I was asked last week by a student which were my favourite novels. Another then asked me what was the last book I read. I like reading, and have always read a lot. My parents encouraged me to read and I believe that once a person can read, they can never ever get bored! These days I generally read more ‘fact’ than fiction. I tend to read books on sport, history, thinking, society and education more than anything.
The last book I read was called ‘King of the World’ by David Remnick all about the boxer Muhammed Ali and the times of the early 1960’s. This does not include the books I read with my son.
My top 10 novels? Probably these:
Catch 22 – Joseph Heller
Crime and Punishment – Fyodor Dostoyevsky
1984 – George Orwell
Our Man in Havana – Graham Greene
For Whom the Bells Toll – Ernest Hemingway
Adrift on the Nile – Naguib Mahfouz
Gulliver’s Travels – Jonathan Swift
Jamaica Inn – Daphne Du Maurier
One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Heart of Darkness – Joseph Conrad
My favourite book is not a novel, though. ‘The Prince’ by Niccolo Machiavelli was written in 1512 and is both misunderstood and misrepresented. ‘Machiavellian ‘ has become a word that is used to describe someone who is seen as being evil or deceitful. The book has been condemned and banned, all for the wrong reasons, but it remains the best book on politics, diplomacy and ethics I have ever read.
But in all honesty, this is the best - ‘The Gruffalo’!!