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    • Arch Hades

    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.


    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


    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


    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


    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