Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

 Nick and Amy, married for five years, have been forced by circumstance to leave their gilded life in New York: job loss results in a downshift to small-town Missouri. But things are still fine with these thirtysomethings: handsome Nick is back – to look after his ill parents – in the town where he grew up, while beautiful Amy –…

The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins

  The Moonstone, a fabulous diamond, is looted from a temple in India by a British army officer in 1799. Three Hindu priests want it back – and they will stop at nothing: murder, travel to Yorkshire, pretend to be jugglers, bide their time, you name it. Half a century later and the jewel is given…

Autobiography by Morrissey

 …I am the son and the heir… Autobiography starts with a great joke, being published as a Penguin Classic. Many have been ruffled by this: possibly they didn’t get it. Anyway, as his musical output over three decades makes clear, Morrissey can actually write. Early years are movingly handled: home, friends (limited) and education –…

Purchasing from Independent Bookshops: A User’s Guide

So, 2013 was The Year Of Buying No Books. It is time to ask, as Jerry Springer, might say: ‘What have we learned?’ First of all, I learned that I have a number of wonderful books on my shelves. I learned that The Great Gatsby really is still great, that it is possible to read Keri Hulme’s…

Utopia and Other Places by Richard Eyre

 Richard Eyre, film and theatre director, former boss of the National Theatre, good egg and once – as the cover photo shows – a rather dashing young man. Utopia & Other Places is a memoir, with a particular emphasis on his early years. In some ways he was very privileged, in some ways horribly treated (oh,…

A Prayer For Owen Meany by John Irving

The first time of my reading A Prayer For Owen Meany was in, I would guess, 1990. Much of it – the end in particular – had stuck in my mind during the intervening quarter of a century or so. In some ways this is not so surprising: John Irving often, apparently, comes up with a dramatic end for…