1. Night Thoughts by Robert Fraser
Colourful biography of the English surrealist poet David Gascoyne. Fabulous.
2. The Baroness by Hannah Rothschild
The author's free-spirited great aunt left her life of fusty balls, Bentleys and stately homes for the 1950s New York Jazz scene.
3. Simon Cowell by Tom Bower
From failed music exec to global pop behemoth. Not high art, but juicy as a pear and interesting.
4. Banksy: Man Behind The Wall by Will Ellsworth-Jones
Charting the move from spray-can-wielding teen tagging his youth club, to global art star.
5. Hitler: A Short Biography by AN Wilson
Despite some controversy stoked by a Cambridge Hitler expert, this is highly readable.
6. Putin: The Man Without A Face by Masha Gessen
A brave book documenting Putin's corruption, and goes some way to explaining Russia's liberal turn.
7. Diamond Queen by Andrew Marr
Worth a read, even if just for the amusing anecdotes, which bring out the inner nosy parker in us all.
8. Wilkie Collins by Peter Ackroyd
Victorian author of sensational fiction and detective stories and a bosom buddy of Charles Dickens.
9. Running For Their Lives by Mark Whitaker
In 1928 two men ran across America in 80 days. An extraordinary tale.
10. A Card From Angela Carter by Susannah Clapp
A luminous picture of her friend and correspondent, this is an intimate, funny, ribald book.