My favourite authors and poets: Orwell. Lawrence Durrell. Gerald Durrell. Douglas Adams. Edward Thomas. Charles Bukowski. John Hegley. Neal Stephenson.
My number 1 book is Coming Up for Air by George Orwell. I read it once in 1994 in Goa, but have owned a copy all my life since, several copies, as they keep getting lost somehow. The protagonist is 45 and has just had his new false teeth. I read it when I was 24. The basis is a story of a man trapped in his average life with a bossy wife. She is only seen at the beginning and end. Once I burnt all my books at a time of extreme pressure. As I turned over the dead bomb-fire the charred cover of this book looked up at me and the connections with the book increased. Then in 2015 I picked up the book and for the first time since 1994 I read the first paragraph and discovered that he is 45. After all those years I pick it up and read that paragraph when I myself am 45.
The next most important book is The Alexandria Quartet by Lawrence Durrell. I had always read of him in the books by his brother Gerald Durrell. To actually read his work was a great experience. The novel provoked me to travel to Alexandria. I just had to go after reading it. You can find more about this on this blog:
The third book is Last Chance to See by Douglas Adams. This is about him travelling to places to see animals on the verge of extinction. This book meant a lot to me pre my going to save the planet. See:
I had always admired Douglas Adams' work, but for him, who knew little of the issues before, to write so well of this global threat said a lot to me.