My Favourite Books

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Reading is good. You know? Its cool. It beats the TV and film most of the time. I must have read about 40 novels last year so I thought I would make an incoherent list of favourites.

Nineteen Eighty-Four
Probably George Orwell's most famous book. Once you read it you see how much an influence it has on culture. Concepts like Room 101 and Big Brother are well known. Its a dystopian novel set in a totalitarian regime, which its protagonist Winston Smith seems to drag on living in. The first part is a little dull till the more likeable and rebellious character Julia is introduced.

Homage to Catalonia
George Orwell's experiences and observations in the Spanish Civil War. He writes about warfare in the Spanish mountains/countryside, being shot in the neck, revolutionised Barcelona, street fighting and the major political movements. Its probably the best account of the war.

On the Road
Jack Kerouac's travels around America with Neal Cassady. Some find it outdated. This maybe true by language and racial attitude yet it does have a tale of passionate friendship and a search for something. This novel inspired Bob Dylan and the lizard king himself Jim Morrison.

Fifteen short stories depicting middle class life in Dublin at the start of the 20th century. Written by James Joyce it is his most accessible work. My favourites stories are 'A Little Cloud' and 'The Boarding House'.

Small Gods
The deepest philosophical novel of the Discworld series. Terry Pratchett uses themes of religious satire and greek philosophy. Its set a few hundred years before most of the Discworld novels. I found it a little harder to read than others in the series and yet more rewarding.

Henry David Thoreau's account of two years spent living at Walden Pond near Concord, Massachusetts in a log cabin. He writes about his day-to-day life, self-sufficient philosophy and observations. Quite complex and not easy reading.

A Terry Pratchett non-discworld novel set on an tsunami swept island called Nation. Only Mau, a young man who is an original inhabitant, and Daphne, a shipwrecked British girl, remain marooned. Humorous situations while Pratchett takes on themes such as imperialism, gender and race.

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
Written by Douglas Adams, a talented writer, died in 2001. What started life as a radio show became six books following Arthur Dent across the galaxy. The first book is the strongest of the original five. Extremely funny light hearted science fiction. Its very English too. When I read it I strangely want to wear a bathrobe, wear slippers and drink tea. The movie doesn't do the book justice.

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