I read fiction, but I'm not up-to-date with modern taste. There is such a lot published every year that it is hard to discriminate, and I am poorly read when it comes to the classics, though I have read most of Jane Austen and a good deal of Trollope together with some Dickens and, inevitably, I suppose, Vanity Fair by Thackeray. Tom Jones by Fielding and Jane Eyre by one or other of the dreaded Bronte sisters. I never remember which one wrote which book. And I've read Middlemarch by George Elliot which is probably the best of the lot.
I have read none of the 20th Century classics - no EM Forster, Graham Greene, Somerset Maugham, etc....unless you consider Louis de Bernieres to be a classic. Not yet, I suspect. Anyway, I have read quite a lot of him. And some Americans: F Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, Saul Bellow, John Updike. And I suppose I have to own up to liking Vernon God Little by DBC Pierre, though I thought the ending was just a bit too American for my taste.
In mitigation of this very poor showing, I can say that I have read almost all the 19th century Russian classics, e.g. Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Turgenev, Gogol, Chekhov, Pushkin, Lermontov, having read Russian at university though I own up to not having read them all in Russian. And there are the odd novels here and there from other languages, mostly in translation which I have enjoyed, though these are mostly 20th Century. I am particularly impressed by Mario Vargas Llosa and Gabriel Garcia Marquez from South America.
I quite liked history at school, though I nearly failed O-Level, didn't do that marvellously at A-Level, either and it wasn't until I'd left school that I started getting really interested. Naturally enough, I am mostly into European history given the bias in my education which was wholly Europe-orientated - and the fact that I live in Europe. I have come to like biography, though having had to read some pretty dire biographies for my university course. I was a bit disillusioned with the genre and didn't read any for many years.
Here is a link to books I have really enjoyed, this is an Acrobat document.
Science (in my day, that meant Physics and Chemistry) was something I failed at when doing my O-Levels but I like to think this was poor teaching rather than lack of interest. I have always been interested in science. But I have not got much aptitude and the calculations were always tricky. So no academic books for me! I'm into popular science or if not popular, then philosophical (no Maths). In particular I enjoy
- astronomy and astrophysics
- biology and genetics
- neurophysiology and psychology
OK, psychology and archaelogy may not be as scientific as the others, but they are more scientific than the sorts of things I am good at!