Breakfast of Champions

Kurt Vonnegut Jr.
In my opinion this is a literary masterpiece. The genius of the writing, where reality and the book blur, is something I've never experienced in a book before, to be taken on a mind trip. On the back of the book the New York Times has said "Vonnegut performs considerable complex magic...he very nearly levitates", and I couldn't agree more. The book is about Dwayne Hoover car salesman, all round respected guy, his descent into madness and his eventual meeting of the great science fiction writer Kilgore Trout. I'm not sure how much else I can tell you about it without giving too much away.

Far from the Madding Crowd

Thomas Hardy
There are many reasons I have read one book or another, and with this one it was for no better reason than that I liked the title. It had stuck in my head for some reason, and so I had no other option than to read the book. How can you not like a book where the main female in the role is named like an exotic goddess, Bathsheba Everdene. Certainly the male characters in the book find her irresistable, and this is the centre of a beautiful tale set in the English countryside.


Emmett Grogan
By the time Emmett Grogan was 21, he had been halfway round the world, had dealings with the Mafia, the IRA, been in prison, been addicted to heroin (which eventually killed him) and many other things. His autobiography is a rollicking tale, every chapter is enjoyable, and there is a kind of voyuerism in watching this anti hero traverse situations that we probably wouldn't be comfortable in ourselves. He is not someone to emulate, but you cannot help but admire him in parts of the book.

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

Douglas Adams
Hitchhikers, as it is known to its fans is a sci fi comedy classic. Douglas Adams has such delightful turns of thought, that one can forgive his complete bastardization of the word trilogy. Whether one forgives him or not is probably of no matter to Douglas Adams himself, as he has now booked a permanent table at the restaurant at the end of the universe, at which we will all one day find ourselves.

The Hobbit

J. R. R. Tolkien
The Hobbit is a seminal book in my life. Although I read a little when I was very young, I fell out of the habbit, and sport, movies, tv took over. When I was about fourteen a friend of mine lent me the Hobbit, and I took it away with me on a holiday. I became completely absorbed in the book, when I looked away over the fields at night I could imagine Tolkiens orcs creeping silently towards me through the grass. I ended up reading the Hobbit many times and it reignited my love of reading.

The Lord of the Rings

J. R. R. Tolkien
Since the movie marketing machine of U.S. economic imperialism sprang into action there is little need to explain much about the Lord of the Rings to people. Even before the movies it was one of the most widely revered books written in the english language. It won a number of polls on the greatest book of the twentieth century, and if I were to consider a book in isolation from the culture in which it exists, I might agree. I have not read this book since at least the early nineties but I almost don't need to as I still remember minute details about it.

The Silmarillion

J. R. R. Tolkien
The Silmarillion is the book to which the Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit owe their lineage. Tolkien was a great admirer of language, and he invented the realm of middle earth partly as a setting for the invention of new dialects he created. It encompasses the ages of Middle Earth well before the setting of the Lord of the Rings, when the Gods walked about Middle Earth and the elves were yet to arrive. It tells the story of the Numenoreans from whom Aragorn claims his descent, and their fall from grace and banishment to Middle Earth.