Penguin Classics (£2.99)
Celebrating the centenary of Oscar Wilde's death, Penguin books have brought out a repackaged version of 'The Picture of Dorian Gray' - a tale of narcissism with a twist, complete with an introduction by Robert Mighall. First published in novel form in 1891 and Wilde's only novel, 'The Picture of Dorian Gray' is the didactic story of a man who sells his soul for youth – with hideous consequences.
On seeing his portrait, painted by Basil Hallward, Dorian is enthralled and makes a wish that the portrait would bear the marks of old age while he would remain young and beautiful. At the same time he is drawn into a seedy double life, influenced by Lord Henry Wotton, which sees him performing heinous crimes. However, all that betrays his decadence is the painting, which grows uglier with each surreptitious act. After destroying the life of actress Sybil Vane, Dorian sees the beginning of his wish coming through.
The fact that this book is to be found in the classics section should not put anybody off. In fact early readers were outraged at its hints at homosexuality and extracts from the book were used later in trials to prove that its author was 'of a certain tendency'. 'The Picture of Dorian Gray' is unputdownable, a brilliant read which, more than 100 years after its publication, continues to fascinate modern readers, young and old.