Floating Life 4/06 ~ 11/07

an archive

Reading 1

I have been a reader, believe it or not, since around 1948. I have devoured all sorts of stuff, most of it unmemorable, starting with Little Golden Books through comics through Biggles and on to the heights of Shakespeare and War and Peace. See also The Great Surry Hills Book Clearance of 2005 on my Big Archive.


Here in no particular order are standouts of mine. What are yours?

See also the subpage Best books 2005. Also relevant are these subpages: Pop history, pseudohistory, and The Da Vinci Code and The Bard, a Rabbit, and Ninglun.

  • The Bible, especially Job, Ecclesiastes and the Song of Solomon, and the Gospels.
  • Tao Te Ching.
  • King Lear because I once wrote a thesis on it 😉 but Shakespeare generally.
  • War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy.
  • The Tree of Man by Patrick White. At first I hated it…
  • To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.
  • Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte.
  • The Great Gatsby by Scott Fitzgerald.
  • Emma by Jane Austen.
  • Great Expectations and Bleak House by Charles Dickens.
  • Six Chapters from a Floating Life by Shen Fu.
  • Lord Jim by Joseph Conrad.
  • The Master of Ballantrae by Robert Louis Stevenson.
  • The Hound of the Baskervilles by Conan Doyle.
  • Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce.
  • Saving Fish from Drowning by Amy Tan.
  • The Merry-Go-Round in the Sea by Randolph Stow.
  • An Imaginary Life by David Malouf.
  • The Book of Laughter and Forgetting by Milan Kundera.
  • Disgrace by J M Coetzee.
  • Tristram Shandy by Laurence Sterne.
  • Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift.
  • A Passage to India by E M Forster.
  • The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco.
  • Cry the Beloved Country by Alan Paton.
  • Go Tell It On The Mountain by James Baldwin.
  • Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain.
  • Owls Do Cry by Janet Frame.
  • Paula by Isabel Allende.
  • The Kiss of the Spider Woman by Manuel Puig.
  • The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame.
  • Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll.
  • The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne.
  • The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire by Edward Gibbon — not that I have ever read it all! You can’t help relishing things like After the extinction of paganism, the Christians in peace and piety might have enjoyed their solitary triumph. But the principle of discord was alive in their bosom, and they were more solicitous to explore the nature, than to practise the laws, of their founder. Stately irony.
  • Kangaroo by D H Lawrence, who was quite mad, I now think; this is not his best novel either, but is interesting for Australians.
  • Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka.
  • Collected Short Stories of Henry Lawson.
  • Memoirs of Hadrian by Marguerite Yourcenar.
  • A Lover’s Discourse by Roland Barthes.
  • The Arabian Nights — some kid’s version, because it really did fire my imagination when I was very young. The one I have now is the J M Dent 1951 edition (from St Vincent de Paul), beautifully illustrated. Hence the picture at the top of this page.

One could just go on and on… There are some comments here.


Written by Neil

April 21, 2006 at 10:03 am

3 Responses

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  1. Your turn 🙂


    May 25, 2006 at 8:22 am

  2. Nice list! You’ve probably already seen my best books selection.

    Danny Yee

    October 24, 2006 at 12:05 am

  3. nice list


    November 1, 2006 at 12:58 pm

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