Eamon Dunphy’s books of the year

Author of The Rocky Road

Not for Turning, volume one of Charles Moore's Margaret Thatcher (Allen Lane), is magnificent. Moore enjoyed complete access to his subject, her family, friends and colleagues on the understanding that this book would be published only after her death.

A distinguished journalist who edited the Spectator, the Sunday Telegraph and the Daily Telegraph, Moore admires Thatcher, but his portrait is admirably objective.

J Michael Lennon's biography Norman Mailer: A Double Life (Simon & Schuster) is as ambitious and epic as Charles Moore's Thatcher. Like Moore, Lennon enjoyed full access to his subject, Mailer's wives, lovers, friends, enemies – there are many – and private correspondence. The result is the definitive account of a life well lived by one of the United States' most fascinating men of letters.

Colm Tóibín's The Testament of Mary (Penguin) made the Man Booker shortlist. Like much of Tóibín's work, it is brilliant, original and an absolute joy to read – which I did in one sitting.

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