My parents are both now dead. My father died last, aged 90, in 2016. I had always associated my love of books with my mother’s influence. My father’s passing, however, made me realize – too late – that most of the books I turn to for comfort are those to which he introduced me. I can track my childhood through the stories he read to me at bedtime, from Pooh and Alice through to Thurber, Leacock and Conan Doyle. Later came Chandler, Hašek and others. As we grew up, he continued to read some of these aloud to us, snorting with uncontrollable laughter at the jokes.