Freddie Fox: My six best books – Donna Tartt, Flashman, John Donne, Evelyn Waugh and more

January 12, 2018
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THE SECRET HISTORY by Donna Tartt Penguin, £8.99

A ripping yarn with many layers. Something deep and dark happens as the novel unfolds.

I studied classics and history so, if I hadn’t gone to drama school, I picture myself in the classics faculty where this is set and might easily have been one of the guys in the story.

LOVE AND WAR IN THE APENNINES by Eric Newby William Collins, £9.99

I knew Eric when I was a boy and this tells the story of how he met his wife when she helped him escape from a prisoner-of-war camp in Italy. He wrote about his adventures so wittily and articulately.

MEDITATIONS by Marcus Aurelius Penguin, £7.99

This is accessible, poetic philosophy that has given me a few values I have attempted to set my store by. Our function as creatures on the planet is to do our best to serve the whole.

My way is by entertaining which I’d argue is as essential as curing the sick or laying down laws.

BRIDESHEAD REVISITED by Evelyn Waugh, Penguin, £9.99

“Oxford, in those days, was still a city of aquatint” is a beautiful line at the beginning. Waugh was a sensational writer and conjures an image of the past I find quixotic and also sad in its nostalgia.

SELECTED POEMS by John Donne, Penguin, £8.99

When I was doing Romeo And Juliet I went to Verona with my agent, who studied Donne, and this was the door into me writing my own poetry.

I’m not religious but I’m in love with the aesthetic of religion and Donne conjures that beatific beauty.

FLASHMAN AT THE CHARGE by George MacDonald Fraser, HarperCollins, £9.99

This is the Flashman book I’veenjoyed most, set in the Crimean war.

Fraser’s pinpointing of 19th-century history is fascinating and done with style and humour.

I would love to write and star in an update of Flashman. He’s a great anti-hero.

• Freddie Fox is one of the sitters in Portrait Artist Of The Year which starts on Sky Arts on January 16 at 8pm.



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