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
  2. The Naked Diplomat – Tom Fletcher
  3. Word of Radiance, Part One – Brandon Sanderson

Works already consumed, as viewed from the current observer moment

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

To be continued…

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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