Lesley Stock 
answers 13 questions in a Booker's Dozen

TPQ: What are you currently reading?

LS: The Subtle Art Of Not Giving A F*ck by Mark Manson. I have just started reading this. The title drew me to it, and along with humour, vulgarity and very thought provoking insight into ‘life’ it’s a great read… well – for someone as ‘unacademic’ and who has a ‘simple and uncomplicated way of dealing with life’ as me!

TPQ: Best and worst books you have ever read?

LS: That’s a hard one on the best front – But probably How To Be Single by Liz Tuccillo. Yes, yes, I know, hardly the most mind enthralling and thought provoking literary piece, but it made me belly laugh! I love laughing, adore silly humour based on what could be someone’s real life experiences and this, for me ticks all the boxes. I took it on holiday to Mexico, (where most of my reading is done purely because I actually get time to read whilst crisping my freckled Irish skin to resemble a well done turkey at Christmas.) The looks I was getting from the bronzed and beautiful Americans, as I lay half cut with the tell tale signs of empty cocktail glasses beside my lounger, loud caffaws emanating from the white lips (factor 50!) and bright red bake! I made my chum Pauline throw a Vogue magazine at me such was her annoyance at being interrupted in finding out the best skin cleanser and botox to get!!

Worst book I haven’t a clue as I obviously didn’t finish it! But more than likely a really deep academic synopsis on the meaning of life!

TPQ: Book most cherished as a child?

LS: The Young Naturalist. Still have it somewhere in the house! I grew up as an only child and the passion my parents had for all things flower and fauna most definitely rubbed off on me. My dad and I used to take walks in woods, or on the shore hand in hand and refer to my hardback book almost as big as me, to see which creatures and birds we could identify. I thank God that I had a happy uncomplicated childhood amidst the horror and conflict of what was the Troubles. 
 
TPQ: Favourite Childhood author?

LS: For me it has got to be C.S.Lewis. Reading The Chronicles of Narnia as a child enthralled me and his writing seemed to bring the characters and story alive, only to jump into my head and reverberate around, causing this young teen to imagine what it was like to have a magic wardrobe where you could play with the animals.

TPQ: First book to really own you?

LS: The Shankill Butchers and The Dirty War by Martin Dillon, both of these books were published just as I had joined the RUC. As a naïve, sheltered 22 year old, I hadn’t had any real experience of the conflict. Of course, I’d heard of the Shankill Butchers, but didn’t really grasp how horrific and evil they really were until reading Dillon’s book. I guess it was the second time (the murder of the two corporals being the first) I really sat back and fully became aware as to man's inhumanity to man. For me, I think atrocities didn’t really register in my mind (possibly because there were so many) until I took the time to digest in black and white the immense scale of hatred the people of Northern Ireland had for one another who were of opposing opinions. I had never thought and still can’t comprehend that kind of animalistic hatred. Perhaps because the only person I’ve ever truly hated was my 2nd ex husband!! He had impacted my life personally – I never understood how people could ‘hate’ with such venom, someone who they didn’t know, someone who had never actually done anything personally to them.

TPQ: Favourite male and female author? 

LS: Male - James Patterson; Female - Patricia Cornwell. See the common theme going? Yes – crime thrillers are where I can lie back, relax and just enjoy a ‘whodunnit’! The more twists and turns the better. Not entirely mind blowing academia but for me, extremely entertaining and surely that’s what books are all about.

TPQ: A preference for fact or fiction?

LS: Neither – if it entertains me, makes me laugh (or cry) gets me thinking, then I’ll read it.

TPQ: Biography, autobiography or memoir that most impressed you?

LS: The Diary of Anne Frank. Such a young girl, whose life was thrust into terror and chaos, was just immensely powerful to read. The strength, the bravery and determination of this child of 15 is inspirational to me. 
 
TPQ: Any author or book you point blank refuse to read?

LS: None for by cutting off your knowledge based on a personality or preconceived idea of what that author will write, you miss out on the experiences of others, and by God in this little part of the world, that is a big mistake.

TPQ: A book to share with somebody so that they would more fully understand you? 

