Reading Friends is a vibrant UK-wide community of people who come together to chat and share stories. Our 60 seconds with… helps you to learn more about the people who make up our community. Learn more about Reading Friends volunteer, Liz from Northern Ireland.

What is your favourite thing about Reading Friends?

I love looking at the themes in stories and what they generate, how they take you into another world, and how they give you ideas for conversations.

Why did you get involved with Reading Friends?

Word of mouth. I always wanted to do something like this. In my previous job, I would have worked in a care home and during therapy sessions, I knew it would be a good idea to share reading and conversation.

What is the best book you have ever read?

There are so many. One that stands out is by Israeli writer David Grossman. It’s called A Horse Walked into a Bar. It’s about a stand-up comedian who connects with a childhood friend in the audience through his stand-up show. I cried when I read it. It asks the questions that we don’t often ask or are afraid to ask. It is a very brave book.

What is the one thing you couldn’t live without?

The radio. It’s been my companion for life and it has alleviated times of loneliness. Everything is there, plays, stories, music, novels, and current affairs. If there was no electricity, I would get a wind-up radio.

What place do you think is a hidden gem?

Near where I live. I moved to Derry just two or three years ago from Belfast. I’m originally from Donegal. When I went to view the house, the countryside all around was lovely, the views, everything. But then, just behind the house, there was a field full of thrushes. They were amazing. I haven’t seen so many since, but that was it. I knew that was my home.

If you could be any fictional character, who would it be?

Offred from The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Attwood. It’s the book we read on World Book Night this year. I think she is quite like me, but she has the courage that I maybe lack. She has such dignity and a calm presence. She is able to deal with adversity and yet remain strong. Her rebellion is a quiet rebellion, intelligent.

Tell us something about yourself that might surprise us.

I love music. All kinds of music, I love the opera and classical music. But as well as that, I love pop music and sometimes I put some CDs on and just dance, by myself, and I love it.

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Find out more about Reading Friends in Northern Ireland. You can also register to be a Reading Friends volunteer like Liz.

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