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 Idiot Brain – Dean Burnett

Works already consumed, as viewed from the current observer moment

  1. Kill Baxter – Charlie Human
  2. The Three Evangelists – Fred Vargas
  3. Ten Cities that made an Empire – Tristram Hunt
  4. Exodus – Alex Lamb
  5. Neither Nowt nor Summat – Ian McMillan
  6. Life: A User’s Manual – Georges Perec
  7. Nemesis – Alex Lamb
  8. Revenger – Alasdair Reynolds
  9. A Brief History of Everyone who Ever Lived – Adam Rutherford
  10. Miss Treadaway and the Field of Stars – Miranda Emmerson
  11. The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher – Hilary Mantel
  12. How to Stop Time – Matt Haig
  13. Other People’s Money – John Kay
  14. The End of the Day – Claire North
  15. Infinity Engine – Neal Asher
  16. A Voice in the Night – Andrea Camilleri
  17. The Hanging Tree – Ben Aaronovitch
  18. Selected Poems – Fernando Pessoa
  19. The Many Selves of Katherine North – Emma Geen
  20. Rather be the Devil – Ian Rankin
  21. The Naked Diplomat – Tom Fletcher
  22. A Quantum Murder – Peter F Hamilton
  23. Poseidon’s Wake – Alastair Reynolds
  24. Grimm Tales for Young and Old – Philip Pullman
  25. Grief is the thing with feathers – Max Porter
  26. The Lost Time Accidents – John Wray
  27. This Orient Isle – Jerry Brotton
  28. Words of Radiance, Part Two – Brandon Sanderson
  29. Killing Pretty – Richard Kadrey
  30. Words of Radiance, Part One – Brandon Sanderson
  31. The Getaway God – Richard Kadrey
  32. Empire of Things – Frank Trentmann
  33. A Portrait of an Idiot as a Young Man – Jon Holmes
  34. Eleven Kinds of Loneliness – Robert Yates
  35. The Noise of Time – Julian Barnes
  36. Alan Stoob: Nazi Hunter – Saul Wordsworth
  37. Slow Bullets – Alastair Reynolds
  38. Judas Unchained – Peter F Hamilton
  39. Gut – Giulia Enders
  40. The Heart of what was Lost – Tad Williams
  41. Judas Unchained – Peter F Hamilton
  42. The Last Days of New Paris – China Miéville
  43. A closed and common orbit – Becky Chambers
  44. The Sudden Appearance of Hope – Claire North
  45. The Invention of Nature – Andrea Wulf
  46. How the French Think – Sudhir Hazareesingh
  47. Killing Moon – N K Jemisin
  48. England, England – Julian Barnes
  49. Applied Mathematics – Dan Simpson
  50. Theatre of the Gods – M Suddain
  51. The Sellout – Paul Beatty
  52. Skyfaring – Mark Vanhoenacker
  53. Still falling – Sara Hirsch
  54. The Path of Anger – Antoine Rouaud
  55. Germany – Neil McGregor
  56. Pulse – Julian Barnes
  57. Cain – Luke Kennard
  58. The Algebraist – Iain M Banks
  59. Shadow of the Swan – M K Wren
  60. Stars, A Very Short Introduction – Andrew King
  61. SPQR – Mary Beard
  62. Sword of the Lamb – M K Wren
  63. Secrets of the Fire Sea – Stephen Hunt
  64. A Climate of Fear – Fred Vargas
  65. Montalbano’s first case and other stories – Andrea Camilleri
  66. How to Write About Theatre – Mark Fisher
  67. The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet – Becky Chambers
  68. The Vorrh – B Catling
  69. A Time of Gifts – Patrick Leigh Fermor
  70. Reading like a Writer – Francine Prose
  71. The Rook – Daniel O’Malley
  72. Sum – David Eagleman
  73. Rendezvous at the Russian Tea Rooms – Paul Willetts
  74. The Brewer of Preston – Andrea Camilleri
  75. The Silo Effect – Gillian Tett
  76. The Silk Roads – Peter Frankopan
  77. Memoirs of a Porcupine – Alain Mabanckou
  78. The Adjacent – Christopher Priest
  79. Sapiens – Yuval Noah Harari
  80. All is Silence – Manuel Rivas
  81. Neurotribes – Steve Silberman
  82. The Vital Question – Nick Lane
  83. Resistance is Futile – Jenny T Colgan
  84. InterRail – Alessandro Gallenzi
  85. Between the Woods and the Water – Patrick Leigh Fermor
