My Favourite Books

This isn’t a list of everything I’ve ever read (obviously). Just the ones I really enjoyed, thought were excellent, or both. A single item following a collection indicates something of particular interest.

  • Adams, Douglas – The Complete Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, The Salmon of Doubt
  • Adams, Richard – Watership Down
  • Aitken, Conrad – ‘Silent Snow, Secret Snow’ 
  • Andersen, Hans Christian – Selected Fairytales – ‘The Emperor’s New Clothes’ and ‘The Red Shoes’
  • Anon – Tales From the Arabian Nights
  • Anon – The King James Bible (1611) – ‘Ecclesiastes’, ‘Song of Songs’, ‘Revelations’ (all for the style, not the content)
  • Attwood, Margaret – The Handmaid’s Tale
  • Aurelius, Marcus – Meditations
  • Backhouse, Janet – Illuminated Manuscripts, The Lindisfarne Gospels
  • Ballard, JG – Complete Short Stories – ‘The Enormous Space’ and ‘Report on an Unidentified Space Station’, The Drowned World 
  • Banks, Iain – The Wasp Factory
  • Barker, Clive – The Hellbound Heart
  • Baum, L Frank – The Wizard of Oz
  • Bayan, Rick – The Cynic’s Dictionary, Very Dark Chocolates (essays)
  • Beagle, Peter S – The Last Unicorn 
  • Beckett, Samuel – The Complete Plays – ‘Waiting for Godot’, ‘Endgame’ and ‘Not I.’
  • Bierce, Ambrose – The Devil’s Dictionary
  • Boethius – The Consolation of Philosophy
  • Borges, Jorge – Labryinths (selected writings) – ‘The Library of Babel’
  • Bradbury, Ray – Fahrenheit 451, the Illustrated Man 
  • Bradshaw, John – Healing the Shame That Binds You
  • Brampton, Sally – Shoot the Damn Dog
  • Brooke, Rupert – The Complete Poems
  • Bukowski, Charles – Tales of Ordinary Madness, The Pleasures of the Damned, Selected Poetry 1951-1993
  • Bunyan, John – The Pilgrim’s Progress
  • Burgess, Anthony – A Clockwork Orange
  • Burgess, Graham et al – The Mammoth Book of Chess Games
  • Burgess, Melvyn – Junk
  • Camus, Albert – The Outsider, The Fall, Caligula
  • Carroll, Lewis – Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There
  • Carter, Angela – The Bloody Chamber
  • Cash, Johnny – Cash, the Autobiography
  • Chaucer, Geoffrey – The Canterbury Tales
  • Christie, Agatha – And Then There Were None
  • Christopher, John – The Tripods trilogy (The White Mountains, the City of Gold and Lead, The Pool of Fire)
  • Cioran, Emil – A Short History of Decay 
  • Clark, Kenneth – Civilisation
  • Cohen, Leonard – Complete lyrics
  • Collins, Suzanne – The Hunger Games trilogy (The Hunger Games, Catching Fire, Mockingjay)
  • Crichton, Michael – Jurassic Park
  • Dante – The Divine Comedy – ‘Inferno’
  • Dawkins, Richard – The God Delusion, The Magic of Reality
  • Dick, Philip K – Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
  • Dickens, Charles – A Christmas Carol
  • Dostoevsky, Fyodor – ‘Christ and the Inquisitor’ (from the Brothers Karamazov)
  • Dylan, Bob – Lyrics 1962-2001
  • Eliot, TS – The Complete Poems and Plays – The Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock’, ‘The Wasteland,’ ‘The Hollow Men,’ ‘Four Quartets’ etc.
  • Ellison, Harlan – The Essential Ellison – ‘Repent Harlequin said the Ticktockman’, ‘I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream’, ‘The Deathbird.’
  • Fitzgerald, F Scott – The Great Gatsby, the Crack-Up
  • Forester, EM – ‘The Machine Stops’
  • Gaarder, Jostein – Sophie’s World
  • Gaiman, Neil – Violent Cases, the collected ‘Sandman’ series – Vol 10 ‘The Wake’, The Tragical Comedy or Comical Tragedy of Mr Punch, Coraline, Smoke and Mirrors, Fragile Things, Batman: Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader?
