Lost in the library: what to read next?
Updated: Oct 23, 2019
I was asked by author Jeff Edwards recently what book I'd read that I would most like to have written myself. I was stumped in the same way a question like "what's your favourite song?" can throw you. I think I eventually trotted out something like 'Sophie's Choice' by William Styron because I remember it having a huge impact on me as a young man. Later I realised such questions are a lot easier if you break it down by genre. Because I struggle with black and white responses (remember I was an English teacher) I'm going to cheat and list my five favourite books by genre.
HMS Ulysses by Alistair Maclean. His first and greatest novel where the destroyer is as much a character as her crew on the merciless Russian convoys when German U-boats had the upper hand.
The Eye of the Tiger by Wilbur Smith. I know Smith has written much better novels; but the sheer exuberance of this pure escapist fantasy made me think I could write too.
Running Blind by Desmond Bagely
The Road by Cormac MCCarthy. A perfect fusion of form and function which strips back the genre to its simplest expression. You don't need to to know why the world has gone to hell to understand which makes it singularly powerful.
"The Stand" by Steven King
Compelling and complete. King's capacity to put you inside his characters
Helliconia Trilogy by Brian W Aldiss
Mars trilogy by Kim Stanley Robinson
The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin
On the Road by Jack Kerouac
The Painted Bird by Jerzy Kosinski
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