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In His Own Write by John Lennon

My mum gave me a copy of this when I was a teenager and it started a life-long love for John Lennon and made me think about the world in a way I hadn’t before. I also blame this book for the encyclopaedic volumes of pathetic diaries and notebooks of poems and drawings I kept through my adolescence.

Hotel Du Lac by Anita Brookner

A boy I thought I was mad about gave me a copy of this for my 24th birthday. I began reading it to impress  him; I carried on reading it because it was the saddest, most sophisticated tale, with subtle sketches of romanticism, desire and longing.

The Girls' Guide To Hunting and Fishing by Melissa Bank

Another gem given to me by my mum when I was a teenager – an utter classic for most women of my age. An honest, warm, funny, frustrating, beautiful account of a young woman growing up and learning about love, and the romantic dynamics between and men and women.

Reed All About Me by Oliver Reed

My friend Ross gave me Oliver Reed’s memoir as we both had a shared love of watching clips of him drunkenly dancing on chat shows in the 70s. It is one of the most shocking, most hilarious overblown stories of a well-lived and well-soaked life I’ve ever read. Re-reading it always cheers me up. Particularly the four pages of rambling acknowledgements, in which he finds time to thank a maid in a hotel who he accidentally exposed himself to.

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