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Ad Celebrity Book List: Neil French

Posted on May 31, 2007 and read 1,521 times

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Neil French has been a rent collector, account executive, advertising manager, waiter, singer, matador, beach-bum, pornographer, bouncer, debt-collector, concert promoter, nightclub owner, Judas Priests’ rock-band manager, copywriter, art-director, creative director, film director, actor, television station owner, Worldwide Creative Director of Ogilvy and Godfather and Worldwide Creative Director of WPP. “Ten Favourite-ever books”, is a tall order. Sort of like ‘Desert Island Books’…which isn’t a bad idea for a radio show, I reckon. Anyway, here you go:


The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
by Jean Dominique Bauby
A slim volume which has the power to depress, uplift, and inspire. An all-time classic.


The Pickwick Papers
by Charles Dickens
The epitome of the English at their most interesting, as seen through the unusually rose-tinted bifocals of the master of the genre. I read this about once a year, and never tire of it. A Chrismas Carol would be my second choice, but Pickwick is fatter.


The Collected works of Terry Pratchett (Can I get away with that?) It’s a somewhat anorak series about witches and dwarves and so on…like The Lord of the Rings with humour. For some reason, I see the town of Morpork as Birmingham, and if you read ‘em in a Brummie/Warwichshire accent, they’re even funnier. If I had to choose just one, it’d be the first.


Perfume
by Patrick Susskind
Indescribably haunting. They’re making a movie of it. Exactly how, I can’t imagine.


All Quiet on the Western Front
by Erich Maria Remarque
Simply the best and most harrowing book about the First World War, beating the almost equally wonderful Birdsong, by Sebastian Faulkes, but only by a short head.


The House at Pooh Corner, or indeed both Pooh books if I can have them. My entire literary childhood is here encapsulated, and the jokes within the story for kids never fail to crack me up. In this genre, I’d have loved to include The Wind in the Willows or The Little Prince…but rules is rules, I guess.


The Art of Eating
by Mary Frances Kennedy Fisher
Since I’ve chosen to be marooned on a desert island, I’ll need something to sustain my appetite after I’ve done all that can be done with a coconut. This is not only a great cookery-book, but a fascinating autobiography of a truly ballsy woman.


Or I’ll dress You in Mourning
by Larry Collins
Simply the best book ever about my first career-choice, Los Toros. The fact that I failed at it so miserably makes this even more poignant to me. I nearly chose Death in the Afternoon, by E.H. (see below), but that’s great fiction, whereas Cordobes lived and lives yet.


The Great Gatsby
by Scott Fitzgerald
The definitive book by and so evocative of its time and the characters that peopled it. I was so tempted to choose an Ernest Hemingway, but this won on a toss-up.


Pride and Prejudice
by Jane Austen
Just brilliant in every way, and constantly re-readable.








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