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Some of Gilda’s Favourite Books

“Asking people to pick a favorite book is like asking them to name their favorite child. It’s impossible.”

—In My Good Books… Gilda O’Neill

GONE SHOPPING: THE STORY OF SHIRLEY PITTS QUEEN OF THIEVES

9781448209712

Lorraine Gamman

Gilda had met Shirley Pitt while Gone Shopping, was being written. She loved the book and bought it  for friends when it first came out. In the 2012 Bloomsbury preface to Gone Shopping Lorraine acknowledges Gilda’s early support during the writing of this book. She says: “A lot of people helped make Gone Shopping happen. First I should acknowledge the historian and novelist Gilda O’Neill who wrote My East End (2000) and who died prematurely in October 2010. I never did get to tell her my news that Gone Shopping might be made into a TV series [option still pending]. Gilda was there at all the nightmare moments after Shirley died and some of her children lost their grasp on reality. Gilda helped make sure I didn’t give up…

NIGHTS AT THE CIRCUS

Angela Carter

The Cockney heroine is called Fevvers. She is a musical artiste with a voice like clanging dustbin lids and she also has wings. This beautifully-written story takes you on a magical journey.

CARTER BEATS THE DEVIL

Glen Gold

This book is a real cracker. It’s about magic and a young boy who decides to become an illusionist rather than going to university. It’s a romance and thriller, set in the time when theatre is about to be usurped by television. Science is taking over and all the imagery is about the hidden power of storytelling.

THE JANET AND JOHN SERIES

Sorry to every teacher out there who will remind me about the rigid social mores portrayed but, to me as a child, Janet And John was truly magical. It was a key to a secret universe and, through deciphering each page, I was able to go on to enjoy Dickens and other classics.

A CHILD OF JAGO

Arthur Morrison

This is a tragic tale of East End lad Dickie Perrott, who fails to rise up from the slums and is dragged further down. This was written just before the turn of the 20th century and drew attention to the poverty and degradation on the doorstop of the wealthy Square Mile. It is not a nice read by a very important book.

THE ITALIAN BOY

Sarah Wise

Wise documents the horrendous crimes taking place in London at the turn of the 19th century. She has a terrible story of trainee doctors at a London hospital who killed people to practise upon: the Italian boy was one of these victims. This is a terrific piece of social history, researched and written by someone as passionate about London as I am.

A novel – THE CATASTROPHIST

Ronan Bennett

Set in Africa in 1959 against the backdrop of Congo’s independence crisis, the book is about love and about violent conflict, but also has some truly potent things to say about the nature of politics and the role of the writer within them. (Headline Review)

A history – FORTRESS MALTA: AN ISLAND UNDER SIEGE

James Holland

Telling the human story of an almost three year long siege through the experiences of those incredibly brave individuals who held out against all odds to hold the little island that had such massive strategic importance for the success of the allies. I loved it because it records a time of astonishing heroism and selflessness that had been all but forgotten.

http://www.fyrne.com/article_pages/in_my_good_books_gilda_o_neill.html

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