"1984" by George Orwell
"My Sister's Keeper" by Jodi Picoult
"The Tales of Beedle the Bard" by J.K. Rowling
"To Kill a Mockingbird" by Harper Lee
"Bones to Ashes" by Kathy Reichs
"The God of Small Things" by Arundhati Roy
"Cloudstreet" by Tim Winton
"Rides a Dread Legion" by Raymond E Feist
"Catch 22" by Joseph Heller
"A Clockwork Orange" by Anthony Burgess
"One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" by Ken Kesey
"Dune" by Frank Herbert
"Audrey Hepburn, an Elegant Spirit" by Sean Hepburn Ferrer
"The City of Falling Angels" by John Berendt
"The Great Gatsby" by F. Scott Fitzgerald
"Lucky Man" & "Always Looking Up" by Michael J Fox - I've always been a massive fan of MJF and the Back to the Future triology are some of my favourite movies.
When waiting for Dean to finish uni I wandered into Dymocks and picked up "Always Looking Up" and started reading. 40 something pages later I decided I had to buy both books and devour them straight away. So I did.
If he wasn't an actor he'd be a writer. His style is so clear and engaging, and so personal. "Lucky Man" takes you from his childhood up until his decision to announce globally that he has Parkinson's. You feel like you know this crazy, talented little boy, as if he is someone you went to school with, or lived down the road from.
But what got me most was the beginning chapter of "ALU" - he simply describes what he must to every morning to get out of bed. It's fascinating, heartbreaking and inspiring - and it's simply an explanation of such a rudimentary part of life; get out of bed, brush teeth, have a shower, put on clothes. But it brings to light the struggles and tribulations of the sufferers of Parkinson's like nothing else.
"ALU" goes quite deeply in to the issue of Stem Cell Research and MJF's efforts to campaign for greater funding in America. I'm glad I read this. Stem Cell Research was not something I've known a lot about - except that it had the potential to cure a lot of terrible diseases and that most people who were against it were because of the abortion links and the risks of cloning. But having learnt that the embryo's used are actually discarded embryo's from IVF it has made me even more for the issue. Why discard something that could create so much good? Of course, "ALU" is quite biased to the fact that MJF is pro- Stem Cell Research but he also looks at the other side as well and seems quite accepting of their views.
They are both fascinating reads and by the end you don't feel sad and sympathetic for MJF (something that he never wanted) but you feel inspired that someone could do so much, with such a terrible disease. Lucky man, indeed.
STILL TO READ
"The Tibetan Book of Living & Dying" by Sogyal Rinpoche
"Tokyo Cancelled" by Rana Dasgupta
"Einstein" by Walter Isaacson
"The Art of Happiness: A Handbook for Living" by His Holiness the Dalai Lama
"War & Peace" by Leo Tolstoy
"A Confession" by Leo Tolstoy
"Monet & The Impressionists" by George T M Shackelford & Terence Maloon
"The God Delusion" by Richard Dawkins
"The Consolations of Philosophy" by Alain De Botton
"The Guernsey Literacy and Potato Peel Pie Society" by Mary Ann Shaffer
"The Beatles and Philosophy"
"The Tao of Pooh and the Te of Piglet" by Benjamin Hoff
"Derrida: writing and difference"