The books that familiar faces just love to read

A GOOD READ 'Fred Dinenage - TV presenter always enjoys a good read in particular ' Nearly Famous : Adventures of an After-dinner Speaker ' by Bob ' The Cat ' Bevan.  Picture: ''Malcolm Wells (120703-4228)
A GOOD READ 'Fred Dinenage - TV presenter always enjoys a good read in particular ' Nearly Famous : Adventures of an After-dinner Speaker ' by Bob ' The Cat ' Bevan. Picture: ''Malcolm Wells (120703-4228)
Picture: Shutterstock

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World Book Day today is an annual celebration of authors, illustrators, books and the pleasure of reading.

The biggest celebration of its kind is marked by more than 100 countries all over the world.

Joel Ward

Joel Ward

World Book Day encourages children of all ages to appreciate reading by giving them books of their own. The organisation sends out more than 14 million book vouchers in the UK, entitling children to choose one of eight exclusive books for free, or get £1 off any other book.

For more information, go to

Here we find out what some well-known people like to read in their spare time.

Joel Ward

Book: Private by James Patterson

Portsmouth footballer Joel Ward is a big fan of James Patterson books and autobiographies.

Joel says: ‘I try to read as much as I can, especially on away trips. I think Private keeps you on edge and it’s intriguing. It goes through different stories and investigations. It doesn’t get too dull or long-winded.

‘It’s a crime story set in California, about a detective people hire when they don’t want to get the police involved. I enjoy it.’

Private is a detective agency and owner Jack Morgan receives a phone call from school friend Abbie Cushman. Abbie’s wife has been murdered and he desperately needs Jack’s help. The murder is brutal and with no apparent motive.

Joel adds: ‘I like autobiographies too, finding out how people have lived. Obviously the ones I’ve read are sports ones, like Steven Gerrard’s and David Beckham’s.

‘I prefer reading a book, or going out and doing something, than sitting in front of the TV.’

Denise Black

Book: The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

Portsmouth-born ex-Coronation Street actress Denise Black, who is starring as Mother Superior in Sister Act at the Mayflower Theatre, Southampton, loves reading - and the book she has on the go at the moment, The Kite Runner, is her favourite.

She says: ‘I absolutely love to read. I’m right in the middle of the book now. I can’t wait for five minutes spare so I can read the next chapter!’

The Kite Runner tells the story of Amir, a young boy from Kabul, whose closest friend is Hassan, his father’s young Hazara servant.

Denise believes that living in a world where we are bombarded with different ways to communicate, taking the time to sit and read is more important than ever.

She adds: ‘There’s nothing like reading. It just takes you to another world in your imagination. I think it’s the most personal retreat. It makes you understand other people in a way that nothing else does really.’

Sean Collins

Book: The Catcher in The Rye by JD Salinger

Canadian comedian Sean Collins, who lives in Gosport, has known what his favourite book is ever since he studied it at high school.

He says: ‘If I could find a way to watch a movie or programme when I had to study, then I would. But this is one book I actually read. I found it fascinating that it was banned and that it was considered very racy.

‘It’s remarkable and it made me think when I was a teenager and relate to the characters in certain situations.’

The novels follows Holden Caulfield and a couple of days in his 16-year-old life, just after he’s been expelled from prep school.

Sean, who’s currently on tour around the country with his comedy show Still On The Roadshow, likes to read when he’s travelling.

He adds: ‘I read about people I respect through their autobiographies, to see what they’ve gone through. But I re-read The Catcher In The Rye when I was an adult. It’s still brilliant to me.’

Portsmouth North MP Penny Mordaunt

Book: Breaking The Code: Westminster Diaries by Gyles Brandreth

Although she’s a big fan of Sherlock Holmes, Penny Mordaunt’s favourite book is one she started reading when she was elected as an MP and went to the House Of Commons.

She says: ‘It talks about all the things you go through as an MP, as Gyles Brandreth went through the same. There’s one part which is about committee meetings, and how it used to be very much frowned upon if MPs brought in novels.

‘It used to be that people would photocopy whole novels so they could read them. I have lots of favourite parts in it.’

She adds: ‘Reading books is great because they exercise parts of your brain that wouldn’t get exercised otherwise and they help you switch off and use your imagination. I would encourage people, especially young people, to pick up a book.’

Fred Dinenage

Book: Nearly Famous: Adventures of an After-Dinner Speaker by Bob ‘The Cat’ Bevan

TV presenter Fred Dinenage is an avid reader and prefers biographies and autobiographies.

He says: ‘I get through so many books. I never read fiction really. Bob Bevan is Britain’s top after-dinner speaker, something I’ve spent a lot of time doing myself.

‘This guy is the funniest in the world. He actually sent me a copy and wrote in it “The best presenter I have worked with.”

Bob Bevan is an after-dinner speaker, host, author, poet, scriptwriter and speechwriter.

Fred adds: ‘He speaks all over the world. He’s brilliant at one-liners, and it always makes me laugh every time I read it.

‘I just love reading about people’s lives, they’re much more exciting than mine. People’s life stories are so much more dramatic than fiction.’

Lord Mayor of Portsmouth Cheryl Buggy

Book: Wind In The Willows by Kenneth Grahame

Cheryl Buggy’s favourite book is a classic children’s tale that reminds her of her childhood.

She says: ‘I think that because I’m an only child I’m a bit of an avid reader. You do find a lot of time to escape into books. It had a huge impact on me and I read a lot as a child.

‘I still have the first copy of this book that my dad gave me on my 11th birthday, which has some lovely illustrations in it.’

After working as an English teacher for 10 years, the Lib Dem councillor has a great love of books.

She adds: ‘I fell in love with the Wind In The Willows characters when I was little and they just stood out for me. It’s a captivating book. I think even when you read a children’s book as an adult you see different levels in it.’

Same Difference

Book: Sarah Smith – House Rules by Jodie Picoult

Book: Sean Smith – One Day by David Nicholas

X Factor pop stars Sean and Sarah Smith from Widley both share a love of modern books and tend to read a lot while they are on the road.

Jodie Picoult’s famous novels include My Sister’s Keeper, which was made into a blockbuster film, and The Pact. But Sarah chose one of her recent novels as a favourite.

She says: ‘It’s because she always writes about stuff that seems true to life. It’s about a young boy who has Asperger’s and is really into the police and wants to solve their crimes, but always looks suspicious. I read a lot, especially when we’re on the road. I love stuff that could be real-life.’

Sean’s favourite book, One Day, has been turned into a film and recently enjoyed a successful stint at the box office. It is still riding high on the best-seller lists.

It follows the story of two friends, every year for 20 years, after the first day they met.

He says: ‘It brings back good memories. I was away and I thought ‘‘this is going to be my beach book’’. By the time I got to the end I was in bits.’