Chris Honer - A life in books

Chris Honer has been the Artistic Director of the Library Theatre Company in<br/>Manchester since 1987.

Chris Honer has been the Artistic Director of the Library Theatre Company in Manchester since 1987. The company are currently performing at The Lowry in Salford and preparing a series of site-specific productions, the first of which will be a new adaptation of Charles Dickens’ Hard Times, which will take place in a mill in Ancoats in June 2011.

What are you reading at the moment?

Falling Leaves by Adeline Yah Meh, the autobiographical story of her growing up in China with one of the scariest and most ruthless stepmothers since Cinderella’s. Thank goodness she seems eventually to get some love from her dad.

Also reading U.S.A. by John Dos Passos. This is a monster novel which follows the lives of several Americans from the 1900s to the start of the Great Depression. Excellent storytelling and a wonderful picture ofAmerican society at that time.

What book are you looking forward to starting?

Claire Tomalin’s biography of Jane Austen. I bought it when I visited Austen’s house at Chawton recently and Tomalin is such an intelligent writer. I loved her book on Charles Dickens’s mistress, The Invisible Woman.

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What was the first book that got you hooked on reading?

The first book I remember reading was Thomas the Tank Engine butI think I really liked the pictures rather than the words.

So it’s Treasure Island. The opening at the Admiral Benbow Inn with Blind Pew, etc. is so scary. I just devoured it.

Do you have a favourite beach read?

I’m not often to be found on a beach but on holidays I always take some good thrillers. Ian Rankin (Rebus), Henning Mankell (Wallander), and John Harvey (Resnick) are my favourite thrillers and detectives.

Who is your all time favourite author or book?

War and Peace by Tolstoy. It’s got everything - love, betrayal, familystrife, dissipation, duels, politics and, of course, war and peace. And told with the narrative drive of the very best soap opera.

Is there a book that changed your life?

I’m not sure that books can do that, but Stanislavsky’s classic works on acting certainly changed the way I work as a director.

The book you least like?

If I don’t like something I won’t get very far with it.

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