Some Favourite Books

This is a list of the books that have left the greatest impression on me. It consists of books that I have read quite a while ago and the hope is that I will, over the next few years, re read many of them and post my impressions of these books now. They are not presented in any particular order and I am sure that this list will grow and change each time I review it.

David Copperfield - Charles Dickens: I remember thinking I'd never finish this and then praying I never would.

Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy: This is long overdue a re read. It is probably the fear that it can never again mean as much to me as it did when I first read it. Forever yoked in my mind with Lloyd Coles' album Rattlesnakes which I listened to as I read it. In honour of this here is Forest Fire from that album.

Cities of the Red Night - William Burroughs: I went through a Burroughs phase. I think it's obligatory for membership of the Pretentious retinue of tortured Souls (P.R.A.T.S.) but that shouldn't put people off him. Infiltrated my dreams. Should be the basis for the next film in the Pirates of the Carribbean franchise.

Wise Blood - Flannery O'Connor : The Church of Christ without Christ. Huckster preachers, crappy digs, Egyptian mummies, gorilla suits and bad driving. Like a stag party in Bundoran.

Miss Lonelyhearts - Nathanael West: My favourite West, although I read all four of his short novels as if they were one. Miss Lonelyhearts himself is an agony aunt and messiah figure. I seem to have a thing for messiahs.

Riddley Walker - Russell Hoban:  Post apocalyptic poem and crossword puzzle. Stupendous.


 Golden Gate - Vikram Seth: Missed out on a reputedly inspired essay (by poet and writer Sarah Berkeley) on this book as I only looked up from it when I finished and was around four stops past the stop for college. That rare thing, a joyous book.
Gravity's Rainbow - Thomas Pynchon: I read this while in college and decided to do an essay on it. At a very late stage (the essay was already overdue) I decide to reread it an did so in a 24 hour period which was the closest thing to being on hallucinogens without taking any that I have ever experienced.
I've posted a college essay here.
At Swim Two Birds - Flann O'Brien: Responsible for a number of dirty looks as I laughed too much for the polite society of commuters. Takes up the challenge set down by Sterne. Cowboys in Ringsend, buff coloured puke, characters plotting against the author.
Don Quixote - Miguel De Cervantes:
The source.

Tristram Shandy - Laurence Sterne: What happened to the novel after this? More anarchic than Malcolm McLaren's wet dreams.

The Recognitions, JR & Carpenter's Gothic - William Gaddis: Three novels that seem to me peerless in the latter half of the 20th Century.

TOP 100

Here is a list I made (off the cuff) for a reading group I am part of on Shelfari. It is a list of 100 books I considered 'classic', read or unread. I don't really feel qualified to judge books I haven't read so it's a list of 99 books I've read and loved and the one classic I really feel I should have read - no 100. [I have now finished No 100!]

