He asked himself:
What should be my [selection] principle here?A couple of titles to make Pullman's list:
Well, it had to be variety, of course. I also thought I should avoid too many obvious classics. Was there much point in recommending Middlemarch or Hamlet? I thought that people could be trusted to find their way to those without my help. Another constraint was that the books had to be in print, which ruled out any of the 16 novels of the, to my mind, inexplicably forgotten writer Macdonald Harris, an American who died in 1993, and whose The Balloonist, at least, should be available.[read on]
A PERFECT SPYRead about all forty titles.
by John le Carré
A perfect blend of form, subject, sensibility and moral power. Le Carré's best book, and one of the finest English novels of the 20th century.
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THE ANCESTOR'S TALE
by Richard Dawkins
Dawkins at his very best: a beautiful clarity of exposition, and an unslaked sense of wonder at the grandeur, richness and complexity of nature.