Tuesday, 31 December 2019

Top 100 Dance Songs of the 2010s

It doesn't seem five minutes since compiling the top 100 dance songs of the 00s, and yet here we are. A full decade of dance music to reflect on.

Long time readers know the drill by now. These are the best electronic tunes set to repetitive beats you can find anywhere in the world. And while the 2010s had their share of horrors, it also played host to many fine musical moments. Nevertheless, going over this list I cant get away from the idea it's inflected with nostalgia. Not in terms of the preponderance of tunes from the early part of the decade, but instead the constant harking back to previous styles. The trance and house you find here are interspersed with a sprinkling of dubstep and EBM, but no trap, tropical, grime, hardstyle, American-friendly EDM, or synthwave. An old person's list then? Or perhaps the aforementioned subgenres are utterly below par? It's up to you to decide. And so, what we have here are a few crowd pleasers and some even your da might had heard of, and quite a fair amount of niche and underground compositions. All killer, no filler as they like to say.

If you would like to compare this compilation of the hundred greatest bangers with the other All That Is Solid decade-in-dance lists, knock yourselves out. Here reside the lists for the 1970s, the 1980s, the 1990s and, of course, the 00s.

Here you go. Enjoy the tunes and play them super loud.

100. Timebomb by Laidback Luke feat. Jonathan Mendelsohn (2011)
99. You're Not Alone by Don Diablo feat. Kiiara (2019)
98. Flames by David Guetta and Sia (2018)
97. Cure by Tube & Berger, Alegant (2018)
96. Don't Be So Shy (Filatov & Karas Remix) by Imany (2015)
95. Love's Got Me High by SCALES (2015)
94. Run Away by Denis Kenzo feat. Angel Falls (2016)
93. Winners by Kill Frenzy feat. Kisch (2019)
92. Mangata by Dim3nsion (2016)
91. Graduation by Gemini (2011)
90. 17 by MK (2017)
89. Right Back by Yuri Kane (2010)
88. I Don't Deserve You by Paul van Dyk feat. Plumb (2012)
87. Faded by ZHU (2014)
86. King by Years & Years (2015)
85. Slave of Love by Ivan Roudyk (2015)
84. Primadonna by Marina and the Diamonds (2012)
83. Falling by Alesso (2017)
82. Breathe by Jax Jones feat. Ina Wroldsen (2018)
81. Tears In Your Eyes by Nora En Pure (2017)
80. Guilt by Nero (2011)
79. Origins by Factor B and the Noble Six (2017)
78. When a Fire Starts to Burn by Disclosure (2013)
77. The Pop Kids by Pet Shop Boys (2016)
76. White Lies by M22 (2019)
75. Lonely by Eddie Thoneick & Kurd Maverick feat. Errol Reid (2019)
74. Not Giving Up on Love by Armin van Buuren vs Sophie Ellis Bextor (2010)
73. Motivation (Kris O'Neil Remix) by Paul Thomas feat. Ladystation (2012)
72. Remember Love by DJ's United (2010)
71. Silhouette (Allen & Envy Remix) by Dart Rayne & Yura Moonlight and Sarah Lynn (2013)
70. Magnum Opus by Thomas Ulstrup (2017)
69. Wonderful Life (Freemasons Remix) by Hurts (2011)
68. Tears (Aurosonic Progressive Mix) by Headstrong feat. Stine Grove (2011)
67. We Can Fly by Jorn van Deynhoven (2016)
66. One Kiss by Calvin Harris and Dua Lipa (2018)
65. Chasing The Sun (D Mad V Matt Darey radio mix) by Matt Darey & Aeron Aether feat. Ridgewalkers (2010)
64. This Night (Alex MORPH Remix) by Filo & Peri feat. Audrey Gallagher (2010)
63. Mistakes by CYA (2017)
62. Get Me High by Franky Wah (2019)
61. Meteora by The Noble Six (2016)
60. About You by Sebastian Weikum (2015)
59. Hear Me (Aly & Fila Remix) by Mohamed Ragab feat. Jaren (2016)
58. Flicker by Porter Robinson (2014)
57. Will We Remain? (Spencer Brown Remix) by ilan Bluestone and Maor Levi feat. EL Waves (2018)
56. One Breath by Namnambulu (2017)
55. Another World (Shogun Remix) by Cerf, Mitiska and Jaren (2011)
54. Need U (100%) by Duke Dumont feat. A*M*E (2013)
53. Rather Be by Clean Bandit feat. Jess Glynne (2014)
52. Northern Soul by Above & Beyond feat. Richard Bedford (2017)
51. My House by Hercules and Love Affair (2011)
50. Scio by Jay Hardway (2017)
49. Opus by Eric Prydz (2015)
48. Cruel Intentions by Simian Mobile Disco (2010)
47. Eterna by Dim3nsion (2017)
46. The Call by Raized by Wolves feat. Tom Smith (2011)
45. Lonely Inside by Ferry Corsten (2017)
44. Latch by Disclosure feat. Sam Smith (2012)
43. Back Home (Fady and Mina vs Omar Sharif Extended Remix) by Hazem Belatagui feat. Adara (2018)
42. The Sun (Kyau & Albert Rework) by Frida Sundemo (2016)
41. Nothing Without Me by Markus Schulz feat. Ana Diaz (2012)
40. Sexual by Neiked feat. Dyo (2016)
39. I Wrote the Book by Beth Ditto (2011)
38. Rainbow by Estiva with Ruben De Ronde (2018)
37. Cheops (Original Mix) by Matt Bukovski, Andy Elliass and Abys (2013)
36. As We Collide (Orjan Nilsen Remix) by Christian Burns, Paul Oakenfold and JES (2013)
35. Lotus by Shogun (2011)
34. Apprehension by Simon O'Shine and Sergey Nevone (2013)
33. All I See by Bondax (2014)
32. Underwater (Yotto's Dusk Remix) by Rufus Du Sol (2019)
31. Rewind (Mikkas Remix) by Emma Hewitt (2012)
30. The Night Out (Madeon Remix) by Martin Solveig (2012)
29. Always Loved a Film by Underworld (2010)
28. Starboy by The Weeknd feat. Daft Punk (2016)
27. Orbion by Armin van Buuren (2010)
26. Now I Feel Good by Starsmith (2014)
25. Once Upon a Time by Schiller (2016)
24. Niton (The Reason) by Eric Prydz (2011)
23. Forever Ravers by ANNA & Kittin (2019)
22. Therapy by Hot Since '82 feat. Alex Mills (2019)
21. Bump n' Grind 2014 by Waze and Odyssey vs R Kelly (2014)
20. You Belong To Me by Bobina and Betsie Larkin (2011)
19. Dancing On My Own by Robyn (2010)
18. Chandelier (Stoto Remix) by Sia (2015)
17. Gotta Keep On by The Chemical Brothers (2019)
16. Love Heals You by Roger Shah & Leilani (2016)
15. F For You by Disclosure feat. Mary J Blige (2014)
14. Too Close by Alex Clare (2011)
13. Magenta by Giuseppe Ottaviani with Ferry Corsten (2013)
12. Breathe by CamelPhat & Cristoph feat. Jem Cooke (2018)
11. Ramelia (Tribute to Amelia) by RAM and Susana (2013)
10. Foolish Dreams by Frozen Plasma (2015)
9. Surga by Ferry Corsten presents Gouryella (2019)
8. Not In Love by Crystal Castles feat. Robert Smith (2010)
7. Chronicles of a Fallen Love by The Bloody Beetroots feat. Greta Svabo Bech (2012)
6. The Mother We Share by CHVRCHES (2012)
5. Headliner by Jorn van Deynhoven (2012)
4. Anahera by Ferry Corsten presents Gouryella (2015)
3. Ocean Drive by Duke Dumont (2015)
2. Count On Me by Chase & Status feat. Moko (2013)

And what could possibly be number one, the greatest dance song of the decade? It was tough, but this just edged it ...

The Most Read 20 of 2019

The curtain falls on a tumultuous year, so not one to beat about the bush let's see what the most read posts were in this corner of the internet.

1. Aaron Bastani vs Smug Centrism
2. On Lefties for Farage
3. The Genius of Dominic Cummings
4. Labour's Crisis of Decomposition
5. Is the Independent Group a Wind Up?
6. Against the New Corbyn Coup
7. The Demise of Caroline Lucas
8. After Jo Swinson
9. Theresa May and the Death of the Tory Party
10. Obsolete Politics and the Socialist Party Split
11. Why Labour Went Backwards in Stoke
12. Sympathy for Gavin Williamson
13. John Mann's Red Wash
14. Is a New Conservative Party Possible?
15. The Newport West By-Election
16. Is Politics Melting Down?
17. The Working Class Politics of Brexit
18. Finance Capital and the Conservative Party
19. Whither the One Per Centrists?
20. Labour's Crisis of Recomposition

Just like last year's list, there is a healthy showing from Labour factionalism. But its presence is by no means overweening, with a dashing of the far left and a fair display about the Conservative Party, centrism, and the Liberal Democrats making themselves known. Nice to see a bit of diversity then. Hopefully I'll be able to carry on in the same vein, but there is a book to write and a situation to get to grips with. You know, the small matter of understanding how the Tories were able to ride out the tectonics of class recomposition/decomposition better than Labour. At least in the instance of our recent election.

