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Off the shelf

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: December 14, 2013

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Alice's Adventures in Wonderland Lewis Carroll

I will be forever indebted to Miss Girling, the teacher who first fired my imagination and love of books. That day she sat down her class of unruly kids from a Northern mill town and enchanted them into silence by reading aloud from a classic book must rank as one of her greatest achievements at the chalk face. Because not only did it introduce her grubby young charges to one of English literature's strangest, quirkiest and fascinating tomes – it also started me on a voyage of discovery through some of the most exciting, wondrous and captivating landscapes created by our greatest writers.

Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967) The Beatles

When it comes to my favourite album, there is simply no contest. It is the best album made by the best group from the best era of popular music. My awareness of the world of music seemed to coincide with the start of Beatlemania, and that the soundtrack to my formative years was laid down by the Fab Four. I was at a slight disadvantage in that I didn't get a record player until I was 12. But when I was asked what LP I wanted to go with my best-ever Christmas present, there was no contest. The technical brilliance, the weird and wonderful recording techniques, the title track and its clever reprise all make it stand out as the album of the 60s.

Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy (2004)

I like my films funny, and I like them silly. And best of all I like them set in the 1970s. So this Will Ferrell take on a San Diego TV newsroom, riddled with male chauvinism, loud jackets, big moustaches and even bigger egos, ticks all the boxes. The tagline 'His news is bigger than your news' aptly sums up the mentality of Ron and his team of cohorts. His fall from grace, and his eventual redemption, make for an engaging storyline.

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