LS: There are a few, for to choose one would not give a true understanding of the person I am, who I was, or who I want to become. Certainly, How To Be Single would show my humour. A Force Under Fire by the late Chris Ryder who’s son I worked with in the PSNI, A Force Like No Other by Colin Breen – shows the lighter and darker side of having been in the RUC. Maybe in time, I will write my own little memoirs of my life, most probably being funny anecdotes like the time I was suffering with a horrendous hangover and threw up onto the Newtownards Road out the back of a moving landrover, or the time I tripped over a gunsling getting out of a landrover and ended up in the middle of Ardoyne on my mouth and nose!

TPQ: Last book you gave as a present?

LS: The Long walk to Freedom
by Nelson Mandela. I bought this for my dad and mum who were both avid readers of biographies. Dad has since been diagnosed with vascular dementia – so no doubt he’ll never remember reading it, but mum said she loved it! 
 
TPQ: Book you would most like to see turned into a movie?

LS: Long Road Home by a friend of mine, Chris Orr. I met Chris last year when participating in a production with the Peacebuilding Academy in the Derry Playhouse called First Response. Chris had been a cameraman during the conflict here and had seen some of the most dreadful atrocities as they happened. But his personal story is more like a far fetched novel, with twists and turns in his personal life that shock, sadden and energise.

TPQ: A "must read" you intend getting to before you die?

LS: The Politics Of memoir And The Northern Ireland Conflict by Stephen Hopkins This is where I totally contradict myself by actually wanting to read a book by an ‘academic’! I was shielded from the early years of the conflict by geography and my parents' insistence that there were wrongs being committed on all sides, a view I’m a firm advocate of myself. I have realised in the last few years however, that my ‘lack’ of understanding of the conflict here needs to be addressed.

⏩ Lesley Stock is a former PSNI and RUC Officer currently involved in community work. 

Booker's Dozen @ Lesley Stock

Lesley Stock 
answers 13 questions in a Booker's Dozen

TPQ: What are you currently reading?

LS: The Subtle Art Of Not Giving A F*ck by Mark Manson. I have just started reading this. The title drew me to it, and along with humour, vulgarity and very thought provoking insight into ‘life’ it’s a great read… well – for someone as ‘unacademic’ and who has a ‘simple and uncomplicated way of dealing with life’ as me!

TPQ: Best and worst books you have ever read?

LS: That’s a hard one on the best front – But probably How To Be Single by Liz Tuccillo. Yes, yes, I know, hardly the most mind enthralling and thought provoking literary piece, but it made me belly laugh! I love laughing, adore silly humour based on what could be someone’s real life experiences and this, for me ticks all the boxes. I took it on holiday to Mexico, (where most of my reading is done purely because I actually get time to read whilst crisping my freckled Irish skin to resemble a well done turkey at Christmas.) The looks I was getting from the bronzed and beautiful Americans, as I lay half cut with the tell tale signs of empty cocktail glasses beside my lounger, loud caffaws emanating from the white lips (factor 50!) and bright red bake! I made my chum Pauline throw a Vogue magazine at me such was her annoyance at being interrupted in finding out the best skin cleanser and botox to get!!

Worst book I haven’t a clue as I obviously didn’t finish it! But more than likely a really deep academic synopsis on the meaning of life!

TPQ: Book most cherished as a child?

LS: The Young Naturalist. Still have it somewhere in the house! I grew up as an only child and the passion my parents had for all things flower and fauna most definitely rubbed off on me. My dad and I used to take walks in woods, or on the shore hand in hand and refer to my hardback book almost as big as me, to see which creatures and birds we could identify. I thank God that I had a happy uncomplicated childhood amidst the horror and conflict of what was the Troubles. 
 
TPQ: Favourite Childhood author?

LS: For me it has got to be C.S.Lewis. Reading The Chronicles of Narnia as a child enthralled me and his writing seemed to bring the characters and story alive, only to jump into my head and reverberate around, causing this young teen to imagine what it was like to have a magic wardrobe where you could play with the animals.

TPQ: First book to really own you?

