So, this is the super-hard list. As a committed reader for nearly fifty years, there have been many authors that have caught my heart in that time. As I tried to list my favourites I kept stumbling across the ones I have left behind. It has been many years since I read Aldous Huxley, yet he was my all time favourite for a long time and I have read most of his fiction and some of his essays too. Grahame Greene too, was one author I got into when I read Our Man in Havana while I was at school, then went on to consume much of his output in an indiscriminate way. Neither of these has been listed below. Charles Dickens and Evelyn Waugh have also not made it although I have read lots of books by both and enjoyed them. For simplification, I decided to go for more contemporary authors. The books I have listed are the ones I have enjoyed more recently and they are books that I have discovered by myself rather than reading them because I was told I should, because they are ‘good’ literature. In my opinion, the authors and their books that I have listed are excellent literature.
What I have done is list my favourite authors in order of preference, although that makes the task even harder because they are all really excellent and have written material that I love for many reasons. Then I went on to tax myself even more by listing the two books by each author that I enjoyed most. This meant not listing many books that I love, probably I could have listed five books by each author, but that would mean I wouldn’t get to post this before Christmas.
Apologies to Huxley, Greene, Dickens, Waugh, Faulkner, Maugham, et al, while I love your work, there’s just not enough room here for you this time. But, having stirred up my memories, I will probably be revisiting your work pretty soon.
1/ Martin Amis – 1/ The Pregnant Widow 2/ Money
2/ Ian McEwan – 1/ Nutshell 2/ Solar
3/ A M Homes – 1/ The End of Alice 2/ Jack
4/ Peter Carey – 1/ Bliss 2/ The Chemistry of Tears
5/ Haruki Murakami – 1/ Hard Boiled Wonderland 2/ 1Q84
6/ Jonathan Frantzen – 1/ The Corrections 2/ Freedom
7/ Umberto Eco – 1/ Foucault’s Pendulum 2/ Baudolino
8/ Chuck Palahnuik – 1/ Pygmy 2/ Fight Club
9/ Julian Barnes – 1/ Talking it Over/Love Etc. 2/ Metroland
10/ William Boyd – 1/ Any Human Heart 2/ Waiting for Sunrise