1. A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini – Afghanistan, women, pain.
2. The Blue Bedspread by Raj Kamal Jha – Shocking story of incest. Technical masterpiece.
3. In the Country of Men by Hisham Mitar. – Coming of age story against the backdrop of Libyan suppression.
4. The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison – Technically perfect book. Morrison understands social issues and how to wield them.
5. The Reader by Bernard Schlink – The story of the holocaust as you’ve never read it.
6. Silk by Alessandro Baricco – Love story. Mysterious, haunting.
7. Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez – A book about love, what can I possibly say?
8. The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne – Adultery. Hester Prynne is a character that I found difficult not to empathise with.
9. Jude the Obscure by Thomas Hardy – Gosh, this was the most confounding story I ever read. But ultimately I felt Hardy succeeded because I really, really felt Jude’s absolute obscurity!
10. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini – Children, social issues, my favourite kind of book.
11. A Map of the World by Jane Hamilton – The loss of a child – who could not feel something about that?
12. I Know This Much is True by Wally Lamb – Family dynamics. Lamb’s a master at exploring them.
13. The Art of Fiction by John Gardner – Great advice for writers.
14. The Consolations of Philosophy by Alain de Botton – Hilarious in parts. Alain de Botton is to philosophy what Jamie Oliver is to cooking. Refreshing and accessible.
15. The Right Questions by Debbie Ford – Helps one to think about important decisions.
16. The Hiding Place by Trezza Azzopardi – Children, social issues.
17. The Outsider by Albert Camus – Set in the desolate North African landscape that appeals to me.
18. The Art of Seduction by Robert Greene
19. I Remember by Denis Hirson – Beautifully styled book on fleeting memories that hold pockets of emotion.
20. The Book of Fred by Abby Bardi – Fostering. What is family?
21. Beyond Culture by Edward T Hall
22. White Oleander by Janet Fitch – Abandonment.
23. The Writer’s Brush edited by Donald Friedman – Great book to come back to again and again.
24. The Power of One by Bryce Courtenay – First South African book that I really loved.
25. The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver – Children. Africa. Lots of social stuff.
26. The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro – Beautiful love story.
27. Atonement by Ian McEwan – Forgiveness, love, family, betrayal.
28. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte – Passion, drama.
29. Pookie, the rabbit with wings by Ivy Wallace – Set up the adventurer in me when i was 5 years old, I ran away a lot.
30. Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks – Tender story about trench warfare. I finally understood why my grandfather was such a silent man.