Here are some mostly older, less well-known books to look for in the library and in second-hand bookshops. My great regret as a reader is that I haven’t kept notes on all the books I’ve read and enjoyed over the years.


  • A

    Chinua Achebe: Anthills of the Savannah • Peter Ackroyd: Shakespeare – the biography • Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: Purple Hibiscus, Half of a Yellow Sun • GG Alcock: Third World Child • Isabel Allende: Eva Luna;  Paula • Kate Atkinson: Behind the Scenes at the Museum • Margaret Atwood: The Handmaid’s Tale • Sylvia Ashton-Warner: Spinster

  • B

    J G Ballard: Empire of the Sun • Sebastian Barry: The Secret Scripture, On Canaan’s Side • Louis de Bernières: Captain Corelli’s Mandolin • Lesley Blanch: Journey Into the Mind’s Eye; The Wilder Shores of Love • Dirk Bogarde: A Gentle Occupation and the autobiographies • William Boyd: Brazzaville Beach; The Blue Afternoon • Ray Bradbury: Dandelion Wine • E M Braithwaite: To Sir, With Love • Joan Brady: Theory of War • Arthur Bryant: The Mediaeval Foundation • Bill Bryson: Mother Tongue; Notes From a Small Island • Henrietta Buckmaster: All the Living • Frederick Buechner: Godric • A S Byatt: Possession; Angels & Insects

  • C

    W H Canaway: The Grey Seas of Jutland, Sammy Going South • J L Carr: A Month in the Country • Justin Cartwright: Interior;  Masai Dreaming, White Lightning • Joyce Cary: The Horse’s Mouth • J M Coetzee: Waiting for the Barbarians; Age of Iron • Colette: Earthly Paradise • Pat Conroy: The Great Santini; Lords of Discipline; Prince of Tides • Tim Couzens: Tramp Royal • Margaret Craven: I Heard the Owl Call my Name

  • D

    Roald Dahl: Boy; Growing Up • Tsitsi Dangarembga: Nervous Conditions • Robertson Davies: The Cunning Man • James Dickey: Deliverance • Joan Didion: The Year of Magical Thinking • Jacob Dlamini: Native Nostalgia • E L Doctorow: Ragtime • Ceridwen Dovey: Blood Kin • Gerald Durrell: My Family and Other Animals; Birds, Beasts and Relatives • Lawrence Durrell: The Alexandria Quartet; Bitter Lemons; Reflections on a Marine Venus

  • E

    Wessel Ebersohn: A Lonely Place to Die;  Store up the Anger; Divide the Night • Gillian Stead Eilersen: Bessie Head : Thunder Behind her Ears • Shirley Eskapa: The Secret Keeper

  • F

    Gordon Forbes: A Handful of Summers • Margaret Forster: Private Papers • John Fowles: The French Lieutenant’s Woman; A Maggot • Athol Fugard: Notebooks • Stephen Fry: Moab is my Washpot 

  • G

    Janice Galloway: This is Not About Me, All Made up • Petina Gappah: An Elegy for Easterly • Martha Gellhorn: Travels With Myself & Another • Amitav Ghosh: Sea of Poppies • Rumer Godden: A Time to Dance, No Time to Weep;  A House With Four Rooms • Peter Godwin: Mukiwa • Arthur Golden:  Memoirs of a Geisha • Nadine Gordimer: The Lying Days; The Soft Voice of the Serpent • Mary Gordon: Final Payments • Hannah Green: I Never Promised you a Rose Garden • Anthony Grey: Saigon • Ursula le Guin: Dancing on the Edge of the World • David Guterson: Snow Falling on Cedars, East of the Mountains

  • H

    Peter Harris: In a Different Time;  Birth • L P Hartley: The Go-Between • Ernest Hemingway: A Moveable Feast • Michiel Heyns: The Children’s Day; Bodies Politic • Russell Hoban: Turtle Diary • Christopher Hope: My Chocolate Redeemer • Janette Turner Hospital: The Tiger in the Tiger Pit • Richard Hughes: A High Wind in Jamaica • Ted Hughes: Birthday Letters • Evan Hunter: The Blackboard Jungle • Keri Hulme: The Bone People • Elspeth Huxley: The Flame Trees of Thika

  • I

    John Irving: The World According to Garp; Hotel New Hampshire • Lucy Irving: Castaway

  • J

    Noni Jabavu: The Ochre PeopleDrawn in Colour • Clive James: Unreliable Memoirs • P D James: Devices and Desires • Paul Johnson: Intellectuals • Boris Johnson: The Churchill Factor • Shaun Johnson: The Native Commissioner • Lloyd Jones: Mister Pip

  • K

    Bel Kaufman: Up the Down Staircase • Dennis Kay: Shakespeare • Thomas Keneally: Daughters of Mars • Ken Kesey: One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest • Fred Khumalo: Touch my Blood • Lily King: Euphoria • Barbara Kingsolver: The Poisonwood Bible • Maxine Hong Kingston: The Woman Warrior; China Men • Rudyard Kipling: Kim

