My six best books
Peter Mayle, 64, British author of A Year In Provence and Bon Appetit, moved to France 16 years ago, where he continues to live with wife Jennie and their three dogs. "I just like the way France smells, the way the coffee tases, the green open space and the 328 types of cheese," he says.
His latest novel, A Good Year (Time Warner, 14.99) is about to become a film directed by Ridley Scott.
Collected Stories of Captain Aubrey by Patrick O'Brien (HarperCollins, all 7.99)
This is a series of 18 marvellously written books, chronologically following an exciting and witty account of life in the British Navy in Napoleonic times. I loathe boats but just like his stories.
The Elements of Style by EB White (Out of print)
The most concise and witty book I have ever read about writing prose. I re-read it at least every six months. It was recommedned to me 40 years ago and I have kept it by my side ever since.
The Biography of Lyndon Johnson by Robert Caro (Pimlico, 18-20)
A riveting explanation of US politics and the greed, back stabbing and ambition which drives it. This is Caro's life work and after three volumes, he has at least one to go. Marvellously written.
Two Towns in Provence by MFK Fisher (Vintage, 7.99)
This book made me want to come and live in France when I first read it as a young man. Fisher describes her life in Marseilles and Aix in a wonderfully evocative way. I only hope I manage to write half as well.
Embers by Sandor Maral (Penguin, 6.99)
Set in the Carpathian Mountains, this is the touching story of two friends who meet after 40 years to discuss their past - when they stopped speaking after they both fell in love with the same woman.
Dispatches by Michael Herr (Picador, 5.99)
From the sidelines of the Vietnam War, Herr followed US troops wherever they went. he is an exceptionally good reporter who offers no ethical stance on war. A terrific read and relevant today.