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Published February 28th 2012
As the weather gets cooler, the temptation to forgo outdoor activities for a bit of hearthside R&R increases. That's right folks, autumn is upon us and it's time to stock up on your reading material. Here are five recommendations to get you started.
1. Midnight's Children
The world renowned Man Booker Prize has twice named Midnight's Children, by Salmon Rushdie, the best novel of all time. The first time it was chosen by a the judging panel, and the second time by popular vote.
In this brilliant novel, a fantastical story takes place against a backdrop of real historical events. Fact and fiction are so intricately interwoven that the reader gets lost between the two - thereby providing western readers an incredible window into Indian culture and communication.
2. La Petit Prince (The Little Prince)
It's an oft-quoted statistic that the Bible is the best selling book of all time, but since we all know that 82.4% of dinner party statistics are made up on the spot, I thought I'd better consult the oracle of Wikipedia. There, I discovered that while the Bible and other religious/political texts are probably the most printed books of all time, they're often given away, and reliable sales statistics don't exist. What we do know is that La Petit Prince - or The Little Prince, as it's known in English - by Antoine de Saint-Exupery has sold in the vicinity of 200 million copies worldwide.
This delightful "children's book for grown ups" is a must read for people of all ages. If at all possible, get yourself a colour, illustrated copy.
3. Hans Christian Andersen: The Complete Fairy Tales and Stories
The stories of Hans Christian Andersen are so deeply interwoven into the fabric of our culture that it can sometimes be difficult to remember they're there. Yet, without them, we wouldn't who we are. We'd be someone else entirely.
The stories have been written and rewritten so many times, you'll have experienced them all a hundred times, in a hundred different versions. Why not make the time to go back and see where they all began?
4. The Essential Drucker
Who Moved My Cheese? by Spencer Johnson may be the best selling management book of all time, but I think it's fair to say that the writing and ideas of Peter Drucker have been far more influential. The Harvard Business Review considers Peter Drucker one of the most important figures in contemporary business and management. Upon his death, they devoted an entire edition to his writings and ideas.
The good news is, as well as being uncannily insightful, he's also an entertaining read. Of his 39 published books, The Essential Drucker is a good place to start.
5. The Diary of a Young Girl
Better known as the Diary of Anne Frank, the Diary of a Young Girl is so well-known that I almost decided to leave it out. One of the best-selling non-fiction books of all time, this book is by far the most famous and well-read of any primary source historical document. Hitler's persecution is powerfully told through the eyes of a teenager in hiding.
The original diary - on display in Amsterdam
So, that's my top five recommendations to keep you busy this autumn/winter season, now let's hear yours. What should I be dashing out to buy - or more accurately, staying in to download?