Once more, I don't do predicting so none will be ventured for the coming year. I expect it's bound to contain frustrations, anger, and much disappointments. Something to look forward to, then! Before we bid 2019 and the decade bon voyage, what other posts deserve another airing? Well, I'm not about to stop plugging Boris Johnson and 21st Century Class Politics, not least because it cuts through the nonsense advanced by politics profs and those determined to turn the clock back on the Labour Party. Speaking of guff, there's my review of what should properly be called Corbynism: A Cynical Approach. And one more for the road? How about a rare departure from politics. Written on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 landings, it's useful to think about how governments are paving the way for capitalist expansion into the heavens.

Lastly, 2019 was a pretty rum year for all kinds of reasons. But by far the worst was the passing of my friend and colleague, Simon Speck. As a vociferous reader at this time of year he would cane the Verso sales and tip me off about what was hot and what was rot. I miss our chats and his insights so, as a new year opens and reveals its miseries and horrors, hold on to your friends, comrades, and loved ones. Every moment with them is precious.

Monday, 30 December 2019

A Note on Progressive Patriotism

There's enough in Rebecca Long-Bailey's kite-flying pitch to recommend her candidacy to would-be Becky Bros and Salford Mafiosi. There is no going back to soggy centrism as she draws the fundamental lesson that Labour's prospectus didn't lose the election. And RLB doubles down on the necessity for building the movement and democratising it, support party members and unions resisting Tory cuts and, by extension, Boris Johnson's efforts to demonise powerless minorities, and foster a revived progressive patriotism to begin the process of uniting our communities.

Excuse me, progressive patriotism? Understandably, this has caused a ripple among some comrades who remember well how previous attempts at forging a Labourist patriotism went down in the past. Comrades will recall how Ed Miliband's One Nation pitch ineluctably led to controls on immigration mugs. More seriously, Tony Blair's 'progressive consensus' culminated in the peak liberal 2012 Olympics opening ceremony and the grotesqueries of Yarl's Wood. And variously a bit of flag waving from Labour politicians has been used to justify everything from colonial adventurism to the willingness to incinerate millions of people. Indeed, given the character of the seats just lost, the Blue Labour temptation is to wave the flag as ostentatiously as possible and assume the punters will come flocking.

Then again, too much can be read into one element of this piece. RLB is clear about what progressive patriotism means to her. She's talking about a synthesis between labour movement traditions, the legacy of more recent struggles and a sense of community and place. It's taking the best of contemporary multiculturalism and contrasting its solidarism against the division and scapegoating characterising the Tory deployment of the national card. It doesn't read like a preface for a lurch into nationalism.

Nevertheless, you can understand why some would be very sceptical. Patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel after all, but if Labour is to truly win the battle of ideas we have to do the groundwork for a transformative programme in advance. Which is a much more difficult task than that undertaken prior to 1997 because New Labour were explicitly committed to retaining the Thatcherite settlement, and therefore swam with rather than against the common sense of the moment. It therefore makes sense to go with the ideological resources to hand, build on them and transform them into something else. If you like, RLB's patriotism is underground, unofficial, and draws deep from the well of rebellious Britain, a precursor to a necessary popular culture of resistance that can glue together a more powerful coalition of activists, members, and voters to take the Tories on. And such an approach might just defeat them.

Among Keir Starmer's "I'm left honest guv", Emily Thornberry's 'everything was shit', Clive Lewis's Maoist-level enthusiasm, the unhelpful mutterings from Ian Lavery, and Lisa Nandy's small town blue Labourism, RLB's positioning is so far the most attractive and, surveying the parliamentary party, is likely to remain so.

Sunday, 29 December 2019

What I've Been Reading Recently

We have sallied forth through a tumultuous election and come out the other end battered and bruised, and come what may here are the list of books I've read this last quarter.

Abaddon's Gate by James SA Corey
The Age of Revolution, 1789 - 1848 by Eric Hobsbawm
Reading Capital by Louis Althusser and Etienne Balibar
The Noise of Time by Julian Barnes
A Major Crisis? by Werner Bonefeld, Alice Brown, and Peter Burnham
The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker
Stonemouth by Iain Banks
The Concept in Crisis edited by Nick Nesbitt
Land of Love and Ruins by Oddny Eir
Footsoldiers by Tim Bale, Paul Webb, and Monica Poletti
Buying Time by EM Brown
By the Pricking of Her Thumb by Adam Roberts
The Quarry by Iain Banks
The Cockroach by Ian McEwan
Dancing Girls by Margaret Atwood
Time, Labour, and Social Domination by Moishe Postone
The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes
The Gold-Rimmed Spectacles by Giorgio Bassani
Financialisation in Crisis edited by Costas Lapavitsas
Glow by Ned Beauman

All killer, no filler about sums up this list of books. Singling out a few titles for praise, I thought Pat Barker's novel was a masterpiece. Told from the perspective of the women caught up in the Trojan War, it is as grim and as harrowing you'd expect it to be. Nevertheless Barker tells a tale that is immediately accessible and, in my view, more rewarding and compelling than her famed Regeneration trilogy. Postone's book is a very important contribution to making Marxism fit for the 21st century, and will get a more in-depth look in due course. And finally Iain Banks's last book, The Quarry, was full of the brutal and unsparing wit you typically find in his "mainstream" fiction. Highly recommended.

What have you been reading recently?

Saturday, 28 December 2019

Ian Lavery Should Not Stand

There's a petition doing the rounds asking Ian Lavery, chair of the Labour Party, to put his name forward to succeed Jeremy Corbyn. Politically speaking, you might ask, why not? Unlike some would-be contenders, Ian stood by Corbyn when the parliamentary party came for him and, crucially, he rebelled against the whip imposed by Harriet Harman to abstain on Tory welfare cuts back in 2015. Adding to his appeal, for some, is his sounding of the warning against the party adopting the second referendum as its Brexit position. Though, as we have seen, sticking with the 2017 position would likely have proven equally as disastrous at the election, with the added bonus of severe damage over the medium to long-term. Nevertheless, it's a position that has been variously advanced and deserves debating out.

The problem Ian Lavery presents is not his current positioning nor his record since entering parliament. Rather, it's because of what he did before taking his seat. I am, of course, talking about the miners' pension controversy. The charges are nothing new and have been in the public domain for quite some time. This refers to two payments made to Ian by the National Union of Mineworkers while he was working for them and winning millions for the miners' compensation fund. In 1994 he received a £75k below market rate loan from the NUM to help pay off his mortgage, which was written off when he left the union's employ. And in 2010 after resigning his position to become a MP Ian received £90k in redundancy costs. You don't have to be an expert in workplace law to understand that redundancy payments are made only when one's position becomes, um, redundant.

Matters aren't helped by the overly technical responses Ian has advanced when confronted by these payments. It was all within the rules, a cry oft-heard during at height of the MPs' expenses crisis, as readers will recall. There is no suggestion any laws were broken, but still, there are two important political issues here. The first should be obvious. Given the number just done on Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party, it is both foolish and naive to push a potential contender with an albatross like this flapping about his neck. Do you think the Tories aren't going to run amok with this, with lurid headline after lurid headline raking over Ian's finances, and how do you suppose it would go down in the sorts of constituencies Ian is supposedly uniquely placed to win back? I can't imagine many, especially among retired miners, finding much encouragement to vote for a Lavery-led Labour Party when they learn how their union funds were disposed.

And the second more serious problem is how a Ian Lavery candidacy would shine an unwelcome light on finances in the labour movement. You might remember how Arthur Scargill took the NUM to court because it refused to meet the costs of his flat in The Barbican. Again, entirely within the rules (or not, in this case) but utterly repugnant. And this is one of thousands of such stories. The far left group known for its workers' representatives on a workers' wage shtick turning a blind eye to its own senior union cadre pulling down huge salaries. The regional committee who covered local officials' drink driving fines. The golden goodbyes shelled out to officials a couple of years off retirement when one union merged with another. The spamming of union expense accounts by a Trotskyist darling. All the properties, grace and favour amenities, large salaries commanded by union big wigs, the not entirely gainful employment of facilities time, and money wasted on inter-union competition. A broom does need taking to our movement, but that should be wielded by us, not the Tories. Should Ian be a candidate, let alone the leader, the likelihood is there for financial malpractice to be used as a stick for attacking trade unions. And that, while we face four or five more years of screwing over workers, is the last thing we need.

