Saturday, 15 November 2008

you are what you read

I work at a bookstore. My mind runs on books for many hours each day. Boxes of books, stacks of books, armfuls of books, shelves of books, tables of books, walls of books. I am also a list-maker. So I have decided to write my very own list of books I've read, and have read again and again, and can heartily recommend. That is the only thing these books have in common; they do not all appear on any public/literary critic 'best books' list, they are not all fiction, or classics, or bestsellers, they are simply good. Really good.

They're also not in any order of preference, I can't bring myself to rank some books over others, I can't compare them to each other. I would love to know which of these you have read, because you see this is more than a snapshot of my bedside table over the last 10 years, its a mini-portrait of my soul. To quote Greg Kinnear's character in You've Got Mail..."you are what you read".

  1. Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell
  2. Craven House by Patrick Hamilton
  3. Persuasion by Jane Austen
  4. Cranford, and other short stories by Elizabeth Gaskell
  5. Vanity Fair by William Thackery
  6. Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
  7. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
  8. Good Wives (and the two sequels) by Louisa May Alcott
  9. Pride and Prejudice (and the many sequels) by Jane Austen
  10. Mary Barton by Elizabeth Gaskell
  11. North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell
  12. Love in a Cold Climate by Nancy Mitford
  13. The Pursuit of Love by Nancy Mitford
  14. Don't Tell Alfred by Nancy Mitford
  15. Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons
  16. Consequences by Penelope Lively
  17. 1939; The Last Curtsey by Anne De Courcy
  18. Nancy Mitford (biography) by Harold Acton
  19. Coming Home by Rosamunde Pilcher
  20. Last Curtsey by Fiona MacCarthy
  21. The Mitford Sisters by Mary S. Lovell
  22. A Town Like Alice by Nevil Shute
  23. Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire by Amanda Foreman
  24. The Victorian House by Judith Flanders
  25. Victorian Girls by Sheila Fletcher
  26. Aristocrats by Stella Tillyard
  27. Daughters of Britannia by Katie Hickman
  28. Evelina by Frances Burney
  29. Sense and Sensibility - Diaries by Emma Thompson
  30. The Tale of Beatrix Potter: A Biography by Margaret Lane
  31. Gone With The Wind by Margaret Mitchell
  32. Little Dorrit by Charles Dickens
  33. The Girls of Slender Means by Muriel Spark
  34. Master and Commander, and the entire Aubrey/Maturin series (21 books) by Patrick O'Brian
  35. The Golden Ocean by Patrick O'Brian
  36. The Unknown Shore by Patrick O'Brian
  37. The Catalans by Patrick O'Brian
  38. The Road to Samarcand by Patrick O'Brian
  39. The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
  40. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
  41. The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
  42. The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
  43. The Discworld series by Terry Pratchett
  44. The Hornblower series by C.S. Forester
  45. The Diary of a Nobody by George and Weedon Grossmith
  46. Down and Out in Paris and London by George Orwell
  47. The Liar by Stephen Fry
  48. Moab is My Washpot by Stephen Fry
  49. The Thirty-Nine Steps by John Buchan
  50. Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K. Jerome


Laura Essendine said...

If you want to take a break from reading the classics and watch them instead I much recommend the BBC version of Jane Eyre staring Timothy Dalton and Zelah Clarke.

And perhaps, even better is the BBC's North and South with Richard Armitage. The epitome of great classic drama.Laura Essendine

Rules for watching are all 4 hrs in one go, no children/partners making comments and chocolate on the side.

Pure magic

Laura Essendine
Author – The Accidental Guru
The Books Limited Blog

Vic said...

I can tell we are kindred spirits. Great list. Thanks for sharing.