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Richard Drummie: My six best books – Poems by Joni Mitchell and cookery by Nigel Slater

THE COMPLETE POEMS AND LYRICS by Joni Mitchell Out of print

Almost all of Joni’s songs are stories, mostly true. She can say more in one line than others manage in an entire song. The last line of Off Night Backstreet is “Who left her long black hair in our bathtub drain?” Joni is blonde.

APPETITE by Nigel slater Out of print

I love to cook and Slater is my principal spirit guide. He keeps it simple yet adds a narrative. There are other chefs whose recipes involve taking two days off work plus a drive to the East End to unearth some obscure but “essential” ingredient. Not Nigel.

MARATHON MAN by William Goldman

Out of print Goldman wrote three of my favourite pieces: the screenplays for Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid and All The President’s Men and this book.

If you haven’t read it, then look away now.

There’s a point where two characters, of whom I had strong pictures in my mind, are revealed to be one person. I still remember applauding.

PERFUME by Patrick Süskind Penguin, £8.99

I feel a bit of a lemon because I can’t recall exactly why I loved this but I have given it as a gift to at least three people. What I am sure of is I got lost in its evocative description of Paris in the 1700s and that it had a dark, sensual, obsessive quality.

DEAR ME by Joseph Galliano Out of print

A good friend gave me this and I’ve given it to my children. It’s a brilliantly simple idea: well-known people giving advice to their teenage selves. Funny, poignant, honest and wise.

WHAT WE TALK ABOUT WHEN WE TALK ABOUT LOVE by Raymond Carver Vintage, £8.99

I have the attention span of an amnesiac goldfish so I’m drawn to short stories. I discovered this only recently.

It reminds me of the mood of an Edward Hopper painting: real life, frozen with no added glamour.

• Go West are playing at the Back To The 80s Cruise 2018 in May: backtothe80scruise.co.uk 

• To order any of the books featured, post free (UK only), please phone The Express Bookshop on 01872 562 310. You may also send a cheque made payable to The Express or postal order to: The Express Bookshop, PO BOX 200, Falmouth, Cornwall TR11 4WJ or you can order online at www.expressbookshop.com

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