Bad books on writing tell you to “WRITE WHAT YOU KNOW”, a solemn and totally false adage that is the reason there exist so many mediocre novels about English professors contemplating adultery.
And yes, ageing white professors cheating on their wives is definitely a recurring theme on this list – but there is also some sexual experimentation, a murder or two, slapstick comedy, and plenty of cheap wine.
When I was a young girl (she said, at the ripe age of 26), Stephen Fry was my hero. He was intelligent, funny, eloquent, charming, talented, well-travelled, well-connected, and well-read – everything I wanted to be. Like a lot of people, I put him up on a pedestal and idolised him. His first memoir, Moab Is My Washpot, brought him back down to earth for me. In this book, he talked about his fears and insecurities, and it helped me see him for what he truly was: just a man. He wrote about his first love, feeling like an outsider, his criminal record, and his eventual suicide attempt in a way that felt deeply, deeply personal and honest. It took the halo away for good, but if anything, I liked him even more now that he was vulnerable and flawed.Even Stephen “Britain’s National Treasure” Fry is wrecked by insecurities. Read more →