1. Arthur and George – Julian Barnes. He’s written some great novels – try England, England for some humour or A History Of the World In 10 1/2 Chapters for emotion but this is a great story well written
2. I, Claudius – Robert Graves. I’ve read it several times and still love the characterisation of the evil Livia
3. Last Orders – Graham Swift. A recent read for me but a wonderful surprise. Cracking dialogue
4. The Corrections – Jonathan Frantzen. When I bought it the guy at the till winced and advised that people either loved or hated it. I loved it for its truth about modern life and families
5. Cloud Atlas – David Mitchell. Clever and bizarre. You feel you’ve been on a journey at the end. I am amazed they are making a film of it.
6. The Lord Of The Rings – J R R Tolkien. I didn’t read this until I was in my 20s and I then wondered how I’d missed it. A great story set in a fantasy world.
7. The Life Of Pi – Yann Martel. My favourite Booker winner with a charming story and a wonderful twist.
8. Birdsong – Sebastian Faulks. Gritty, real and passionate.
9. Exodus – Leon Uris. A pageturner of a historical novel charting the creation of the Jewish nation in Palestine
10. Half Of A Yellow Sun – Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche. A novel set in Nigeria during the Civil War. Sounds unappealing but it really is written in a way that paints an accessible world.