Laura Palmer, our fiction publisher, talks about her top ten books of all time.

This festive season I am singing loudly to Fairy Tale of New York (preferably in a dank karaoke bar with the HoZ choir).

If I were a character from fiction I’d probably be Tintin – Gung-ho and glass-half-full, but also a bit of a spod.

My favourite Christmas dish is pigs in blankets. Double meat = double yum.

I’m currently re-reading Hanna Jameson’s Something You Are and marveling all over again at how such dark, stylish, cut-throat prose can come from someone so young (she’s 22).

My top 10 books of all time are:

  1. The Time Traveller’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger. I know it is an unoriginal choice. But it's just so sad and so lovely and so clever.
  2. A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry. A book that gives you a real understanding of all the darkness and magic of life.
  3. Just William by Richmal Crompton is quite simply the funniest book ever written.
  4. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson. I don't think I've ever encountered a character who blazes through a book as fiercely as Lisbeth Salander.
  5. Jacob’s Room by Virginia Woolf. A portrait of absence and loss like nothing else.
  6. The Wasteland by T.S. Eliot. Words you can get lost in, puzzle over, savour again and again.
  7. The ABC Murders by Agatha Christie for sheer genius plotting and for spearheading a whole genre.
  8. Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel. I can't choose between them. Both are such magnificent character studies I wonder sometimes if she has met their ghosts.
  9. Stuart, A Life Backwards by Alexander Masters. A simple idea that packs a powerful punch and makes you think – really think – about our society and attitudes today.
  10. Skippy Dies by Paul Murray  - joyful, tragic, big and small all at once. You get the sense the author really likes and understands humans.