  • Gilman, Charlotte Perkins – The Yellow Wallpaper 
  • Goethe, Wolfgang  – Faust, ‘Das Erlking’
  • Golding, William – Lord of the Flies
  • Graham, Kenneth – The Wind in the Willows
  • Grass, Gunther – The Tin Drum (primarily for the first third)
  • Grimm, the bros – Complete Fairytales 
  • Harris, Sam – Letter to a Christian Nation
  • Hawthorne, Nathaniel – ‘Young Goodman Brown’
  • Heller, Joseph – Catch 22
  • Hemingway, Ernest – The Old Man and the Sea
  • Herbert, Frank – Dune
  • Herge – The ‘Tintin’ books, especially ‘Tintin in Tibet’, ‘The Castafiore Emerald’, ‘Flight 714’, ‘Tintin and the Picaros’, ‘Red Rackham’s Treasure’, ‘The Seven Crystal Balls’ and ‘Prisoners of the Sun.’
  • Heylin, Clinton – Bob Dylan – Behind the Shades
  • Hitchens, Christopher – Letters to a Young Contrarian, God is Not Great
  • Hitchens, Christopher (ed) – The Portable Atheist
  • Hofstadter, Douglas – Bach, Escher and Godel – The Eternal Golden Braid
  • Hornby, Nick – 31 Songs (Music essays)
  • Housman, A E – The Complete Poems
  • Hughes, Robert – The Shock of the New
  • Hughes, Ted – Crow, Birthday Letters, The Iron Man
  • Hunkin, Oliver – Dangerous Journey (adaptation of ‘Pilgrim’s Progress’)
  • Huxley, Aldous – Brave New World, The Doors of Perception, Brave New World Revisited
  • Jackson, Shirley – ‘The Lottery’
  • Jackson, Steve – The Sorcery! series 
  • Jacques, Brian – Redwall
  • James, Henry – ‘The Turn of the Screw’ 
  • Jansson, Tove – The ‘Moomin’ books – ‘Moominland in Midwinter’, ‘Moominpapa at Sea’, ‘Moominvalley in November’
  • Jefferson, Thomas – The Declaration of Independence
  • Johnson, (Dr) Samuel – The Major Works, Samuel Johnson’s Insults
  • Joyce, James – Dubliners – ‘The Dead’
  • Kafka, Franz – The Trial, The Complete Short Stories esp. ‘Metamorphosis’ and the shorter fables
  • Kane, Sarah – The Complete Plays – ‘4.48 Psychosis’
  • Karakauer, John – Into the Wild
  • Keys, Daniel – Flowers for Algernon
  • Kierkegaard, Søren – The Sickness Unto Death 
  • Kilmister, Ian ‘Lemmy’ – White Line Fever 
  • King, Stephen – Carrie, Salem’s Lot, The Shining, The Stand, Different Seasons, The Bachman Books – ‘The Long Walk’ and ‘Rage’, Nightshift – Suffer the Little Children,’ ‘Children of the Corn’, Nightmares and Dreamscapes – ‘Dolan’s Cadillac,’ Skeleton Crew
  • Kleist, Heinrich von – ‘On the Marionette Theatre’
  • Larkin, Philip – The Complete Poems – ‘Toads’, ‘Toads Revisited’, ‘Aubadabe’
  • Lawrence, Louise – Children of the Dust
  • Lewis, CS – Out of the Silent Planet, A Grief Observed
  • Lindsay, Joan – Picnic at Hanging Rock
  • Loeb, Jeph – Batman: The Long Halloween
  • Lovecraft, HP – The Complete Fiction – ‘The Music of Erich Zann’
  • Machiavelli, Nicolo – The Prince
  • Marlowe, Christopher – Dr Faustus, Edward II
  • Masefield, John – The Box of Delights
  • Matheson, Richard – I Am Legend
  • Melville, Herman – Bartleby the Scrivener, Moby Dick (for the last three chapters)
  • Mencken, H L – The Vintage Mencken
  • Miller, Arthur – The Crucible
  • Miller, Frank – Batman Year One, Batman the Dark Knight Returns
  • Milne, A A – The Complete Winnie the Pooh
  • Milton John – Paradise Lost – for Books I, II and IV. Some of the later bits haver comedy value.
  • Moore,  Alan – V for Vendetta, Watchmen, From Hell, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (Vols I, II, Black Dossier and Century), The Killing Joke, Superman: Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?
  • Morris, Dave – Heart of Ice, Down Among the Dead Men, Twist of Fate
  • Morrison, Grant – Arkham Asylum – A Serious House on a Serious Earth
  • Nietzsche, Friedrich – The Antichrist, The Twilight of the Idols, Beyond Good and Evil (for the ‘aphorisms’)
  • O’Barr, Jamie – The Crow
  • O’Brien, Robert C – Z for Zachariah
  • Orwell, George – 1984, Animal Farm, Complete Essays – ‘Shooting an Elephant’, ‘Such, Such Were the Joys’, ‘The Moon Under Water’ 
  • Owen, Wilfred – Complete Poems
  • Pascal, Blaise – Pensées 
  • Pearce, Philippa – The Shadow Cage – ‘The Running Companion’
  • Pinter, Harold – The Birthday Party
  • Plath, Sylvia – Collected poems, The Bell Jar, Johnny Panic and the Bible of Dreams
  • Plato – The Last Days of Socrates, The Republic
  • Poe, Edgar Allan – Complete Short Stories and Poems – ‘The Raven’ and ‘Hop-Frog.’