1. Ulysses James Joyce
2. Dubliners-James Joyce
3. Jude the Obscure-Thomas Hardy
4. Miss Lonelyhearts-Nathanael West
5. The Recognitions-Wlliam Gaddis
6. Gravity's Rainbow-Thomas Pynchon
7. The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman-Laurence Sterne
8. Don Quixote-Miguel de Cervantes
9. That they May Face the Rising Sun-John McGahern
10. Amongst Women-John McGahern
11. Where I'm Calling From-Raymond Carver
12. Riddley Walker-Russel Hoban
13. David Copperfield-Charles Dickens
14. The Golden Gate-Vikram Seth
15. Cities of the Red Night-William Burroughs
16. Oscar and Lucinda-Peter Carey
17. White Jazz-James Ellroy
18. Red Harvest-Dashiell Hammet
19. The Killer inside Me-Jim Thompson
20. The Long Goodbye-Raymond Chandler
21. The Butcher Boy-Pat McCabe
22. Atomised-Michel Houellebecq
23. The Word Child-Iris Murdoch
24. Under the Net-Iris Murdoch
25. The Black Prince-Iris Murdoch
26. At Swim Two Birds-Flann O'Brien
27. Crime and Punishment-Fyodor Dostoevsky
28. The Master and Margherita-Mikhail Bulgakov
29. A Confederacy of Dunces-John Kennedy Toole
30. Humboldt's Gift-Saul Bellow
31. The White Hotel-DM Thomas
32. One Hundred Years of Solitude-Gabriel Garcia Marquez
33. Out Stealing Horses-Per Petterson
34. Pale Fire-Vladimir Nabokov
35. Brighton Rock-Graham Greene
36. The Power and the Glory-Graham Greene
37. The Bridge of San Luis Rey-Thornton Wilder
38. The Trial-Franz Kafka
39. War with The Newts-Karel Capek
40. Home-Marilynne Robinson
41. Gilead-Marilynne Robinson
42. The Book of Evidence-John Banville
43. The Moviegoer-Walker Percy
44. A Scanner Darkly-Philip K Dick
45. The Last September-Elizabeth Bowen
46. Reading Turgenev-William Trevor
47. The Day of The Triffids-John Wymdham
48. Woman on the Edge of Time-Marge Piercy
49. The Handmaid's Tale-Margaret Atwood
50. The Road-Cormac McCarthy
51. The Old Men at the Zoo-Angus Wilson
52. Master Georgie-Beryl Bainbridge
53. The Girls of Slender Means-Muriel Spark
54. The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie-Muriel Spark
55. The Outsider-Albert Camus
56. The Magic Mountain-Thomas Mann
57. Life, A Users Manual-Georges Perec
58. The New York Trilogy-Paul Auster
59. Saturday Night and Sunday Morning-Alan Sillitoe
60. The Unlimited Dream Company-JG Ballard
61. Owen Glendower -John Cowper Powys
62. Austerlitz-WG Sebald
63. A Canticle for Liebowitz-Walter Miller
64. Slaughterhouse Five-Kurt Vonnegut
65. Middlemarch-George Eliot
66. Wiseblood-Flannery O'Connor
67. The Radetzky March-Joseph Roth
68. Underworld -Don De Lillo
69. Body-Harry Crews
70. My Name is Red-Orhan Pamuk
71. Complete Poems-W.B. Yeats
72. Complete Poems-Thomas Hardy
73. Complete Poems-Emily Dickinson
74. Complete Poems-Patrick Kavanagh
75. England's Dreaming-Jon Savage
76. Invisible Republic-Greil Marcus
77. Chaos-James Gleick
78. Anna Karenina-Leo Tolstoy
79. Animal Farm-George Orwell
80. 1984-George Orwell
81. The Siege of Krishnapur-JG Farrell
82. The Waste Land-TS Eliot
83. Point Counter Point-Aldous Huxley
84. Germinal-Emile Zola
85. JR-William Gaddis
86. Carpenter's Gothic-William Gaddis
87. Frankenstein-Mary Shelley
88. Disgrace-JM Coetzee
89. 2666-Roberto Bolano
90. The Savage Detectives-Roberto Bolano
91. The Man Who Fell to Earth-Walter Tevis
92. The Deadly Percheron -John Franklin Bardin
93. Hamlet-William Shakespeare
94. Post Office-Charles Bukowski
95. A Distant Mirror-Barbara Tuchman
96. A Journal of the Plague Year-Daniel Defoe
97. Sometimes a Great Notion-Ken Kesey
98. The Heather Blazing-Colm Toibin
99. The Grass Arena-John Healy
100. A la Recherche du Temps Perdu-Marcel Proust. In 7 Volumes - Swann's Way; Within A Budding Grove & 2ndPost; The Guermantes Way & 2nd Post; Sodom and Gomorrah/Cities of the Plain & 2nd Post; The Captive; The Fugitive/The Sweet Cheat Gone; Time Regained