I read Tim Pears's Landed (Heinemann, £12.99) at a single sitting: hardly a feat of endurance, given that it is so short, but nevertheless testament to its haunting prose. The story of a bereaved man adrift in modern Britain, it would have made a far more deserving Booker contender than some of the shortlisted candidates.
I also loved Alwyn Turner's splendid Rejoice! Rejoice! Britain in the 1980s (Aurum Press,
£20), which not only re-creates the weird world of the Falklands war, the miners' strike, alternative comedy and the Filofax, but finds room for Mike Gatting, Zola Budd and To the Manor Born. Finally, has there ever been a funnier book than Craig Brown's Lost Diaries (Fourth Estate, £18.99)? Martin Amis, Germaine Greer, Harold Pinter, Philip Roth, Jeremy Clarkson, Jordan . . .