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Allen MacDuffie's Top Book Recommendations

Want to know what books Allen MacDuffie recommends on their reading list? We've researched interviews, social media posts, podcasts, and articles to build a comprehensive list of Allen MacDuffie's favorite book recommendations of all time.



'Murphy', Samuel Beckett's first published novel, was written in English and published in London in 1938; Beckett himself subsequently translated the book into French, and it was published in France in 1947. The novel recounts the hilarious but tragic life of Murphy in London as he attempts to establish a home and to amass sufficient fortune for his intended bride to join him. less
Recommended by Allen MacDuffie, and 1 others.

Allen MacDuffieThe book has a weird sort of warmth and energy and liveliness, almost as if Beckett had tried to empty the novel of character and just can’t quite do it. And there’s a note, too, of genuine humility. (Source)

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Three Men in a Boat (Three Men, #1)

A comic masterpiece that has never been out of print since it was first published in 1889, Jerome K. Jerome's Three Men in a Boat includes an introduction and notes by Jeremy Lewis in Penguin Classics.

Martyrs to hypochondria and general seediness, J. and his friends George and Harris decide that a jaunt up the Thames would suit them to a 'T'. But when they set off, they can hardly predict the troubles that lie ahead with tow-ropes, unreliable weather forecasts and tins of pineapple chunks - not to mention the devastation left in the wake of J.'s small fox-terrier...
Recommended by Allen MacDuffie, and 1 others.

Allen MacDuffieThe story is about three friends taking a weekend trip up the Thames in a rowing boat. But then there’s the dog … (Source)

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When Bertie Wooster goes to Totleigh Towers to pour oil on the troubled waters of a lover's breach between Madeline Bassett and Gussie Fink-Nottle, he isn't expecting to see his Aunt Dahlia there - nor to be instructed by her to steal some silver. But purloining the antique cow creamer from under the baleful nose of Sir Watkyn Bassett is the least of Bertie's tasks. He has to restore true love to both Madeline and Gussie and to the Revd Stinker Pinker and Stiffy Byng - and confound the insane ambitions of would-be Dictator Roderick Spode and his Black Shorts. It's a situation that only Jeeves... more
Recommended by Allen MacDuffie, and 1 others.

Allen MacDuffieWodehouse is one of those people who became famous … for being oblivious and yet also incredibly observant. (Source)

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When James Wood's first collection of essays, The Broken Estate, was published in 1999, the reviewers hailed a master critic. The common thread in Wood's latest collection of essays is what makes us laugh - and the book is an attempt to distinguish between the perhaps rather limited English comedy (as seen in Waugh, for example) and a 'continental' tragic-comedy, which he sees as real, universal and quixotic.

A particularly acerbic, and very funny, essay - which has been widely celebrated - deals with Zadie Smith, Rushdie, Pynchon and DeLillo; its title, 'Hysterical...
Recommended by Allen MacDuffie, and 1 others.

Allen MacDuffieBut what Wood puts his finger on in the late nineteenth century is the emergence of what he calls the comedy of forgiveness, as opposed to the comedy of correction and the satiric mode. (Source)

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The Diary of a Nobody

Weedon Grossmith's 1892 book presents the details of English suburban life through the anxious and accident-prone character of Charles Pooter. Pooter's diary chronicles his daily routine, which includes small parties, minor embarrassments, home improvements, and his relationship with a troublesome son. The small minded but essentially decent suburban world he inhabits is both hilarious and painfully familiar. This edition features Weedon Grossmith's illustrations and an introduction which discusses the story's social context. less
Recommended by Moose Allain, Allen MacDuffie, and 2 others.

Moose AllainAlso a great, very funny book. (Source)

Allen MacDuffieClass is just all over this book … but there are subtler and stranger moments in that book that I find more intriguing. (Source)

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