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. Other People’s Money – John Kay

Works already consumed, as viewed from the current observer moment

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