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Books

Michelle Bridges in the Book Club hot seat

Michelle Bridges is well known for transforming Aussies on the hit show The Biggest Loser. Now she shows you how to go one step further in ditching those last few kilos in her new book, Losing the Last 5 Kilos. We asked her about her reading habits.
What was the last book you read?
The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell. I love the distinction between the different kinds of people you meet in life who come together forming the perfect storm, creating a tipping point in business, government and society. The author has an extraordinary understanding of historical references to draw from to explain his arguments. I found this book to be very creative for my business.
If you could be any character in a book who would it be?
Cinderella! I have always been a hard-working woman who champions the underdog. I love the fact she stuck it to those ghastly sisters and ran off with a good sort! Now that's my kinda chick.
What books can you remember from your childhood?
Enid Blyton, Marco Polo, Nancy Drew, The Magic Pudding, Rupert Bear, Winnie-the-Pooh, The Famous Five, Snugglepot and Cuddle Pie. I was an avid reader when I was a child.
Do you think that books have the power to change people's lives more than films?
Of course! With a book you are inside the skin of the characters. You can smell, feel, taste everything. You can become completely lost in a book. I seldom feel the same level of engrossment in a film.
If you could take two characters from different books and put them in one book, who would they be?
I'd like to see Jean-Baptiste Grenouille (from Patrick Suskind's Perfume) get together with Holly Golightly (from Truman Capote's Breakfast at Tiffany's) to create the world's most desirable scent; intoxicatingly beautiful, but with a hint of darkness. Plus it would have the flavour of two of my favourite places on the planet: Paris and New York.
If you could get your hands on the completely truthful autobiography of any historical figure, who would it be and why?
Probably John F Kennedy. Apart from being a ripping read, full of all the excesses of American politics of the era, global crises and sordid affairs, it would probably give a good indication as to who commissioned his assassination.
What is next on your reading list?
Life, Keith Richards' autobiography. That guy must have so many stories to tell. Reading biographies about larger-than-life characters is almost like reading a good fiction story, except that I get the added enjoyment of constantly saying to myself "Wow. Did they really do that?" I recently finished Christopher Ciccone's book Life with My Sister Madonna and I found it fascinating.
If everyone in the world could stop what they were doing for a week and read one book, what should it be?
I was really moved by To Kill a Mockingbird and I still think about the storyline and the characters today even though I first read the book when I was a teenager. Harper Lee writes so beautifully, and I think that the book has messages about integrity and morality that we talk about a lot in the modern era, but they aren't messages that we live into.
If you could send any author to prison for crimes against literature, who would it be and why?
John Gray for his now infamous tome Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus'. I know, it was a bestseller, but trust me, there hasn't been a garage sale that hasn't featured at least two copies (one of them a present from a partner) since 1992.
Your say: What do you think of Michelle's choices? Who else would you like to see in the Book Club hot seat?

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