The Library

Welcome to an oasis of calm in the otherwise over-stimulated, madcap world of GofaDM.

Imagine if you will a small collection of over-stuffed, wing-backed, dark-red, leather armchairs companionably clustered around a roaring fire (for those still feeling the chill, tartan blankets and matching slippers are also available).  As you settle comfortably into one of the chairs you notice that all around you (except where proximity to the fire would make this dangerous – the Library is no place for health and safety related anxiety) are shelves full of books.  These shelves stretch as far as the eye can see in all directions except down, where you will find the floor covered in luxurious carpet, perhaps something Persian or from Wilton’s Prestige range.

The books are those read by the author during his sojourn in this vale of tears.  Most of the books will be paperbacks as I try and avoid the hardback – not as a result of its greater cost (though this is a minor factor) but because of the greater storage requirements.  Even in this electronic memory palace I still need to be spatially efficient as it is, in a very real sense, merely a reflection of the underlying (or at least, an underlying) reality and I have yet to master the permanently-locked hyperdimensional vortical expansion (there will be a small prize for anyone who can “get” that allusion without reference to internet search – but the book is on the shelves somewhere).  Given the thousands of works that have hurried nervously (probably whistling, glancing regularly behind them) across the gap between my ears over the decades, this page will be a work-in-progress for some time.  I shall start with works currently being read and gradually fill in such history as I can re-construct from my bookshelves, books in storage and fading memory.

As a student of Nikolai Ivanovich Lobachevsky, the idea for this page has been freely plagiarised from a friend – by way of Iliysk and Novorossiysk.  As with the source, I shall probably refrain from rating the works listed – though might, should the fancy take me, indicate (in a manner yet to be decided) any that have particularly taken my fancy.

