Nov 7 2005
By The Huddersfield Daily Examiner
THE fight is on to get more of us back into the habit of reading books.
The RaW campaign across the UK is the biggest adult literacy campaign ever launched by the BBC and is aimed at adults who may have had a bad experience at school, who are running busy lives and who need motivating to get back into books.
It's backed by celebrities like Natasha Kaplinsky, Linford Christie, Andy Kane and comedian Gina Yashere. And with help from David Spinx (Keith Miller from EastEnders).
Kirklees libraries, who have signed up for the campaign, got the bright idea of finding out what books some local personalities liked to read and why.
Marketing Officer, Tanya Horan said: "By passing on their recommendations we hope to encourage people back into reading again."
Here is what they found.
Joanne Harris, writer of Chocolat and many other popular titles, is the most high profile author living in the area.
Joanne recalled her grandfather reading Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book and says this was the first book which really engaged her imagination of travelling to other times and places. Later in life she read Mervyn Peake's Gormenghast trilogy and remains entranced by the richness and intensity of the language.
Denis Kilcommons, as well as being a highly popular Examiner columnist is a published author himself, with several books to his credit.
He remembers reading Arthur Ramsome's Swallows And Amazons as a child. Having read all the other books in the series he consequently fell in love by proxy with the Lake District, where the books are set.
These days he looks forward to reading the latest Bernard Cornwell book, the author who created Richard Sharpe, the hero played by Sean Bean on television.
Denis says he would recommend anyone to start with the first book in the series, Sharpe's Tiger, and then work their way through the remaining 19 novels!
Kali Mountford MP says she is an avid reader and could not narrow her choice down to just one or two books.
The Colne Valley MP says she was inspired by her primary school teacher Mrs Eaton who said that once a person can read a whole world of opportunities opens up to them.
Kali says she has not stopped reading since! Her particular favourites include: Great Expectations by Charles Dickens, Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie, Ireland by Frank Delaney and Sophie's World by Jostein Gaarder.
Mike Wood MP shares the same favourite choice of book with Great Expectations.
Mike, who represents Batley and Spen, says he has recently reread and found to be a much better story than he remembered.
He found it to be much darker and interesting than some of the television adaptations and would recommend it to anybody wanting a thoroughly good read.
The Rev Catherine Ogle,Vicar of Huddersfield, admitted to being a voracious reader of novels and found it hard to choose one book, but in recent years Life Of Pi by Yann Martel stood out as a firm favourite.
She says: "The story of a boy in a boat with a tiger sounds like a fable but the writer tells the story with a realism that had me gripped with anxiety. The sweetness of the boy's nature only added to my longing to see him survive.
"The book takes a refreshingly positive approach to religion and the hero delights in the life and beauty of different faiths. On one level this is an adventure story about a battle of wits, but there are other levels to this profound novel and in the end a great question: `Which story is true?' "
Andy Booth, Huddersfield Town player and Kirklees Libraries' reading champion, dropped into Huddersfield library earlier this year and took a look at the range of sporting books available.
He is a big cricket fan (he's a former player with Hall Bower in the Huddersfield District League and the club's current president and chairman) and Ian Botham is one of his heroes. So Botham's book Botham's Century: My 100 Great Cricketing Characters particularly caught his eye. Other favourites included Lance Armstrong's It's Not About The Bike and The Boss: The Many Sides Of Alex Ferguson by Michael Crick.
Kimiyo Rickett, head of culture & leisure services gets the final word, with the recommendation Song Of Solomon by Toni Morrison.
By providing a new collection of RaW books aimed at this target audience, along with online advice, reading and writing groups, taster sessions, quizzes and other activities, all linked in with the BBC's national campaign, libraries across the country will be joining forces to get people back into the pleasure of reading.