Friday, August 14, 2009


People have been tagging me on Facebook with requests to name my fifteen books. I had real problems doing this, which surprised me. Just getting to fifteen was a massive effort which shows that either I'm in mental decline or the whole exercise is worthless even for people who like books.

Catch 22
One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovitch
Adrian's Panda
Barchester Towers
Bright Shining Lie
Master and Commander
Little Tim and the Brave Sea Captain (see pic)
Midnight's Children
In Cold Blood
Brideshead Revisited
Carter Beats the Devil
The Macpherson Report into the Murder of Stephen Lawrence
Biggles in The Cruise of the Condor
The Odessa File

See Little Tim and the Brave Sea Captain? A heady percentage of the fifteen I'd take to the desert island are from my childhood, and took root in my heart as my mum taught me to read. Later I was on an adventure with Biggles (I love flying to this day), and then there's the Odessa File, my first grown up thriller which helped inspire me to be a journalist. Brideshead has to be there, Orwell had to get in somewhere and iI found I wanted Rushdie's Midnight's Children - for my money his best work. The Macpherson Report opened my eyes to what it was like to be black in our country and is a drily effective piece of writing into the bargain, but ultimately I love fun in my literature and what can surpass Carter beats the Devil for that? I have omitted other much adored friends like Raymond Chandler, but I think that's my drop dead essential fifteen.

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