Therefore, in the spirit of not handing our enemies ammunition to fire at us and standing against money grubbing in our movement, Ian Lavery should not stand.

Friday, 27 December 2019

The Tedium of Dan Jarvis

"We need to make a clean break with Corbynism!", said Dan Jarvis on Christmas Eve. His comments made during an interview on Radio 4 made two claims for Labour's general election loss: a) Jeremy Corbyn presented a problem and the party lacked a top team that "understands the challenges people face", and b) "people felt they didn’t think the Labour party spoke for them any more." And to keep everyone guessing and inject some (much needed) interest into his person, Dan refused to rule out a leadership bid. 

Let's have a look at these arguments. The first doesn't bear much repeating. Only the most blinkered believes Corbyn wasn't a problem on the doorstep, and that has been the case from the beginning. Though if Dan was interested in an honest appraisal of why this was the case, he might have reflected on how his friends encouraged the image of Corbyn activists found fed back to them time after time. To use a military metaphor, it's like having your US Air Force allies crater your position and then holding the commanding infantry officer solely responsible for not holding it against the enemy. As for leading figures not being aware of the "challenges", one can only surmise Dan hasn't attended constituency surgeries recently. Universal credit, the work capability assessment, crumbling local government services, housing, it damns the Tories that nothing has changed since I did them over six years ago. Perhaps Dan might like to tell us how Labour's manifesto, whatever you might think of it, ignored these issues? And how about the bigger problems, like the climate emergency or the significant structural problems the British economy has? If "challenges" means Labour refused to scapegoat powerless groups as was custom and practice between 1997 and 2010, then we should be very proud to cop for that.

Which brings us to the second point, that Labour "didn't speak for them" any more. You can interpret this in a couple of ways, either as going too remainy (not that the party had much of a choice) or insufficiently Blue Laboury. Though to be truthful, in all my years of campaigning in Stoke never have I encountered someone who was voting Labour because of immigration controls. When you listen to the vox pops or, indeed, the tens of thousands who went canvassing the answers we have to this, more often than not, are lines straight out of editorials or broadcast talking points. What it shows is a failure of Labour messaging to cut through, which is always an issue when the media is institutionally corrupt. But here again, Dan is refusing to ask the right questions. The simple truth of the matter is Boris Johnson was able to navigate the class dynamics of the election better than Labour. The Tories know what their base in working class communities is, while Dan and his friends cling to the delusion that the white working class as a whole has rejected Labour. For politicians who like to parade their northern qualities, they're as happy to label millions of people nationalistic and a little bit racist as much as the liberal metropolitan types they affect to disagree with. Older people are the issue, and it's ridiculous to pretend otherwise. In a would-be leadership contender, it's doubly so.

In sum, Dan's intervention was a cynical profile-raising exercise, a reminder to everyone that he existed. Because, let's be honest here, we had to be reminded. When was the last time you head anything about Dan Jarvis? These last few years he's been virtually invisible as far as national politics are concerned. Unlike other centrists and Labour right figures, such as Jess Phillips and her media ubiquity, and Yvette Cooper and her select committee appearances, what's he done? For goodness sake, he's not even done Question Time. He's the metro mayor for the Sheffield city region which, to his credit, he draws no salary (I wonder if the usual suspects will condemn him for gesture politics, as per Nadia Whittome), but hasn't said anything in terms of policy debates since, um, advocating the sort of industrial strategy we find embodied in the 2017 and 2019 manifestos. Guess he wasn't taking the "people's challenges" seriously then, either.

When push comes to shove, there's not a lot Dan can offer the leadership contest, let alone the party. He's not saying anything the likes of Lisa Nandy isn't already saying, and the soldiery backstory is not enough to make up for a substantial deficit as a politician. He can mull his leadership prospects, but I suspect he already knows there's nothing to help him stand out from the crowd, nor preventing a humiliating descent into Liz Kendall-style irrelevance. So remember that the next time Dan has a well-publicised interview, and take his regurgitated musings with a pinch of salt.

Image Credit

Thursday, 26 December 2019

Top Gun

Between the early 80s and right up until leaving home in the mid 90s, my parents used to rent one or two films a week. This inevitably meant all the blockbusters and not a few terrible B movies and video nasties got a weekend showing. and yet, there were a few popular favourites I somehow missed. No Breakfast Club or Rocky movies, nor for that matter Ferris Bueller's Day Off, the Evil Dead films and ... Top Gun. And now, my deficit of aeronautic fuck yeah Americana is now at an end. 33 years after its release, I spent the closing hours of Christmas day watching it. And yes, it was awful. An important awful.

Growing up when it came out, I get why the Library of Congress selected Top Gun for permanent preservation - for a completely superficial movie with more linearity than a slide rule, it was, is culturally significant. Top Gun is one of those films you might not have seen, but it feels you have. The tropes have long been parodied by the likes of Hot Shots and Team America, as well as cheesy 00s dance vids, and when I was a kid the lines were frequently quoted back and forth across the school yard. Much later into the early 90s one of my mates was obsessed with the film and was convinced he could pull by singing You've lost that loving feeling at poor unfortunates his eye fell upon. Curiously, he remained girlfriendless long after we had passed out the school gates. Reportedly, Top Gun led to bumps in recruitment for the US Navy and Air Force, a mushrooming market in bomber jackets and mirrored sunglasses, and queues forming up waiting for a go on 1987's Sega mega hit, After Burner. And it brought us the brash rock anthem Danger Zone as well as Berlin's Take My Breath Away, and was part and parcel of the militarisation of 1980s Hollywood.

The film's plot, such as there is one, is tenuous filler between the action shots of jet fighters spinning around the training ground, and dogfighting with Soviet jets to show off the superiority of American air power. How nice, a big budget rendering of the Brize Norton air show. Nevertheless, as a slick work of marketing Top Gun does not fail. It shows the military hardware, the effortlessly cool lifestyle, the camaraderie (and rivalry) between fighter pilots and, because it was the 80s, the young women airmen could be expected to pick up. No wonder tens of thousands were seduced into signing up. As for the plot, US Navy pilots Pete "Maverick" Mitchell and Nick "Goose" Bradshaw are sent to elite flight school to knock off the more reckless aspects of their flying, and what follows is much machismo and ostentatious masculine displays, the infamous homoerotic volley ball scene, motorcycles, falling in love and jet-on-jet action.

Tom Cruise's Maverick is as brash and annoying as young American men were in films of this era. Arrogant but with something to prove, he bends the rules by disobeying instructions and chasing Charlie (Kelly McGillis), a civilian contractor who is also an instructor on the flight programme. Bearing in mind this was Reagan's America, we could not well have a jock flipping Uncle Sam the bird by disobeying orders and shacking up with someone who was technically his superior, and so a redemption narrative is shoe horned in to proceedings. Throughout the first three quarters of the film Maverick is basically a gifted punk as well as a self-centred narcissist until tragedy strikes. Out on a practice run his jet stalls and goes into an uncontrolled spin. He and Goose manage to eject but Goose strikes his head on the way out and, boom, his life-long friend is dead. The key then changes into some heavy handed introspection where Maverick mopes around, blames himself, consoles Goose's wife and child, and very nearly quits. He is persuaded to stay on and is cleared by a tribunal, just in time for graduation and an end-of-film dogfight with the nasty Soviets and manages to save the day. Hurrah. Goose is avenged and America is safe from the USSR. Even if the last scrap takes place over the Indian Ocean.

Maverick's redemption is interesting precisely because of how he is, for want of a better phrase, tamed and domesticated. Tearing around irresponsibly is not the done conservative thing to do, but what it does is sell a carefree lifestyle that, thanks to the rigours of military discipline and personal tragedy, segues into conformism and responsibility. Despite doing the navy proud and saving the neck of his arch rival, Iceman, all ego is cast aside as he decides to ditch his career as a top pilot and becomes instead an instructor at the academy. He moves back to California where Charlie joins him and, presumably, they spend many decades together basking in golden sunshine and raising the next generation of fighter pilots.

Of course, we can now look forward to Top Gun: Maverick come the summer in which Cruise reprises the role. Sad to say, I'll probably go just to see how far the original can be surpassed in awfulness. Will Maverick be nursing traumas for training the men who dropped high explosive ruin over Iraq, or are we going to see a garish celebration of the latest American hardware and, with a nod to important international markets, a cooperative military venture with the Chinese against some mutual threat? Whatever we get it will be devoid of depth, warmth, plot, and classic anthems. But we might get the volleyball scene.

