1. One book that changed your life?
I’m not sure that individual books change lives. But when I first read Next please by Ernst Jandl to my son I knew my life had changed.
2. One book you have read more than once?
There are lots. I could mention any Asterix book but to maintain a degree of seriousness I’ll mention Pfitz, the second novel by Andrew Crumey. It is clever, witty, beautifully pieced together and a reminder that British novelists can write with lightness in a European style.
3. One book you would want on a desert island?
Lanark by Alasdair Gray – the great Scottish novel. Social realism and fantasy. In one life. The novel that kickstarted the best of modern Scottish fiction.
4. One book that made you laugh?
Anthropology by Dan Rhodes – 101 stories of 101 words, each about love (and various disastrous relationships).
5. One book that made you cry.
The trick is to keep breathing by Janice Galloway
6. One book you wish had been written?
A fourth novel by Dennis Potter. His first, Hide and Seek, is wonderful and underpins his greatest TV work. Ticket to Ride is a pretty good psychological thriller. Blackeyes was incredibly powerful and became a fascinating and flawed piece of television – although the various themes play out better in the book.
6a. One book by someone else you wish you had written.
If on a winter’s night a traveller by Italo Calvino.
7. One book you wish had never been written?
Doctor WHo: The Ancestor Cell by Cole and Anghelides because it meant that we didn’t get Lawrence Miles’s culmination of a story arc in the eighth Doctor series.
8. One book you are currently reading?
The testament of Gideon Mack by James Robertson and thus far up to and exceeding the very high standard of his previous novels
9. One book you have been meaning to read?
Black Swan Green by David Mitchell but I can’t get round to it because it doesn’t look as interesting as Cloud Atlas.