Take a Long Hard Look at Your Shelf: Anneliese Mackintosh

Anneliese Mackintosh, author of the wonderful début story collection Any Other Mouth, performs on 13 August with Vic Galloway & Friends at Jura Unbound.

Feature by Ross McIndoe | 06 Aug 2014

Which book on your shelf is most precious to you?

I've got loads, and each of them holds some memory – where it came from and when I acquired it. A lot of my precious ones belonged to my dad, like the Terry Pratchett books. They have a lot of sentimental value. I have a lovely copy of Witches Abroad which was his, I'm not quite sure how it has remained intact through so many years and so many hot baths, but it seems to have survived somehow!

What's the best book on your shelf to be given to you by someone else?

I was given an absolutely amazing one yesterday: it was my last day working in Blackwell's Bookshop so they got me a signed hardback copy of Bark by Lorrie Moore, who is one of my absolute favourite authors. So that one's at the forefront of my mind at the moment.

Which book on your shelf would you most like to give to others? For what reason? 

It depends on who I'm giving it to, what I think they would like. There are some I recommend a lot, but I'm always scared to hand out my own copies in case I never see them again! Naive.Super by Erlend Loe is one I recommend a lot. It's really easy to read, but deceptively simple. Also, it's got a lovely, uplifting message about finding meaning in life, so it makes a great, positive present.

Which book is your guilty secret, and what do you love about it?

That's a funny phrase, I've never really associated ‘guilt’ with reading. I guess there are one or two that are maybe not so hip and cool to tell people about, like How to Make Anyone Fall in Love With You by Leil Lowndes. It is exactly what it says on the tin; my mum gave it to me when I didn't have a boyfriend, like 'You're going to need this!' I guess I did enjoy it though. It offered a glimpse into a really sneaky way of life.

Which book has been most inspirational to you, both personally and professionally? 

Not so much any more – especially since I stopped drinking, – but Bukowski was the one that made me want to start writing. He was the first one I felt was really writing as he thought: he wasn't paying attention to any of the rules I'd been taught to obey, he just rambled straight from his heart.

Are ebooks a threat to your bookshelf?

I'm a consultant at Cargo Publishing and I helped set up Cargo Crate which is their ebook platform, so I believe quite strongly in them! I haven't seen any negative aspects of ebooks in my daily life, and as a writer it seems fantastic to have access to both formats. People still like to read paper books; they're nice to hold and they look lovely on a shelf – even when they're all higgledy-piggledy and mixed up like mine. People have liked telling stories for goodness knows how long so I don't think that will change any time soon.

What book is missing from your shelf which you know you need to add?

I mean, there are hundreds that I want that I don't have. Working in Blackwell's, I had to train myself not to constantly think about which book I was going to buy next because for the first wee while my wages were just disappearing on books; it was like some terrible compulsion. So I've forced myself to become kind of blinkered. I'd like to complete my Roald Dahl collection though; I want all of his books. And the Everyman's Pocket Classics. They're beautiful little hardbacks and they've got great short story writers in them.

Can I just say “everything”?

Vic Galloway & Friends is on 13 Aug in Edinburgh International Book Festival's Guardian Spiegeltent, as part of Jura Unbound, 9pm, free http://edbookfest.co.uk