Saturday, July 27, 2013

Sarah Butler

Sarah Butler lives in London. She runs Urban Words, a consultancy which develops literature and arts projects that explore and question our relationship to place. Ten Things I've Learnt About Love is her first novel.

Not so long ago I asked the author about what she was reading.  Butler's reply:
As a child I used to always have more than one book on the go and would pick and choose which to read depending on my mood. It’s a habit I lost after University, probably because I was so busy working and writing and studying that I didn’t have enough head space to hold all those storylines in my head at the same time. However, in the last year I’ve fallen back into the habit – and it feels good!

I’m currently half way through Love by Toni Morrison. It’s a signed copy that I bought ten years ago, whilst doing an MA in Creative Writing at UEA in Norwich, England, and it’s sat on my shelf waiting for me all this time! I often do that – buy a book but don’t read it for years. And then a time comes when I want to sit down with it. I picked up Love because I was reading another book that I didn’t like – I wanted to get to the end because I was interested in how the writer dealt with their subject matter, but the writing was pretty terrible. I knew Love would be brilliant and so I started it to satisfy my craving for seriously good writing. Morrison is just mind-blowingly brilliant. I’m savouring every sentence.

Another book that had a big effect on me recently was Jeannette Winterson’s memoir Why Be Happy When You Can Be Normal? I don’t usually read memoir, but a friend of mine recommended it to me and I was hooked from the word go. It’s a brave, moving, and I think important, book. She really lays herself bare, but there’s no self-indulgence there. Her passion for life and love and literature, and for finding a way to be true in the world, is genuinely inspiring.

I’ve had a collection of Nancy Mitford’s novels sat on my bedside table for a few months now. The novels are pretty short, and I read them when I’m feeling a bit blue or tired. They are frivolous and fun, full of decadence and gossip. Plus the writing is great.

I’ve started reading more non-fiction than usual. Most recently I read Chavs: The Demonisation of the Working Class by Owen Jones. A very intelligent, well-written, searing book which examines how public perception and representation of the working class in Britain has changed for the worse, and the political consequences of such ‘demonisation’.
Learn more about the book and author at Sarah Butler's website.

--Marshal Zeringue