  86. A Sense of Direction – Gideon Lewis-Kravs
  87. A Million Years in a Day – Greg Jenner
  88. The Evolution of Inanimate Objects – Harry Karlinsky
  89. The Spies – Luis Fernando Verissimo
  90. Chipmunk seeks squirrel – David Sedaris
  91. Adventures in the Anthropocene – Gaia Vince
  92. A Darker Shade of Magic – V E Schwab
  93. The Undercover Economist Strikes Back – Tim Harford
  94. Egghead – Bo Burnham
  95. On the Steel Breeze – Alastair Reynolds
  96. Adapt – Tim Harford
  97. Being Mortal – Atul Gawande
  98. The Mirror World of Melody Black – Gavin Extence
  99. Kalooki Nights – Howard Jacobson
  100. Birth of a Theorem – Cédric Villani
  101. Rogue Teacher – Mark Grist
  102. This Night’s Foul Work – Fred Vargas
  103. The Table of Less Valued Knights – Marie Phillips
  104. Devil Said Bang – Richard Kadrey
  105. Blood Rain – Michael Dibdin
  106. The Ghost Riders of Ordebec – Fred Vargas
  107. A Quantum Mythology – Gavin Smith
  108. The Chalk Circle Man – Fred Vargas
  109. A gladiator only dies once – Steven Saylor
  110. Life on the Edge – Jim Al-Khalili & Johnjoe McFadden
  111. Dog will have his day – Fred Vargas
  112. The Osiris Ritual – George Mann
  113. An Uncertain Place – Fred Vargas
  114. Curious – Rebecca Front
  115. The Affinity Bridge – George Mann
  116. Angels over Elsinore – Clive James
  117. Millenium – Tom Holland
  118. Have mercy on us all – Fred Vargas
  119. Grown Up – Scott Tyrell
  120. The Wise Man’s Fear – Patrick Rothfuss
  121. Stuff Matters – Mark Miodownik
  122. The Ego Trick – Julian Baggini
  123. Born Liars – Ian Leslie
  124. Nocturnes – Kazuo Ishiguro
  125. I think you’ll find its a bit more complicated than that – Ben Goldacre
  126. The Circle Line – Steffan Meyric Hughes
  127. Confronting the Classics – Mary Beard
  128. How’s the pain? – Pascal Garnier
  129. Things to make and do in the 4th Dimension – Matt Parker
  130. The Secret of Abdu El Yezdi – Mark Hodder
  131. How to Build a Girl – Caitlin Moran
  132. How it all began – Penelope Lively
  133. The Buried Giant – Kazuo Ishiguro
  134. Kill the Dead – Richard Kadrey
  135. Game of Mirrors – Andrea Camilleri
  136. The Shepherd’s Crown – Terry Pratchett
  137. Monsieur Pamplemousse and the Carbon Footprint – Michael Bond
  138. Screwtop Thompson – Magnus Mills
  139. A Long Finish – Michael Dibdin
  140. Sandman Slim – Richard Kadrey
  141. The Fault in Our Stars – John Green
  142. The Truth is a Cave in the Black Mountains – Neil Gaiman
  143. The Chimes – Anna Smaill
  144. 45 Mercy Street – Anne Sexton
  145. The Pleasant Light of Day – Philip Ó Ceallaigh
  146. Landing Light – Don Paterson
  147. Alex through the Looking Glass – Alex Bellos
  148. The Revolving Door of Life – Alexander McCall Smith
  149. The Aleph and Other Stories – Jorge Luis Borges
  150. Physical – Andrew McMillan
  151. The Connectome – Sebastian Seung
  152. Rain – Don Patterson
  153. Dances Learned Last Night – Michael Donaghy
  154. The Sense of Style – Steven Pinker
  155. Labyrinths – Jorge Luis Borges
  156. The Epigenetics Revolution – Nessa Carey
  157. The Man Who Couldn’t Stop – David Adam
  158. School of the Arts – Mark Doty
  159. Unkind to Unicorns – A E Housman
  160. Electrified Sheep – Alex Boese
  161. The Water Table – Philip Gross
  162. Conjure – Michael Donaghy
  163. New Light for the Old Dark – Sam Willetts
  164. The Ice Age – Paul Farley
  165. Portrait of my Father in an English Landscape – George Szirtes
  166. Worst Date Ever – Jane Bussman
  167. Look we have coming to Dover! – Daljit Nagra
  168. Bestiary – Helen Dunmore
  169. Manhattan in Reverse – Peter F Hamilton
  170. Atlantis – Mark Doty
  171. Family Values – Wendy Cope
