My 5 Favourite Books

1. Oscar Wilde by Richard Ellmann

This book was such a formative influence in my life. The glorious Oscar is here in all his wonderful, doomed glory. An enormous book, and truly a lifetime's work, this is quite possibly the best biography ever written.

2. The Pursuit of Love by Nancy Mitford

Funny - surely the funniest novel ever. Mitford has such a light touch, and a mastery of the English language made even more remarkable by the fact that she was barely educated. The Mitfords have become such objects of fetish that people have forgotten how talented Nancy actually was.

                                                        3. Peace is Every Step by Thich Nhat Hanh

Another life-changing book, this wonderful little collection of Buddhist wisdom is my constant companion.

4. My Guru and His Disciple by Christopher Isherwood

I love all of Isherwood's books, but this is the most fascinating, by far. Essentially an autobiographical account of his own struggles with religion and sex, this book is usually pooh-poohed by critics, but it is a compulsive read, and one of the most honest pieces of literature you will come across.

5. The Farewell Symphony by Edmund White

Hard to pick one book by White, but I think that this is his masterpiece. Yet another installment in his endless re-writing of his own autobiography, posing as fiction, this big book is brilliant in its pacing and is a fascinating piece of social history all on its own. Impossible not to love.


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