CGM Hundred Books:

Top Hundred Books
By Christopher G. Moore

“The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there.” L.P. Hartley, The Go Between (1953)

The same can be said of old books written in the deep past. I visited these foreign countries of the mind like an old fashion explorer looking for adventure, gold, and knowledge.  I eagerly signed on to those old ships and set sail.  On this life long voyage I’ve learned a thing or two; forgotten a thing or three. But back on the shore of the present, I’d like to share what I brought back. My catch is displayed on the dock below.

We have the books of the moment and we have libraries of books written in the past. Both time scales—the past and the present—pull like a force field shaping our literary appetites. Though with the avid of the Internet and the wide-scale prevalence of social media, our wish to visit that foreign country of the past has been vastly diminished.

As time goes on, I suspect writers who produce a list of books that have influenced them will increase at the same time the number of books from the past on that list will decrease.

How any book influences a person is a combination of subjectivity along with other factors including wishful thinking. A writer is usually the worst person to ask about his literary influences. The chances are too great he or she will draw be caught by the availability bias as well as the desire to signal to others their range of reading.

A hundred books may appear at first glance to be a lot of books. But if you’ve lived a long time, and you are an active reader since childhood such a number isn’t so impressive. It’s actually quite ordinary.

Going through this list, I can remember where I read most of these books. The place, the time of life, those who were in my life, the books I was writing, all come back. Some books had a greater impact than others. My sense is that anyone who has read my books will be able to detect the influence of these authors on my own literary efforts.

One Hundred books that shaped my worldview as a novelists and essayist.
Christopher G. Moore
30th January 2019

1. Meditations by Marcus Aurelius

2. On The Shortness of Life by Seneca

3. The Myth of Sisyphus (Vintage International) by Albert Camus

4. The Origin Of Species by Charles Darwin

5. Beyond Good and Evil by Friedrich Nietzsche

6. Death with Interruptions by José Saramago

7. The Man with the Golden Arm by Nelson Algren

8. Collected Fictions by Jorge Luis Borges

9. A Treatise of Human Nature by David Hume

10. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

11. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

12. A Fairly Honourable Defeat Iris Murdoch

13. The Quiet American by Graham Greene

14. The Malayan Trilogy by Anthony Burgess

15. 1984 by George Orwell

16. The Tropic of Cancer by Henry Miller

17. The Grifters by Jim Thompson

18. Gravity’s Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon

19. A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole

20. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

21. Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

22. Women by Charles Bukowski

23. Jude the Obscure by Thomas Hardy

24. Herzog by Saul Bellows

25. The Leopard Giuseppe by Tomasi di Lmpedusa

26. 2666 by Roberto Bolano

27. Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes

28. Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert

29. The Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad

30. A Passage to India by E.M. Forster

31. The Trail by Franz Kafka

32. Journey to the End of Night by Louis-Ferdinand Celine

33. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

34. Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh

35. The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler

36. Malone Dies by Samuel Beckett

37. Lady Chatterley’s Lover by D.H. Lawrence

38. The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tokien

39. Lord of the Flies by William Golding

40. Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov

41. The Last Good Kiss by James Crumley

42. On War by Carl Von Clausewitz

43. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller

44. The Tin Drum by Gunter Grass

45. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

46. The Honourable Schoolboy by John Le Carre

47. The Alexandria Quartet by Lawrence Durrell

48. A House for Mr. Biswas by V.S. Naipaul

49. If on a winter's night a traveler by Italo Calvino

50. The Children of Men by P.D. James

51. The Emigrants by W.G. Sebald

52. The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway

53. The Confessions of Nat by Turner William Styron

54. Enemies of Promise by Cyril Connolly

55. Note of a Native Son by James Baldwin

56. The Man who Mistook his Wife for a Hat by Oliver Sacks

57. Dispatches by Michael Herr

58. Under the Volcano by Malcolm Lowry

59. Underworld by Don DeLillo

60. Foucauilt’s Pendulum by Umberto Eco

61. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey

62. Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut

63. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

64. Godel, Escher, Bach Douglas R. Hofstadter

65. Culture and Imperialism Edward W. Said

66. Ways of Seeing, John Berger

67. The Berlin Novels, Christopher Isherwood

68. To Have Or To Be? Erich Fromm

69. Lucy: The Beginnings of Humankind Donald Johanson & Maitland Edey

70. Black Swan Nassim Nicholas Taleb

71. River Out of Eden Richard Dawkins

72. Lateral Thinking Edward de Bono

73. Denial of Death Ernest Becker

74. On Death and Dying Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

75. The Gutenberg Galaxy Marshal McLuhan

76.The Deptford Trilogy Robertson Davies

77. Neuromancer William Gibson

78. The Stone Diaries Carol Shields

79. A Parker Novel by Richard Stark

80. Shoeless Joe W.P. Kinsella

81. The English Patient Michael Onjaatje

82. The Homecoming Harold Pinter

83. Foundation and Empire Isaac Asimov

84. July’s People Nadine Gordimer

85. The Prince Niccolo Machiavelli

86. The Art of War Sun Tzu

87. Darkness at Noon by Arthur Koestler

88. Guns Germs and Steel Jared Diamond

89. Silent Spring Rachel Carson

90. Mismeasure of Man Stephen Jay Gould

91. Gaia James Lovelock

92. The Snow Was Black by Georges Simenon

93. The Jewel in The Crown Paul Scott

94. The Two Cultures and the Scientific Revolution by C.P. Snow

95. The Boy Scout Handbook and Other Observations Paul Fussell

96. The Outsider Colin Wilson

97. Winesburg, Ohio Sherwood Anderson

98. The Razor’s Edge Somerset Maugham

99. The Singing Detective Dennis Potter

100. The Cherry Orchard and Other Plays by Anton Chekhov

 

 

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