'Save from the waves'By John Riches
The five books I would save from the waves would be:
1) 'Slaughterhouse 5' Kurt Vonnegut
I see this book as a profound study on the vagaries and horror of war, alongside a deeply-held pessimism about the human condition. Whilst that might sound depressing, this book never fails to amuse and inspire me.
2) 'Live from Golgotha' Gore Vidal
Obscene, irreverent, prophetic, very funny, and perplexing. If you're squeamish about circumcision, don't even go as far as page one...
3) 'Frankenstein' Mary Shelley
I read this in an overnight train cabin, from Euston to Fort William, accompanied a bottle of whisky, this seemed to add to the gothic atmosphere. It is terrifyingly intense, and so gripping that, as they say in the cheesiest of blurbs, 'I couldn't put it down until I'd finished'.
4) 'The March of Unreason: Science, Democracy, and the New Fundamentalism' Dick Taverne
A book that changed my life. Taverne exposes the downright deceit with which the Green and Organic movements have advanced their cause. Perceptively noting that, in their hearts, most people instinctively feel that a) 'organic' equals 'good' and b) that the green movement is on the side of 'the people' against big business - and that it is this sentimentalism, and not any sort of scientific proof, that enables them to peddle a whole bunch of falsehoods.
5) 'The Golden Age' Gore Vidal
To be honest, his books should all be in my top five, as I think Vidal's range, intelligence and vision is unsurpassed by any other 20th Century writer. In an unforgettable conclusion, Vidal pompously places himself in the narrative in conversation with his central character, and manages to not only make it believable, but make my heart soar at the sheer bloody cheek of it.
This page was first added to The Deckchair website on 20/05/2006.
This page was amended on 17/08/2011