  • Pratchett, Terry – Slip of the Keyboard (Selected non-fiction)
  • Pullman, Philip – His Dark Materials (trilogy) – The Northern Lights, The Subtle Knife, The Amber Spyglass, The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ, Lyra’s Oxford (for the illustrations)
  • Rand, Ayn – Anthem
  • Richards, Keith – Life 
  • Rowling, JK – The Harry Potter series – specifically, the first four books, especially ‘Chamber of Secrets’
  • Russell,  Bertrand – A History of Western Philosophy, Autobiography, The Basic Writings – especially ‘Why I am Not a Christian’ and ‘An Outline of Intellectual Rubbish.’
  • Salinger, JD – The Catcher in the Rye
  • Sartre, Jean-Paul – Nausea, Three Plays (includes ‘No Exit’)
  • Self, Will – Feeding Frenzy
  • Selznick, Brian – The Invention of Hugo Cabret
  • Shakespeare, William – Complete Works – ‘Macbeth’, ‘Othello’, ‘Richard II’, ‘Henry IV Part One’, ‘Henry IV Part Two’, ‘The Tempest’, ‘Much Ado About Nothing’, ‘Timon of Athens’ etc.
  • Shelley, Mary – Frankenstein
  • Shelley, Percy Bysshe – Complete Poetry ‘ The Masque of Anarchy’, ‘Ozymandias’
  • Smith, Patti – Just Kids
  • Sophocles – Oedipus the King, Oedipus at Corinth, Antigone
  • Spiegelman, Art – Maus
  • Spinoza, Baruch – Ethics
  • Steinbeck, John – The Pearl, Of Mice and Men
  • Stevenson, Robert Louis – Treasure Island, Complete Short Stories – ‘Markheim’, ‘The Bottle Imp’, ‘The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde’
  • Suetonius – The Twelve Caesars
  • Sullivan, Sir Edward – The Book of Kells
  • Sun Tzu – The Art of War
  • Swift, Jonathan – Gulliver’s Travels, ‘On Farting’
  • Tennyson, Alfred Lord – Complete Poems
  • Thomas, Dylan – Under Milk Wood, Complete Poems
  • Thoreau, David – Civil Disobedience
  • Tolkien, JRR – The Father Christmas Letters, The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, The Simarillion (some of it)
  • Tolle, Eckhart – The Power of Now
  • Twain, Mark – Letters From Earth, The Mysterious Stranger
  • Various –  Batman Black and White 
  • Various – Decalogue – ‘The Duke of Dominoes’ 
  • Various – Decalogue 2 – ‘Vortex of Fear’
  • Various – Innocent When You Dream – The Collected Interviews of Tom Waits – edited by Mac Montandon 
  • Various – The Choose Your Own Adventure series
  • Various – The Fighting Fantasy series 
  • Various – Hellbound Hearts – ‘The Promise’ 
  • Various – Palgrave’s Golden Treasury 
  • Various – The Oxford Book of Verse 
  • Villon, Francois – Collected poems – ‘Quatrain’
  • Voltaire – Candide (I admire the sentiment even if it does go on too long)
  • Waterson, Bill – The Complete Calvin and Hobbes
  • Webb, Nick – Wish You Were Here – The Official Biography of Douglas Adams
  • Wells, HG – The Time Machine 
  • Wheedon, Joss et al – Tales of the Vampires, Tales of the Slayers
  • Whitman, Walt – Leaves of Grass
  • Wilde, Oscar – The Complete Works – ‘The Picture of Dorian Gray’, ‘The Importance of Being Earnest’, ‘The Ballad of Reading Gaol’, ‘De Profundis’
  • Williamson, Nigel – The Rough Guide to Bob Dylan 
  • Winterson, Jeanette – Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit, Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal?
  • Wolpert, Lewis – Malignant Sadness
  • Wong, Jan – Out of the Blue
  • Wyndham, John – The Day of the Triffids, The Chyrsallids, The Midwitch Cuckoos, The Seeds of Time, The Trouble with Lichen, Chocky
  • Zamyatin, Yevgeny – We
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