Reading List

In order to be a good writer it is vital to read, both within and beyond your chosen field.  reading helps you learn how better to use language, develop plots and characters. And of course, reading is just great fun.

Besides the classics (the likes of Charles Dickens, Jane Austen, Conan Doyle, Wilkie Collins, E Nesbit, MR James, Elizabeth Gaskell, HG Wells, Jules Verne, Thomas Hardy, Bram Stoker, Mary Shelley, Lord Dunsany,  etc), Renegade members recommend the following books. We appreciate that not all books are to everyone’s tastes, and so we’ve attempted to select a wide range of titles.

Misha Herwin recommends:

  • A Traveller in Time by Alison Utterly
  • The Children of Green Knowe by LM Boston
  • My Name is Red by Orphan Pamuk
  • Winter’s Tale by Mark Helprin
  • The Elegance of Glass by Muriel Barberry
  • The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
  • The No 1 Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith
  • In the Electric Mist with the Confederate Dead by James Lee Burke
  • Aqua Alta by Donna Leon

Peter Coleborn recommends:


  • Mythago Wood by Robert Holdstock (myth / fantasy)
  • The Birthgrave by Tanith Lee (heroic fantasy)
  • The Land of Laughs by Jonathan Carroll (weird fantasy)
  • American Gods by Neil Gaiman (weird fantasy)
  • Behold the Man by Michael Moorcock (time travel / SF)
  • The Forgotten Beasts of Eld by Patricia McKillip (fantasy)
  • Fevre Dream by George R R Martin (horror)
  • Carrion Comfort by Dan Simmons (horror)
  • The Tooth Fairy by Graham Joyce (fiction / fantasy)
  • The Alchemy Press Book of Urban Mythic edited by Jan Edwards and Jenny Barber (urban fantasy — short stories)
  • I was Dora Suarez by Derek Raymond (crime)
  • Joyland by Stephen King (thriller)
  • The Gormenghast trilogy by Mervyn Peake (Gothic fantasy)
  • To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis (SF)
  • Different Seasons by Stephen King (horror)
  • The Witch World books by Andre Norton (fantasy)
  • The Facts of Life by Graham Joyce (fiction/fantasy)

Jem Shaw recommends:


  • Catch-22 by Joseph Heller (war fiction)
  • A Splendid Chaos by John Shirley (science fiction)
  • The Jungle Books by Rudyard Kipling (children’s)
  • The Secrets of Harry Bright by Joseph Wambaugh (crime)
  • American Gods by Neil Gaiman (fantasy)
  • No Parachute by Arthur Gould Lee (war memoires)
  • Winged Victory by Victor Yeates (war fiction)
  • Sigh for a Merlin by Alex Henshaw (autobiography)
  • The Aubrey/Maturin novels by Patrick O’Brian (historical)
  • Dune by Frank Herbert (science fiction)

Nic Hale recommends:


  • The Cellist of Sarajevo by Steven Galloway (fiction)
  • I, Lucifer by Glen Duncan (urban fantasy)
  • Notes on a Scandal by Zoe Heller (fiction)
  • We Need to Talk about Kevin by Lionel Shriver (general)
  • The Secret History by Donna Tartt (fiction/ thriller)
  • Stuart, A Life Backwards by Alexander Masters (not strictly fiction…)
  • Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel (historical)
  • The Three Evangelists by Fred Vargas (crime)
  • The Nightwatch by Sergei Lukyanenko (urban fantasy)
  • The Company of Liars by Karen Maitland (historical/ crime/ fantasy)
  • Lifeless by Mark Billingham (crime fiction)
  • Memory for Forgetfulness by Mamood Darwish (not strictly fiction…)
  • London Falling by Paul Cornell (urban fantasy/ crime)
  • The Bullet Trick by Louise Welsh (crime/ thriller)
  • The Dream Lover by William Boyd (fiction — short stories)
  • Black Dogs by Ian McEwan (general)
  • Aubrey- Maturin series by Patrick O’Brien (historical)
  • Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn (crime/ thriller)
  • Something Might Happen by Julie Myerson (general / crime)
  • Sharp Teeth by Toby Barlow (urban fantasy/ thriller/ poetry)
  • Coraline by Neil Gaiman (urban fantasy/ children)
  • Blood and Chocolate by Annette Curtis Klause (urban fantasy/ young adult)
  • Brighton Rock by Graham Greene (crime fiction/ thriller)
  • Not the End of the World by Kate Atkinson (fiction / fantasy — short stories)
  • The Human Kind by Alexander Baron (fiction — short stories)
  • Missing by Karin Alvtegen (crime/ thriller)
  • Let the Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist (horror)

Tim Diggles recommends:


