Craig’s adventures in wonderland
From Tintin’s Tibetan adventures to Sherlock Holmes’s battles with Moriarty and John Le Carré’s thrilling spy rings… our award-winning reviewer on the books he most loves right now
This is not one of those pompous lists of the 100 Greatest Books Of All Time. Nor is it a list of books You Ought To Read In Order To Appear Sophisticated, or Books To Feel Guilty For Not Having Read.
Instead, these are 100 books I have particularly enjoyed, at one time or another: books that have excited me, moved me, fascinated me, made me laugh. The perfect book would do all these, and much else besides. My key criterion has been simple: would I give this book to a friend?
Looking at my list, I notice a bias towards the comical and the catastrophic. I also favour precision, wit and originality. I find the distinction between highbrow and lowbrow – or ‘literary’ and ‘non-literary’ – largely bogus.
Books are either well written or not. To my mind, Elmore Leonard and PG Wodehouse were greater writers than most of the grandees awarded the Booker or the Nobel Prize.
Nor do I find posterity as trustworthy a judge as others seem to do: quite a few of these books are in danger of extinction.
We change with time, and so does our taste. There were books I loved in my youth – Fitzgerald’s Tender Is The Night is one, Patrick White’s The
Vivisector another – that now, at the age of 60, I’m less convinced by. Was I right then, and not now? Perhaps. Will I have changed my mind in a few years? Quite possibly.
But this is my list for now.