Her latest books include the second edition of Inside Notting Hill, co-authored with Miranda Davies, and Halfway to Venus: A One-Armed Journey, her memoir and story of living with one arm.
I recently asked her what she was reading. Her reply:
I always try to have at least two books on the go – one fiction and one non-fiction. I have just finished the biography of John Clare by Jonathan Bate. I knew little about this peasant-poet, who having for a time been the toast of literary London, returned to his roots and eventually incarceration in a mental asylum. The book is gripping and I am now longing to read his poetry – some of which wasn’t published until well into the 20th century. I’d also had no idea how important and, on the whole, how loyal patrons were. A quibble about the edition I read (Picador) – the print was so small I had to strain to read it – bad for middle-aged eyes.In addition to her travel, lecturing, and writing, Anderson also founded the Travel Bookshop, which formed the setting for the movie Notting Hill.
The novel I finished most recently is Alan Paton’s Cry the Beloved Country, a book I had been meaning to read for years. I found it intensely moving and couldn’t believe that it had first been published in 1948. I found myself sobbing on buses (where I do a lot of my reading) – a very powerful book. In the non-fiction department I have just started Colour by Victoria Finlay. It is the story of her search for the colours used in paints – each chapter is devoted to one colour – at the moment I am on ‘Ochre’ and in Australia. The book is full of facts, anecdotes and gives you new ways to look at paintings - I know I am going to love it. I haven’t settled on a new novel yet.
Check out Anderson's top ten books about wilderness.
Read more about Halfway to Venus.