WINNIE-THE-POOH: THE COMPLETE COLLECTION by AA Milne Egmont, £40 My dad used to read Dickens to me, not the most cheery thing when you’re six.
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Then I discovered Winnie-thePooh, where everyone’s not dying of cholera. They were old-fashioned books but relevant in terms of how characters viewed the world.
Now I’m writing my own children’s books.
THE HITCHHIKER’S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY by Douglas Adams Pan, £8.99
This was a revelation.
I listened to it on the radio and love the absurdity that, way down the line in human development, the same things apply: if there’s a crisis, wrap your head in a wet towel.
It’s surreally brilliant.
A KISS BEFORE DYING by Ira Levin Corsair, £8.99 My first grown-up novel, a thriller about a guy who kills his girlfriends. Levin’s Rosemary’s Baby scared the bejesus out of me but this was a real page-turner.
You really engage with the characters and the tangled web of a story.
LOSING MY VIRGINITY by Richard Branson Virgin Books, £11.99
A fantastic autobiography of starting from nothing, making it, losing it then building it back up.
I style myself as an entrepreneur so learnt from him. You have to throw a lot of mud at walls for things to stick and you can’t give up.
YES MAN by Danny Wallace Ebury, £8.99
Part of a genre I call modern off-the-wall, by writers who set each other crazy challenges.
Wallace credits Homes Under The Hammer as the inspiration for this as he was in a downward spiral watching daytime TV, then decided he needed to get out so started saying yes to everything.
NEITHER HERE NOR THERE by Bill Bryson Black Swan, £8.99
When I was 18 my friend Roger and I set off a trip round Europe.
Years later I discovered this about Bryson’s travels round Europe and recollected my monumental trip and the joy of that freedom.
My introduction to his wonderful writing and humour.