The scene now safely set, the curtains now part to reveal…

Works being digested at the current observer moment

  1. House of the Wolf – M K Wren

Works already consumed, as viewed from the current observer moment

  1. Other People’s Money – John Kay
  2. The End of the Day – Claire North
  3. Infinity Engine – Neal Asher
  4. A Voice in the Night – Andrea Camilleri
  5. The Hanging Tree – Ben Aaronovitch
  6. Selected Poems – Fernando Pessoa
  7. The Many Selves of Katherine North – Emma Geen
  8. Rather be the Devil – Ian Rankin
  9. The Naked Diplomat – Tom Fletcher
  10. A Quantum Murder – Peter F Hamilton
  11. Poseidon’s Wake – Alastair Reynolds
  12. Grimm Tales for Young and Old – Philip Pullman
  13. Grief is the thing with feathers – Max Porter
  14. The Lost Time Accidents – John Wray
  15. This Orient Isle – Jerry Brotton
  16. Words of Radiance, Part Two – Brandon Sanderson
  17. Killing Pretty – Richard Kadrey
  18. Words of Radiance, Part One – Brandon Sanderson
  19. The Getaway God – Richard Kadrey
  20. Empire of Things – Frank Trentmann
  21. A Portrait of an Idiot as a Young Man – Jon Holmes
  22. Eleven Kinds of Loneliness – Robert Yates
  23. The Noise of Time – Julian Barnes
  24. Alan Stoob: Nazi Hunter – Saul Wordsworth
  25. Slow Bullets – Alastair Reynolds
  26. Judas Unchained – Peter F Hamilton
  27. Gut – Giulia Enders
  28. The Heart of what was Lost – Tad Williams
  29. Judas Unchained – Peter F Hamilton
  30. The Last Days of New Paris – China Miéville
  31. A closed and common orbit – Becky Chambers
  32. The Sudden Appearance of Hope – Claire North
  33. The Invention of Nature – Andrea Wulf
  34. How the French Think – Sudhir Hazareesingh
  35. Killing Moon – N K Jemisin
  36. England, England – Julian Barnes
  37. Applied Mathematics – Dan Simpson
  38. Theatre of the Gods – M Suddain
  39. The Sellout – Paul Beatty
  40. Skyfaring – Mark Vanhoenacker
  41. Still falling – Sara Hirsch
  42. The Path of Anger – Antoine Rouaud
  43. Germany – Neil McGregor
  44. Pulse – Julian Barnes
  45. Cain – Luke Kennard
  46. The Algebraist – Iain M Banks
  47. Shadow of the Swan – M K Wren
  48. Stars, A Very Short Introduction – Andrew King
  49. SPQR – Mary Beard
  50. Sword of the Lamb – M K Wren
  51. Secrets of the Fire Sea – Stephen Hunt
  52. A Climate of Fear – Fred Vargas
  53. Montalbano’s first case and other stories – Andrea Camilleri
  54. How to Write About Theatre – Mark Fisher
  55. The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet – Becky Chambers
  56. The Vorrh – B Catling
  57. A Time of Gifts – Patrick Leigh Fermor
  58. Reading like a Writer – Francine Prose
  59. The Rook – Daniel O’Malley
  60. Sum – David Eagleman
  61. Rendezvous at the Russian Tea Rooms – Paul Willetts
  62. The Brewer of Preston – Andrea Camilleri
  63. The Silo Effect – Gillian Tett
  64. The Silk Roads – Peter Frankopan
  65. Memoirs of a Porcupine – Alain Mabanckou
  66. The Adjacent – Christopher Priest
  67. Sapiens – Yuval Noah Harari
  68. All is Silence – Manuel Rivas
  69. Neurotribes – Steve Silberman
  70. The Vital Question – Nick Lane
  71. Resistance is Futile – Jenny T Colgan
  72. InterRail – Alessandro Gallenzi
  73. Between the Woods and the Water – Patrick Leigh Fermor
  74. A Sense of Direction – Gideon Lewis-Kravs
  75. A Million Years in a Day – Greg Jenner
  76. The Evolution of Inanimate Objects – Harry Karlinsky
  77. The Spies – Luis Fernando Verissimo
  78. Chipmunk seeks squirrel – David Sedaris
  79. Adventures in the Anthropocene – Gaia Vince
  80. A Darker Shade of Magic – V E Schwab
