Fun Books

As Dr. Johnson wrote of Paradise Lost, none who read it ever wished it longer.

I once tried to estimate how many Important books there were. It worked out to more than you could read in a lifetime. So I decided to read all the fun ones first, and if there was time left over, I would start in on the rest.

This is a list of what have seemed to me the most pleasing books of all-- the kind of books you wish you hadn't read, because then you'd still have the pleasure of reading them for the first time.

My Family and Other Animals
Franklin's Autobiography
Tom Jones
The Sot Weed Factor

The Aubrey-Maturin novels
Hajji Baba
The Decameron
Evelyn's Diaries
Shakespeare's Plays (Pelican edition)
Lattimore's translations of the Iliad and Odyssey
The Canterbury Tales (Penguin modern English edition)
Village in the Vaucluse
The World We have Lost
Pepys' Diaries
The Lord of the Rings
Montaigne's Essays
Don Quixote
The collected Tatler and Spectator
Lives of the Poets
The Three Musketeers
The Count of Monte Cristo

Cellini's Autobiography
Pride and Prejudice
Sense and Sensibility
Mansfield Park

Xenophon's Anabasis
The Arabian Nights
The Nude
Science in History
Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs
Chesterfield's Letters to his Son
The Long Week-End
The Fall of Constantinople
Consider the Oyster
Joinville's and Villehardouin's Chronicles (often published together)
The Alexiad
Twenty Years A-Growing
E. B. White's Essays
Froissart's Chronicles
The Copernican Revolution

(This is not a complete list.)

"That book is good in vain which the reader throws away. He only is the master who keeps the mind in pleasing captivity; whose pages are perused with eagerness, and in hope of new pleasure are perused again; and whose conclusion is perceived with an eye of sorrow, such as the traveller casts upon departing day."

- Johnson, Lives of the Poets: Dryden