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. Life: A User’s Manual – Georges Perec
  3. Revenger – Alasdair Reynolds

Works already consumed, as viewed from the current observer moment

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