Me Cheeta: the Autobiography (Fourth Estate, £7.99) by James Lever was published in 2009 and was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize, won that year by Hilary Mantel for Wolf Hall. Credulously, foolishly, I read Wolf Hall when I should have been reading Me Cheeta, which is a work of genius. Ever since I finished it this year, I have been urging it on anyone who will listen. It is relentlessly funny, bracingly cynical, written with the brio of a Nabokov - and in its final pages straightforwardly heartbreaking. When Cheeta is reunited briefly with the love of his life, Johnny Weissmuller, the old actor is close to the end: "in the folds of his throat was a little plastic valve", but, joy, "I was all over the place, like birdsong". This is a perfect novel. It belongs on the shelf next to Pnin, another great work of imbricated comedy and pathos.
Maybe we don't need to move Parliament to Hull. But we do need to overhaul its alienating traditions