Classic of the week: Just say yes

The Warden
Anthony Trollope, Oxford World's Classics, £4.99
The Warden is, as police say of cannabis, a gateway drug. You begin on a gentle, frolicsome short novel, always willing to break with realism if there's a chance to mock Charles Dickens, and you end up addicted to the Barchester Chronicles, thousands of pages of ecclesiastical soap opera. The secret is Trollope's ability to create sympathetic characters -- the genial old Warden, Septimus Harding; his starched son-in-law, Archdeacon Grantly; his boat-rocking potential son-in-law, John Bold -- while delighting in their delusions. Try it. You can give up any time you like.