1. Wolf Hall (Hilary Mantel)
This book is not everyone’s cup of tea. Without a foundation knowledge of the 16th century royal family it is very easy to get confused and a constant need to flick to the family tree at the front of the book is nothing less than irritating. However, having studied the Tudors in sixth form, for me Hilary Mantel brought the characters to life. N.B. The theatre production is equally fantastic, as is the sequel, Bring Up the Bodies.
2. King Lear (William Shakespeare)
I adore King Lear. From Cordelia’s angelic but infuriating behaviour, to Edmund’s wicked but admirable plotting. Its a long play, and your bum is definitely sore once you’ve seen in at the Globe, but trust me, it’s worth every bottom-aching moment.
3. Dominion (C.J. Sansom)
Another historical fiction, this book is an impressive feat. The characters are beautifully developed and you sense the urgency and the heartache in the novel. Unlike Wolf Hall it is also not too ‘history’ heavy with the historical setting perfect for the murky goings-on which ensue in foggy London.
4. Breakfast at Tiffany’s (Truman Capote)
The first book I read after finishing my first Cambridge year, I adore Breakfast at Tiffany’s. It’s short but powerful and Capote has a habit of writing endings which leave you feeling somewhat lost, and with questions you’ll never have answered. So there’s a heads up if you can’t stand anything worse that never knowing what happened next…
5. Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen)
A frequent appearance in this feature, Pride and Prejudice is a popular (cliched?) choice. But alas, it was one of the first classics I read and I have been in love with Mr Darcy ever since. It will always have a place on my bookshelf. No shame.