Cultural Life: Harlan Coben, novelist

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The Independent Culture

Books: I just read and loved David Benioff's 'City of Thieves'. It is about the siege of Leningrad and manages to be moving, adventurous and funny, all at the same time. I don't normally read self-help but I really enjoyed 'The Happiness Project' by Gretchen Rubin. It's as though the smartest girl in the class did all your homework on happiness and gave you her easy-to-digest notes. She spent a year test driving theories about how to be happier.

Films: I haven't seen much this year so here's one you might have skipped from 2008: 'Gran Torino' by Clint Eastwood, which I saw on DVD. In my opinion, this is his most underrated and perhaps best film. Too many people think it's a violent, vigilante film. It's anything but. Walt Kowalski (Eastwood) is a lonely and widowed Korean war veteran who sets out to reform his teenage neighbour, who tries to steal his 1972 Gran Torino.

Television: 'Lost.' Yes, the answer is obvious, but as we headed towards the climax of this series, I realised it may be the greatest show of all time. I don't say that lightly. Go back to season one if you missed it. It's on DVD. Thank me later.

Music: You probably haven't heard of American rock band Thriving Ivory and that's a shame. Start with the song "Angels on the Moon". It's online. Just download it and give it a listen.

Theatre: Keith Huff's 'A Steady Rain' on Broadway at the end of last year. I saw it with Daniel Craig and Hugh Jackman (below) and expected very little. It blew me away. I love when that happens. It is about two Chicago policemen who return a boy by mistake to a cannibalistic serial killer and then have to deal with the consequences of bad judgement.

Caught by Harlan Coben is published by Orion, £18.99