Wednesday, 25 December 2019

Three Soviet Christmas Cards

Say what you like about the late and unlamented Soviet Union, it certainly knew how to do Christmas cards.





Merry Christmas everyone!

Tuesday, 24 December 2019

1,000 Books: How Many Have You Read?

Shall we lay off the politics for a little bit? I know it's hard for those of you who, like me, don't have much substance beyond the patina of movement building and Westminster watching but even freaks like us need a break. And this is how I'm doing it.

About 10 years ago the Graun published its list of a thousand books you simply have to read if you're ever to pass muster at a liberal dining table. I reproduced said list here. Forward to now, I found this list knocking about the internets. This one is from one of those Thousand books you must read before you die things that have gone through multiple iterations and, I believe, it dates from 2016. So while the commentariat marvel at Boris Johnson's ability to recite sections of The Iliad by heart, let's consider more recent literature.

According to my memory, I've read 239 novels on this (allegedly canonical) list and have marked them off in bold. Not bad going, but room for improvement.

How many have you read?

Things Fall Apart - Chinua Achebe
Arrow of God - Chinua Achebe
Blood and Guts in High School - Kathy Acker
Hawksmoor - Peter Ackroyd
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency - Douglas Adams
Half of a Yellow Sun - Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
The White Tiger - Aravind Adiga
In the Heart of the Seas - Shmuel Yosef Agnon
Rashomon and Other Stories - Ryunosuke Akutagawa
The Regent’s Wife - Clarin Leopoldo Alas
Little Women - Louisa May Alcott
The Man with the Golden Arm - Nelson Algren
Broad and Alien is the World - Ciro Alegria
Fantomas - Marcel Allain
Of Love and Shadow - Isabel Allende
The House of the Spirits - Isabel Allende
Gabriela, Clove and Cinnamon - Jorge Amado
Tent of Miracles - Jorge Amado
Cause for Alarm - Eric Ambler
Lucky Jim - Kingsley Amis
The Old Devils - Kingsley Amis
Money: A Suicide Note - Martin Amis
London Fields - Martin Amis
I’m Not Scared - Niccolo Ammaniti
Untouchable - Mulk Raj Anand
The Commandant - Jessica Anderson
The Bridge on the Drina - Ivo Andric
Bosnian Chronicle Pb - Ivo Andric
Ashes and Diamonds - Jerzy Andrzejewski
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings - Maya Angelou
The Thousand And One Nights - Anonymous
The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter - Anonymous
Lazarillo de Tormes - Anonymous
Fado Alexandrino - Antonio Lobo Antunes
The Golden Ass: The Transformations of Lucius - Apuleius
The Bells of Basel - Louis Aragon
Before Night Falls: A Memoir - Reinaldo Arenas
Deep Rivers - Jose Maria Arguedas
The Twilight Years - Sawak Ariyoshi
The Green Hat - Michael Arlen
I, Robot - Isaac Asimov
Foundation - Isaac Asimov
The Posthumous Memoirs of Bras Cubas - Machado de Assis
Dom Casmurro - MacHado De Assis
Surfacing - Margaret Atwood
The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood
Alias Grace - Margaret Atwood
Obabakoak: Stories from a Village - Bernardo Atxaga
Emma - Jane Austen
Mansfield Park - Jane Austen
Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
The New York Trilogy - Paul Auster
Moon Palace - Paul Auster
The Underdogs - Mariano Azuela
So Long a Letter - Mariama Ba
Go Tell It on the Mountain - James Baldwin
Giovanni’s Room - James Baldwin
Crash - JG Ballard
Empire of the Sun - JG Ballard
Eugenie Grandet - Honore De Balzac
Old Goriot - Honore De Balzac
Lost Illusions - Honore De Balzac
The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
The Crow Road - Iain Banks
The Sea  - John Banville
The Elegance of the Hedgehog - Muriel Barber
The Inferno - Henri Barbusse
Under Fire: The Story of a Squad - Henri Barbusse
Silk - Alessandro Baricco
Regeneration - Pat Barker
Nightwood - Djuna Barnes
The Sense of an Ending - Julian Barnes
Flaubert’s Parrot - Julian Barnes
The Floating Opera - John Barth
Giles Goat-Boy - John Barth
The Dead Father - Donald Barthelme
Alamut - Vladimir Bartol
The Garden of the Finzi-Continis - Giorgio Bassani
Story of the Eye - Georges Bataille
The Abbot C - Georges Bataille
Blue of Noon - Georges Bataille
The House of Ulloa - Emilia Pardo Bazan
The Mandarins - Simone de Beauvoir
Jakob the Liar - Jurek Becker
Murphy - Samuel Beckett
Molloy - Samuel Beckett
Malone Dies - Samuel Beckett
Vathek - William Beckford
Borstal Boy - Brendan Behan
Oroonoko - Aphra Behn
Dangling Man - Saul Bellow
Herzog - Saul Bellow
Humboldt’s Gift - Saul Bellow
The Old Wives’ Tale - Arnold Bennett
G - John Berger
Under Satan’s Sun - Georges Bernanos
Extinction - Thomas Bernhard
Wittgenstein’s Nephew - Thomas Bernhard
Correction - Thomas Bernhard
Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis de Bernieres
Death Sentence - Maurice Blanchot
Out of Africa - Karen Blixen
The Savage Detectives - Roberto Bolano
2666 - Robert Bolano
Billiards at Half-Past Nine - Heinrich Boll
The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum - Heinrich Boll
Group Portrait with Lady - Heinrich Boll
Labyrinths - Jorge Luis Borges
This Way for the Gas, Ladies and Gentlemen - Tadeusz Borowski
On Love - Alain de Botton
To the North - Elizabeth Bowen
The Heat of the Day - Elizabeth Bowen
Eva Trout, or Changing Scenes - Elizabeth Bowen
World’s End - TC Boyle
In Watermelon Sugar - Richard Brautigan
Willard and His Bowling Trophies - Richard Brautigan
Nadja - Andre Breton
Arcanum 17 - Andre Breton
The Lonely Girl - Edna O’Brien
A Dry White Season - Andre Brink
Testament of Youth - Vera Brittain
Death of Virgil - Hermann Broch
The Guiltless - Hermann Broch
The Tenant at Wildfell Hall - Anne Bronte
Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
The 39 Steps - John Buchan
The Master and Margarita - Mikhail Bulgakov
A Clockwork Orange - Anthony Burgess
Inside Mr Enderby - Anthony Burgess
Evelina - Fanny Burney
Camilla - Fanny Burney
Tarzan of the Apes - Edgar Rice Burroughs
Junky - William S Burroughs
Naked Lunch - William S Burroughs
Erewhon - Samuel Butler
The Way of All Flesh - Samuel Butler
The Tartar Steppe - Dino Buzzati
The Virgin in the Garden - AS Byatt
The Children’s Book - AS Byatt
The Postman Always Rings Twice - James M Cain
A House in the Uplands - Erskine Caldwell
The Path to the Spiders’ Nests - Italo Calvino
If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler - Italo Calvino
The Castle of Crossed Destinies - Italo Calvino
Invisible Cities - Italo Calvino
The Lusiad - Luis de Camoens
The Stranger - Albert Camus
The Plague - Albert Camus
The Rebel - Albert Camus
Auto-da-Fe - Elias Canetti
The War with the Newts - Karel Capek
Breakfast at Tiffany’s - Truman Capote
In Cold Blood - Truman Capote
Oscar and Lucinda - Peter Carey
The Kingdom of This World - Alejo Carpentier
The Lost Steps - Alejo Carpentier
The Spy Who Came in from the Cold - John le Carre
Smiley’s People - John le Carre
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
Alice Through the Looking-Glass - Lewis Carroll
Nights at the Circus - Angela Carter
Bebo’s Girl - Carlo Cassola
The Conquest of New Spain - Bernal Diaz del Castillo
Solitude - Victor Catala
The Professor’s House - Willa Cather
All Soul’s Day - Nooteboom Cees
Journey to the Alcarria - Camilo Jose Cela
The Hive - Camilo Jose Cela
Journey to the End of the Night - Louis-Ferdinand Celine
Soldiers of Salami - Javier Cercas
Don Quixote - Miguel de Cervantes
The Trials of Persiles and Sigismunda - Miguel de Cervantes
The Big Sleep - Raymond Chandler
The Long Goodbye - Raymond Chandler
Wild Swans - Jung Chang
