440. This Pile of Books on my Desk

In this episode I just want to talk to you about this pile of 16 books I have on my desk. These are (mostly) books I haven’t read yet but which I picked up recently. I have lots of piles of books like this lying around and I must read them all but I can’t find the time! Anyway, I think they’re really interesting. I either received them as presents, was recommended them by friends and family or I bought them for myself when visiting book shops over the last year or two. I love books, and browsing bookshops is one of my favourite things. If only I was a faster reader!

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Part of the reason I’m doing this is because I just want to encourage you to read more and I would like to arouse your interest in books. Perhaps I can give you some encouragement to read a copy of one of these books, or perhaps this will encourage you to pick up a book (in English) from the pile of books that you probably have in your home too, and start reading it.

In any case, I hope you join me on this little exploration through this pile of books I have on my desk.

Here’s the list of books I talk about in this episode (also in the picture)

The Xenephobe’s Guide to The English, The French, The Japanese
The British Empire: A Very Short Introduction by Ashley Jackson
:59 Seconds by Professor Richard Wiseman
William Shakespeare: A Very Short Introduction by Stanley Wells
Meditations by Marcus Aurelius
Mo Meta Blues by Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson
The Call of the Cthulu and Other Weird Stories by H.P. Lovecraft
The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
Sartori in Paris by Jack Kerouac
David Bowie: The Last Interview Various journalists and publications
The Ultimate Star Wars and Philosophy: You Must Unleard What You Have Learned
Terminator and Philosophy: I’ll Be Back Therefore I Am
The Girls by Emma Cline
The Valley of Fear (Sherlock Holmes graphic novel)


  • Hiro

    No, They didn’t have the book “The British Empire”.

    By the way, Eri, you can look into “Practical Everyday English” at Amazon site. You might want to check out its page. I purchased it a few days ago. It has an audio CD and the conversations in it are spoken in a very fast British accent. I think it’s a good book.

  • Soraya

    Hi everybody! I strongly recommend nineteen eighty-four, by George Orwell.It was published in the ’50 but it feels so actual.
    Great episode Luke, thanks a lot for your book recommendations and all your work! ;)

  • Ethanwlee

    i love “diary of a wimpy kid” too!
    along with “calvin and hobbes”, those are two of my best cartoon books. :)

  • Wickramarathna

    Dear Luke.
    your Podcast helped me to improve my IELTS listening band score to 8.5. Thank you lot.

    • Agnes

      wow, congrats on that!

  • Agnes

    Hi everyone,

    I’m rereading “One perfect summer” written by Paige Toon, this is a quite simple summer page-turner book. I read it a few years ago when I started my journey of English, now my English is a bit better, so I can consume it at a whole without interrupting myself by checking new words in a dictionary:-)) I recommend it to everyone who likes stories about first loves, it’s just charming and romantic.

    I put “The girl on the train” on my book’s for reading pile, I was really encouraged by Luke while listening this episode.

    However, I started reading with teenager’s series of Goosebumps which is simple and worth reading for beginners, I highly recommend this one.


    • Cat

      Thanks, Agnes! I’m in the list of the lovers of love stories (beside Sylvia and some others). ;))
      The second category of my favourite genre is murder mysteries (like Hercules Poirot or Sherlock Holmes, sometimes Commissario Brunetti). Not because I love murders or murdereres, it’s just about trying to solve the mystery while reading along. I’m always curious how the author deals with his/her characters, how he/or she puts hidden hints in there and so on. It’s like playing a hide-and-seek game with the author.
      I also love Tolkien books. I think he writes beautifully.
      Enjoy your books!

      • Agnes

        Thanks Cat for sharing your reading experiences, glad to hear that you like reading detective stories, so do I. Would you recommend some detective stories in English which you’ve already read? I started reading The murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie some time ago and have to return to it, to solve the murder mystery, who killed the victim.


