The story of the writing of The Great Gatsby, and a great way to reread and remember that wonderful novel. It’s the biography of the time the novel was written and set in. Enlightening for fans of F. Scott Fitzgerald.
Collection of journalistic pieces written in the second world war, seeing people and events in a factual light that I found emotional to read. Read in a beautiful Folio Society edition that increases the pleasure of the reading experience.
The Norwich Unesco city of world literature project made me read Thomas Paine’s Rights of Man. It’s the kind of book which, had I read it as a 19 year old, would have been one of those formative books that would never have left me through life. It’s beautifully written, superbly argued, and immensely brave. I may have read it too late for it to have shaped my life, but it has shaped the world we all live in. How many books have done that?
For the D&AD Story Works project, I re-read Moby Dick. I did read this as a 19 year old, and it has been hugely influential for me. I suppose a very reasonable choice for a desert island book (perhaps after being shipwrecked by a sperm whale attack). It’s mad, brilliant, frustrating, soaring, but beyond anything it was a vast, ambitious project, and has made everything else I’ve read this year (apart from Rights of Man) look pale and limited by comparison.