On the Black Hill - Bruce Chatwin
Monkey - Wu Ch’eng-en
The Riddle of the Sands - Erskine Childers
The Awakening - Kate Chopin
The Murder of Roger Ackroyd - Agatha Christie
On the Heights of Despair - EM Cioran
2001: A Space Odyssey - Arthur C Clarke
The Sorrow of Belgium - Hugo Claus
Fanny Hill - John Cleland
The Holy Terrors - Jean Cocteau
What a Carve Up! - Jonathan Coe
Veronika Decides to Die - Paulo Coehlo
The Devil and Miss Prym: A Novel of Temptation - Paulo Coehlo
Life and Times of Michael K - JM Coetzee
Disgrace - JM Coetzee
Waiting for the Barbarians - JM Coetzee
In the Heart of the Country - JM Coetzee
Dusklands - JM Coetzee
Belle du Seigneur - Albert Cohen
Claudine’s House - Colette
The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
The Moonstone - Wilkie Collins
Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
Nostromo - Joseph Conrad
The Secret Agent - Joseph Conrad
The Lion of Flanders - Hendrik Conscience
The Last of the Mohicans - James Fenimore Cooper
Pricksongs & Descants: Fictions - Robert Coover
Eline Vere - Louis Couperus
Arcadia - Jim Crace
The Enormous Room - EE Cummings
The Hours - Michael Cunningham
The Child of Pleasure - Gabriele D’Annunzio
Disappearance - David Dabydeen
Nervous Conditions - Tsitsi Dangarembga
Fifth Business - Robertson Davies
The End of the Story - Lydia Davis
The Twins - Tessa De Loo
Robinson Crusoe - Daniel Defoe
Moll Flanders - Daniel Defoe
The Heretic - Miguel Deliber
White Noise - Don DeLillo
Mao II - Don DeLillo
Underworld - Don DeLillo
The History of Thomas of Reading - Thomas Deloney
Berlin Alexanderplatz - Alfred Deoblin
Clear Light of Da - Anita Desai
The Inheritance of Loss - Kiran Desai
All About H Hatterr - GV Desani
The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao - Junot Diaz
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? - Philip Dick
Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
Bleak House - Charles Dickens
Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
Jacques the Fatalist - Denis Diderot
The Nun - Denis Diderot
Rameau’s Nephew - Denis Diderot
Democracy - Joan Didion
Play It As It Lay - Joan Didion
The Bitter Glass - Eilis Dillon
Ragtime - EL Doctorow
The Book of Daniel - EL Doctorow
Stone Junction - Jim Dodge
Asphodel - Hilda Doolittle
Notes from the Underground - Fyodor Dostoevsky
Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
The Idiot - Fyodor Dostoevsky
The Possessed - Fyodor Dostoevsky
Fool’s Gold - Maro Douka
Uncle Petros and Goldbach’s Conjecture - Apostolos Doxiadis
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Arthur Conan Doyle
The Hound of Baskervilles - Arthur Conan Doyle
The Radiant Way - Margaret Drabble
S: A Novel about the Balkans - Slavenka Drakulic
Sister Carrie - Theodore Dreiser
Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
The Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
Hallucinating Foucault - Patricia Duncker
The Ravishing of Lol V Stein - Marguerite Duras
The Vice-Consul - Marguerite Duras
The Lover - Marguerite Duras
Justine - Lawrence Durrell
The Judge and His Hangman - Friedrich Durrenmatt
A World for Julius - Alfredo Bryce Echenique
The Name of the Rose - Umberto Eco
Foucault’s Pendulum - Umberto Eco
Castle Rackrent - Maria Edgeworth
The Quest - Frederik van Eeden
A Visit from the Goon Squad - Jennifer Egan
Life of a Good-For-Nothing - Joseph Von Eichendorff
Adam Bede - George Eliot
The Mill on the Floss - George Eliot
Silas Marner - George Eliot
Middlemarch - George Eliot
American Psycho - Bret Easton Ellis
Invisible Man - Ralph Ellison
The Black Dahlia - James Ellroy
Cheese - Willem Elsschot
Silence - Shusaku Endo
Deep River - Shusaku Endo
The Book About Blance and Marie - Per Olov Enquist
The Gathering - Anne Enright
The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equian - Olaudah Equiano
Love Medicine - Louise Erdrich
Like Water for Chocolate - Laura Esquivel
Celestial Harmonies - Peter Esterhazy
The Virgin Suicides - Jeffrey Eugenides
The Marriage Plot - Jeffrey Eugenides
Under the Skin - Michael Faber
Astradeni - Eugenia Fakinou
The Singapore Grip - JG Farrell
The Siege of Krishnapur - JG Farrell
Absalom, Absalom! - William Faulkner
Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks
Troubling Love - Elena Ferrante
Joseph Andrews - Henry Fielding
Tom Jones - Henry Fielding
The Wars - Timothy Findley
The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald
Tender is the Night - F Scott Fitzgerald
Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
Sentimental Education - Gustave Flaubert
Bouvard and Pecuchet - Gustave Flaubert
Casino Royale - Ian Fleming
Everything is Illuminated - Jonathan Safran Foer
Effi Briest - Theodor Fontane
Der Stechlin - Theodor Fontane
The Good Soldier - Ford Madox Ford
Parade’s End - Ford Madox Ford
A Room with a View - EM Forster
Howards End - EM Forster
A Passage to India - EM Forster
The Magus - John Fowles
The French Lieutenant’s Woman - John Fowles
Faces in the Water - Janet Frame
Thais - Anatole France
Blind Side of the Heart - Julia Franck
Freedom - Jonathan Franzen
The Corrections - Jonathan Franzen
Simon and the Oaks - Marianne Fredriksson
Hideous Kinky - Esther Freud
I’m Not Stiller - Max Frisch
Homo Faber: A Report - Max Frisch
The Description of the Life of a Strange Vagabond Named - Melchoir Sternfels von Fuchshaim
The Death of Artemio Cruz - Carlos Fuentes
The Recognitions - William Gaddis
The Back Room - Carmen Martin Gaite
Compassion - Benito Perez Galdos
Memory of Fire - Eduardo Galeano
The Trick is to Keep Breathing - Janice Galloway
The Forsyte Saga - John Galsworthy
Eclipse of the Crescent Moon - Geza Garbonyi
The Roots of Heaven - Romain Gary
Promise at Dawn - Romain Gary
Cranford - Elizabeth Gaskell
North and South - Elizabeth Gaskell
Legend - David Gemmell
Triple Mirror of the Self - Zulfikar Ghose
The Shadow Lines - Amitav Ghosh
Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
Neuromancer - William Gibson
The Fruits of the Earth - Andre Gide
The Immoralist - Andre Gide
Strait is the Gate - Andre Gide
The Counterfeiters - Andre Gide
New Grub Street - George Gissing
Caleb Williams - William Godwin
The Sorrows of Young Werther - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Wilhelm Meister’s Apprenticeship - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Elective Affinities - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
The Nose - Nikolai Gogol
Dead Souls - Nikolai Gogol
Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
Lord of the Flies - William Golding
The Vicar of Wakefield - Oliver Goldsmith
Ferdydurke - Witold Gombrowicz
Oblomov - Ivan Aleksandrovich Goncharov
July’s People - Nadine Gordimer
Mother - Maxim Gorky
The Artamonov Business - Maxim Gorky
Burger’s Daughter - Nadine Gorminder
Marks of Identity - Juan Goytisolo
The Opposing Shore - Julien Gracq
The Tin Drum - Gunter Grass
Cat and Mouse - Gunter Grass
Dog Years - Gunter Grass
Lanark - Alasdair Gray
Blindness - Henry Green
Living - Henry Green
Loving - Henry Green
Back - Henry Green
Brighton Rock - Graham Greene
The Power and the Glory - Graham Greene
The End of the Affair - Graham Greene
The Quiet American - Graham Greene
The Honorary Consul - Graham Greene
The Diary of a Nobody - George Grossmith
Three Kingdoms - Luo Guanzhong
Memories of Rain - Sunetra Gupta
Dirty Havana Trilogy - Pedro Juan Gutierrez
Forever a Stranger and Other Stories - Hella S Haasse
King Solomon’s Mines - H Rider Haggard
The Well of Loneliness - Radclyffe Hall
The Maltese Falcon - Dashiell Hammett
The Thin Man - Dashiell Hammett
Hunger - Knut Hamsun
Growth of the Soil - Knut Hamsun