  172. Making Cocoa for Kingsley Amis – Wendy Cope
  173. The Passages of Joy – Thom Gunn
  174. Barrel Fever – David Sedaris
  175. The Incredible Unlikeliness of Being – Alice Roberts
  176. The Beat Goes On – Ian Rankin
  177. The Prisoner of Heaven – Carlos Ruiz Zafón
  178. Beowulf – Seamus Heaney
  179. Silver – Andrew Motion
  180. The A-Z of You and Me – James Hannah
  181. Paris to the Moon – Adam Gopnik
  182. 50 Moments that Rocked the Classical Music World – Darren Henley & Sam Jackson
  183. The Causal Angel – Hannu Rajaniemi
  184. The Treasure Hunt – Andrea Camilleri
  185. Question Everything – New Scientist
  186. The Angel’s Game – Carlos Ruiz Zafón
  187. Letter from America – Alistair Cooke
  188. All the Rage – A L Kennedy
  189. Touch – Claire North
  190. The Name of the Wind – Patrick Rothfuss
  191. Bacteria, A Very Short Introduction – Sebastian G B Aymes
  192. Tigerman – Nick Harkaway
  193. The Mathematical Universe – Max Tegmark
  194. Foxglove Summer – Ben Aaronovitch
  195. the long and the short of it – John Kay
  196. Do No Harm – Henry Marsh
  197. The Price of Inequality – Joseph E Stiglitz
  198. Germania – Simon Winder
  199. How to Be a Woman – Caitlin Moran
  200. The Undivided Past – David Cannadine
  201. Is that a Fish in Your Ear? – David Bellos
  202. Justice – Michael J Sandel
  203. Deep Sea and Foreign Going – Rose George
  204. The Blind Giant – Nick Harkaway
  205. Into the Woods – John Yorke
  206. One Summer – Bill Bryson
  207. Spell It Out – David Crystal
  208. Danubia – Simon Winder
  209. The Humans – Matt Haig
  210. Saints of the Shadow Bible – Ian Rankin
  211. Standing in a Dead Man’s Grave – Ian Rankin
  212. The Hydrogen Sonata – Iain M Banks
  213. The Quarry – Iain Banks
  214. The Fractal Prince – Hannu Rajamieni
  215. Cold Days – Jim Butcher
  216. The Last Dark – Stephen R Donaldson
  217. Polity Agent – Neal Asher
  218. American Gods – Neil Gaiman
  219. The Dark is Rising Sequence – Susan Cooper
  220. Hilldiggers – Neal Asher
  221. Three Men on the Bummel – Jerome K Jerome
  222. Cetaganda – Lois McMaster Bujold
  223. The Teleportation Accident – Ned Beaumont
  224. The Shock of the Fall – Nathan Filer
  225. The Fractal Prince – Hannu Rajaniemi
  226. Light – M John Harrison
  227. The Universe Against Alex Woods – Gavin Extence
  228. The Cunning Man – Robertson Davies
  229. Endymion Omnibus – Dan Simmons
  230. The Islanders – Christopher Priest
  231. Hogfather – Terry Pratchett
  232. Irrationality – Stuart Sutherland
  233. Contingency, irony and solidarity – Richard Rorty
  234. why does E=mc²? – Brian Cox and Jeff Forshaw
  235. What Money Can’t Buy – Michael J Sandel
  236. The Quantum Universe – Brian Cox and Jeff Forshaw
  237. The Truth about Markets – John Kay
  238. Reckoning with Risk – Gerd Gigerenzer
  239. A History of the World in Twelve Maps – Jerry Brotton
  240. Finding Moonshine – Marcus du Sautoy
  241. Pieces of Light – Charles Fernyhough
  242. Creation – Adam Rutherford
  243. Why is there something rather than nothing? – Leszek Kolakowski
  244. The Book of Barely Imagined Beings – Caspar Henderson
  245. Why We Build – Rowan Moore
  246. The Signal and the Noise – Nate Silver
  247. Turing’s Cathedral – George Dyson
  248. Bad Pharma – Ben Goldacre
  249. Lost for Words – John Humphries
  250. Obliquity – John Kay
  251. The Arcanum – Janet Gleeson
  252. Complexity – M Mitchell Waldrop
  253. Meaning, medicine and the ‘placebo effect’ – Daniel Moerman
  254. Midnight at the Pera Palace – Charles King
  255. The Penguin Book of Scottish Folktales – ed. Neil Philip
  256. The Fictional Man – Al Ewing
  257. The Incorruptibles – John Horner Jacobs
  258. Broken Homes – Ben Aaronovitch
