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Favourite Books by Robert Lyons

Favourite Books by Robert Lyons

Hey All!

Today is my stop on The Shell Collector blog tour and I am here today to share with you all a guest post by Robert Lyons!

Title: The Shell Collector
Publisher: Clink Street Publishing
Published: 26th September 2019
Format: Paperback
Source:: N/A
Add It: Amazon UK. Goodreads.
Summary: 1973: the year of the oil crisis, the secondary banking collapse, the three day working week and the collapse of the stock market. In a riotous ride through the City of London we meet the characters and events that filled the social and City pages of the press in that roller-coaster year.

Guy Magnus, an ambitious young share dealer, makes a daring takeover bid in the face of opposition from the City Establishment. Will he follow their rules, or his own: never to fall in love with a deal? Will he come to repent his challenge to the powers-that-be? Is Guy’s story fiction or fact? Was a Norfolk Broads canal boat really moored in the marina of Monte Carlo? Did a Henry Moore sculpture really become the most expensive work of art in the world? And did a bet for a lunch at Maxim’s for the first to make a million, Guy or his friend and rival Harry Griffin, bring a merchant bank to the verge of collapse?

THE SHELL COLLECTOR tells a cautionary tale of the City when its buccaneering spirit was at a peak. Whether true or false, it is never less than entertaining.

Favourite Books

By Robert Lyons

Anthony Trollope: He Knew He Was Right
I have read practically every Trollope book; while I enjoyed the better-known Barsetshire and Palliser novels, for me the real riches lie in some of the less popular, of which this is a stand-out.  One can only aspire hopelessly to match Trollope’s depiction of character (I fear unpopularity when I compare this with Dickens’s habit of caricature).  He draws us in by enmeshing his characters in circumstances they themselves have created, and from which they are unable to extricate themselves.  Okay, so Shakespeare did it first, and with sublime poetry; but Trollope lags not too far behind.


Jane Austin: Pride and Prejudice
Sheer delight.  It’s the manners here, not the characters, which for me are not so finely drawn as Trollope’s.  For me, she is the Franz Schubert of authors (if you don’t believe me, listen to his piano trios).


George Eliot: Daniel Deronda
This is an extraordinarily sensitive and moving book.  The main characters, Daniel, Gwendolen, Mordecai and Mirah all attract our sympathy, and the author’s search (more than research) into the world of Kabbalah is fascinating. 

But is this getting boring?  Can’t we please get out of the nineteenth century and into the twentieth?


Philip Roth: The Plot Against America
Because it’s so apposite in a world of Trumpery, and deeply scary.  If you like this, you’ll love Sinclair Lewis: It Can’t Happen Here.


Ian McEwan: Saturday
Brilliant research illuminating a credible but often frightening story.


John Le Carré: The Constant Gardener
I’m one of his devoted fans.  He is a storyteller, which I aspire to be; all his tales are guided by a moral compass, which I regret mine does not have.

A biography and a history


Robert Caro: The Years of Lyndon Baines Johnson
Utterly compelling: the best researched biography ever.  I have read the first four volumes and eagerly await the fifth; at around ten years per volume, the last two will depend on the author’s longevity (and mine).


Adam Zamoyski: 1812 Napoloeon’s Fatal March on Moscow
A toss-up between this and Anthony Beevor’s Stalingrad for their descriptions of the sheer hopelessness of trying to invade Russia in winter.

Three more I read so long ago that all I remember of them is how much I enjoyed them; what I should do now is read them again (as I did War and Peace):


Joseph Heller: Catch 22

Boris Pasternak: Dr Zhivago

Peter Carey: Oscar and Lucinda


And one off the wall, to brag to you and remind myself I once did it:

Joanot Martorell: Tirante el Blanco (a Golden Age romance, in the old Castilian version).  I discovered it when reading Cervantes’s Don Quixote: it was, he said, the one book the Inquisition must not be allowed to burn.  So I found and read it, and it was a thing of pure delight.

About the Author

Born in Leeds and educated at Rugby School and Oxford University, Robert Lyons spent seventeen years working for retailing conglomerate UDS Group plc., starting as a door-to door credit salesman in Glasgow before rising to run the parent company’s property management and development operations at its London head office. In 1974, he spent three months at the Harvard Business School on its Program for Management Development. On returning to London, he was appointed to the Group board, and to the board of Allders Department Stores, of which he became chairman in 1979. In 1983 the UDS Group was taken over by Hanson Trust plc, and Lyons left corporate life behind to move into property investment. Married with two children and six grandchildren, Lyons has lived in Highgate, north London, since 1968..

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