The Afternoon of a Writer - Peter Handke
The Left-Handed Woman - Peter Handke
Art of Fielding - Chad Harbach
Far From the Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
The Go-Between - LP Hartley
The Good Soldier Svejk - Jaroslav Hasek
The Scarlet Letter - Nathaniel Hawthorne
The House of the Seven Gables - Nathaniel Hawthorne
Love in Excess; or, The Fatal Enquiry - Eliza Fowler Haywood
A Question of Power - Bessie Head
The First Garden - Anne Hebert
The Blind Owl - Sadegh Hedayat
Ancestral Voices - Etienne Van Heerden
Stranger in a Strange Land - Robert A Heinlein
Catch-22 - Joseph Heller
The Sun Also Rises - Ernest Hemingway
A Farewell to Arms - Ernest Hemingway
For Whom the Bell Tolls - Ernest Hemingway
The Old Man and the Sea - Ernest Hemingway
Margot and the Angels - Kristien Hemmerechts
Nowhere Man - Aleksander Hemon
Reasons to Live - Amy Hempel
Martin Fierro - Jose Hernandez
Dispatches - Michael Herr
Siddhartha - Hermann Hesse
Steppenwolf - Hermann Hesse
The Glass Bead Game - Hermann Hesse
The Talented Mr. Ripley - Patricia Highsmith
Camera Obscura - Hildebrand
Blind Man with a Pistol - Chester Himes
Kestrel for a Knave - Barry Hines
The House on the Borderland - William Hope Hodgson
Smilla’s Sense of Snow ~ Peter H√łeg
The Life and Opinions of the Tomcat Murr - ETA Hoffmann
The Parable of the Blind - Gert Hofmann
Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner - James Hogg
Hyperion - Friedrich Holderlin
The Swimming-Pool Library - Alan Hollinghurst
The Line of Beauty - Alan Hollinghurst
The Cathedral - Oles Honchar
Whatever - Michel Houellebecq
The Elementary Particles - Michel Houellebecq
Platform - Michel Houellebecq
Closely Watched Trains - Bohumil Hrabal
Paradise of the Blind - Duong Thu Huong
The Hunchback of Notre Dame - Victor Hugo
Les Miserables - Victor Hugo
Their Eyes Were Watching God - Zora Neale Hurston
What I Loved - Siri Hustvedt
Crome Yellow - Aldous Huxley
Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
Eyeless in Gaza - Aldous Huxley
Against the Grain - JK Huysmans
La’Bas~Joris - Karl Huysmans
Carry Me Down - MJ Hyland
Three Trapped Tigers - Guillermo Cabrera Infante
A Prayer for Owen Meany - John Irving
The Cider House Rules - John Irving
The Last of Mr Norris - Christopher Isherwood
Goodbye to Berlin - Christopher Isherwood
The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
The Unconsoled - Kazuo Ishiguro
An Artist of the Floating World - Kazuo Ishiguro
A Pale View of Hills - Kazuo Ishiguro
The Portrait of a Lady - Henry James
What Maisie Knew - Henry James
The Wings of the Dove - Henry James
The Ambassadors - Henry James
A Day Off - Storm Jameson
The Summer Book - Tove Jansson
The Piano Teacher - Elfriede Jelinek
Platero and I - Juan Ramon Jimenez
House Mother Normal: A Geriatric Comedy - BS Johnson
The History of Rasselas, Prince of Abissinia - Samuel Johnson
Jahrestage - Uwe Johnson
In Parenthesis - David Jones
Fear of Flying - Erica Jong
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man - James Joyce
Ulysses - James Joyce
Finnegans Wake - James Joyce
The Taebek Mountains - Jo Jung-Rae
Storm of Steel - Ernst Junger
The Glass Bees - Ernst Junger
The Successor - Ismail Kadare
Broken April - Ismail Kadare
Spring Flowers, Spring Frost - Ismail Kadare
The Trial - Franz Kafka
The Castle - Franz Kafka
Amerika - Franz Kafka
Thousand Cranes - Yasunari Kawabata
Zorba the Greek - Nikos Kazantzakis
The Last Temptation of Christ - Nikos Kazantzakis
Measuring the World - Daniel Kehlmann
Green Henry - Gottfried Keller
Kieron Smith, Boy - James Kelman
How Late It Was, How Late - James Kelman
The Busconductor Hines - James Kelman
Schindler’s List - Thomas Keneally
Looking for the Possible Dance - AL Kennedy
On the Road - Jack Kerouac
Fateless - Imre Kertesz
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest - Ken Kesey
Sometimes a Great Notion - Ken Kesey
Annie John - Jamaica Kincaid
The Shining - Stephen King
The Water-Babies - Charles Kingsley
The Poisonwood Bible - Barbara Kingsolver
Kim - Rudyard Kipling
Garden, Ashes - Danilo Kis
Michael Kohlhaas - Heinrich von Kleist
Waiting for the Dark, Waiting for the Light - Ivan Klima
The Hot House - Wolfgang Koeppen
Death in Rome - Wolfgang Koeppen
The Case Worker - Gyorgy Konrad
A Day in Spring - Ciril Kosmac
Smell of Sadness - Alfred Kossman
The Midnight Examiner - William Kotzwinkle
The Fan Man - William Kotzwinkle
The Melancholy of Resistance - Laszlo Krasznahorkai
The History of Love - Nicole Krauss
The Return of Philip Latinowicz - Miroslav Krleza
On the Edge of Reason - Miroslav Krleza
Professor Marten’s Departure - Jaan Kross
The Unbearable Lightness of Being - Milan Kundera
The Book of Laughter and Forgetting - Milan Kundera
The Buddha of Suburbia - Hanif Kureishi
Land - Park Kyong-ni
Dangerous Liaisons - Pierre-Ambrois-Francois Choderlos de Laclos
The Princess of Cleves - Madame de Lafayette
Andrea - Carmen Laforet
Barabbas - Par Lagerkvist
The Saga of Gosta Berling - Selma Lagerlof
The Namesake - Jhumpa Lahiri
The Leopard - Giuseppe Di Lampedusa
Rickshaw Boy - She Lao
Quicksand - Nella Larsen
Passing - Nella Larsen
The Diviners - Margaret Laurence
Maldoror and Poems - Lautreamont
Sons and Lovers - DH Lawrence
The Rainbow - DH Lawrence
Women in Love - DH Lawrence
Lady Chatterley’s Lover - DH Lawrence
Independent People - Halldor Laxness
The Dark Child: The Autobiography of an African Boy - Camara Laye
The Dispossessed - Ursula K Le Guin
The Lost Language of Cranes - David Leavitt
Uncle Silas - Joseph Sheridan LeFanu
In a Glass Darkly - Joseph Sheridan LeFanu
To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
Cider with Rosie - Laurie Lee
Solaris - Stansilaw Lem
The Female Quixote or the Adventures of Arabella - Charlotte Lennox
The German Lesson - Siegried Lenz
Get Shorty - Elmore Leonard
LaBrava - Elmore Leonard
A Hero of Our Time - Mikhail Lermontov
The Enchanted Wanderer - Nicolai Leskov
The Grass is Singing - Doris Lessing
The Golden Notebook - Doris Lessing
Christ Stopped at Eboli - Carlo Levi
If This is a Man - Primo Levi
If Not Now, When? - Primo Levi
The Drowned and the Saved - Primo Levi
The Monk, A Romance - MG Lewis
Monica - Saunders Lewis
Main Street - Sinclair Lewis
Babbit - Sinclair Lewis
Tarr - Wyndham Lewis
The Apes of God - Wyndham Lewis
Pippi Longstocking - Astrid Lindgren
The Unknown Soldier - Vaino Linna
The Passion According to GH - Clarice Lispector
The House of the Star - Clarice Lispector
The Time of the Hero - Mario Vargas Llosa
The Feast of the Goat - Mario Vargas Llosa
The War of the End of the World - Mario Vargas Llosa
Armadis of Gaul - Vasco de Lobeira
The Call of the Wild - Jack London
At the Mountains of Madness And Other Tales of Terror - HP Lovecraft
Under the Volcano - Malcolm Lowry
Fall On Your Knees - Ann-Marie MacDonald
Absolute Beginners - Colin MacInnes
The Butcher Boy - Patrick McCabe
All the Pretty Horses - Cormac McCarthy
Blood Meridian: Or the Evening Redness in the West - Cormac McCarthy
They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? - Horace McCoy
The Cement Garden - Ian McEwan
Atonement - Ian McEwan
Amongst Women - John McGahern
The Man of Feeling - Henry Mackenzie
Midaq Alley - Naguib Mahfouz
Miramar - Naguib Mahfouz
Remembering Babylon - David Malouf
Man’s Fate - Andre Malraux
Faceless Killers - Henning Mankell
Professor Unrat - Heinrich Mann
Buddenbrooks - Thomas Mann
Death in Venice and Other Stories - Thomas Mann
The Magic Mountain - Thomas Mann
Joseph and His Brothers - Thomas Mann
Doctor Faustus - Thomas Mann
Her Privates We - Frederic Manning
The Betrothed - Alessandro Manzoni
Embers - Sandor Marai
