... and Here Are More Top Tips from Britain's Best-Read Book Worms

The Mail on Sunday (London, England), June 30, 2013 | Go to article overview

... and Here Are More Top Tips from Britain's Best-Read Book Worms


LEE CHILD Recently published And Only To Deceive by Tasha Alexander (HarperCollins, [pounds sterling]13.95) OK, not so recent and Tasha is my sister-in-law, but I was a huge fan before my brother laid eyes on her. The first of her Victorian historical novels features a tough-but-elegant heroine, exciting period stories, and spot-on research.

Classic A transatlantic plane crashes on the polar icecap, and immediately we're into a deepfrozen version of a classic locked-room mystery. Alistair MacLean was the daddy of British thriller authors, and the greatest of cold-weather writers - as Night Without End displays. If the British summer ever warms up, this book is better than air conditioning.

JOANNE HARRIS Recently published Maggie And Me by Damian Barr (Bloomsbury, [pounds sterling]14.99) A new memoir about being gay in the Thatcher era. A real storyline, touching and personal, and I found myself laughing.

Classic I recently reread Victor Hugo's Les Miserables for the first time in years: it was one of the great books from my childhood, and it's an even better read than I remember - the sign of a truly great book.

VINCE CABLE Recently published A Delicate Truth by John le Carre (Viking, [pounds sterling]18.99) I've read everything le Carre has written, and I'd recommend this latest, set against a counterterrorist operation in Gibraltar. One of our greatest writers.

Classic Thomas Hardy's Mayor Of Casterbridge is my favourite. A touching drama about love and hope, betrayal and tragedy, vanity and folly.

ANTONY BEEVOR Recently published The Guns At Last Light by Rick Atkinson (Little, Brown, [pounds sterling]35) For history buffs or anyone interested in how men react in extremis. Atkinson ends his 'Liberation Trilogy', taking the US Army from Normandy to the war's end. Top storytelling. Classic Never has the world of secret intelligence, and human betrayal, been more meticulously observed than by Javier Marias, in his three-volume intellectual thriller Your Face Tomorrow.

TRACY CHEVALIER Recently published Apple Tree Yard by Louise Doughty (Faber and Faber, [pounds sterling]12.99) I inhaled this like the affair it describes, in a mad gulp. A smart psychological thriller that will keep you batting away family on the beach so you can finish it.

Classic I read The Go-Between by LP Hartley when my son got it in school and fell under its spell. Poor 13-year-old Leo has to grow up fast as he shuttles between posh girl and workingclass farmer during a long, hot summer in Norfolk. Read it in the long grass while a tractor harvests oats in the distance.

DEBORAH ROSS Recently published Life After Life, Kate Atkinson (Doubleday, [pounds sterling]18.99) What if life doesn't go right, and you could do things differently, over and over? Could have been a mess but gels wonderfully.

Classic Pereira Maintains by Antonio Tabucchi. First published in 1994,

and set in Portugal in 1938, this concerns the political awakening of Pereira, a fat widower who edits the culture section of a Lisbon newspaper. Not my thing as a rule, but so darkly funny and touching I couldn't put it down.

CHRIS EVANS Recently published The New Digital Age by Eric Schmidt and Jared Cohen (John Murray, [pounds sterling]25) By two guys right at the top of Google. They see a future where iPads are replaced by holograms following us around, and where cars are ordered online, then printed out in your garage. Classic Always take a book you know you can finish. At 80 pages, Ernest Hemingway's The Old Man And The Sea does it for me. Frighteningly and effortlessly (it seems) well written, and a bijou page-turner that addresses one man's lifelong quest to secure the ultimate prize.

ANDREW MARR Recently published NW by Zadie Smith (Penguin, [pounds sterling]7.99) I'm currently racing through Zadie Smith's latest novel. I enjoyed her debut, White Teeth, and this is up there.

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