The Sunday Telegraph - Stella - - MY BOOKSHELF -

As­terix the Gaul by René Goscinny

I used to read these comics with my dad. I de­rived plea­sure from them when I was six years old, and equally when I was a uni­ver­sity stu­dent. Char­lotte’s Web by EB White One of the best nov­els about death. I read it to my daugh­ter, who is very force­ful in her pref­er­ence for fe­male pro­tag­o­nists.

The Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien

Not only is this about an epic quest, but it’s an epic quest to read. But as a young boy I was so gripped that I de­voured it in a sum­mer.

Beloved by Toni Mor­ri­son

This is the story of a mother and daugh­ter, and the bru­tal­ity and af­ter­math of slav­ery. Toni taught me to lis­ten to the voice of a novel, so I read it aloud.

Slouch­ing To­wards Bethlehem by Joan Did­ion

Manto was one of the great masters of the short story. He wrote about sex and pol­i­tics in such a raw way, mak­ing me re­alise it was pos­si­ble to write about La­hore like that.

King­dom’s End by Saa­dat Hasan Manto

Did­ion’s in­tel­li­gence, her ob­ser­va­tions and the steadi­ness of her prose through­out these es­says, which re­count her ex­pe­ri­ences of Cal­i­for­nia in the 1960s, are breath­tak­ing.

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