Reading is one of the most pleasurable experiences in life. You can travel the whole universe, back and forth in time, through dimensions that may not be real to places in other universes all while sitting in your own armchair.

You can see places more vividly, meet people from the past, present and future that you didn’t know existed, and understand things you did not know you needed to.

All the greatest minds and best thoughts of all of mankind are laid out before you. You can tuck in.

Overindulgence has no harmful effects.

It is an addiction that it is not necessary to control.

My favourite fiction writers include: Jack Kerouac, Richard Brautigan, Haruki Murakami, Margaret Attwood, Kazuo Ishiguro, Iain Banks, John Fowles, John Steinbeck, D H Lawrence, Ken Kesey, Ian McEwan, Salman Rushdie, Hilary Mantel, George Orwell, William Burroughs, Henry Miller, Stephen King, Andrea Levy, Will Self, Norman Mailer, Gerald Durrell, Spike Milligan and a string of others too numerous to mention.

Books I have read since retiring Sept 2011


1.Just Kids Patti Smith
2. Wolf Hall Hilary Mantel
3. Norwegian Wood Haruki Murakami
4. Kafka on the Shore Haruki Murakami
5. Maggie Girl of the Streets Stephen Crane
6. Great Singers of the 2oth Century David Spiller
7. East of Eden John Steinbeck
8. God is not Great Christopher Hitchins
9. The Alchemist Paulo Coelho
10. Full Dark No Stars Stephen King
11. 3 Cups of Tea Greg Mortenson & David Relin
12. Birdie Kurt Vonnegut
13. 11.22.63 Stephen King
14. IQ84 – Book 1 Haruki Murakami
15. IQ84 – Book 2 Haruki Murakami
16. IQ84 – Book 3 Haruki Murakami
17. Good Man Jesus scoundrel Christ Philip Pullman
18. After dark Haruki Murakami
19. After the quake Haruki Murakami
20. Long walk to forever Kurt Vonnegut
21. The Optimist Lawrence Shorter
22. The Atheist’s Bible Joan Konner
23. The portable Atheist Christopher Hitchins
24. The vanishing elephant Haruki Murakami
25. Salmonella men on planet porno Yasutaka Tsutsui
26. The Chrysalids John Wyndham
27. Heart of Darkness Joseph Conrad
28. A long way down Nick Hornby
29. Blind willow, sleeping woman Haruki Murakami
30. My dear I wanted to tell you Louisa Young
31. Grimus Salman Rushdie
32. South of the border West of the sun Haruki Murakami
33. The Return Victoria Hislop
34. Stonemouth Iain Banks
35. The girl at the Lion D’Or Sebastian Faulks
36. The Long Song Andrea Levy
37. Underground Haruki Murakami
38. My Family and other animals Gerald Durrell
39. One Flew over the Cuckoos nest Ken Kesey
40. Hard boiled Wonderland and the end of the world Haruki Murakami
41. Red Gary Neville
42. The colour of Magic Terry Pratchett
43. The light fantastic Terry Pratchett
44. Dance Dance dance Haruki Murakami
45. Portnoy’s complaint Philip Roth
46. The lost Symbol Dan Brown
47. Guards Guards Terry Pratchett
48. What I talk about when I talk about running Haruki Murakami
49. A Maggot John Fowles
50. Who I am Pete Townsend
51. The story of Free & Bad Company Steven Rosen
52. Sputnik Sweetheart Haruki Murakami
53. Mr Stone and the knights companion V S Naipal
54. The immortal life of Henrietta Lacks Rebecca Skloot
55. Mister God, I am Anna Finn
56. The Birthday book Haruki Murakami
57. A precocious autobiography Yevgeny Yevtushenko
58. The wind-up bird chronicles Haruki Murakami
59. Siddharta Herman Hesse
60. Hydrogen Sonatta Iain M Banks
61. The bonesetters daughter Joy Tan
62. Keep the Asphidistr flying George Orwell
63. Birds, animals and friends Gerald Durrell
  1. Garden of the Gods
Gerald Durrell
65. Andy Warhol Diaries Andy Warhol
66. First born Arthur C Clarke
67. Sweettooth Ian McEwan
68. Arguably Christopher Hitchins
69. Bring up the bodies Hilary Mantell
70. Equal Rites Terry Pratchett
71. Mort Terry Pratchett
72. Cutting for stone Aham Verghese
73. Sourcery Terry Pratchett
74. The particular sadness of lemon cake Aimee Bender
75. The dovekeepers Alice Hoffman
76. The Ginger Man J P Donleavy
77. The great Gatsby F Scott Fitzgerald
78. Dharma bums Jack Kerouac
79. For whom the bell tolls Ernest Hemmingway
80. A wild sheep chase Haruki Murakami
81. Fug you Ed Sanders
82. A hat full of sky Terry Pratchett
83. Ring world Larry Niven
84. Wintersmith Terry Pratchett
85. The Quarry Iain Banks
86. Stoner John Williams
87. Blowing the Blues Dick Heckstall-Smith
88. The heart of things A C Grayling
89. Things the Grandchildren should know Mark Oliver Everett
90. Grapes of Wrath John Steinbeck
91. The Comfort of Strangers Ian McEwan
92. The Trial Franz Kafka
93. Tarantula Bob Dylan
94. Bound for glory Woody Guthrie
95. Flaubert’s parrot Julian Barnes
96. Talking it over Julian Barnes
97. Raw spirit Iain Banks
98. The favourite game Leonard Cohen
99. Beautiful losers Leonard Cohen
100. Corrections Jonathan Frantzen
101. The Stranger Albert Camus
102. The three Musketeers Alexander Dumas
103. After the flood Margaret Atwood
104. Hellraiser Ginger Baker
105. A Casual Vacancy JK Rowling
106. Wind through the Keyhole Stephen King
107. The Ragged Trousered Philantropists Robert Tressell
108. Maddadam Margaret Atwood`
109. Ringworld Engineers Larry Niven
110. The sense of an ending Julian Barnes
111. Ringworld children Larry Niven
112. Breakfast of champions Kurt Vonnegut
113. The blind assassin Margaret Atwood
114. The Midwich Cuckoos John Wyndham
115. The Rights of Man Thomas Paine
116. Wyrd Sisters Terry Pratchett
117. Juliet Naked Nick Hornby
118. Confessions of a crap artist Philip K Dick
119. Doctor Sleep Stephen King
120. White Rooms & imaginary Westerns Pete Brown
121. Moral disorder Margaret Atwood
122. The hare with amber eyes Edmund de Waal
123. Apocalypse D H Lawrence
124. The Cosmological eye Henry Miller
125. The last continent Terry Pratchett
126. Thud Terry Pratchett
127. A tale for the time being Ruth Ozeki
128. Survivor Chum Mey
129. Falling leaves Adeline Yen Mah