      • Cat

        This particular story is so well known (because of the many film versions of it). So I don’t want to read it, because I know the plot by heart. :))
        I love reading detective novels where I don’t know how it goes. It’s more entertaining to me. As I said, it’s like a brain tickling sensation. :))

        So, I’d rather give no tipps. Because book reading and liking is such a personal experience. What one likes, the other can find a sleeping pill. We know it from our different preferences for movies — you know what I mean. ;))

      • Agnes

        yes I know exactly what you mean:-)))

      • Agnes

        Cat I’m pretty sure that you would be the one who could solve the mystery of The Murder Mile Walk in London with Moz! Why don’t you try it?

      • Cat

        Dear Agnes, my tragedy and comedy is, that I never can solve those mysteries, but I always try and … fail. :))

      • Agnes

        however you would be a part of this Mile Walk because no one hasn’t solved there any mystery yet:-)))

        By the way, if I go to London someday I will attend the Mile Walk for sure! It seems very interesting to me:-))))

      • Cat

        A great idea, I guess, dear Agnes:
        To go to London and meet there one day. Tell me in advance — I might join in. Then we can try and fail … together. :))

        ps: … even if I have No-Eye-Deer of what you’re talking about :)))

      • Agnes

        Dear Cat,

        Have you listened to the episode 337 yet? Murder Mile Walks with Moz in London, specifically in Soho, district of London. He runs a tour company there, lives on a boat, and his tours are entertaining and different comparing to others. If you haven’t do it yet you should! He goes through about 50 murders, telling about details in emotional way and participants can feel even compassion to a murderer. What is interesting people solve the mystery over this walk and as he said it never been solved yet.

        Anyway, going to London is on the top of my list, I haven’t been there yet, have you been to London?



      Hi Agnes, I have put the girl on the train on my reading pile too. As soon as I finish reading the Coral island I’ll start with it.

      • Agnes

        Hi Guido,

        glad to hear that you will also read this book. I hope that you will enjoy reading it:-)

  • Hamid Naveed

    I recommend ‘The Compound Effect’ by Darren Hardy.

  • davron

    Hello Luke. It is the first time I’m writing to you. Have been listening to the podcast for about 4 or 5 years. Simple adore the podcast. I am from Uzbekistan, by the way. So every time you get an Uzbekistan flag on your map, know that it is me. Always try to kind of popularize your podcast. I tell my friends, groupmates and pretty much everyone I know about it. I am not exaggerating when I say that your podcast is the best podcast I have ever listened to. In other words, it the best one in the world. I have already voted for you.

  • Hiro

    I’m now reading this book; “Holes” by Louis Sachar (1998). It’s written in plain English and easy to read. It’s really a page-turner. uploads.disquscdn.com/images/8b00ce1749c26ea1cf2437c867bc76debed96c56aec2d2f279e9a20ec722a1d4.jpg

    • Cat

      This book looks like a horror story… I should look away, otherwise I’m gonna have nightmares tonight. :(

      • Hiro

        You may wake up in the dark shivering and crying? Oh, please don’t worry, this is not a horror story, Cat:)

      • Cat

        Little Ms Cat
        sat on a mat
        along came a Hiro
        She was not her Hero
        (because she frightened Ms Catty away / with her horror books). :))

      • Hiro

        Wow, you spend 2 days working it out? That’s impressive.
        Anyway, Ms Catty is gone now, so we can start missing her. :))

      • Cat
    • Hiro

      To all the LEPsters, the book “Holes” isn’t a horror story. This is a wonderful book about friendship and redemption, which won National Book Award in 1998.

  • Hiro

    Hi Cat, Hi Eri, and all the cat lovers,
    I recommend this site. You can download the pictures of lovely cats and use them for your wallpaper! All photos were taken by a world-famous photographer of wild animals, Mitsuaki Iwago. The site is in Japanese only, but you will have no problem in downloading.

    • Cat

      Oh thank you, Hiro! :)

    • Eri Taguchi

      Hi Hiro.
      I DO am a big fan of him!!!
      Do you know his photo exhibithion is going to be held in Hankyu depertment store Umeda 26, April to 8, May.
      He is coming to be there 3, May which I can not go…(have to work…)

      • Hiro

        Oh really!!

        Thank you, Eri, for letting me know.

        His exhibition has been being held all across the country for years, hasn’t it? I’ve never been there before, and this time I want to go.