posted on april 08, 2016 over at nytimes.com
by Hugh Dancy
For his bookshop and website One Grand Books, the editor Aaron Hicklin asked people to name the 10 books they’d take with them if they were marooned on a desert island. The next in the series is the actor Hugh Dancy, who shares his list exclusively with T.
“The Pickwick Papers,” Charles Dickens
When I need to read something that I know will fill my imagination, lift my spirits and also be effortless, I go to Dickens, and this is the most preposterously, comically overflowing of them all.
“Women in Love,” D.H. Lawrence
Nobody has ever written like Lawrence (except bad imitators, and nothing’s more embarrassing than knockoff Lawrence. Sometimes he’s pretty embarrassing, too). This novel transports you.
“Sabbath’s Theater,” Philip Roth
The most anarchic, provocative, lewd and brilliant Roth novel. It feels like it’s on fire.
“Lucky Jim,” Kingsley Amis
I was recommended this when I was a teenager trying to figure out how to start reading “serious” books. Great recommendation, because on the surface it’s nothing of the sort, but it is brilliant.
“My Struggle,” Karl Ove Knausgaard
In part because reading the first two gave me the unsettling sensation of knowing what it’s like to be someone else better than I know what it’s like to be me, and in part because including it might force me to read the remaining four.
“Tristram Shandy,” Laurence Sterne
You could spend years on the first chapter alone, in fact people have. But in a good way. There’s so much going on and so much reinvention it’s bewildering.
“The Big Sleep,” Raymond Chandler
Raymond Chandler is one of life’s great pleasures, ideally in a bath with a drink to hand.
“The Left Hand of Darkness,” Ursula K. Le Guin
Forced to pick a single sci-fi novel, I’ll go with this because, in ways even beyond most sci-fi, it is so far ahead of its time. You’re left believing entirely in the worlds she’s imagined, including a better version of this one.
“The Best of Wodehouse: An Anthology,” P.G. Wodehouse
I know that on and off I’ll be reading this until I die.
“The Tremor of Forgery,” Patricia Highsmith
I could pick almost any of her novels — “Deep Water” would be another. This one is typically masterful in the way it measures out information and suggestion, laced with a growing sense of dread. And a great title.