Angelheaded recommendations

Sometimes people compel me to read a certain book or email me a poem or play some music.  An interesting list is beginning.  It's not exhaustive and it's far from methodically compiled, drawing upon memories and notes hidden in notebooks.  I'll keep updating here.

Each recommendation prompts me to ask 'why?'.

For Allen Ginsberg's book and poem of the same name  - 'Howl', I thank two physicists, both of initials AJ. Banned by America on first publication; Within the first ecstatic poem - a defense of the free spirit, I find these particular and fantastic dedications to the curious mind:

'......angelheaded hipsters burning for the ancient heavenly connection to the starry dynamo in the machinery of the night'

 '......who drove crosscountry seventytwo hours to find out if i had a vision, or of you had a vision or he had a vision to find out Eternity'

 '......and who therefore ran through the icy streets obsessed with a sudden flash of the alchemy of the use of the ellipse the catalog the meter and the vibrating plane.'

Ginsberg is also mesmerising reciting 'Poem Rocket', which celebrates the scientist and in particular, Einstein:

'The scientist  alone is the true poet

He gives us the moon

He promises  us the stars

He’ll make us a new universe if it comes to that

Oh Einstein I should have sent you my flaming manuscripts'

Angelheaded recommendations continue here............ 


Leonardo Sciascia - JM

‘All the Names’, Saramago - JM

‘Ada or Ardor’, Nabokov - D H-M

‘Catch 22’, Heller - SB, MT

‘Heavy Water’, Amis - AT

Borges - AJ, D H-M

'Hunger’, Knut Hamsun - DJ

George R R Martin - SJ

'Herzog', Saul Bellow - SM

HP Lovecraft - AT

'Life of Pi', Yan Martel - HJ


‘A responsibility to Awe’, Elson - JH, JP

‘Howl’, Ginsberg - AHJ, AJ

Pessoa - JM

Herberto Helder - JM

‘Any Angled Light’, Larkin - MT

'Mother, Summer, I', Larkin - MT

'The Sigh', Thomas Hardy - MT

'Tops', Larkin - MT


Wagner – MC, JM

Shostakovich - PT

Holger Czukay - JH

'Glassworks', Philip Glass - RT

'Tabula Rasa', Arvo Part - AJ, RT

Jan Gabarek - YU, JH

Violin concerto, Alban Berg - YU 

Colour pieces, Ken Nordine - YU


Kandinsky – PT

Doh Ho Suh – AHJ

Séraphine Louis - JH

Richter – AHJ

Monet - CI

Jean Tinguely - YU

Jean Painlevé - JP


‘Cave of Forgotten Dreams’, Herzog - LH

‘Buttoners’, Zelenka - JM

'Koyaanisqatsi: Life Out of Balance', Godfrey Reggio - JH


'Dialogues', Plato – CI

'The Archetypes and the Collective Unconcious', Jung – CI

Kierkegaard – HJJ

‘The Universe in an Atom’, Dalai Lama - HJJ

Lucien Lévy-Brühl - JH

'The Power of Myth', Joseph Campbell - JH

Bhagavad Gita (Penguin version) - SM

Pop Physics

'The Privilege of Being a Physicist', Weisskopf - JH

‘The Strangest Man’, Farmelo - PF, JM, DJ

‘Pythagoras’ Trousers’, Margaret Wertheim -  JH

‘Age of Entanglement’, Gilder – TR

‘Infinite in all Directions’, Dyson - AHJ

‘How the Universe got its Spots’, Levin - PF

‘The Information’,  Gleick -, TR, DJ

‘Atomic Physics and Human Knowledge’, Niels Bohr - HJ

Anything by Feynman - A to Z

'Quantum', Manjit Kumar - PF

‘A Mathematician’s Apology’, G. H Hardy - JH

'The Genius of Science', A. Pais - HJJ

'The Structure of Scientific Revolutions', Thomas Kuhn - JP

'The Age of Wonder', Richard Holmes - JP

'Blind Watchers of the Sky', Rocky Kolb - DJ