Randy Newman's book recommendations

a partial list from April 2000

Kingsley Amis

Lucky Jim

"also a great picture"

Hector Berlioz

Memoirs of Hector Berlioz

"great and very funny"

James Boswell

The Life of Samuel Johnson

"I never liked anything better than Boswell's Life of Johnson except, unfortunately, television"

Truman Capote

In Cold Blood

Benvenuto Cellini

The Autobiography of Benvenuto Cellini

"great and very funny"

Adrian Desmond

Hot Blooded Dinosaurs: A revolution in paleontology

"I remember loving Hot Blooded Dinosaurs"

Jared Diamond

The Third Chimpanzee

"a little too much of him in it but so what"

Isaak Dinesen

"I loved a few books by Dinesen"

Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Brothers Karamazov

William Faulkner

The Sound and the Fury

Timothy Ferris

The Red Limit: The search for the edge of the universe

Richard Fortey

Life: A natural history of the first four billion years of life on Earth

Edward Gibbon

The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire

"I've read the first volume of Gibbon's Decline and Fall, as beautiful writer as Joyce"

Nikolai Gogol

Dead Souls

Sue Grafton

"I like Sue Grafton"


The Iliad

either the Fitzgerald or Fagles translation

James Joyce


"with a book by [Stuart] Gilbert or someone to tell you what Joyce is on about--understanding 70% of it, it's still the best."

Primo Levi

The Periodic Table

"and everything else he wrote"

Konrad Z. Lorenz

King Solomon's Ring

Larry McMurtry

Lonesome Dove

Norman Mailer

Executioner's Song

Armies of the Night

Mark Twain

Life on the Mississippi

Alice Munro

"I just read some Alice Munro, the best fiction I've read in a long time"

V.S. Naipal

Miguel Street

Suffrage of Elvira

A.J.P. Taylor

Origins of the Second World War

"though I don't know if he's right about any of it"

Leo Tolstoy

War and Peace


Barbara Tuchman

Proud Tower

Guns of August

Stilwell and the American Experience in China, 1911-1945

John Updike

"the last two Rabbit books"

Evelyn Waugh

A Handful of Dust

"the movie is better and funnier than the book--a rare thing"

Virginia Woolf

To the Lighthouse