  • L

    Giuseppe di Lampedusa: The Leopard • Dennis Lawson: School for the Deaf • John le Carré: A Perfect Spy; The Secret Pilgrim; The Tailor of Panama;  Single & Single • Harper Lee: To Kill a Mockingbird • Laurie Lee: Cider With Rosie;  As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning • Doris Lessing: The Grass is Singing;  The Golden Notebook;  Under My Skin;  Walking in the Shade; A Small Personal Voice • Hugh Lewin: Bandiet • Penelope Lively: Moon Tiger • Alison Lurie: Not in Front of the Grown-ups; Real People

  • M

    Norman Maclean: A River Runs Through It • Margaret MacMillan: Daughters of the Raj, The Uses and Abuses of History • Sindiwe Magona: For My Children’s Children • Katherine Mansfield: Collected Short Stories • Hilary Mantel: Wolf Hall, Bring up the Bodies • Beryl Markham: West by Night • Gabriel Garcia Marquez:  A Hundred Years of Solitude; Love in the Time of Cholera • Johnny Masilela: Deliver Us From Evil • Mary McCarthy: The Group • James McClure: The Steam Pig; The Gooseberry Fool; The Caterpillar Cop; Snake  • Frank McCourt: Angela’s Ashes • Ian McEwan: Saturday; On Chesil Beach • Zakes Mda: Ways of Dying • Henry Miller: The Books in my Life • Walter M Miller: A Canticle for Leibowitz • Nancy Mitford: The Pursuit of Love; Love in a Cold Climate; The Blessing • Dom Moraes: Daddy-ji • Toni Morrison: Beloved • John Mortimer: In Character • Es’kia Mphahlele: Down Second Avenue; The Unbroken Song • Sifiso Mzobe: Young Blood

  • N

    Bill Nasson: The War for South Africa • Njabulo Ndebele: Fools & Other Stories • Mike Nicol: The Powers That Be; This Day and Age • David Niven: The Moon’s a Balloon; Bring on the Empty Horses

  • O

    Michael Ondaatje: The English Patient

  • P

    Eve Palmer: The Plains of Camdeboo; Return to Camdeboo • Ann Patchett: Bel Canto, The Story of a Happy Marriage • Alan Paton: Cry the Beloved Country; Ah But Your Land is Beautiful • Jill Paton Walsh: Knowledge of Angels • Frederick Prokosch: The Dark Dancer

  • R

    Mary Renault: The King Must Die; The Bull From the Sea • Arturo Perez-Reverte: The Flanders Panel; The Seville Communion • Jean Rhys: Wide Sargasso Sea • Claire Robertson: The Spiral House, The Magistrate of Gower • Douglas Rogers: The Last Resort • Henrietta Rose-Innes: Nineveh • Arundhati Roy: The God of Small Things • Damon Runyon: Guys & Dolls

  • S

    Barry Sanders: A is for Ox • Paul Scott: The Jewel in the Crown series; Staying On • Robert Shaw: The Flag • Carol Shields: The Stone Diaries, Unless • Simon Singh: Fermat’s Last Theorem • Carolyn Slaughter: Dreams of the Kalahari • Gillian Slovo: Every Secret Thing • Elizabeth Smart: By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept • Dodie Smith: I Capture the Castle • Dava Sobel: Longitude • Allister Sparks: The Sword and the Pen • Patrick Susskind: Perfume • Graham Swift: Waterland; Last Orders; Mothering Sunday

  • T

    Amy Tan: The Joy Luck Club; The Kitchen God’s Wife • Tan Twan Eng: The Gift of Rain, Garden of Evening Mists • Marianne Thamm: Hitler, Verwoerd, Mandela and me • Nancy Thayer: Stepping; Nell • Redi Tlhabi: Endings and Beginnings • Barbara Trapido: Brother of the More Famous Jack; Noah’s Ark • Josephine Tey: Daughter of Time • Paul Theroux: Dark Star Safari;The Great Railway Bazaar; The Kingdom by the Sea; The Mosquito Coast • Trevanian: Shibumi • Lynn Truss: Eats Shoots & Leaves • Anne Tyler: Saint Maybe

  • V

    Etienne van Heerden: Ancestral Voices • Marlene van Niekerk: Agaat • Chris van Wyk: Shirley Goodness & Mercy • Ivan Vladislavic: The Restless Supermarket; Portrait With Keys; Double Negative • Barbara Vine: A Dark-Adapted Eye • Kurt Vonnegut: Slaughterhouse Five, A Man Without a Country • Elizabeth von Arnim: Elizabeth and her German Garden • Pieter de Vries: The Blood of the Lamb

  • W

    Evelyn Waugh: Brideshead Revisited; Black Mischief; Scoop • William Wharton: Dad; Bird; Tidings • John Williams: Stoner • Tim Winton:  Eyrie; Land’s Edge;The Riders • Tobias Wolff: Life in Pharaoh’s Army; A Boy’s Life; Old School