My six best books
The comedian, presenter and writer Alexei Sayle is one of eight authors featured in the BBC's new short story competition, End Of Story. He has written the beginning of a short story, about a couple trying to get rid of a troublesome lodger, and budding writers are being invited to complete it. The competition is being launched on BBC Three on Sunday, April 18 at 9pm. Alexei, 51, lives in London with his wife Linda.
His novel Overtaken, (Sceptre, 6.99) is published in paperback on April 26.
Saint Maybe by Anne Tyler (Vintage 6.99)
This is a story of redemption. A young man causes the death of his older brother through a minor act of cruelty and tries to make up for it for the rest of his life. I am a big fan of Anne Tyler, she is a fantastic writerm and this is one of her best novels.
Handful of Dust by Evelyn Waugh (Penguin, 6.99)
The fiction I write is contemporary satire - and Waugh was doing the same thing back in the 1930s. His writing is humourous and observant, and there are some heart-stoppingly bleak moments in this book, which I loved.
Anna Karenina by Leo Toistoy (Penguin, 7.99)
I am just including this to make myself seem intelligent! It's a great story about love and obsession. Anna is a wonderfully constructed fictitous character and it's always good to have a woman as the central character. I wouldn't say that I am a big romantic, but I like fiction and the big themes are always love and death.
Ministry Of Fear by Graeme Greene (Vintage, 6.99)
This book had a real effect on me when I read it at 18. It's a kind of detective story, but is also a great literary work - it crosses genres which was a very original thing to do in the 1940s. I like complex stories which have more than one theme - I like people who don't just stick to their box.
Jane's Gun Recognition Guide by Ian Hogg (HarperCollins, 14.99)
It is, of course, compulsory for every man to be able to distinguish between a 9mm Beretta and a Glock! I am fascinated by guns - I think it was because my parents wouldn't let me play with toy guns when I was a kid. I keep my knowledge up to date with this book. Cars, guns, knives - blokes' stuff - I know a lot about them all.
Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut (Vintage, 6.99)
This author was very fashionable for his science fiction writing in the 1970s, but has now become disregarded. He's led such an interesting life - he was a prisoner of war and was in the allied bombing of Dresden among other things, Modern authors just study writing at college, but he's been out there and experienced life - which really shows in his work.