Inheritance Books – like Desert Island Discs, but for books

In September I will be starting a series of posts called Inheritance Books, where people tell me which book they’ve ‘inherited’ from the generation above and which book they would leave to later generations. It’s open to anyone who has a beloved book (or two) that they want to talk about. BBC Radio 4 listener’s might spot that it’s based on the Inheritance Tracks feature on Saturday Live (which, in turn, is based on Desert Island Discs). If you don’t listen to Radio 4 – you don’t know what you’re missing.

This is my sample page of the sort of thing I want for this blog series- my inheritance books.

A bit about myself: I’m Rhoda, I’m a novelist. I was the sort of kid who treated books like they were my friends. I hoarded books like they were treasure (which, in a way, they are).

I tend to think about book people in the same way I think about real people and it still surprises me that some people DON’T have a load of characters walking around in their heads.

The book I  inherited from the generation above:

There are so many, it’s hard to choose. I read a lot as a child and had rather a large collection. After many hours of dithering, I decided I’d have to go for my Dad’s collection of Asterix books. At first I looked at the pictures. Then I read them for the silly names. As I grew older, I read them for the more subtle jokes. Perhaps that’s where my love of silly names comes from. It still cracks me up that the fishmonger and his wife were called Unhygenix and Bacteria.

I don’t have a photo of them because the actual books were destroyed in a flood some years ago (we tried to save them, but they got wet and bits of them turned to papier mache. It was kinder to put them out of their misery). One day, when I win the lottery or something, I’ll buy another set.

The book I would pass on to the next generation:

No, they're not my kids I would pass on ‘Blueberry Girl’ by Neil Gaiman and Charles Vess. I read this story to my two kids, only one of whom can somersault tumble and run, and sometimes I even manage not to cry at the end. The pictures are beautiful and it encompasses everything I wish for them. I hope my kids will read it and remember happy times. Maybe they’ll edit out the little catch in my voice though.

Over to you. Tell me about your Inheritance Books.

If you would like to do a guest post about your favourite books, email me at or tweet me @rhodabaxter.

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