  81. The Undercover Economist Strikes Back – Tim Harford
  82. Egghead – Bo Burnham
  83. On the Steel Breeze – Alastair Reynolds
  84. Adapt – Tim Harford
  85. Being Mortal – Atul Gawande
  86. The Mirror World of Melody Black – Gavin Extence
  87. Kalooki Nights – Howard Jacobson
  88. Birth of a Theorem – Cédric Villani
  89. Rogue Teacher – Mark Grist
  90. This Night’s Foul Work – Fred Vargas
  91. The Table of Less Valued Knights – Marie Phillips
  92. Devil Said Bang – Richard Kadrey
  93. Blood Rain – Michael Dibdin
  94. The Ghost Riders of Ordebec – Fred Vargas
  95. A Quantum Mythology – Gavin Smith
  96. The Chalk Circle Man – Fred Vargas
  97. A gladiator only dies once – Steven Saylor
  98. Life on the Edge – Jim Al-Khalili & Johnjoe McFadden
  99. Dog will have his day – Fred Vargas
  100. The Osiris Ritual – George Mann
  101. An Uncertain Place – Fred Vargas
  102. Curious – Rebecca Front
  103. The Affinity Bridge – George Mann
  104. Angels over Elsinore – Clive James
  105. Millenium – Tom Holland
  106. Have mercy on us all – Fred Vargas
  107. Grown Up – Scott Tyrell
  108. The Wise Man’s Fear – Patrick Rothfuss
  109. Stuff Matters – Mark Miodownik
  110. The Ego Trick – Julian Baggini
  111. Born Liars – Ian Leslie
  112. Nocturnes – Kazuo Ishiguro
  113. I think you’ll find its a bit more complicated than that – Ben Goldacre
  114. The Circle Line – Steffan Meyric Hughes
  115. Confronting the Classics – Mary Beard
  116. How’s the pain? – Pascal Garnier
  117. Things to make and do in the 4th Dimension – Matt Parker
  118. The Secret of Abdu El Yezdi – Mark Hodder
  119. How to Build a Girl – Caitlin Moran
  120. How it all began – Penelope Lively
  121. The Buried Giant – Kazuo Ishiguro
  122. Kill the Dead – Richard Kadrey
  123. Game of Mirrors – Andrea Camilleri
  124. The Shepherd’s Crown – Terry Pratchett
  125. Monsieur Pamplemousse and the Carbon Footprint – Michael Bond
  126. Screwtop Thompson – Magnus Mills
  127. A Long Finish – Michael Dibdin
  128. Sandman Slim – Richard Kadrey
  129. The Fault in Our Stars – John Green
  130. The Truth is a Cave in the Black Mountains – Neil Gaiman
  131. The Chimes – Anna Smaill
  132. 45 Mercy Street – Anne Sexton
  133. The Pleasant Light of Day – Philip Ó Ceallaigh
  134. Landing Light – Don Paterson
  135. Alex through the Looking Glass – Alex Bellos
  136. The Revolving Door of Life – Alexander McCall Smith
  137. The Aleph and Other Stories – Jorge Luis Borges
  138. Physical – Andrew McMillan
  139. The Connectome – Sebastian Seung
  140. Rain – Don Patterson
  141. Dances Learned Last Night – Michael Donaghy
  142. The Sense of Style – Steven Pinker
  143. Labyrinths – Jorge Luis Borges
  144. The Epigenetics Revolution – Nessa Carey
  145. The Man Who Couldn’t Stop – David Adam
  146. School of the Arts – Mark Doty
  147. Unkind to Unicorns – A E Housman
  148. Electrified Sheep – Alex Boese
  149. The Water Table – Philip Gross
  150. Conjure – Michael Donaghy
  151. New Light for the Old Dark – Sam Willetts
  152. The Ice Age – Paul Farley
  153. Portrait of my Father in an English Landscape – George Szirtes
  154. Worst Date Ever – Jane Bussman
  155. Look we have coming to Dover! – Daljit Nagra
  156. Bestiary – Helen Dunmore
  157. Manhattan in Reverse – Peter F Hamilton
  158. Atlantis – Mark Doty
  159. Family Values – Wendy Cope
  160. Making Cocoa for Kingsley Amis – Wendy Cope
  161. The Passages of Joy – Thom Gunn
  162. Barrel Fever – David Sedaris
  163. The Incredible Unlikeliness of Being – Alice Roberts
  164. The Beat Goes On – Ian Rankin
