​TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD - HARPER LEE
Possibly the greatest novel of the modern era. I first came across this book at school, was captivated it by its prose, its story of life in a small American town in the thirties. It's characters such as Atticus Finch, and his children Scout and Jem, and the infamous  Boo Radley, still makes me feel emotional to this day.
THE CATCHER IN THE RYE -  J D SALINGER
​​​A classic book, ahead of it's time, which still holds up today. Since his debut in 1951 as The Catcher in the Rye, Holden Caulfield has been synonymous with "cynical adolescent". Holden narrates the story of a couple of days in his 16-year-old life, just after he's been expelled from prep school, in a slang that sounds edgy even today and keeps this novel on banned book lists. 
​CIDER WITH ROSIE - LAURIE LEE
​Cider with Rosie is a very special book. I read it when I was fifteen for my O Levels, and even now it tugs on my heartstrings. If you can't learn something about humanity from this book then you are heartless and miss the point of being alive. The final chapter, written about a time between the wars, can tell us more about modern life, ASBO's and youth culture than many a dissertation about life.
 THE LAST FRONTIER - ALISTAIR MACLEAN
​My Favourite MacLean novel, read when I was a teenager.  An undercover mission beyond the Iron Curtain to recover a defected scientist goes disastrously wrong  A Cold War thriller from the acclaimed master of action and suspense. Michael Reynolds was going insane ! slowly but inevitably insane. And the most terrible part of it was that he knew it. Since the last forced injection, there had been nothing he could do about the relentless onset of this madness. The more he struggled to ignore the symptoms, the more acutely he became aware of them, the deeper into his mind dug those fiendish chemical claws that were tearing his mind apart!
THE PILLARS OF THE EARTH - KEN FOLLETT
To sum up this epic masterpiece in such a small space is nigh on impossible. The story, although this may sound dull, basically revolves around the building of a 12th century Cathedral and all that happens around it. In those times the Cathedral was the focal point for society so it actually proves an incredibly engrossing tale. The amount of research Follet puts into his work is obvious and the picture he builds of life in the 12th century is fascinating. The best part of the book however is the characterisation. The story spans several generations and the empathy you feel towards the characters by the end is immense.
A QUIET BELIEF IN ANGELS - R J ELLORY
This book is a riveting tale. From the moment the story opened in 1939 through the eyes of twelve year old Joseph Vaughan, I was hooked. 
The story covers fifty years of Joseph's life, and tells how his life is linked and overshadowed by a series of grisly murders of young girls. When his own girlfriend is murdered in a similiar way to the young girls, and he is jailed for a murder he didn't commit, Joseph decides to find the real murderer. 
Set in a small town in the deep south of America, A Quiet Belief evokes a haunting atmosphere of the people and the times. 
It had echoes of To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, and fully deserves all the accolades it's getting. For a british author to capture the period in america so well, is a measure of his talent. 
The book would make a great film, as the ending is shocking and unexpected

THE CRIMSON PETAL AND THE WHITE - MICHEL FABER
​This immense novel is very detailed and obviously extremely well researched. In many ways, it is Dickensian in its rich depiction of characters whom you come to know intimately and its plot turns and twists. Indeed, apart from its sexual content, this has the genuine feel of an authentic Victorian novel. Some might see the ending as ambiguous as we don't find out what happens to Sugar and Sophie, but one hopes they find a good niche in society. The characters are so well drawn that you still think about their lives and characters after the novel finishes.