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Showing 1-16 of top 28 Results.

An English Affair: Sex, Class and...
(Paperback)
Richard Davenport-Hines
 
The Profumo affair fascinated just about every adolescent boy in the UK back in the early 60s, and I doubt that many of us forget the risqué photographs of Christine Keeler and Mandy Rice Davies that were splashed all over the place. This is a thorough and comprehensive look at the affair from all sides, and a fascinating view of the times. It makes for compelling reading.

Peter Robinson - 14/08/2013
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Austerlitz
(Paperback)
W. G. Sebald; Anthea Bell; James Wood
 
Sebald, a German who lived in England, looks at the war and the persecution of minorities in a highly original and fascinating way, even including his own rather amateurish photographs and postcards in the text to devastating effect.

Justin Cartwright - 03/09/2013
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Life: Keith Richards
(Paperback)
Keith Richards
Even though he didn't actually write it himself, the voice and vernacular are all Keith. Particularly fascinating when describing London after the war.

Dylan Jones - 24/07/2012
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84 Charing Cross Road
(Paperback)
Helene Hanff; Juliet Stevenson
The delightful story of the twenty-year correspondence between the author and Frank Doel, chief buyer of Marks & Co, antiquarian booksellers. I remember the sensation caused by this book. I loved it, my friends loved it, everyone did. The gentle arc of the relationship the great romantic distance between the writers. The insistence it was 'a true story' and our thrill at the power of the letter. People still wrote letters then, just. And we all marvelled at the possibilities.

Nina Stibbe - 29/11/2013
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The World of Yesterday
(Paperback)
Stefan Zweig; Anthea Bell; David...
Zweig died by his own hand in Brazil in 1942 and was for a long time almost forgotten, though his books are now enjoying a renaissance. This luminous memoir is one of his best.

John Banville - 18/06/2012
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If This is a Man/The Truce
(Paperback)
Primo Levi; Stuart Woolf
 
Read it and weep. The world's most human genius remembers Auschwitz.

Louisa Young - 21/05/2014
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Chronicles: v. 1
(Paperback)
Bob Dylan
Dylan dips in and out of his own life as though he is calling up clips on Youtube and then writing the back story for them almost as an afterthought. Magnificent. Why can't we have one every Christmas?

Dylan Jones - 24/07/2012
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A Moveable Feast
(Paperback)
Ernest Hemingway
The writer recalls his time in Paris in the 1920s, in the company of other expat writers such as F Scott Fitzgerald and Gertrude Stein.

Barry Fantoni - 11/06/2012
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Dear Lupin...: Letters to a Wayward Son
(Paperback)
Roger Mortimer; Charlie Mortimer
 
I loved this book. I first heard it on Radio 4 Book of the Week just as I was editing my own letters and I felt quite spurred on by it. Utterly charming and very funny. (See also the related, 'Dear Lumpy' by Louise Mortimer and 'To My Dearest Jane' by Roger Mortimer and Jane Torday.)

Nina Stibbe - 29/11/2013
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Going Solo
(Paperback)
Roald Dahl
As with Easton Ellis, I could have put any number of Dahl’s novels on this list – The Witches, Matilda, Danny The Champion Of The World – but this second part of his autobiography (which started with Boy) is utterly joyous. It’s as fantastic and funny and weird and thrilling as any of his fiction, taking in lions, snakes, fighters planes, deserts, and a cast of characters as eccentric as he’s ever had to play with. It’s completely delightful.

Will Hill - 15/03/2012
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Rat Pack Confidential: Frank, Dean,...
(Paperback)
Shawn Levy
As zippy and as zingy as one of Sammy Davies Jr's stage routines, full of extraordinary anecdotes. What great fun!

Dylan Jones - 24/07/2012
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Wedlock: How Georgian Britain's Worst...
(Paperback)
Wendy Moore
Also recommended in reference by David Mitchell

David Mitchell - 11/03/2011
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There Was a Country: A Personal...
(Paperback)
Chinua Achebe
 
Chinua Achebe died recently. He was by a long way Africa’s finest novelist, and a substantial figure in Nigeria. This book is his last, his account of the Biafran war, when his people, the Igbo, suffered terribly. It is also a fascinating account of his upbringing and literary education.

Justin Cartwright - 03/09/2013
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First Light
(Paperback)
Geoffrey Wellum
 
Wellum was the youngest pilot to take part in the Battle of Britain - he was just 19. This book, written decades afterwards, is for me the most honest and vivid to come out of those epic weeks in the late summer of 1940. His direct writing style places you in the cockpit alongside the boy he once was.

Richard Madeley - 07/06/2013
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The Knife Man: Blood, Body-snatching...
(Paperback)
Wendy Moore; Brenda Kimber
David Mitchell writes - Moore has a historian's respect both for the past and for her colourful (and blood-spattered) subject - a founding father of modern surgery - but she also has a novelist's knack at (re)creating a world and framing a narrative within it, peopled with ambiguous heroes and complex villains. (If you enjoy this, try her new one, 'Wedlock'.)

David Mitchell - 11/03/2011
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The Autobiography of Alice B.Toklas
(Paperback)
Gertrude Stein
 
I recently took part in a 48-hour continuous live reading of Stein’s The Making of Americans in Brooklyn, New York. I thought I’d hate reading her aloud, but in fact the section I got was really beautiful. So then I picked this up off my 'should have read it 20 years ago' pile. And it’s so funny and thrilling. What a house they ran together, and what amazing people passed through it: Picasso, Matisse, Cezanne, Hemingway, Fitzgerald!

Zadie Smith - 10/08/2012
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