Apologies for mentioning this if you’ve already seen it – or better still, placed a bid – but Book Aid International is auctioning a fantastic collection of books and original illustrations to raise funds for its work in sub-Saharan Africa.
You’ll find the list on ebay here. As I write it’s quite interesting to see that the book generating most interest is Suite Francaise by Irene Nemirovsky, signed by Helen Mirren. Nemirovsky’s translator, Sandra Smith, is not mentioned, so I’ll add her in here for good measure.
My choice would definitely be Chekhov’s The Complete Short Novels signed by William Boyd. In his inscription, Boyd writes that these stories show Chekhov at the height of his extraordinary ability, the best short story writer ever, depicting the “complete tragicomedy that is our human existence”. So right.
There’s a wealth of material waiting to be picked up regarding the various celebs and politicians, their choice of novel and what they’ve written: Twiggy and Tess of the D’Urbervilles, Joanna Lumley and The Towers of Trebizond (she finds “the rich inner life of the heroine an inspiration”), and David Dimbleby who’s chosen his favourite book, Michel de Montaigne’s Complete Works.
Anyway, I’m off to place a bid… there’s a couple of days still to go, so put your favourites on a watch list!