  165. The Prisoner of Heaven – Carlos Ruiz Zafón
  166. Beowulf – Seamus Heaney
  167. Silver – Andrew Motion
  168. The A-Z of You and Me – James Hannah
  169. Paris to the Moon – Adam Gopnik
  170. 50 Moments that Rocked the Classical Music World – Darren Henley & Sam Jackson
  171. The Causal Angel – Hannu Rajaniemi
  172. The Treasure Hunt – Andrea Camilleri
  173. Question Everything – New Scientist
  174. The Angel’s Game – Carlos Ruiz Zafón
  175. Letter from America – Alistair Cooke
  176. All the Rage – A L Kennedy
  177. Touch – Claire North
  178. The Name of the Wind – Patrick Rothfuss
  179. Bacteria, A Very Short Introduction – Sebastian G B Aymes
  180. Tigerman – Nick Harkaway
  181. The Mathematical Universe – Max Tegmark
  182. Foxglove Summer – Ben Aaronovitch
  183. the long and the short of it – John Kay
  184. Do No Harm – Henry Marsh
  185. The Price of Inequality – Joseph E Stiglitz
  186. Germania – Simon Winder
  187. How to Be a Woman – Caitlin Moran
  188. The Undivided Past – David Cannadine
  189. Is that a Fish in Your Ear? – David Bellos
  190. Justice – Michael J Sandel
  191. Deep Sea and Foreign Going – Rose George
  192. The Blind Giant – Nick Harkaway
  193. Into the Woods – John Yorke
  194. One Summer – Bill Bryson
  195. Spell It Out – David Crystal
  196. Danubia – Simon Winder
  197. The Humans – Matt Haig
  198. Saints of the Shadow Bible – Ian Rankin
  199. Standing in a Dead Man’s Grave – Ian Rankin
  200. The Hydrogen Sonata – Iain M Banks
  201. The Quarry – Iain Banks
  202. The Fractal Prince – Hannu Rajamieni
  203. Cold Days – Jim Butcher
  204. The Last Dark – Stephen R Donaldson
  205. Polity Agent – Neal Asher
  206. American Gods – Neil Gaiman
  207. The Dark is Rising Sequence – Susan Cooper
  208. Hilldiggers – Neal Asher
  209. Three Men on the Bummel – Jerome K Jerome
  210. Cetaganda – Lois McMaster Bujold
  211. The Teleportation Accident – Ned Beaumont
  212. The Shock of the Fall – Nathan Filer
  213. The Fractal Prince – Hannu Rajaniemi
  214. Light – M John Harrison
  215. The Universe Against Alex Woods – Gavin Extence
  216. The Cunning Man – Robertson Davies
  217. Endymion Omnibus – Dan Simmons
  218. The Islanders – Christopher Priest
  219. Hogfather – Terry Pratchett
  220. Irrationality – Stuart Sutherland
  221. Contingency, irony and solidarity – Richard Rorty
  222. why does E=mc²? – Brian Cox and Jeff Forshaw
  223. What Money Can’t Buy – Michael J Sandel
  224. The Quantum Universe – Brian Cox and Jeff Forshaw
  225. The Truth about Markets – John Kay
  226. Reckoning with Risk – Gerd Gigerenzer
  227. A History of the World in Twelve Maps – Jerry Brotton
  228. Finding Moonshine – Marcus du Sautoy
  229. Pieces of Light – Charles Fernyhough
  230. Creation – Adam Rutherford
  231. Why is there something rather than nothing? – Leszek Kolakowski
  232. The Book of Barely Imagined Beings – Caspar Henderson
  233. Why We Build – Rowan Moore
  234. The Signal and the Noise – Nate Silver
  235. Turing’s Cathedral – George Dyson
  236. Bad Pharma – Ben Goldacre
  237. Lost for Words – John Humphries
  238. Obliquity – John Kay
  239. The Arcanum – Janet Gleeson
  240. Complexity – M Mitchell Waldrop
  241. Meaning, medicine and the ‘placebo effect’ – Daniel Moerman
  242. Midnight at the Pera Palace – Charles King
  243. The Penguin Book of Scottish Folktales – ed. Neil Philip
  244. The Fictional Man – Al Ewing
  245. The Incorruptibles – John Horner Jacobs
  246. Broken Homes – Ben Aaronovitch
  247. Whispers Underground – Ben Aaronovitch
