Reading Confessions: Peter May

Peter May
Category: Reading

Peter May is the author of the hugely popular Lewis Trilogy, and his new standalone novel Entry Island has just been published, telling another gripping crime story set on a remote island in which the protaganist's past becomes a key to the present investigation.

Born in Glasgow, May began his career as a journalist before moving successfully into writing for TV, and now he lives in France and is a full-time novelist.

But does he judge books by their covers? And crucially, what is his opinon on reading in the bath? Read on to find out...

Win a hardback copy of Entry Island by Peter May

We have five hardback copies of Peter May's latest novel Entry Island to give away. To win a copy answer this simple question in the comments below or email it to

- Which Hebridean island is Peter May's recent bestselling trilogy set on?

Closing date: 16 January 2013. Entrants outside the UK must cover postage.


Do you ever mentally edit someone else’s work while you read?

If I am gripped by the story, and the writing is not atrocious, then I don’t notice it. Only when the story is boring and the writing is bad do I mentally edit as I read.

Do you judge books by their covers?

I judge a book by how much I enjoyed it when I’ve finished. But I do admit that a good cover can attract me to buying it in the first place.

Which book has the most disappointing ending?

The Bible, certainly, because it just stops.

What’s your opinion on reading in the bath?

I think that people who lie steeping in their own dirty water deserve to drop their books in it!

How do you react to bad reviews?

With a single word to describe the reviewer - “idiot”! Perhaps with an expletive adjective thrown in.

Where do you stand on spinebreaking?

It’s vandalism, and displays a lack of respect for the book. I’ve had readers present a book to me for signing, and break the spine at the open page they want signed. And that seems like a lack of respect for me.

Which author or fictional character would you most like to party with?

Ernest Hemingway. Love him or loathe him, he certainly knew how to live. 

How do you arrange your bookshelf?

By author, and then randomly.  But only when I first load it.  After a while any order will become completely lost.

What’s the most over-rated book of all time?

Of the books I have read, probably The Da Vinci Code. Not because it was that bad (though it was pretty awful), but because it was so over-hyped.

If you could throw a book at a celebrity which book would you throw at whom?

I would throw every bad book I have ever read at the lot of them. Of course, living in France I have no idea who the British ones are. And I often meet French ones without having the least idea that they are famous. So celebrity is only ever in the eyes of the beholder. They’re all just ordinary folk with “a guid conceit of themselves”.

Peter May is touring his native Scotland from 11 to 16 January appearing in Aberdeen, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Newton Mearns and Dundee. Find out more on Peter May's Scotland tour page.

Read more authors' Reading Confessions, including Christopher Brookmyre and Sally Magnusson here

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