16 November 2011

Gratuitous lists of Poor Mouth favourites: British and Irish Fiction

Lists are subjective, when you look at a list of the greatest books, songs or poodles I can bet that you will look at it and consider it to be mainly a pile of crap. "Where's X and Y, and for that matter who could omit Q,P, W and J?" is a usual response!

The only way to get a list that you approve of absolutely is to write it yourself. For no other reason than to give both my readers an indication of some of the things I like (as if they don't already damned well know!) here are a few books that I consider to be among my very favourites. It may even give you a small insight into the mind of Shaun P Downey, but probably not... I don't pretend that all of these books are great literature but I enjoyed them all!

In no order whatsoever here goes:

The Third Policeman
At Swim Two Birds
The Poor Mouth - All by Flann O'Brien

The Tailor and Ansty - Eric Cross

Malone Dies
Molly - All by Samuel Beckett

The Picture of Dorian Gray - Oscar Wilde

Borstal Boy - Brendan Behan

The Collected stories of Frank O'Connor (okay this is an anthology but who really cares!)

The Collected Stories of William Trevor

Dubliners - James Joyce

Amongst Women - John McGahern

The Magic Toyshop
The Passion of New Eve
The Ingfernal Desire Machine of Doctor Hoffman
The Bloody Chamber
Nights at the Circus - All by Angela Carter

First Loves, Last Rites
The Cement Garden
The Comfort of Strangers - All by Ian McEwen

The Aubrey/Maturin cycle of 20 books - Patrick O' Brian. A couple of the books are sub par (such as the Hundred Days) but overall the series is a masterpiece. Forget C S Forrester and the priggish Hornblower, Jack Aubrey is the finest Sea Captain in fiction!

The Golden Ocean/The Unknown Shore Patrick O Brian. His first foray ito naval fiction. They are still well worth reading

Young Adam - Alexander Trocchi

The Restraint of Beasts - Magnus Mills

1982 Janine
Something Leather
Poor Things - Alasdair Gray

The Wasp Factory
Espedair Street
The Crow Road
Consider Phlebas
The Player of Games - Iain Banks or his Iain M Banks Sci Fi alter ego

Th Death of Grass - John Christopher

The Midwich Cuckoos - John Wyndham

The Star Fraction - ken Macleod (I must read more of his works)

Hothouse (if just for the Lovely Tummybelly Men!)
The Helliconia books - Brian Aldiss

Each and every Jeeves and Wooster book! P G Wodehouse

Animal Farm
Coming Up for Air - George Orwell
Brave New World
The Island - Aldous Huxley

Under the Volcano
Everything else you can find  by Malcolm Lowry

The Drowned World
High Rise - J G Ballard

A Clockwork Orange
Earthly Powers - Anthony Burgess

Childhood's End
Rendezvous with Rama - Arthur C Clarke

Memoirs of a Survivor
The Canopus in Argos series - Doris Lessing

Lots of Michael Moorcock!

Halo Jones
The Lost Girls (Most definitely and utterly NSFW!)
From Hell Alan Moore Graphic Novels

An artist of the Floating World
Remains of the Day
A Pale view of the Hills - Kazuo Ishiguro

Last and First Men - Olaf Stapledon

The City Watch series
The Truth
Small Gods
Going Postal/Making Money
Monstrous Regiment
Thief of Time
Making Movies
Bugger it, most every Terry Pratchett book for adults from Pyramids onwards!

The Woman in Black
The Mist in the Mirror - Susan Hill

Lord of the Flies
Pincher Martin
To the Ends of the Earth Trilogy - William Golding

The Bryant and May series by Christopher Fowler

A good Anthology of M R James stories

Uncle Silas
A selection of short story anthologies Sheridan Le Fanu

The Hill of Dreams
The Great God Pan (best if you can find the version with an intro by my old friend Iain Smith)
As many short stories as you can get in print - Arthur Machen

Anything by the  Bronte sisters.

Erewhon - Samuel Butler

The poems of Margaret Cavendish!

The poems of William McGonagall!

The Last King of Scotland - Giles Foden

The Heart of Darkness
Under Western Eyes
The Secret Agent - Joseph Conrad

Under the Frog
The Collector, collector - Tibor Fischer

The War of Don Emmanuel Nether Parts
Senor Vivo and the Coca Lord
The Troublesome Offspring of Cardinal Guzman - Louis De Bernieres

The Magus
The Collector - John Fowles
I will probably add more as I remember them....


Sean Jeating said...

May I remind you of 'The Master and Margarita'? You mentioned it several times.

Interesting list, Jams.

Anonymous said...

Some great books there. nothing by Colm Toibin?

jams o donnell said...

Ah Sean that will be in the next one!

Actually I have never read any of his books Nursie.. I will have to have a look sometime.

Don QuiScottie said...

"who could omit Q,PW and J"

Now THAT is a fine typo. I've got absolutely no idea what you mean this time.

jams o donnell said...

Have clarified!

Syncopated Eyeball said...

May I recommend Ballard's 'Concrete Island'?
I'm pleased to see Angela Carter here . And I notice you have only included early McEwan - do you find an overloading of things middle class in his later work as I do?
I could go on and on about books but that will have to do just now...

jams o donnell said...

Ah Syncy I have yet to read that Ballard. It will be read in due course!

McEwen disappeared up his own arse I feel. I tried the child in time and a couple of more books but they didn't catch my imagination

Syncopated Eyeball said...

Hooray! You're the first person I've come across who knows what I'm talking about! I bought and read his first books as they came out and loved them but from The Comfort of Strangers onward less and less. I was amazed when Amsterdam won the Booker. Enduring Love I did like, though, not least for its ambiguous title, On Chesil Beach wasn't bad either.

Ooh, word verification: cardy. I love a good cardy. :)

jams o donnell said...

Great minds think alike or is it that fools seldom differ!I may have another go at him but there is plenty of other stuff I want to read before I do.