  248. The Fear Institute – Jonathan L Howard
  249. Dead Girl Walking – Christopher Brookmyre
  250. Johannes Cabal the detective – Jonathan L Howard
  251. Dark Intelligence – Neal Asher
  252. Skin Game – Jim Butcher
  253. The Ocean at the End of the Lane – Neil Gaiman
  254. Fool’s Gold – Gillian Tett
  255. The Idea of Justice – Amartya Sen
  256. Not that kind of girl – Lena Dunham
  257. God Collar – Marcus Brigstocke
  258. This should be written in the present tense – Helle Helle
  259. See Delphi and Die – Lindsey Davis
  260. Doctor Who: 12 Doctors, 12 Stories – various
  261. The Language of Dying – Sarah Pinborough
  262. Hot Lead, Cold Iron – Ari Marmell
  263. Dead Lagoon – Michael Dibdin
  264. Apocalypse now now – Charlie Human
  265. The Coincidence Engine – Sam Leith
  266. The first fifteen lives of Harry August – Claire North
  267. The Trundlers – Harry Pearson
  268. Anathem – Neal Stephenson
  269. Raising Steam – Terry Pratchett
  270. Flesh Wounds – Christopher Brookmyre
  271. Jupiter War – Neal Asher
  272. The Way of Kings – Brandon Sanderson
  273. Saki: The Complete Short Stories – H H Munro
  274. Evening’s Empire – Paul J McAuley
  275. Boneland – Alan Garner
  276. Kraken – China Miéville
  277. Sunshine on Scotland Street – Alexander McCall Smith
  278. Alif the Unseen – G Willow Wilson
  279. Terra – Mitch Benn
  280. Gradisil – Adam Roberts
  281. Cowl – Neal Asher
  282. The Gypsy Morph – Terry Brooks
  283. All fun and games until somebody loses an eye – Christopher Brookmyre
  284. The Cornish Trilogy – Robertson Davies
  285. Moon over Soho – Ben Aaronovitch
  286. Bertie’s Guide to Life and Mothers – Alexander McCall Smith
  287. Help! – Oliver Burkeman
  288. For Richer, For Poorer – Victoria Coren
  289. The Technician – Neal Asher
  290. 13 Things That Don’t Make Sense – Michael Brooks
  291. 1227 Qi Facts – The QI Elves
  292. Jumpers for Goalposts – Rob Smyth and Georgina Turner
  293. The Ancient Guide to Modern Living – Natalie Haynes
  294. Quirkology – Richard Wiseman
  295. The Self Illusion – Bruce Hood
  296. August Heat – Andrea Camilleri
  297. Gridlinked – Neal Asher
  298. The Etymologicon – Mark Forsyth
  299. The Graveyard Book – Neil Gaiman
  300. The Parthenon – Mary Beard
  301. At Home – Bill Bryson
  302. The Skinner – Neal Asher
  303. Chocolate and Cuckoo Clocks – Alan Coren
  304. Jizz – John Hart
  305. The Pearl – John Steinbeck
  306. The Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck
  307. Animal Farm – George Orwell
  308. 1984 – George Orwell
  309. An Inspector Calls – J B Priestley
  310. All Mary – Gwynedd Rae
  311. The Tales of Olga de Polga – Michael Bond
  312. Galactic Patrol – E E ‘Doc’ Smith
  313. Grey Lensman – E E ‘Doc’ Smith
  314. Second Stage Lensman – E E ‘Doc’ Smith
  315. Children of the Lens – E E ‘Doc’ Smith
  316. Damiano – R A McAvoy
  317. Damiano’s Lute – R A McAvoy
  318. Raphael – R A McAvoy
  319. Macbeth – William Shakespeare
  320. Winnie-the-Pooh – A A Milne
  321. The House at Pooh Corner – A A Milne
  322. Now we are six – A A Milne
  323. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Roald Dahl
  324. Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator – Roald Dahl
  325. James and the Giant Peach – Roald Dahl
  326. Witch World – Andre Norton
  327. My Family and Other Animals – Gerald Durrell
  328. The Talking Parcel – Gerald Durrell
  329. The Caine Mutiny – Herman Wouk
  330. Brighton Rock – Graham Greene
  331. Changing Places – David Lodge
  332. Small World – David Lodge
  333. Nice Work – David Lodge

