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Reading List

My top recommendations


Here are my recommendations. Of course, there are hundreds, thousands of great reads, but I wanted to narrow it down to these personal favourites: (in alphabetic order by author surname)


My top recommendations:


Joseph Brodsky – Uncommon Visage

A stunning essay about aesthetics that won him the Nobel Prize for Literature, and he deserves it.


W Somerset Maugham – The Painted Veil

Maugham was the highest paid author of his time and I get why. The way he captures emotional evolution within each character is stunning.


Ivan Turgenev – First Love

An enchanting description of a boy falling in love for the first time, with a tragic end, typical of first love.


Kurt Vonnegut – Slaughterhouse 5

The most interesting depiction of time and human life within it.




Poetry


Anna Akhmatova


William Blake


Joseph Brodsky – Collected Poems in English


Robert Burns


Lord Byron (George Gordon) - especially Childe Harold


Emily Dickinson


Arch Hades – High Tide (obviously)


Homer – Iliad; Odyssey, best translations are by Robert Fitzgerald (pretty much all the best translations of the classics can be found in the Loeb Classical Library, published by Harvard University Press)


Jonathan Keates – The Major Works


John Milton - Paradise Lost


Philip Larkin


Edgar Allen Poe


Rumi


William Shakespeare – Love Sonnets; The Tempest; Twelfth Night; Romeo & Juliet; McBeth; Hamlet


Tracy K Smith – Wade in the Water


Edward Thomas


Oscar Wilde


W B Yeats





Fiction


Mitch Albom - Tuesdays with Morrie (read if you're sad)


Paul Bowles – The Sheltering Sky; Let it come down; The Spiders House (the endings are a bit of a whirlwind, but you have to appreciate the writing)


Joseph Brodsky – On Grief and Reason: Essays


Ivan Bunin – Dark Avenues; The Village


Lewis Carroll – Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland; Through the Looking Glass


Castiglione – The Book of the Courtier


Anton Chekov – Short Stories (especially The Lady with the Little Dog)


Agatha Christie – Miss Marple short stories


Fyodor Dostoevsky – Crime and Punishment; Notes from Underground; The Idiot; Demons; White Nights (don’t read if you are depressed, only read when you’re in a good mood, this can send you spiralling)


Alexander Dumas – The Count of Monte Cristo


Umberto Eco – Foucault’s Pendulum; On literature; On Beauty (he writes fiction and non-fiction)


Nicolai Gogol – Diary of a Madman and other short stories


John Green – Looking for Alaska (my favourite YA book)


Thomas Hardy – Tess of the d’Urbervilles (hard to read but the lesson on society’s double standards is important)


Herman Hesse – Steppenwolf (the ending is absurd, but the rest of the story about self-imposed isolation is stunning)


Franz Kafka – Metamorphosis; the Castle (don’t read if emotionally fragile, Metamorphosis will crush you)


Yasunari Kawabata – Beauty and Sadness; Snow Country (won the Nobel Prize for Literature)


Lampedusa – the Leopard (the fall of Sicily’s aristocracy)


Mikhail Lermontov – A Hero of our Time


Gabriel Garcia Marquez – One Hundred Years of Solitude; The General and his Labyrinth; Love in the Time of Cholera (google what magical realism is before you start reading)


W. Somerset Maugham: The Painted Veil; Cakes and Ale; Of Human Bondage; Short Stories 1,2,4 (avoid 3)


Haruki Murakami: Norwegian Wood; Kafka on the Shore (avoid his short stories, not his best)


Vladimir Nabokov – The Luzhin Defensive


George Orwell – 1984; Animal Farm


Joseph Roth – The Radetzky March (amazing story of three generations of Austrian men who live through the fall of the Empire)


J D Salinger – Catcher in the Rye (you’ll get tired of the word ‘phoney’ but it’s a very good teenage-angsty read)


William Makepeace Thackeray – Vanity Fair


JRR Tolkien – The Silmarillion; The Hobbit; The Lord of the Rings (the greatest fictional universe created)


Ivan Turgenev – First Love; Spring Torrents; Kasyan from the Beautiful Lands


Jules Verne – Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea; Around the World in Eighty Days


Kurt Vonnegut – Cat’s Cradle; Slaughterhouse 5


Evelyn Waugh – Brideshead Revisited; Vile Bodies


Oscar Wilde – the Picture of Dorian Gray



Non-Fiction


Boethius – The Consolations of Philosophy (hey do you like the dark ages?)


Alain de Botton: Religion for Atheists; Consolations of Philosophy; Status Anxiety


Confucius – The Analects


Fritjof Capra – The Tao of Physics


Dale Carnegie - How to win friends and Influence people ```


Helen Castor – Joan of Arc


Charles Darwin – On the Origin of Species


Richard Dawkins – The Selfish Gene; The God Delusion


Rene Descartes – Meditations; Discourse on Method


Jared Diamond – Collapse


Albert Einstein – Relativity


Niall Ferguson – Empire


Richard Feynman – Surely, you’re joking Mr Feynman; Lectures on Physics


Galileo Galilei – Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems


Howard Gardner – Frames of Mind


Malcolm Gladwell – The Tipping Point


Daniel Goleman – Emotional Intelligence


Brian Greene – The Elegant Universe


Christopher Hibbert – The Rise and Fall of the House of Medici; The House of Borgia


Gwyn Jones – The Vikings


Carl Jung – Memories, Dreams, Reflections


Primo Levi – The Periodic Table


Daniel Levitin – The Organised Mind


Michael Lewis – Boomerang


Walter Pater – The Renaissance (studies in Art and Poetry)


Steven Pinker – How the Mind works; The Blank Slate


Plato – best translations are by Benjamin Jowett


Sue Prideaux – I am Dynamite! (A stunning biography of Friedrich Nietzsche)


Fiona MacCarthy – Byron, life and legend (Incredible biography of Byron)


Mark McCormack – What they Don’t teach you at Harvard Business School


John Stuart Mill – On Liberty and Other Essays


Alice Miller – The Drama of being a Child


Friedrich Nietzsche – Thus Spoke Zarathustra; Beyond Good and Evil; The Birth of Tragedy; The Will to Power


Simon Sebag Montefiore – Jerusalem; The Romanovs


Hans, Ole & Anna Rosling – Factfulness: why things are better than you think


Carlo Rovelli – Seven Lessons on Physics


Bertrand Russell – The History of Western Philosophy


Timothy Taylor – The Instant Economist


Torgrim Titlestad – Viking Legacy


Sun-Tzu – The Art of War


Robin Sharma - The Monk who sold his Ferrari


Seneca – How to Die


Voltaire – Candide, on optimism


David Wallace Wells – The Uninhabitable Earth


Happy reading

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