Essential Reading

Poems by Philip Larkin Any man who can start a poem with "Groping back to bed after a piss" and then, within eighteen lines, define human existence, gets to be first in this list.

"My Secret Life"the erotic classic by "Walter" the vast hugely pornographic memoir of the Victorian age. Only extracts, sadly. But rude they are, so read now and then... off to Amazon with you.

Charles G. Finney: unsung genius of Science Fiction. No reading here, sadly, but hopefully enough information to send you forth to the library, or Amazon.

The unbelievably funny Bad Shakespeare list. Either you get this, or you don't. If you do, you may well rupture yourself.

The incredibly funny Cavalorn: The Comying of the Frydge

Joe Haldeman's Homepage The best science fiction writer writing today. Bar none. Again, no free reading but hopefully, inspiration to buy some books.

Elagabalus Antoninus, Emperor of Rome : "The Life Of Antoninus Heliogabalus" by Aelius Lampridius. Such wonders.

Like having people read to you on your iPod of Mp3 player? For free? Audio Books for Free has heaps of copyright free books for download. Admittedly lots of them are crap, but I highly recommend the Real Pirates stories true lives of real pirates by Captain Charles Johnson since reality is, as always, far more inventive than any fiction.

Better still, try Botar for old radio shows and plays and some really good books. I heartily recommend The Invisible Man by HG. Wells read by Alex Foster. Which can be found there. You can also paste this link into iTunes.

Probably the best site all up for audiobooks though is

Librivox which has a vast collection of stuff and a rational cataloguing system. The only flaw here is that the books are read by multiple readers and while some may be good, others aren't. (The James Joyce "Ulysses" is pretty bad.)

Project Gutenberg: 19,000 free eBooks. Nothing more need be said.

Gerard Manley Hopkins one of the best poets, ever, in the history of writing in English. I read him, and I wonder how much more great he would have been if he hadn't been so fucked up by religion. Probably his best poem "The Windhover" mentions God only in the dedication... and is the stronger for it.

Robert Browning "The Bishop orders his tomb at Saint Praxed's Church" I have learnt more about poetry, and the English language, and stuff, by re-reading this one poem, probably than I have from any other single source. Simply magnificent. As an odd piece of trivia, Robert Browning was also the first person in history to have his voice heard after his death, when, in Venice in 1890, a recording made by Thomas Edison was played of Browning reading "How They Brought the Good News from Ghent to Aix" I imagine that there were some in the audience who were surprised that the recording played at all. After all, such is progress.