Catching up on some tweets (that’s surely not how it’s meant to work), I see that Kurt Harden over at Cultural Offering invited me to join a project to list my five favourite books and nominate five bloggers to do the same.
A tough call but here’s a list – in no particular order – borne of an hour’s ponder and search…
The Sovereign Individual by William Rees-Mogg and James Dale Davidson – without a doubt this book belongs on the list. I read it when it was first published in 1997 and was sold on its grand, mega-political sweep and challenging, but empowering view of the future. Fifteen years on, it looks strangely prophetic.
- American Gods by Neil Gaiman – on an idle, grey afternoon in Bellevue, Washington, I wandered into Barnes & Noble looking for something I might read on the flight home. I stumbled across Stardust (“soon to be a major film”) and vaguely recalled the BBC’s Neverwhere. I had discovered Neil Gaiman and American Gods was the second book I read. Wonderful concept, beautiful scope.
The Complete Works of William Shakespeare – something of a cop-out, I know: eight volumes and the whole of humanity in one. However, around the time that I left corporate life to embark on my independent life, I was working with the very wonderful Ann Mulraine on my public speaking. Inadvertently, she re-awoke my love of words and set me on my current path as a professional writer. As part of my exercises, we worked with the chorus speeches from Henry V. One day, I wandered into the local charity shop and found this beautifully bound, Folio Society edition of Shakespeare at something of a bargain price.
Silk by Alessandro Baricco – simply a beautiful, haunting love story. I’m not sure it landed on the list but it came to mind as one of the five.
On The Road by Jack Kerouac – I read this as a teenager in a small town in the north of Scotland while listening to the Grateful Dead and Bob Dylan. It resonated with a young man’s restlessness. It took me many years to get to visit California.
There are many on the “nearly” list:
- The Economist Style Guide – honestly. A witty and fascinating guide to what should be a hideously dry topic.
- The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy – of course. Just Douglas Adams’ original five. I didn’t warm to Eoin Golfer’s finale.
- Shutter Island – a beautifully constructed tale. The film is good but read the book and immerse yourself in confusion.
- Tender Is The Night – wonderful use of language with beautiful, evocative descriptions.
- The Visual Display of Quantitative Information – what it says. An essential guide.
- The History of Work – a beautifully written exploration of why we are where we are.
… and many more – as yet unknown – on the “how could I forget…” list.