• 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

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