Your Face Tomorrow: Fever and Spear - Javier Marias
All Souls - Javier Marias
Late-Night News - Petros Markaris
Wittgenstein’s Mistress - David Markson
Pavel’s Letters - Monika Maron
No One Writes to the Colonel - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Love in the Time of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
The Autumn of the Patriarch - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Life of Pi - Yann Martel
Time of Silence - Luis Martin-Santos
Santa Evita - Tomas Eloy Martinez
Tirant lo Black II - Joanot Martorell
The Daughter - Pavlos Matesis
Cigarettes - Harry Mathews
Melmoth the Wanderer - Charles Robert Maturin
Of Human Bondage - W Somerset Maugham
The Razor’s Edge - W Somerset Maugham
A Woman’s Life - Guy de Maupassant
Bel-Ami - Guy de Maupassant
Pierre and Jean - Guy de Maupassant
Viper’s Tangle - Francois Mauriac
Moby Dick - Herman Melville
A Light Comedy - Eduardo Mendoza
The Manila Rope - Veijo Meri
The Day of the Dolphin - Robert Merle
American Rust - Philip Meyer
Fugitive Pieces - Anne Michaels
Tropic of Cancer - Henry Miller
The Sound of Waves - Yukio Mishima
The Sea of Fertility - Yukio Mishima
A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
Gone with the Wind - Margaret Mitchell
Love in a Cold Climate - Nancy Mitford
Crossfire - Miyuki Miyabe
Chaka - Thomas Mofolo
Southern Seas - Manuel Vazquez Montalban
Watchmen - Alan Moore
A Gate at the Stairs - Lorrie Moore
Anagrams - Lorrie Moore
Like Life - Lorrie Moore
The Time of Indifference - Alberto Moravia
Disobedience - Alberto Moravia
Ghost at Noon - Alberto Moravia
Anton Reiser - Karl Philipp Moritz
News from Nowhere - William Morris
The Bluest Eye - Toni Morrison
Beloved - Toni Morrison
Song of Solomon - Toni Morrison
Down Second Avenue - Ezekiel Mphahlele
The Holder of the World - Bharati Mukherjee
The Discovery of Heaven - Harry Mulisch
Max Havelaar: Or the Coffee Auctions of the Dutch Trading Company - Multatuli
Lives of Girls and Women - Alice Munro
The Beggar Maid: Stories of Flo and Rose - Alice Munro
The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle - Haruki Murakami
1Q84 - Haruki Murakami
Almost Transparent Blue - Ryu Murakami
Under the Net - Iris Murdoch
The Bell - Iris Murdoch
A Severed Head - Iris Murdoch
The Sea, The Sea - Iris Murdoch
Inland - Gerald Murnane
Young Torless - Robert Musil
Man Without Qualities - Robert Musil
The Adventures and Misadventures of Maqroll - Alvaro Mutis
Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
Pnin - Vladimir Nabokov
Pale Fire - Vladimir Nabokov
Ada, or Ardor: A Family Chronicle - Vladimir Nabokov
The Water Margin: Outlaws of the Marsh - Shi Naian
In a Free State - VS Naipaul
A Bend in the River - VS Naipaul
The Enigma of Arrival - VS Naipaul
The Guide - RK Narayan
The Unfortunate Traveller and Other Works - Thomas Nashe
Henry Von Ofterdingen - Novalis
Suite Francaise - Irene Nemirovsky
Delta of Venus - Anais Nin
Rituals - Cees Nooteboom
Fear and Trembling - Amelie Nothomb
The Country Girls - Edna O’Brien
At Swim-Two-Birds - Flann O’Brien
The Third Policeman - Flann O’Brien
The Things They Carried - Tim O’Brien
Wise Blood - Flannery O’Connor
Everything That Rises Must Converge - Flannery O’Connor
Them - Joyce Carol Oates
Pluck the Bud and Destroy the Offspring - Kenzaburo Oe
The English Patient - Michael Ondaatje
The Shipyard - Juan Carlos Onetti
Keep the Aspidistra Flying - George Orwell
Animal Farm - George Orwell
Nineteen Eighty-Four - George Orwell
Cataract - Mykhaylo Osadchyi
God’s Bits of Wood - Sembene Ousmane
A Tale of Love and Darkness - Amos Oz
Black Box - Amos Oz
Life is a Caravanserai - Emine Sevgi Ozdamar
The Year of the Hare - Arto Paasilinna
Manon des Sources - Marcel Pagnol
The Laws - Connie Palmen
Snow - Orhan Pamuk
Life of Christ - Giovanni Papini
Ballad of Georg Henig - Viktor Paskov
The Ragazzi - Pier Paolo Pasolini
USA - John Dos Passos
Doctor Zhivago - Boris Pasternak
Cry, the Beloved Country - Alan Paton
The Harvesters - Cesare Pavese
The Moon and the Bonfires - Cesare Pavese
Dictionary of the Khazars - Milorad Pavic
The Labyrinth of Solitude and Other Writings - Octavio Paz
Titus Groan - Mervyn Peake
Gormenghast - Mervyn Peake
Life of Insects - Victor Pelevin
Clay Machine-Gun - Victor Pelevin
Things - Georges Perec
A Void - Georges Perec
W, or the Memory of Childhood - Georges Perec
Life: A User’s Manual - Georges Perec
The Club Dumas - Arturo Perez-Reverte
The Book of Disquiet - Fernando Pessoa
Marius The Epicurean, His Sensations and Ideas - Walter Pater
Vernon God Little - DBC Pierre
One, No One, and One Hundred Thousand - Luigi Pirandello
The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
The Trusting and the Maimed - James Plunkett
The Fall of the House of Usher - Edgar Allen Poe
The Pit and the Pendulum - Edgar Allen Poe
Here’s to You, Jesusa! - Elena Poniatowska
Memoirs of the Extraordinary Life, Works and Discoveries of Martinus Scriblerus - Alexander Pope
A Dance to the Music of Time (series) - Anthony Powell
Typical - Padgett Powell
The Shipping News - E Annie Proulx
Remembrance of Things Past - Marcel Proust
Pharaoh - Boleslaw Prus
Heartbreak Tango - Manuel Puig
Kiss of the Spider Woman - Manuel Puig
Eugene Onegin - Alexander Pushkin
The Godfather - Mario Puzo
Excellent Women - Barbara Pym
Quartet in Autumn - Barbara Pym
V - Thomas Pynchon
The Crying of Lot 49 - Thomas Pynchon
Gravity’s Rainbow - Thomas Pynchon
Against the Day - Thomas Pynchon
Exercises in Style - Raymond Queneau
The Crime of Father Amaro - Jose Maria Eca de Queiros
Gargantua and Pantagruel - Francoise Rabelais
The Mysteries of Udolpho - Ann Radcliffe
The Devil in the Flesh - Raymond Radiguet
The Last World - Christoph Ransmayr
Story of O - Pauline Reage
The Forest of the Hanged - Liviu Rebreanu
All Quiet on the Western Front - Erich Maria Remarque
Good Morning, Midnight - Jean Rhys
Wide Sargasso Sea - Jean Rhys
Interview with the Vampire - Anne Rice
Pilgrimage (13 Volumes) - Dorothy Richardson
Pamela - Samuel Richardson
Clarissa - Samuel Richardson
The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge - Rainer Maria Rilke
Larva: A Midsummer Night’s Babel - Julian Rios
Jealousy - Alain Robbe-Grillet
The Viceroys - Federico De Roberto
Home - Marilynne Robinson
Cost - Roxana Robinson
Celestina - Fernando de Rojas
Hadrian the Seventh - Fr Rolfe
The Devil to Pay in the Backlands - Joao Guimaraes Rosa
Love’s Work: A Reckoning with Life - Gillian Rose
Call It Sleep - Henry Roth
The Radetzky March - Joseph Roth
Portnoy’s Complaint - Philip Roth
The Human Stain - Philip Roth
Nemesis - Philip Roth
Julie; Or, the New Eloise - Jean-Jacques Rousseau
Emile - Jean-Jacques Rousseau
Reveries of the Solitary Walker - Jean-Jacques Rousseau
Confessions - Jean-Jacques Rousseau
Impressions of Africa - Raymond Roussel
Locus Solus - Raymond Roussel
The God of Small Things - Arundhati Roy
The Tin Flute - Gabrielle Roy
The Burning Plain and Other Stories - Juan Rulfo
Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie
Shame - Salman Rushdie
The Satanic Verses - Salman Rushdie
Deadbeats - Ward Ruyslinck
Woman at Point Zero - Nawal El Saadawi
The 120 Days of Sodom - Marquis de Sade
Justine - Marquis de Sade
The Witness - Juan Jose Saer
Contact - Carl Sagan
Bonjour Tristesse - Francoise Sagan
The Little Prince - Antoine de Saint-Exupery
Sandokan: The Tigers of Mompracem - Emilio Salgari
Season of Migration to the North - Tayeb Salih
The Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger
Franny and Zooey - JD Salinger
The Devil’s Pool - George Sand
Alberta and Jacob - Cora Sandel
Cain - Jose Saramago