LS: The Shankill Butchers and The Dirty War by Martin Dillon, both of these books were published just as I had joined the RUC. As a naïve, sheltered 22 year old, I hadn’t had any real experience of the conflict. Of course, I’d heard of the Shankill Butchers, but didn’t really grasp how horrific and evil they really were until reading Dillon’s book. I guess it was the second time (the murder of the two corporals being the first) I really sat back and fully became aware as to man's inhumanity to man. For me, I think atrocities didn’t really register in my mind (possibly because there were so many) until I took the time to digest in black and white the immense scale of hatred the people of Northern Ireland had for one another who were of opposing opinions. I had never thought and still can’t comprehend that kind of animalistic hatred. Perhaps because the only person I’ve ever truly hated was my 2nd ex husband!! He had impacted my life personally – I never understood how people could ‘hate’ with such venom, someone who they didn’t know, someone who had never actually done anything personally to them.

TPQ: Favourite male and female author? 

LS: Male - James Patterson; Female - Patricia Cornwell. See the common theme going? Yes – crime thrillers are where I can lie back, relax and just enjoy a ‘whodunnit’! The more twists and turns the better. Not entirely mind blowing academia but for me, extremely entertaining and surely that’s what books are all about.

TPQ: A preference for fact or fiction?

LS: Neither – if it entertains me, makes me laugh (or cry) gets me thinking, then I’ll read it.

TPQ: Biography, autobiography or memoir that most impressed you?

LS: The Diary of Anne Frank. Such a young girl, whose life was thrust into terror and chaos, was just immensely powerful to read. The strength, the bravery and determination of this child of 15 is inspirational to me. 
 
TPQ: Any author or book you point blank refuse to read?

LS: None for by cutting off your knowledge based on a personality or preconceived idea of what that author will write, you miss out on the experiences of others, and by God in this little part of the world, that is a big mistake.

TPQ: A book to share with somebody so that they would more fully understand you? 

LS: There are a few, for to choose one would not give a true understanding of the person I am, who I was, or who I want to become. Certainly, How To Be Single would show my humour. A Force Under Fire by the late Chris Ryder who’s son I worked with in the PSNI, A Force Like No Other by Colin Breen – shows the lighter and darker side of having been in the RUC. Maybe in time, I will write my own little memoirs of my life, most probably being funny anecdotes like the time I was suffering with a horrendous hangover and threw up onto the Newtownards Road out the back of a moving landrover, or the time I tripped over a gunsling getting out of a landrover and ended up in the middle of Ardoyne on my mouth and nose!

TPQ: Last book you gave as a present?

LS: The Long walk to Freedom
by Nelson Mandela. I bought this for my dad and mum who were both avid readers of biographies. Dad has since been diagnosed with vascular dementia – so no doubt he’ll never remember reading it, but mum said she loved it! 
 
TPQ: Book you would most like to see turned into a movie?

LS: Long Road Home by a friend of mine, Chris Orr. I met Chris last year when participating in a production with the Peacebuilding Academy in the Derry Playhouse called First Response. Chris had been a cameraman during the conflict here and had seen some of the most dreadful atrocities as they happened. But his personal story is more like a far fetched novel, with twists and turns in his personal life that shock, sadden and energise.

TPQ: A "must read" you intend getting to before you die?

LS: The Politics Of memoir And The Northern Ireland Conflict by Stephen Hopkins This is where I totally contradict myself by actually wanting to read a book by an ‘academic’! I was shielded from the early years of the conflict by geography and my parents' insistence that there were wrongs being committed on all sides, a view I’m a firm advocate of myself. I have realised in the last few years however, that my ‘lack’ of understanding of the conflict here needs to be addressed.

⏩ Lesley Stock is a former PSNI and RUC Officer currently involved in community work. 

1 comment:

  1. Larry Hughes Comments

    Interesting read and insight. No Mills and Boon books in there LoL. "Irish" girl liquered up on a Mexican beach..? Leslie are you giving the leprechauns some good old Ulster Blarney? lol Mouth and nose on the street in Ardoyne? If it had been after 11pm you'd of had plenty of company. My saving grace is as long as I've been slung outa less boozers than the Brits have countries, I tell myself I hold the moral high ground!! My reasoning and it's holding for now.

    ReplyDelete