09 Apr What is Janet Kipling Reading?
Today, in our series What Are You Reading, we ask BBC Radio Devon presenter Janet Kipling about her current literary liaisons.
What are you reading at the moment? Why would our readers enjoy reading it?
Mudlarking by Lara Maiklem. I have an idle daydream about taking a dog walk along an Exe Estuary beach and stumbling across a Roman toga pin, a medieval gold ring or a blue and white Dutch delftware pot. I’ve followed Lara Maiklem’s Instagram account @london.mudlark for a couple of years and the book is every bit as good. She tells this collection of stories around the objects she finds with enormous curiosity and a sense of respect for their long departed owners.
The most memorable book you read in 2020; and why?
The Five by Hallie Rubenhold. A feminist telling of the stories of the women who were murdered by Jack the Ripper. Researched and interpreted in astonishing detail, it brings them to life as daughters, sisters, mothers, wives, lovers and not just victims.
A book you return to and reread; and why?
The Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys. I have Caribbean ancestry and spent many winters living in Antigua, during which time I visited Dominica and walked along the track to her old family estate house. She captures the dazzling colours of the Caribbean and something of the dark heart of slavery and colonialism, weaving it all together with mental illness and isolation. The last part of her life was spent in relative obscurity in a bungalow in Cheriton Fitzpaine until publisher Diane Athill got her to pull her manuscript out from the under the bed.
Your favourite book of all time; and why?
Anything by Laurie Graham – sorry I can’t choose one! She tells real historical events from the perspective of a character on the fringes, bringing them vibrantly and hilariously to life. The last one I read, ‘The night in question’ was also about the Jack the Ripper murders and again makes the women real in such an engaging way.
Janet Kipling is a presenter on BBC Radio Devon. She began her career as a local newspaper reporter on the Wellington Weekly News in Somerset and the Tiverton Gazette in Devon. She began working for the BBC in 1988, answering phones for the Saturday morning show on BBC Somerset, before moving to BBC Radio Devon in 1993 as a reporter, producer and then presenter. Leaving in 1998, she spent five years as RSPCA South West Regional Press Officer before setting up her own PR company. Since then, she’s also trained as coach and a yoga teacher, spending several winters living in Antigua, West Indies, where she has family, teaching yoga.