Reading List

The original manuscript for Jack Kerouac's On the Road, hammered out on a roll of teletype paper over an amphetamine-fuelled three week burst in 1951.

I’m suffer from chronic insomnia, it’s pretty bad at the moment as I fail to complete two essays due today. Sometimes it’s manically productive however. Last night I watched a documentary on the modern novel, and got to thinking about the books that have influenced me.

They’re not my favourite books, though many would make that list too. Nor are they representative of what I’ve read – I spent most of my childhood immersed in science fiction; and most of what I read these days is digital; much too, of the writing I consider influential, is in the form of song lyrics. But each book changed how I saw the world.

It’s a list as significant for what it leaves out as for what it includes; there’s no Tolstoy or Dostoyevsky, no Salinger or Mailer, no D.H Lawrence or Virginia Wolfe, and there’s (god forbid) no Ernest bleedin’ Hemmingway. It’s an embarrassingly cliched list, and incomplete, both due to faulty memory and the huge degree of ephemeral journal articles, reports, blog posts and news print excluded by definition. Here it is anyway..

Read the List on 43 Things.

On the Road – Jack Kerouac
The Social Contract – Jean-Jacques Rousseau
Blank Slate – Stephen Pinker
1984 – George Orwell
Hot House – Brian Aldiss
Dracula Unbound – Brian Aldiss
Fahrenheit 451 – Ray Bradbury
Lanark – Alasdair Grey
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas – Hunter S. Thompson
No Logo – Naomi Klein
Hegemony or Survival – Noam Chomsky
Times Fool – Glyn Maxwell
The Canterbury Tales – Geoffrey Chaucer
The World According to Garp – John Irving
Catch 22 – Joseph Heller
American Psycho – Brett Easton Ellis
The Rules of Attraction – Brett Easton Ellis
Money – Martin Amis
Bright Lights Big City – Jay McInerney
Dune – Frank Herbert
Sociology – Anthony Giddens
Raft – Steven Baxter
Ring – Steven Baxter
Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov
Dangerous Visions – Harlan Ellison (ed)
Transmetropolitan – Warren Ellis
The Liar – Stephen Fry
The Picture of Dorian Grey – Oscar Wilde
The Star Rover – Jack London
Illusions : The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah – Richard Bach
Collected Poems – Wilfred Owen
Collected Stories – Anton Chekov
A Coney island of the mind – Lawrence Ferlinghetti
Waiting for Godot – Samuel Beckett
Forty Thousand in Gehenna – CJ Cherryh
The Earth Book of Stormgate – Poul Anderson
Rendezvous with Rama – Arthur C. Clarke
Introductory Lectures on Psychoanalysis – Sigmund Freud
The magicians nephew – CS Lewis
The last battle – CS Lewis

What’s on your list?

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2 thoughts on “Reading List

  1. Hi,
    What with me also being an insomniac I thought I’d post some of books which influenced me the most. Yes, you can see the cliches coming a mile away. I’m sure there were lots more books which I read when I was a kiddy and more susceptible, however my memory fails me.

    Crime and Punishment – Fyodor Dostoyevsky
    One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich – Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
    The Bell Jar – Sylvia Plath
    Mouthing the Words – Camilla Gibb
    The Shore of Women – Pamela Sargent
    Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance – Robert Pirsig
    Chrome Yellow – Aldous Huxley

  2. Wow kick ass, I’ve always ment to read ZATAOMM, and anything by Huxley is usually fantastic. I’ll try to catch some of those over the summer. Hope Indiana is going great!

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