Check in to the W London hotel for great novels

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The Independent Culture

Hotels are not famed for their highbrow libraries; if you're lucky, you might just find the latest Jackie Collins blockbuster. But this is about to change at the new W London hotel in Leicester Square, where books have been recommended by famous authors, including Bret Easton Ellis.

The (W)riters' Library, which opens next week on the hotel's first floor, has invited 10 well-known writers to pick 10 books for the library. Inside each they have included a handwritten note explaining why they love the book.

Ellis has picked The Great Gatsby – "The best American novel of the 20th century" – his favourite novel, A Sentimental Education by Gustave Flaubert and his favourite contemporary novel, Play it as it Lays by Joan Didion.

David Nicholls has gone for Casino Royale by Ian Fleming – "A guilty pleasure and surely the only novel in which the hero orders half an avocado pear for dessert." He also adds Collected Stories by Philip Larkin and Essays by George Orwell to his recommendations. "Along with Dickens, Orwell was my first passion. The novels are wonderful, but the essays sum up everything great about him. Clear prose, moral fervour, curiosity."

Jake Arnott has chosen Diaries by Andy Warhol– "The post-pop bible – hilariously funny and surprisingly touching." Also on of his must-read list is Fun Home by Alison Bechdel – "The term 'graphic novel' simply doesn't do justice to this extraordinary book."

Naomi Alderman meanwhile has chosen The Whole Story by Ali Smith: "Look, this is how one of the stories starts: 'I fell in love with a tree. I couldn't not. It was in blossom.' See what I mean?"

Damian Barr, the curator of the library, says: "When you recommend a book, you say a lot about yourself, consciously or not... It's a first of its kind, giving visitors the chance to personally connect with their favourite writers and the titles that have inspired, challenged and touched them in their lives. This is about the stories behind the books."

The (W)riters Library, W London, Leicester Square, W1 from 14 June (