  259. Whispers Underground – Ben Aaronovitch
  260. The Fear Institute – Jonathan L Howard
  261. Dead Girl Walking – Christopher Brookmyre
  262. Johannes Cabal the detective – Jonathan L Howard
  263. Dark Intelligence – Neal Asher
  264. Skin Game – Jim Butcher
  265. The Ocean at the End of the Lane – Neil Gaiman
  266. Fool’s Gold – Gillian Tett
  267. The Idea of Justice – Amartya Sen
  268. Not that kind of girl – Lena Dunham
  269. God Collar – Marcus Brigstocke
  270. This should be written in the present tense – Helle Helle
  271. See Delphi and Die – Lindsey Davis
  272. Doctor Who: 12 Doctors, 12 Stories – various
  273. The Language of Dying – Sarah Pinborough
  274. Hot Lead, Cold Iron – Ari Marmell
  275. Dead Lagoon – Michael Dibdin
  276. Apocalypse now now – Charlie Human
  277. The Coincidence Engine – Sam Leith
  278. The first fifteen lives of Harry August – Claire North
  279. The Trundlers – Harry Pearson
  280. Anathem – Neal Stephenson
  281. Raising Steam – Terry Pratchett
  282. Flesh Wounds – Christopher Brookmyre
  283. Jupiter War – Neal Asher
  284. The Way of Kings – Brandon Sanderson
  285. Saki: The Complete Short Stories – H H Munro
  286. Evening’s Empire – Paul J McAuley
  287. Boneland – Alan Garner
  288. Kraken – China Miéville
  289. Sunshine on Scotland Street – Alexander McCall Smith
  290. Alif the Unseen – G Willow Wilson
  291. Terra – Mitch Benn
  292. Gradisil – Adam Roberts
  293. Cowl – Neal Asher
  294. The Gypsy Morph – Terry Brooks
  295. All fun and games until somebody loses an eye – Christopher Brookmyre
  296. The Cornish Trilogy – Robertson Davies
  297. Moon over Soho – Ben Aaronovitch
  298. Bertie’s Guide to Life and Mothers – Alexander McCall Smith
  299. Help! – Oliver Burkeman
  300. For Richer, For Poorer – Victoria Coren
  301. The Technician – Neal Asher
  302. 13 Things That Don’t Make Sense – Michael Brooks
  303. 1227 Qi Facts – The QI Elves
  304. Jumpers for Goalposts – Rob Smyth and Georgina Turner
  305. The Ancient Guide to Modern Living – Natalie Haynes
  306. Quirkology – Richard Wiseman
  307. The Self Illusion – Bruce Hood
  308. August Heat – Andrea Camilleri
  309. Gridlinked – Neal Asher
  310. The Etymologicon – Mark Forsyth
  311. The Graveyard Book – Neil Gaiman
  312. The Parthenon – Mary Beard
  313. At Home – Bill Bryson
  314. The Skinner – Neal Asher
  315. Chocolate and Cuckoo Clocks – Alan Coren
  316. Jizz – John Hart
  317. The Pearl – John Steinbeck
  318. The Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck
  319. Animal Farm – George Orwell
  320. 1984 – George Orwell
  321. An Inspector Calls – J B Priestley
  322. All Mary – Gwynedd Rae
  323. The Tales of Olga de Polga – Michael Bond
  324. Galactic Patrol – E E ‘Doc’ Smith
  325. Grey Lensman – E E ‘Doc’ Smith
  326. Second Stage Lensman – E E ‘Doc’ Smith
  327. Children of the Lens – E E ‘Doc’ Smith
  328. Damiano – R A McAvoy
  329. Damiano’s Lute – R A McAvoy
  330. Raphael – R A McAvoy
  331. Macbeth – William Shakespeare
  332. Winnie-the-Pooh – A A Milne
  333. The House at Pooh Corner – A A Milne
  334. Now we are six – A A Milne
  335. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Roald Dahl
  336. Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator – Roald Dahl
  337. James and the Giant Peach – Roald Dahl
  338. Witch World – Andre Norton
  339. My Family and Other Animals – Gerald Durrell
  340. The Talking Parcel – Gerald Durrell
  341. The Caine Mutiny – Herman Wouk
  342. Brighton Rock – Graham Greene
  343. Changing Places – David Lodge
  344. Small World – David Lodge
  345. 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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