Best-selling Oxford author Philip Pullman has raided his bookshelves to pick 40 of his favourite titles to recommend to the nation.

The award-winning creator of His Dark Materials, has become the second person to host The Writer's Table at Waterstone's, allowing him to reveal the books that influenced his writing.

Mr Pullman, 62, whose bestselling Northern Lights was last year named Best Book of the Last 25 Years by Waterstone's, could only choose books still in print.

The author's favourites ranged from Hergé's adventures of Tintin to John Le Carré and from HG Wells to PG Wodehouse.

Mr Pullman, who lives outside Oxford said: "It was great fun choosing these books and it was hard to limit myself to 40 - I could have picked 400 or 4,000.

"But there was enough room for a bit of variety, including children's books, funny books, poetry - a real selection.

"I tried to avoid including the obvious choices such as Hamlet, and I didn't bother with Paradise Lost because I know that by heart.

"It took me a lifetime to put this collection together. I've still got copies of most of them.

Mr Pullman's said his favourite was probably Robert Burton's The Anatomy of Melancholy, "an immensely, funny book about depression written in a very prolix, ornate style".

The author, who did not include any of his own titles, would have included American writer Macdonald Harris, but his books are out of print.

Toby Bourne, head of fiction at Waterstone's, said: "It's a fantastically eclectic and thought-provoking list."

The list will feature in a number of Waterstone's stores, from Thursday, and will run throughout the month, with the author's handwritten thoughts on each title.

Sebastian Faulks was the first host of the Writer's Table.


1: Complete Poems by Elizabeth Bishop

2: The Anatomy of Melancholy by Robert Burton

3: A Perfect Spy by John le Carré

4: The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins

5: Kolymsky Heights by Lionel Davidson

6: The Ancestor's Tale by Richard Dawkins

7: The Complete Brigadier Gerard Stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

8: The Letters of Vincent Van Gogh

9: Art and Illusion by EH Gombrich

10: The Complete Fairy Tales by The Brothers Grimm

11: The Castafiore Emerald by Hergé

12: The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner by James Hogg

13: Count Magnus and Other Ghost Stories by MR James

14. The Varieties of Religious Experience by William James

15: Finn Family Moomintroll by Tove Jansson

16: Kim by Rudyard Kipling

17: The Marquise of O by Heinrich Von Kleist

18: A Voyage to Arcturus by David Lindsay

19: The Magic Pudding by Norman Lindsay

20: Lavender's Blue edited by Kathleen Lines

21: Venice For Pleasure by JG Links

22: The Call of Cthulhu by HP Lovecraft

23: Buddenbrooks by Thomas Mann

24: The Man Without Qualities by Robert Musil

25: The Best of Myles by Flann O'Brien

26: The Gnostic Gospels by Elaine Pagels

27: The Emperor's New Mind by Roger Penrose

28: The Book of Disquiet by Fernando Pessoa

29: Wolf Solent by John Cowper Powys

30: Exercises in Style by Raymond Queneau

31: We Didn't Mean to Go to Sea by Arthur Ransome

32: Duino Elegies by Rainer Maria Rilke

33: Selected Writings by John Ruskin

34: The Complete Maus by Art Spiegelman

35: Wallace Stevens (Poet to Poet) edited by John Burnside

36: The New Biographical Dictionary of Film by David Thomson

37: The Country of the Blind and Other Selected Stories by H.G. Wells

38: Molesworth by Geoffrey Willans and Ronald Searle

39: Summer Lightning by P.G. Wodehouse

40: The Art of Memory by Frances A Yates