  • The Rat by Gunter Grass (fiction)
  • The Train by Georges Simenon (fiction)
  • Orkney by Amy Sackville (fiction)
  • Something Might Happen by Julie Myerson (fiction)
  • American Pastoral by Philip Roth (fiction)
  • The Book and the Brotherhood by Iris Murdoch (fiction)
  • A Summer of Drowning by John Burnside (fiction)
  • The Devil’s Footprints by John Burnside (fiction)
  • Sa Femme (The Other Woman) by Emmanuele Bernheim (fiction — novella)
  • Kusamakura by Natsume Soseki (fiction)

Jan Edwards recommends:


  •  The Lollipop Shoes by Joanne Harris (fiction)
  • Blood and Feathers by Lou Morgan (urban fantasy)
  • Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons (fiction)
  • Greenmantle by Charles de Lint (urban fantasy)
  • Dresden Files (series) by Jim Butcher (urban fantasy)
  • Tea with the Black Dragon by R A MacAvoy (modern fantasy)
  • Facts of Life by Graham Joyce (fiction)
  • Deryni Rising by Katherine Kurtz (fantasy)
  • Crystal Cave by Mary Stewart (Arthurian)
  • Winter Holiday by Arthur Ransome (children’s)
  • World’s End by Mark Chadbourn (urban fantasy)
  • Shadows of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon (fiction)
  • Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier (fiction)
  • Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams (SF)
  • Toby’s Room by Pat Barker (fiction)
  • American Gods by Neil Gaiman (modern fantasy)
  • Orchard on Fire by Shena Mackay (fiction)
  • Mythago Wood by Robert Holdstock (fantasy)
  • Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger (fiction)
  • Greywalker by Kat Richardson (urban fantasy)
  • Remains of the Day by Zazua Ishiguro (fiction)
  • The Wood Wife by Terri Windling (urban fantasy)
  • The Thirteenth Tale by Dianne Setterfield (fiction)
  • Sister Light, Sister Dark by Jane Yolen (YA fantasy)

Mick Walters recommends:


  • Rivers of London series by Ben Aaronovitch (urban fantasy)
  • The Portable Door by Tom Holt (comic fantasy)
  • Shades of Grey by Jasper Fforde (fantasy)
  • Witches of Chiswick by Robert Rankin (comic fantasy)
  • Mostly Harmless by Douglass Adams (comic SF)
  • Dune by Frank Herbert (science fiction)
  • Red Claw by Philip Palmer (science fiction)
  • Ship of Fools by Richard Paul Russo (science fiction)
  • Wool by Hugh Howey (science fiction)
  • To Your Scattered Bodies Go by Philip Jose Farmer (science fiction)

Hannah Briscoe recommends:


  • The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson (crime)
  • The Soft Machine by William Burroughs (experimental fiction)
  • Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov (fiction)
  • Abhorsen by Garth Nix (fantasy)
  • The Black Cat by Edgar Allen Poe (horror – short story)
  • Animal Farm by George Orwell (dystopian fiction)
  • A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess (dystopian fiction)
  • Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote (fiction)
  • The Signalman by Charles Dickens (horror – short story)
  • Oh, Whistle, and I’ll Come to You, My Lad by M.R. James (horror – short story)

Barry Lillie recommends:


  • The Food of Love by Anthony Capella (fiction)
  • Maneater by Thomas Emson (horror)
  • Clovenhoof by Hiede Goody and Iain Grant (comedy/satire)
  • The Magician of Lublin by Issac Bashevis Singer (Euro-Lit)
  • The Writer’s ABC Checklist by Lorraine Mace and Maureen Vincent-Northam (non-fiction)
  • Vroom with a View by Peter Moore (travel/humour)
  • Sex, Lies and Family Ties by Sarah J Graham (fiction)
  • The Family from One End Street by Eve Garnett (children’s)
  • Fluke by James Herbert (fiction)
  • Stark Warning by James Raven (crime)
  • The Eyes of Laura Mars by H.B. Gilmour (thriller)
  • The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom (fiction)
  • Marquis de Sade by Maurice Lever (biography)
  • See the Amalfi Coast by Frances M. Thompson (short story)

Ralph Alcock recommends:


  • Solar by Ian McKewan (satirical fiction)
  • Longitude by Dava Sobel (popular science)
  • The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak (fantasy)
  • Perfume by Patrick Suskind (historical fantasy)
  • Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold (contemporary fantasy)
  • The Third Policemen by Fran O’Brien (surreal)
  • Brighton Rock by Graham Greene (thriller)
  • Blue Afternoon by William Boyd (thriller)
  • On Green Dolphin Street by Sebastian Faulks (fiction)
  • Beautiful Indifference by Sarah Hall (fiction – short stories)



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