Published On: Fri, Aug 4th, 2017

Katy Brand: My six best books – Polo, Alias Grace and more

RABBIT IS RICH by John Updike Penguin, £9.99 My favourite of the Rabbit books because it’s the most fun. For some reason I find stories about ordinary American life romantic. In this he has taken over a car dealership and is making good money. I like the sense of living alongside a character through a series of books and it’s perfectly written. 

PORTNOY’S COMPLAINT by Philip Roth Vintage, £8.99 A gateway drug to Roth’s work. It’s an eye-popping account of one man. It’s funny and frank about sex and the fact that it’s a notorious book adds another layer of fun to it. 

WHITE TEETH by Zadie Smith Penguin, £8.99 At university I read the minimum to not get thrown off my course because I was busy getting drunk. When I graduated in 2000 everyone was talking about this and it got me into more adult reading habits. It’s about immigrant families in London. Being a modern teenager it felt fresh and exciting. 

POLO by Jilly Cooper Corgi, £9.99 I’ve always liked these sorts of books – I don’t want to label them with some snooty term – and am a fan of Jackie Collins as well. I found this really funny and naughty. Because I’d just left Oxford there were suddenly a load of jokes about posh people in it that I understood. 

ALIAS GRACE by Margaret Atwood Virago, £9.99 I’ve just finished this. It’s an unusual book. I like her themes such as the dark power of female sexuality, as well as the internal lives of women versus what they present to the outside. This is based on a historical event and it’s a thrilling murder-mystery. 

THE SECRET DIARY OF ADRIAN MOLE AGED 13 3/4 by Sue Townsend Puffin, £6.99 One of the funniest books ever. I’ve re-read it about 10 times. Once you look at your teenage years from the other side it’s even more hilarious. The older I get the more subtlety I find. It’s comforting because it’s relatable. 

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