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Maeve Binchy in her office at her home in Dalkey, County Dublin. (Cyril Byrne)
Maeve Binchy in her office at her home in Dalkey, County Dublin. (Cyril Byrne)

My Books, My Place

The Binchy system: 4 pages of work = 1 hour of reading Add to ...

I love to read at my desk when I should be writing.

In fact, I give myself little rewards. If I finish my own four pages, then I give myself an hour to lose myself in someone else's book.

I much prefer to read sitting up at a desk rather than lying back in an armchair or reading in bed, when I invariably go to sleep; no matter how good the book, I find myself dropping off. But not at my desk in a sunny upstairs room with lots of glass, a little roof garden outside and a good work atmosphere. I sit here with my husband, Gordon Snell, also a writer. It's very peaceful and a great place to read.

At the moment, I am reading Room by Emma Donoghue. When I heard that it was a story told from the point of view of a five-year-old who had been born in captivity to a mother who had been kidnapped, I hesitated. Would it not be very sad and frightening and gruesome?

But a friend assured me that it was amazing and absolutely gripping with no violence and that you care so much about Jack and his mother that the rest of the world slips away. This is totally true.

I am completely involved in the story, and even though I am outwardly going on with my ordinary life, I keep going back to see what will happen to Jack and Ma. The child has accepted his situation as normal, since it's the only one he ever knew.

Will they escape? If they do, what will Jack make of the real world? I can't wait to get back to my desk each day to find out.

Dublin writer Maeve Binchy's 16th novel, Minding Frankie, has just been published.

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