The History of the Siege of Lisbon - Jose Saramago
The Year of the Death of Ricardo Reis - Jose Saramago
Baltasar and Blimunda - Jose Saramago
Facundo: Civilization and Barbarism - Domingo Faustino Sarmiento
Nausea - Jean-Paul Sartre
Murder Must Advertise - Dorothy Sayers
The Nine Tailors - Dorothy Sayers
The Swarm - Frank Schatzing
The Reader - Bernhard Schlink
None but the Brave - Arthur Schnitzler
Memoirs of My Nervous Illness - Daniel Paul Schreber
The Street of Crocodiles - Bruno Schulz
To Each His Own - Leonard Sciascia
Rob Roy - Walter Scott
Ivanhoe - Walter Scott
Austerlitz - WG Sebald
Vertigo - WG Sebald
Transit - Anna Seghers
Requiem for a Dream - Hubert Selby Jr.
Dead and the Dervish - Mesa Selimovic
The Lonely Londoners - Samuel Selvon
The Case of Comrade Tulayev - Victor Serge
A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
Retreat Without Song - Shahan Shahnur
Frankenstein - Mary Shelley
The Stone Diaries - Carol Shields
The Tale of Genji - Murasaki Shikibu
A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
Quo Vadis - Henryk Sienkiewicz
Saturday Night and Sunday Morning - Alan Sillitoe
Life and Death of Harriett Frean - May Sinclair
The Jungle - Upton Sinclair
The Magician of Lublin - Isaac Bashevis Singer
The Manor - Isaac Bashevis Singer
The Engineer of Human Souls - Josef Skvorecky
The Forbidden Realm - JJ Slauerhoff
There But For The - Ali Smith
White Teeth - Zadie Smith
Peregrine Pickle - Tobias Smollett
Humphry Clinker - Tobias Smollett
The Port - Antun Soljan
One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich - Alexander Solzhenitsyn
Cancer Ward - Aleksander Solzhenitsyn
The First Circle - Aleksander Solzhenitsyn
Some Experiences of an Irish RM - Edith Somerville
The Number Thirteen Lady - Jose Carlos Somoza
Kokoro - Natsume Soseki
The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie - Muriel Spark
The Girls of Slender Means - Muriel Spark
The Man Who Loved Children - Christina Stead
The Making of Americans - Gertrude Stein
The Autobiography of Alice B Toklas - Gertrude Stein
Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
The Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
The Red and the Black - Stendhal
The Charterhouse of Parma - Stendhal
The Charwoman’s Daughter - James Stephens
The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman - Laurence Sterne
A Sentimental Journey Through France and Italy - Laurence Sterne
Treasure Island - Robert Louis Stevenson
The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde - Robert Louis Stevenson
Indian Summer - Adalbert Stifter
Dracula - Bram Stoker
Uncle Tom’s Cabin - Harriet Beecher Stowe
The Young Man - Botho Strauss
Couples, Passersby - Botho Strauss
The Red Room - August Strindberg
The People of Hemso - August Strindberg
By the Open Sea - August Strindberg
Perfume - Patrick Suskind
Pigeon - Patrick Suskind
As a Man Grows Older - Italo Svevo
Zeno’s Conscience - Italo Svevo
Waterland - Graham Swift
Gulliver’s Travels - Jonathan Swift
A Modest Proposal - Jonathan Swift
The Beautiful Mrs Seidenman - Andrze Szczypiorski
Periera Declares: A Testimony - Antonio Tabucchi
The Home and the World - Rabindranath Tagore
The Third Wedding Wreath - Costas Taktsis
Some Prefer Nettles - Junichiro Tanizaki
The Secret History - Donna Tartt
Blaming - Elizabeth Taylor
Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
The Great Indian Novel - Shashi Tharoor
The River Between - Ngugi Wa Thiong’o
Matigari - Ngugi Wa Thiong’o
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas - Hunter S Thompson
Walden - Henry David Thoreau
Cutter and Bone - Newton Thornburg
The 13 Clocks - James Thurber
The Invention of Curried Sausage - Uwe Timm
Pallieter - Felix Timmermans
The Master - Colm Toibin
The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien
The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
The Death of Ivan Ilyich - Leo Tolstoy
Kreutzer Sonata - Leo Tolstoy
A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
City Sister Silver - Jachym Topol
Ragged Trousered Philanthropists - Robert Tressell
The Last Chronicle of Barset - Anthony Trollope
Phineas Finn - Anthony Trollope
Summer in Baden-Baden - Leonid Tsypkin
The Christmas Oratorio - Goran Tunstrom
Fathers and Sons - Ivan Turgenev
King Lear of the Steppes - Ivan Turgenev
Spring Torrents - Ivan Turgenev
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn - Mark Twain
The Museum of Unconditional Surrender - Dubravka Ugresic
Kristin Lavransdatter - Sigrid Undset
Rabbit, Run - John Updike
Rabbit is Rich - John Updike
Rabbit Redux - John Updike
Pepita Jimenez - Juan Valera
Our Lady of the Assassins - Fernardo Vallejo
Under the Yoke: A Romance of Bulgarian Liberty - Ivan Minchov Vazov
Z - Vassilis Vassilikos
I Malavoglia - Giovanni Verga
Journey to the Centre of the Earth - Jules Verne
Around the World in 80 Days - Jules Verne
The Birds - Tarjel Vesaas
The Garden Where the Brass Band Played - Simon Vestdijk
Froth on the Daydream - Boris Vian
Myra Breckinridge/Myron - Gore Vidal
Bartleby & Co - Enrique Vila-Matas
Memoirs of a Peasant Boy - Xose Neira Vilas
Conversations in Sicily - Elio Vittorini
In Search of Klingsor - Jorge Volpi
Candide - Voltaire
Cat’s Cradle - Kurt Vonnegut
Slaughterhouse-Five - Kurt Vonnegut
The New World - Heruy Walda-Selasse
The Color Purple - Alice Walker
Possessing the Secret of Joy - Alice Walker
Infinite Jest - David Foster Wallace
Ben Hur - Lew Wallace
The Castle of Otranto - Horace Walpole
Halftime - Martin Walser
Morvern Callar - Alan Warner
Indigo - Marina Warner
Summer Will Show - Sylvia Townsend Warner
The House with the Blind Glass Windows - Herbjorg Wassmo
Billy Liar - Keith Waterhouse
Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day - Winifred Watson
Decline and Fall - Evelyn Waugh
Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
The Graduate - Charles Webb
The Island of Dr. Moreau - HG Wells
The Time Machine - HG Wells
The War of the Worlds - HG Wells
Optimist’s Daughter - Eudora Welty
Miss Lonelyhearts - Nathanael West
The Return of the Soldier - Rebecca West
The Thinking Reed - Rebecca West
The House of Mirth - Edith Wharton
Ethan Frome - Edith Wharton
The Age of Innocence - Edith Wharton
A Boy’s Own Story - Edmund White
The Living and the Dead - Patrick White
The Tree of Man - Patrick White
Voss - Patrick White
The Once and Future King - TH White
The Picture of Dorian Grey - Oscar Wilde
Tarka the Otter - Henry Williamson
No Laughing Matter - Angus Wilson
I Thought of Daisy - Edmund Wilson
Written on the Body - Jeanette Winterson
Sexing the Cherry - Jeanette Winterson
Insatiability - Stanislaw Ignacy Witkiewicz
Thank You, Jeeves - PG Wodehouse
The Quest for Christa T - Christa Wolf
Patterns of Childhood - Christa Wolf
Look Homeward, Angel - Thomas Wolfe
The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test - Tom Wolfe
The Bonfire of the Vanities - Tom Wolfe
Back to Oegstgeest - Jan Wolkers
Mrs Dalloway - Virginia Woolf
To the Lighthouse - Virginia Woolf
Orlando - Virginia Woolf
The Waves - Virginia Woolf
Native Son - Richard Wright
The Day of the Triffids - John Wyndham
The Midwich Cuckoos - John Wyndham
Half of Man is Woman - Zhang Xianliang
The Dream of the Red Chamber - Cao Xueqin
Moscow Stations - Venedikt Yerofeev
Kitchen - Banana Yoshimoto
Memoirs of Hadrian - Marguerite Yourcenar
We - Yevgeny Zamyatin
Leaden Wings - Jie Zhang
Therese Raquin - Emile Zola
Drunkard - Emile Zola
Nana - Emile Zola
Germinal - Emile Zola
La bete Humaine - Emile Zola
Gimmick! - Joost Zwagerman
The Case of Sergeant Grischa - Arnold Zweig
Amok and Other Stories - Stefan Zweig
Chess Story - Stefan Zweig