2666 by Roberto Bolano
Bolano’s 1100 page magnum opus is mesmerising and hypnotic; full of magical stories, violence, sex, meta-fiction, and lies–a lot of lies and a great deal of misdirection. First great classic of the 21st century. Period. Take a bow.
The Savage Detectives by Roberto Bolaño
It’s a massive, sprawling, romantic cauldron of a book: a self-portrait of the artist (refracted through dozens of literary mirrors), a history of his times, a cultural and political manifesto, a mystery novel and a game. Although not necessarily in that order. The Savage Detectives is a companionable and complicated road trip through Mexico City, Barcelona, Israel, Liberia, and finally the desert of northern Mexico.
Nadja by Andre Bretonn
Nadja, originally published in France in 1928, is the first and perhaps best Surrealist romance ever written, a book which defined that movement’s attitude toward everyday life. A Dali in words.
The Movies of My Life by Alberto Fuguet
The incredibly creative plot device that steers Alberto Fuguet’s novel ‘The Movies of My Life’ centers around a list-a list of 50 movies that forms a brilliant vehicle to explore a lonely childhood.
Lanark – A Life in Four Books by Alasdair Gray
Alasdair Gray’s magnum opus was first published in 1981 and immediately established him as one of our greatest living writers. “Lanark”, a modern vision of hell, is set in the disintegrating cities of Unthank and Glasgow, and tells the interwoven stories of Lanark and Duncan Thaw. Its playful narrative techniques convey a profound message, both personal and political, about our inability to love, and yet our compulsion to go on trying.
The Anatomist by Federico Andahazi
Though it is set in sixteenth-century Venice, Federico Andahazi’s The Anatomist could not be more contemporary in its wit, its ironic turns, and its themes of hypocrisy, censorship, and the nature of sexuality–so much so, in fact, that it was denounced by the wealthy sponsor of Argentina’s prestigious Fortabat Prize, sparking a literary scandal and charges of modern-day censorship that eerily echoed the book’s major themes.
Forge by Arturo Barea
The Forging of a Rebel is recognised as one of the keystones of modern Spanish literature. Comprising three great books, it is both the autobiography of a man and the biography of a nation.
Thug – The True Story of India’s Murderous Cult by Mike Dash
For nearly two centuries, Thugs haunted the roads of India, slaughtering travellers whom they met along the way. Dash tells the story of the Thugs’ rise and fall from the cult’s beginnings in the late seventeenth century, to its demise at the hands of British officer William Sleeman, in 1840.
Love, Poverty and War: Journeys and Essays by Christopher Hitchens
The departure point for this book is an antique saying: life is complete unless love, poverty and war have been experienced. In ‘Love’, Christopher Hitchens celebrates the work of Joyce, Proust and Borges. ‘Poverty’ includes a series of devastating assessments of Michael Moore and the cult of the Kennedys. The book’s final section, ‘War’, contains biting reportage from North Korea, Pakistan and Iraq.
Fear and Loathing in America – The Brutal Odyssey of an Outlaw Journalist by Hunter S. Thompson
Brazen, incisive, and outrageous as ever, Hunter S. Thompson is back with another astonishing volume of his private correspondence. Spanning the years between 1968 and 1976, these never-before-published letters show Thompson building his legend.
Fear: A Cultural History by Joanna Bourke &
Rape: A History from 1860 to the Present by Joanna Bourke
Being buried alive, being raped, theatre fires, nightmares, phobias, war, nuclear holocaust, and of course terrorism. Bourke’s new books contain much about war, but extend the study to an array of fears, from disease and disaster to terrorism. Some of the best writing in the book pays attention to private fears. Bourke is compelling on childhood terrors, crowds, mysterious illnesses and terror about the wrath of God.
120 Days of Sodom – Marquis De Sade
The Marquis de Sade wrote The 120 Days of Sodom while imprisoned in the Bastille. An amazing sequence of imaginatively bizarre sexual adventures punctuated by philosophical and theological digression. Lolita and her ilk pale beside the 120 Days.
Parallel Worlds – A Journey Through Creation, Higher Dimensions, and the Future ofthe Cosmos by Michio Kaku
In this thrilling journey into the mysteries of our cosmos, Michio Kaku takes us on a dizzying ride to explore black holes and time machines, multidimensional space and, most tantalizing of all, the possibility that parallel universes may lay alongside our own.
To Begin Where I Am – Selected Essays by Czeslaw Milosz
‘To Begin Where I Am’ brings together a rich sampling of the great Czech poet Czeslaw Milosz’s prose writings. Two great themes predominate in these essays, Milosz’s personal struggle to sustain his faith, and his unswerving allegiance to a poetry that is “on the side of man”.
Cocaine Nights by J. G. Ballard
Bloody and provocative, ‘Cocaine Nights’ is a return to Ballard’s psychological preoccupations.Chilling read.
Zeno’s Conscience (Confessions of Zeno) by Italo Svevo
The modern Italian classic discovered and championed by James Joyce, Zeno’s Conscience is a marvel of psychological insight. Svevo’s masterpiece tells the story of a hapless, doubting, guilt-ridden man paralyzed by fits of ecstasy and despair and tickled by his own cleverness. With cigarette in hand, Zeno sets out in search of health and happiness, hoping along the way to free himself from countless vices, not least of which is his accursed “last cigarette!”
Love and Garbage by Ivan Klima
From the great Czech writer comes a shrewd, humane, and poignant novel, set in Prague before the Velvet Revolution, whose perceptions about love, conscience, and betrayal cut to the bone of life in both totalitarian and democratic societies. A chilling story from the underground.
Art Objects – Essays on Ecstasy and Effrontery by Jeanette Winterson
In ten interlocking essays, Jeanette Winterson reveals art as an active force in the world–neither elitist nor remote, available to those who want it and affecting those who don’t.
Fima by Amos Oz &
A Tale of Love and Darkness by Amos Oz
A slyly satiric walking tour through the closing years of Israel’s first half-century—as refracted through the mind of an ineffectual, quirky dreamer Fima constitutionally beset by the most mundane details of his daily routine. A great book by the greatest Israeli writer ever.
History of the Arab Peoples – Albert Hourani
Albert Hourani’s masterwork was hailed as the definitive story of Arab civilization. In a panoramic view encompassing twelve centuries of Arab history and culture, Hourani brilliantly illuminated the people and events that have fundamentally shaped the Arab world.
Architects of Annihilation by Gotz Aly and Susanne Heim
‘Architects of Annihilation’ follows the activities of the demographers, economists, geographers and planners in the period between the disorderly excesses and barbarity of Auschwitz in the summer of 1942. Read the story of the clerks who turned the wheel at the Nazi death camps.
Ideas and Integrities: A Spontaneous Autobiographical Disclosure by R. Buckminster Fuller
R. Buckminster Fuller was an architect, engineer, geometrician, cartographer, philosopher, futurist, inventor of the famous geodesic dome, and one of the most brilliant thinkers of his time. In ‘Ideas and Integrities’, Buckminster Fuller describes the revolutionary designs and concepts he has pioneered – among them the geodesic dome, the Dymaxion world map, the Dymaxion 4-D house, the Dymaxion 4-D automobile, and the countless other creations that have shifted the idea of design.
The House Book (Phaidon)
A visual feast of 500 iconic houses and traditional dwellings from all over the world, The House Book presents a vibrant and fresh view of architects and designers responsible for some of the most diverse international houses of all time. The only real architecture book, you’ll ever need.