1. Pride and Prejudice
Girls love it, men roll their eyes. But, guys, read it and be able to discuss it, and your dates will love you forever!
2. Harry Potter
Read the series out loud to your kids (and I guarantee you’ll notice more of the puns). Not the best-written books ever, admittedly, but you can’t help loving them.
3. His Dark Materials
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More grown-up children (and those of us who are accused of not being) will fall in love with these moving and elegantly written books. I don’t recommend them on the train, however – fellow commuters had to get used to me whimpering and weeping for some time. Forget the film and forget the accusations of blasphemy…
4. The Lovely Bones
Oh so beautiful and one of those books I’d avoided because everyone raved about it. It’s another book that’ll have you weeping on the bus… and lending your copy to the world and his wife.
5. Lindsey Davis’ Falco series
I can’t believe we’re already up to number 18 of these, so you’ll have plenty to devour. Falco is an informer (private detective) in Ancient Rome and Lindsey’s witty and clever take on film noir is the ideal holiday read (or any time). One word of warning: you’ll become an addict and we have quite a wait til the next new one…
6. Bernard Cornwell’s Sharpe series/George MacDonald Fraser’s Flashman series/Conn Iggulden’s Conqueror series
Full of wonderful characters and detailed historical information that never gets in the way of a cracking plot, these novels will transport you away to foreign lands when men were men.
7. A good laugh
Whether your taste ranges to Bill Bryson, Stephen Fry or Jeremy Clarkson, it’s always good to dip into something that’ll make you laugh out loud on the Tube.
8. Mark Gatiss’s Lucifer Box series Sly, funny (if you love really terrible puns, you’ll love these), exciting and involving, they’re the literary equivalent of drinking a lovely glass of absinthe while wearing a smoking jacket. A new one soon please?
9. Holiday reads
On holiday is the one time you can justify reading utter rubbish and get away with it. We all have our guilty pleasures here, whether it’s the latest bonkbuster (the naughtier the better), a celeb biography or the cover that most appealed to you in the duty free shop. Me, I like a nice bit of sex and some gory crime (I must catch up on Kathy Reichs at some point) – as if you’re all surprised!
10. Novelty books Some of them are just rubbish, but I have to confess a weakness for useless trivia. If you ever need to entertain me on a long journey, just pass me one of the current crop of almanacs or origins of words and I’ll be as good as gold… So what would you like to see people reading more of, or what do you think we’d love?