One of the few books to make me change my mind about something, in this case the guilt of Richard III.
The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkein
Of all the people never to receive the Booker, this one is a real shame. This book is the ultimate fantasy epic and has everything - adventure, epic battles, a break for some humour now and again though I will admit to only ever reading the appendices once!
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
A masterclass in understatement and irony, wonderful characters, dry humour and an early example of a really good heroine. There’s nothing weak about Elizabeth Bennett.
Oliver Twist by Charles Dickins
I must confess I need to read more by the great man but I first saw the film of this starring Alec Guinness as Fagin. You could feel the evil. I then read the book. The story is fantastic, conditions in London at the time vividly portrayed and what happens to Nancy is truly horrific. A truly gripping story.
Reaper Man by Sir Terry Pratchett
My favourite of the Death novels because of the formidable Miss Flitworth and Death, though he likes her, does not spare her at the end (as indeed he cannot spare anyone). It’s the characterization in this novel that makes it.
Men at Arms by Sir Terry Pratchett
My favourite Vimes novel and where I think his character really takes off. Also more on the other Watch characters. Good gripping mystery too. I can’t think of novelty candles now without picturing Cherry Lightbottom hanging on for dear life in the candle factory.
Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel
A wonderful and gripping fictional examination of Thomas Cromwell, Henry VIII’s Minister. The book makes Cromwell look human, which given what he’s been accused of over time, is a major achievement. Indeed the book makes you even pity Cromwell (despite knowing he was almost certainly behind the plot to destroy Anne Boleyn). This is the only Booker Prize winner I’ve bought. It is so readable.