Best-selling author Tony Parsons began his career writing for the NME in 1976. His highly acclaimed books include the multi-million selling Man and Boy. His first crime novel Murder Bag is out now.

My Family and Other Animals

By Gerald Durrell

my family and other animals tony parsons

This delightful book lit a fire under my imagination that’s never gone out. Aged ten, I was the same age as Durrell in the book and totally identified with him. I too spent a lot of my time roaming free in nature, but his impossibly exotic adventures in Corfu were those that a schoolboy in 1960s, rainy, home-counties England could only dream of. His story is told with such generosity and humanity. It taught me that books can be the greatest of art forms. 

 

On the Road

By Jack Kerouac

On the Road Tony Parsons

Like Durrell, Kerouac’s book encouraged me to travel. On the Road is a powerful and pure book about friendship—those friendships you have in your youth when nothing else gets in the way. It’s wonderful to remind ourselves of a time when friends were more important than anything else. Kerouac is a timeless writer, appealing to generations of young adults and encouraging a sense of adventure with his lyrical prose and the poetry he sees in the bleak American hinterland. I thought the life of a writer very romantic.

 

The Godfather

By Mario Puzo

The Godfather Tony Parsons

While writing The Murder Bag, I turned to The Godfather as the ultimate example of a thriller with heart. Books about family and relationships can lack excitement, while thrillers can lack emotional weight—but The Godfather gets it absolutely right. Puzo had never been to Sicily, where the novel is set, but his depiction of the place is testimony to the power of the writer’s imagination.

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