My favourite books

book-bannerEnglish lecturer Dr Richard House, whose digitally enhanced novel The Kills was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize, reveals his five favourite books. 

‘I’m a big fan of these five writers. their styles are distinctive, seductive,  commanding, and in writing about the  world they show humour and horror,  and, best of all, humanity.’


Libra - Don DeLillo
First, foremost, has to come Don DeLillo:  this book is like honey  (if you want something  with more heft, go with Underworld).  It’s 50 years since Kennedy’s  assassination, and here is a novel  which plays intelligently with the  paranoia and the grief.




We tell ourselves stories in order to live - Joan Didion
Joan Didion should be required reading  for all. In here is a  startling frankness and honesty, the  title alone sets the tone of this work.This is masterful: how can language  be used with such forensic precision,  and still have the ability to blow ahole in your heart?




No Lease on Life - Lynne Tillman
Lynne Tillman is one of the world’s best  kept writing secrets.  No Lease on Life toys  with Joyce’s conceit for Ulysses (one  man, one day, one city) and happens  the next calendar day. Her character,  Elizabeth, negotiates one full day in  New York with love and frustration,  every visitor to the city should be  handed this novel on entry. Nothing  much actually happens, although  you won’t notice that.



2666 - Robert Bolano
Bolano offers a compact history of  loss, which starts with  a group of academics  misbehaving, falling in and out of love  with each other and their subject.  It’s masterful, daunting, and riddled  with violence (watch out).




The Danzig Trilogy - Gunter Grass
Gunter Grass’s Danzig Trilogy includes The  Tin Drum, but really,  like Bolano, these  novels are a single project which  maps personal and political histories.



For your chance to win Richard's top five books, answer the following question:

In which city is the plot of The Kills based?

Email you answer to by 31 May 2014