To be continued…

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8 thoughts on “The Library

  1. Dimitris Melicertes says:

    Ah, dammit, you thought of counting them! No way I can go back and do that now…

    Gradisil’s author is my Director of Graduates and he discussed with me my university work a week ago during my annual review.

    Also, it’s terrifying how many of these names I don’t even recognize. I blame you for the horror now instilled in me.

  2. Stuart Ffoulkes says:

    I have a small confession to make about the counting: I never wanted nor intended to include it. For some reason, WordPress wanted to double space the list of books, which looked ghastly, and the only method I could find to stop it was to use a numbered list. I’m now pleased I did it, but I can claim little credit for the idea.

    Numbers 1-123 (as of 18 June 2015) are relatively recent reads – so have not required me to go through the contents of the storage unit. Nos. 124-148 are strange recollections from long, long ago – many from my childhood – which sprang unbidden into my mind during the course of yesterday.

    Gradisil was OK, but I really loved Adam Glass. I am starting to feel that I am (unintentionally) stalking you via your academic suzerains (first ALK and now Adam Roberts).

    Your list had a similar effect on me – so many books yet to read, so little statistically-likely life-span remaining. BTW: if you ever want to try something on the list, you are more than welcome to borrow it (assuming it didn’t come from the library) as I could do with freeing up the space for more books!

    • Dimitris Melicertes says:

      You can CTRL+Enter to single space the line or use the simple text editor.

      Haha, #96 was also a teacher during my MA at Warwick, though at the time I chose different courses than the ones he gave. Sci-fi won me over much later, back then I was immensely fascinated by biographical writing. But yes, brilliant people, all of them, and equally luminous as writers.

      Is this becoming a blogging/book-borrowing thing?! I’m much obliged and I’d like to reciprocate the gesture, so of course the same goes for any book on my list. Who knows, I might take you up on your offer. But my books I’m afraid are often underlined, have words circled, are earmarked and include notes in the margins so it’s almost impossible to read them for the first time ignoring my then-thoughts on the narrative, which I guess can be infuriating…

      • Stuart Ffoulkes says:

        OMD! The teachers you had on tap at Warwick – I am consumed by a homophone for a Dutch public limited-liability company! The City and the City absolutely below me away – to the extent that I have bought copies for other people (something I never do).

        I feel that the sharing of good books is a moral imperative (and one of the not very well hidden agendas of GofaDM) – it is just so rare you find a counterparty who would appreciate being shared with (rather than taking it as low-level bullying). I also feel it is a natural next step for our burgeoning blog-pal “relationship”. I will admit, though, that writing in books is one area in which we differ – I am utterly unable to intentionally mark a book in any way. At some level I’m not sure I entirely approve of an author signing a copy of their own book. I’m uncertain where this comes from – if in doubt, I blame the parents – but I seem to apply similar principles more broadly in my life. Having said this, I do recognise the historical significance (and often entertainment value) of marginalia. I suspect your marginalia would be a hoot or a deeply disturbing window into the roiling, obsidian depths of your psyche – either way, count me in!

  3. Dimitris Melicertes says:

    I seem to be unable to reply to your last comment directly. Either we’ve reached your blog’s preferences’s limit in regards to nested comments or WordPress is telling me to stop smearing with my presence this temple of exquisite language that GofaDM is. Probably the latter.

    I’ve yet to read The City & The City though a good friend has reminded me to more than many times… I’ve heard the best for it.

    Glad my marginalia won’t be a problem. On the other hand, you shouldn’t trust me with your books. I’m psychotic, really. Known to inscribe my initials in tiny characters at random parts within the bibliography of books I’ve borrowed from libraries… I can’t help it.

    • Stuart Ffoulkes says:

      A-ha! You are correct (not a Norwegian boyband of the 80s) – I have boosted the nesting limit to the max. I used to programme in Lisp and studied Recursive Function Theory as part of my degree – nesting holds no fears for me! (Well, as far as Aleph null anyway – I think we need to keep the levels countable).

      You share the love for books, all else is mere detail. I shall have fun with a magnifying glass looking for tiny DMs (or DPs) in any returnees.

      • Dimitris Melicertes says:

        You should have inadvertently reminded me of The Aleph, argh. I’ve been meaning to brush up on Borges and specifically reread that one short story because it’s been ages and I don’t for the life of me remember how he ends it. Plus, I wanted to look at the language again.

        Also, a theoretical point: could one just include one entry, ”The Aleph – Jorge Luis Borges”, in their reading list/library archive and count that as having read everything in the known universe? Or is that too meta.

        • Stuart Ffoulkes says:

          It would depend on which Aleph and your view on the correctness (or otherwise) of the Riemann hypothesis. We might also need to consider whether the universe is continuous or becomes granular at a certain level. If you ever fancy a quick Cantor (Gregor of that ilk) through transfinite set theory and the fun of Cardinal arithmetic, I could be your man!

          JLB is one of the most embarrassing omissions in my reading list (or more, not in it) – and one I’ve been meaning to correct for a while (possibly longer than you’ve been alive. I can be quite dilatory).

          We love meta here – and you can never have too much (then again, I did find Inception rather tedious – so perhaps it depends how you do it).

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