The Ten Best Autumn reads

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The Independent Culture

1. House of Meetings By Martin Amis

Unbowed by his last encounter with the critics, the nation's top literary stylist surges back with this bitter evocation of a slave-labour camp in Stalin's gulag where two brothers are in love with the same woman.

Cape, RRP £15.99; offer £14.50

2. The Inheritance of Loss by Kiran Desai

The Booker Prize winner. An elaborately structured story that moves between the Manhattan, seen through immigrant eyes, and an Indian hill town where a teenage girl lives with her grandfather and dreams of romance.

Hamish Hamilton, RRP £16.99; offer £15.50

3. Red Carpets and Other Banana Skins by Rupert Everett

Public school drama queen hits London stage, Paris and Hollywood and has sex with almost everybody. The most enjoyable showbiz autobiography since Niven's The Moon's a Balloon.

Little Brown, RRP £18.99; offer £17.50

4. Imperium by Robert Harris

Harris's account of ancient Roman politics is riveting. He chronicles the rise of Cicero, the master orator, through the narrative of his confidential secretary, Tiro, amid much jockeying for supreme power.

Hutchinson, RRP £17.99; offer £16.50

4. The Bloodaxe Book of Poetry Quotations by Dennis O'Driscoll

Unexpectedly enthralling collection of acid one-liners and chewy ruminations on the most complex of the literary arts and its tormented practitioners. Insightful and funny.

Bloodaxe; RRP£9.95; offer £8.95

6 The Middle Class: a History by Lawrence James

In 1911, they formed only 11 per cent of the British population. In 2006, they account for 67 per cent. James looks at the rise of bourgeois pragmatism from the days of Pepys to the dawn of Tony Blair.

Little Brown, RRP £25; offer £22.50

7. The Human Touch by Michael Frayn

Mind-stretching investigation of the universe. Have we really discovered universal laws, or invented them? Is the world out there, or in our heads? Frayn guides us with lucidity on a journey into the heart of everything.

Faber, RRP £20; offer £18

8. On Royalty by Jeremy Paxman

An anecdote-strewn study of the changing role of kingship. The Newsnight Torquemada explains his own conversion from republican to fan of hereditary Highness. Many interviews, much absurdity, great fun.

Viking, RRP £20; offer £18

9. White Heat byDominic Sandbrook

A socio-politico-cultural extravaganza on the Sixties. While the key images are given full weight, Sandbrook reveals that most of the nation remained warily conservative. Riveting even if you didn't live through it.

Little, Brown RRP £22.50; offer £22

10. Thomas Hardy: The Time-Torn Man by Claire Tomalin

The most empathetic of literary biographers takes on the Wessex miserabilist, who seemed to plot against his own characters.

Viking, RRP £25; offer £22.50

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