I have read voraciously through the whole of my life. It has given me more pleasure than any other activity. I know – I know – but a book will last for hours!

It is not unusual for people to ask me what my favourite books were and I’d trot them out. There were the usual suspects:

Jack Kerouac – Dharma Bums and On the Road

John Fowles – Magus

John Steinbeck – East of Eden and Grapes of Wrath

Ken Kesey – Sometimes a Great Notion and One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest

DH Lawrence – Sons & Lovers, Women in Love & Lady Chatterley’s

Henry Miller – Tropic of Capricorn

Aldous Huxley – Brave New World and Island

George Orwell – 1984 and Keep the Aspidistra Flying

Joseph Heller – Catch 22

Robert Heinlein – Stranger in a Strange Land

Jerry Rubin – Do It!

Robert Sheckley – Journey Beyond Tomorrow

Larry Niven – Ringworld

Kurt Vonnegut Jnr – Breakfast of Champions and Ice Nine

Plus a few hundred more!

Then I got to thinking and I realised that a number of these books that I had revered I had read in my teens and early twenties. That meant that I had not read them for over forty years.

I decided that it would be good to go back and see if they were as good as I remembered them being. So I began to intersperse them with my current reading. Do you know what I discovered? Half of them had obviously been rewritten by inferior writers over the intervening years.

So come on you publishers – I want the original books back that I loved so much! Many of these are nowhere near as good as they were!

14 thoughts on “Reading

  1. I can’t see any Jasper Fforde??? If you havent read him then you should really start straight away… The Thursday Next series… LOVE it!

      1. Hi there! He is a British writer that I have discovered by complete chance, here in our local library in Québec city! The Thursday Next series is satirical, absurd, philosophical and literary Sci-fi, yes all of that and more. He has been compared to Terry Pratchett, but seriously, he is even better…

      2. Thanks Virginie – he sounds great. I shall check him out and read some! I hope you like all my books! I remember you reading Green all those years ago! What do you think to the website?

  2. Sorry I haven’t had time to read your other books yet. But I had loved Green, so will certainly check them out soon…
    Let me know what you think once you’re read some Jasper Fforde…

  3. Hi Virginie – great to hear from you. I have bought six of Jasper’s books on your recommendation! I’ve got a few books lined up to read first but I’ll get on to them soon. I’ll let you know what I think.
    I’m glad you like Green. Perhaps you could leave a review on Amazon. It might encourage someone to buy one!
    My other books are a bit extreme and quirky. Beware the warnings! I’ve published thirteen so far. I’m working on the Anthropocene Apocalypse and hope to get that published by the end of this week. Then I’m fine tuning my education one. Then the Roy Harper one. By Christmas I hope to have twenty out there.

  4. That’s funny: “Half of them had obviously been rewritten by inferior writers over the intervening years.” Did you know that John Fowles created a slightly modified version of The Magus? In particular, he clarified the ending.

    1. Hi Steve – no I didn’t know that. I’ll have to check that out. I always thought the ending was a bit weak. Perhaps he sorted that out a bit. Thanks for letting me know.

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