggie O'Farrell. You're not quite sure what it is to begin with because the main character steps out into a road and gets hit by a bus. And you think she's tried to commit suicide but you're not quite sure what's happened. She's in a coma, and the book is her memory, going back over what's happened over the past two years. And it crosses over not just her life, but her mother's, her grandmother's, and you find out that she got married and her husband was killed by an IRA bombing. And it's so well written and so moving."
Who are your favorite authors?
"Maggie O'Farrell is one now. And Magnus Mills. He's a British author. The Restraint of Beasts was his first novel; he used to be a bus driver. It's the funniest thing -- it's about these itinerant workers that go out and fix fences. And it seems like it's about nothing. If you read it at face value, you go, Why am I reading a book about guys that fix fences? But there's a seedy, almost murderous undercurrent. Kind of like people that accidentally keep murdering people, but it's written in such a way, like it had to be an accident -- he didn't really mean to hit the guy over the head with a hammer. He's brilliant at writing things like that."
What magazines or newspapers do you read?
"I've been trying to read them while I've been over here, but mostly at home. I read the Times daily. And I prefer weekend newspapers, so I read The Observer and The Independent. I readGlamour and In Style magazines religiously; and, occasionally, trashy tabloid magazines."
Do you talk to your friends about reading?
"Yes. A lot of my close friends are big readers as well, and we trade and read, make recommendations, that kind of thing. Any other books we've read recently. And we'll buy each other books for birthday presents, Christmas."