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Showing 1-16 of top 36 Results.

An English Affair: Sex, Class and...
Richard Davenport-Hines
 
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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
Strindberg: A Life
Sue Prideaux
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A captivating biography that reveals Sweden’s greatest writer as a peculiarly lovable polymath.

John Banville - 18/06/2012
Austerlitz
Austerlitz (Paperback)
W. G. Sebald; Anthea Bell; James Wood
 
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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
84 Charing Cross Road
Helene Hanff; Juliet Stevenson
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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
Richard I
Richard I (Paperback)
John Gillingham
 
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John Gillingham is a scholar, addicted to understanding Richard the Lionheart. He is also readable and intuitive in his judgments of England’s emblematic king. A must for anyone interested in the Lionheart.

Justin Cartwright - 03/09/2013
Life: Keith Richards
Keith Richards
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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
Rat Pack Confidential: Frank, Dean,...
Shawn Levy
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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
Birds and Light: The Art of Lars Jonsson
Lars Jonsson
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His illustrations of birds in field guides have always had an unrivalled sense of animation, movement and characteristic jizz. This volume is a selection of his field sketches and watercolours which display his mastery in conveying fleeting impressions of moving subjects in changing light and weather conditions: instants of perception. There are also very intelligent diary notes and commentary.

Jeremy Mynott - 13/03/2012
There Was a Country: A Personal...
Chinua Achebe
 
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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
Chronicles: v. 1
Chronicles: v. 1 (Paperback)
Bob Dylan
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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
Ethel and Ernest
Ethel and Ernest (Paperback)
Raymond Briggs; Raymond Briggs
 
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I don't think I've ever read this book without my eyes tearing up. How Briggs manages to impart such feeling and generosity towards his parents in this deeply moving and heartfelt yet never overly sentimental memoir amazes me. It reminds me a little in its after-effects of Thornton Wilder's "Our Town," though the two works are otherwise completely different. It will make you care more deeply about life and the people you live it with, which is about the best one can say about anything.

Chris Ware - 02/10/2012
Dear Lupin...: Letters to a Wayward Son
Roger Mortimer; Charlie Mortimer
 
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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
The World of Yesterday
Stefan Zweig; Anthea Bell; David...
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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
Going Solo
Going Solo (Paperback)
Roald Dahl
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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
Wedlock: How Georgian Britain's Worst...
Wendy Moore
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Also recommended in reference by David Mitchell

David Mitchell - 11/03/2011
The Autobiography of Alice B.Toklas
Gertrude Stein
 
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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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