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Favourite books

I like to read stuff from a number of genres. In the field of crime, it’s hard to find better out-and-out whodunits than those written by the great Agatha Christie. It’s probably a bit unfashionable of me to admit to being such a fan, but there’s a reason why she’s one of the best-selling writers in history, you know! It will be no surprise if I tell you that I’m also a big fan of Ellis Peters, who first brought fame to historical crime; I also very much enjoy the Matthew Bartholomew chronicles, written by Susanna Gregory and set in fourteenth-century Cambridge. The depiction of the city is so vivid that you can almost smell it.  
   Looking at more general historical fiction, I’d never have got started if I hadn’t read virtually everything written by Rosemary Sutcliff when I was younger; amongst more recent authors, I find I just can’t put down anything by Sharon Penman. If you’ve never read The Sunne in Splendour, go and get hold of a copy now …
In other fiction, I like all sorts of classics (has anyone, anywhere, ever been as witty as Jane Austen? Don’t just watch the TV adaptations – read the books!) and various more modern things. I await eagerly every new book by Christopher Brookmyre and put my life on hold until I’ve finished it. Perhaps strangely (or not?) for a historical buff, I enjoy various SF and fantasy as well. The late Douglas Adams certainly doesn’t need the likes of me to tell everyone how fantastic his writing is, but I will anyway, and I also admire David Eddings, mainly as his characters as just so real that you feel they could be in the room, even though they’re miles away in a fantasy world.

No reading list would be complete without some non-fiction. Well, anything that relates to the Middle Ages is great, though I must particularly recommend anything by Matthew Strickland, Sean McGlynn or John Gillingham.

Tim De lisle Young Wisden And finally, in the field of cricket I’ll read pretty much anything, but I make a beeline straight for anything by the prodigiously talented Gideon Haigh. And if you’re sitting there thinking, “What? Cricket?” then you could do no better than finding a copy of Young Wisden: A New Fan’s Guide to Cricket by Tim de Lisle. It’s meant as an introduction to the game for youngsters, but is really useful for newcomers to the game of all ages.
If you're a more seasoned fan, check out Lawrence Booth's Cricket, Lovely Cricket? An Addict's Guide to the World's Most Exasperating Game - a laugh-out-loud read from one of the wittiest writers around.