Jumbo to Jockey, By Dominic Prince

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This is a horsey book with a difference – a big difference. A journalist on the shoals ­ or, rather, the comfortable couch ­ of middle age, Prince suddenly decided he wanted to "ride in a race, on a proper racehorse on one of Britain's racetracks".

There were only two problems with this: a) He had never been in a race, in fact it was 20 years since he had ridden a horse; b) He needed to lose five stones and had never been on a diet.

The resulting memoir of his struggle towards this bizarre goal is utterly original. It is both hilarious and compelling. You would never guess that the world of horse racing or the dreary austerity of dieting could be so intriguing. Not that the diet was constant; Prince's description of cheese and biscuits got this reviewer's mouth watering.