THE PIRATES IN THE DEEP GREEN SEA by Eric Linklater Out of print The book I liked best when I was a child. It was full of adventure but also very funny. There’s rather a vain octopus in it and to this day I remember its name: Culliferdon tofoscofolio polydesteropouf. It probably led to me becoming a children’s author.
TITUS GROAN by Mervyn Peake Vintage, £9.99 The alternative to The Lord Of The Rings but it doesn’t involve magic which is what I liked about it. It’s a work of extraordinary imagination with some of the most beautiful English you’ve ever read. There is a vast castle, Gormenghast, and a collection of bizarre characters. My son is called Titus, partly after the title character.
MR SPONGE’S SPORTING TOUR by Robert S Surtees Nonsuch, £6 My father’s favourite book. It’s about a man who sponges his way round the country so he can go hunting. Surtees was a contemporary of Dickens but whereas Dickens’ heroines are sweet and demure, Surtees’ heroines are terrifically good fun: actresses who smoke cigars and ride well.
SCOOP by Evelyn Waugh Penguin, £9.99 I love his wry sense of humour. He doesn’t push the jokes at you. The main character writes a country column and is then given a journalistic assignment to a war-torn country. It’s very silly.
VANITY FAIR by William Makepeace Thackeray Vintage, £7.99 A huge book that I’ve only recently read. I’ve been having a catch-up of books I should have read. Becky Sharp’s one of the best characters ever written. You hate and love her at the same time. It’s a wonderful piece of juggling with the readers’ reactions.
DUNE by Frank Herbert Hodder, £8.99 I always loved science fiction. The first Dune book is the masterpiece. It’s political and grand in scope. There’s a planet where enormous worms burrow in the sand and produce a substance called spice which prolongs life so people are endlessly trying to take control.
Source : EXPRESS