Books: Inspirations Novelist
Saturday 10 October 1998
Right now, Santa Anita Racetrack, Pasadena. There are mountains behind the track that you look out on while you watch the horses. There are lots of topiary bushes in the shape of horses and foals, and it's painted in peach and green. It is the essence of southern California.
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead by Tom Stoppard. I saw it when I was 18 and it came as a revelation to me that you could fiddle with the classics.
I may never see them again, but the medieval mosaics at Ravenna, Italy. When I saw them in 1971 they had just been cleaned. It was like walking into an astonishing universe of colour - revisiting a vivid past in gold and deep cerulean blue.
Ashes and Diamonds by Andrzej Wajda. I've seen it seven times. It's very subtle in its approach to political partisanship, showing how difficult it is, no matter what your convictions, to turn away from or hurt those you feel connected to. It's the tragedy of politics.
Mozart's string quintet number 3 in C major. All of it is wonderful. It fills you up with a deeply satisfying harmonic feeling, but has great energy and dynamism.
Jane Smiley's new novel ``The All-True Travels and Adventures of Lidie Newton" is published by Flamingo
Final Top Gear reviewTV
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
- 2 Amber Roof: Sister of Charleston shooting suspect Dylann Roof launches fund-raising appeal for wedding and honeymoon
- 3 'Help me I'm trapped in a factory' messages keep being found on bottles of vitamin water
- 4 Right to die: Belgian doctors rule depressed 24-year-old woman has right to end her life
- 5 BP hit with record $18.7 billion fine over Deepwater Horizon Gulf oil spill
Game of Thrones season 6: Daenerys actress Emilia Clarke says '50/50 chance' Jon Snow is alive
Game of Thrones season 6: Release date, plots and dragons - everything we know so far
The last decade has produced just four UK festival headline acts
What if Nicolas Cage played every character in Game of Thrones?
Game of Thrones: Leaked season six script introduces new 'red priestess' and hints at Daenerys Targaryen's next chapter
Greece crisis: IMF was pushed around by Angela Merkel and Nicholas Sarkozy – and now it is being humiliated
Forget little green men – aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert
'I wish the BBC would stop calling it Islamic State' – David Cameron unleashes frustration at broadcaster
Greece crisis: The wider lesson is that it’s time to abandon this failed experiment in currencies
Girl, 7, stares down hate preacher at Ohio festival with pro-LGBT rainbow flag gesture
They are neither a 'state' nor 'Islamic': Why we shouldn't call them Isis, Isil or IS