Monday, September 1, 2008

Forty favorite books: Philip Pullman

The bookstore Waterstone's invited His Dark Materials author Philip Pullman to select forty books for them to feature in-store.

He asked himself:
What should be my [selection] principle here?

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 couple of titles to make Pullman's list:
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.

* * *

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.
Read about all forty titles.

--Marshal Zeringue