'If a book can make me sob in public, the author must be doing something right!'

If a book can make me sob in public, the author must be doing something right!

Talking books with Natasha Hatherall-Shawe, Founder & Managing Director of TishTash PR & Marketing

Published: Fri 24 Aug 2018, 12:00 AM

Last updated: Fri 24 Aug 2018, 2:00 AM

What are you reading now?
My schedule is incredibly busy, so I'm notoriously bad at starting books, and take months to finish them - if I ever finish them! That said, I always seem to have three on my bedside table and dip in and out of them as I feel like. Currently, I'm reading Inside Vogue by Alexandra Shulman, the diary of Vogue's 100th year (what better read for a PR girl, right?). There's also When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi, the true story of a 36-year-old neurosurgeon who was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer. It details his journey from medical student to talented doctor to patient - and offers a heartbreaking, but powerful, view on life. It's not a long book either, which is good for the time-poor like myself. Finally, there's Nut Shell by Ian McEwan. I've read every book by McEwan after being blown away by Atonement. This one is a dark comedy, so it's a little different from his other works. It's also another short read. Can you see the trend here? I tend to avoid books over 250 pages now due to time!
A life-changing book?
The Five Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts by Gary Chapman. When you realise that we all give and experience love in different ways - and that just because something feels like love for you doesn't mean it feels that way for your loved ones, it becomes a very powerful tool. I worked out the love languages of my husband and other key people in my life and it significantly changed my relationships. For example, I now know that my husband feels love by quality time from me and acts of service, which makes him much happier than if I were to give him a gift, which is my own primary way of feeling and experiencing love.
Most underrated book?
Maggie O'Farrell's After You'd Gone left me sobbing on a commuter train in London. It's the story of a girl in a coma, with the novel focusing on the different people in her life as she lies there. The novel received mixed reviews, but it started my near 20-year love for O'Farrell; her storytelling is always superb. This is a truly haunting book and, if a book can make me sob in public, then the author must be doing something right.
Favourite literary character?
I'm a big fan of classic literature, as I studied it in great detail up until university. I've always had a great fondness for Estella Havisham from Great Expectations. On the surface of it, you don't want to like her, as she is the source of such pain for the lead character Pip, and the destruction she causes is significant overall - but she's so damaged by her upbringing that she doesn't know otherwise. She's a strong female character in a time when there weren't many; she's beautiful and knows her mind, but is also shallow and cruel. I am fascinated by her complexity and find the love story between her and Pip to be one of my favourites in literature.
A book quote that really stood out.
"It is a truth universally acknowledged that when one part of your life starts going okay, another falls spectacularly to pieces." - Bridget Jones' Diary. Without being overly 'glass half empty', this really does seem to be the case!

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