John Boyne: My six best books | Books | Entertainment

Category: Art & Culture,Books DAVID COPPERFIELD by Charles Dickens Penguin, £7.99 I’ve always enjoyed stories about the whole life o...

Category: Art & Culture,Books

DAVID COPPERFIELD by Charles Dickens

Penguin, £7.99

I’ve always enjoyed stories about the whole life of a character from birth to death and this is one of the few books I’ve read more than once.

I have this thing about orphans for some reason and it has infl uenced my young-adult writing.

THE CIDER HOUSE RULES by John Irving

Black Swan, £9.99

Irving really inspired me and is himself influenced by Dickens.

This is very funny, moving and political. It’s a commentary on abortion rights, which was controversial in the States in the 1980s.

THE SECRET HISTORY by Donna Tartt

Penguin, £8.99

I love a good mystery and what’s wonderful about this is that it combines the elements of a crime novel with the thing you’d least expect to fi nd which is a study of the classics.

It made me want to go and learn Greek and Latin because she makes it compulsively interesting.

THE SLAP by Christos Tsiolkas

Atlantic, £8.99

I’m a huge Australiaphile and this is my favourite novel of the 21st century so far.

It’s an epic study of the Greek immigrant culture in Melbourne.

It starts at a barbecue where a man slaps a child and it follows the reverberations of that slap.

THE GO-BETWEEN by LP Hartley

Penguin, £9.99

The book I give people most as gifts. It’s a tender exploration of the pain of first love.

It’s written with an elegiac quality and has that wonderful opening sentence: “The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there.”

MOBY DICK by Herman Melville

Vintage, £6.99

Every few books, I try to get through a classic that I’ve never read.

I was talking recently with John Irving who’d just got a Moby Dick tattoo, plus I was doing a festival on Nantucket, where the story starts.

People say it’s a slog and there’s too much about whales but it’s strangely hypnotic.


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