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30/10/2011 20:05 GMT | Updated 30/12/2011 05:12 GMT

Sam Leith's Desert Island Books

Sam Leith served as literary editor of the Daily Telegraph until 2008 and is the author of two award-winning books, Dead Pets and Sod's Law. His work has also appeared in - amongst other publications - the Evening Standard, The Guardian, and the Sunday Times. Leith's first novel, The Coincidence Engine was released in February.

Sam Leith served as literary editor of the Daily Telegraph until 2008 and is the author of two award-winning books, Dead Pets and Sod's Law.

His work has also appeared in - amongst other publications - the Evening Standard, The Guardian, and the Sunday Times. Leith's first novel, The Coincidence Engine (Bloomsbury, 2011), was released in February.

1. Best book about trips or journeys.

Moby-Dick

2. Which book are you mostly likely to pick as your ultimate survival manual?

The Hitch-Hiker's Guide To The Galaxy by Douglas Adams.

3. Which author would you most like to go on a vacation with, and what would you do doing?

Kurt Vonnegut. He'd be talking and I'd be laughing.

4. The Lord of the Flies was once described as embodying the "diversity and universality of... the human condition in the world of today". Which character do you reckon you are most like?

The conch.

5. If there was one book you had to burn for firewood, which would it be?

Gosh. If only Paulo Coelho wrote longer books. I'm going to be chilly.

6. Which paragraph or line from a novel would you choose for your final 'message in a bottle'?

Can't really better the end of [George Eliot's] Middlemarch, I don't think. "Her finely touched spirit had still its fine issues, though they were not widely visible. Her full nature, like that river of which Cyrus broke the strength, spent itself in channels which had no great name on the earth. But the effect of her being on those around her was incalculably diffusive: for the growing good of the world is partly dependent on unhistoric acts; and that things are not so ill with you and me as they might have been, is half owing to the number who lived faithfully a hidden life, and rest in unvisited tombs."

Image courtesy of The Oldie. Special thanks to Sophie Rochester and the Soho Lit Festival.