The Literary questionnaire of
Actress and House ambassador Lucy Boynton shares
readings that have “shaken her way of looking at the world”, according to her words.”
Does your lifestyle allow you to read as much as you would like to?
It often does. There’s a lot of waiting around between scenes or set ups and a lot of travelling that comes with my work which means reading has become a way of making the most of those in-between hours.
Is there a particular book that has affected how you lead your life?
I think strange fiction like the works of Shirley Jackson and Helen Oyeyemi have influenced the way I see the world. They offer this “other” and abstract way of looking at society and people and the world around you that gets you challenging things as they’re presented. Also David Eagleman’s books on neuroscience are absolutely fascinating and have changed the way I lead my life in that I have a better understanding of how people really can change. You can absolutely change your ways and your wiring, and that’s a very empowering lesson.
“I think strange fiction like the works of Shirley Jackson and Helen Oyeyemi have influenced the way I see the world.”
What is the most liberating book you have read?
During the quarantine in 2020, I read The Night Circus which was so completely transportive and ethereal, at a time when those feelings were very much welcome and wanted.
What is the most harrowing book you have ever read?
A few years ago, I read A Hope More Powerful Than The Sea by Melissa Fleming which details the true story of a young woman’s escape from Syria and her experience of becoming a refugee. We’re so often fed a narrative that’s harmful in that I think it deliberately detaches us from empathy with people seeking asylum, so this was a deeply impactful insight.
Which fictional heroine would you like to be?
Off the top of my head right now…Celia from The Night Circus because of her powers.
What is the best place to read?
By a window while it’s raining outside or in the corner of a dark cafe.
“During the quarantine in 2020, I read The Night Circus which was so completely transportive and ethereal, at a time when those feelings were very much welcome and wanted.”
Are you more romance novel or adventure novel?
A combination of both is the ideal.
Do you prefer long novels or short stories?
I prefer novels because I like to get lost in the world of a story.
Which book would you like to see adapted to film?
I would love to see Helen Oyeyemi’s work adapted. Her writing can be really abstract and poetic so I imagine it could be a really other worldly piece of film.
The title of a book you always offer as a gift?
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, but more recently Open Water by Caleb Azumah Nelson. My friend recommended it to me and I inhaled it and have since been recommending it to absolutely everyone.
Erin Morgenstern, The Night Circus, Vintage, 2011.
Melissa Fleming, A Hope More Powerful Than The Sea, © Flatiron Books, 2017.
Mary Shelley, Frankenstein, © Lackington, Hughes, Harding, Marvor & Jones, 1818.
Caleb Azumah Nelson, Open Water, Viking, 2021.