Although I kept a diary throughout my teenage years (and therefore know that TH loved JD – even though I have noooo idea who they are now), I didn’t write about my favourite books very often. I do remember my late teens; they were mainly taken up with reading books from the school curriculum. Like many, I studied Jane Austen and Keats. I loved Keats but wasn’t really a fan of Mr Darcy et al. The literature that really captured my imagination and my heart was french literature. I read L’assomoir at the age of 17 and was blown away. It has the honour of being the first book ever to make me cry. I still remember the pit pony being brought to the surface after a lifetime of being underground. He smelt fresh grass and briefly recalled it before dying. Ah! Tears are forming even now! I read more and more Zola sometimes yelling out to the characters as they were about to make life-changing mistakes. It was never a happy read with Zola but boy was it powerful.