Paperbacks: 69 for 1, by Alan Coren

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The Independent Culture

A columnist who mastered the art of making complicated writing look effortless, Coren was proven to be irreplaceable when he died last year, aged 69.

This collection is titled to celebrate his victory over an almost fatal bout of necrotising fasciitis – which, in his hands, is funny. One speciality is to take a subject and gallop away with it, panting to a breathless close at a distant full stop. Another is to make the familiar weird and the weird eerily familiar. "He is only a small kid," he writes of a complaining infant on a plane, "but his body must be made up entirely of tonsil."

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