'I believe the books we read as teens stay imprinted in our minds'

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I believe the books we read as teens stay imprinted in our minds

Isobel Abulhoul, OBE, CEO and Trustee of the Emirates Literature Foundation and Director of the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature on discovering new worlds, between the pages

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Published: Thu 15 Feb 2018, 11:00 PM

Last updated: Fri 16 Feb 2018, 1:00 AM

What book(s) are you reading now?
I am reading When to Jump: If the Job You Have Isn't the Life You Want by Mike Lewis, Eat Happy by Melissa Hemsley and The Fall of the Ottomans: The Great War in the Middle East by Eugene Rogan. As you would expect, I am focused on books by authors who will be here next month for the 2018 Emirates Airline Festival of Literature, our 10th anniversary.
The books that changed your life?
Arabian Sands by Wilfred Thesiger, For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway, 1984 by George Orwell, King Lear by William Shakespeare and The Idiot by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, as well as the first book I read by myself The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett.

A memorable literary character?
King Lear begins as a majestic figure with his kingdom secure and people obeying his every command. His terrible journey through the play teaches him the truth; he is left with nothing, and he does redeem himself at the very end - although, tragically, too late.
What sort of non-fiction do you read?
I enjoy travel books that are more about the people than anything else. Some examples are: Notes From A Small Island: Journey Through Britain by Bill Bryson, Round Ireland With A Fridge by Tony Hawks and Eastern Horizons: Hitchhiking the Silk Road by Levison Wood. The last two writers will be at the Emirates Lit Fest talking about their travels - without any fridges in sight!
Which books do you enjoy revisiting?
For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway: I always find something new with each reading. I first read it when I was 17 years old, and it is my belief that books we read as teenagers stay imprinted deep in our minds. Great writers create unforgettable characters that seem to contain the soul of the writer. The Good Earth by Pearl Buck and The Idiot by Fyodor Dostoyevsky are two novels that I also love dearly and return to read when I need a truly inspirational book.

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