A Reader’s Delight, by Noel Perrin
Hanover and London, New Hampshire: University Press of New England, 1988


There is, as Noel Perrin writes in the prologue to A Reader’s Delight, “a large category of books just short of classic status that are known only to a handful of lucky readers. Almost anyone who reads a lot is apt to have come across at least one such book–something not in the canon, not famous, probably not even in print–but all the same sheer delight to read. Many lifelong readers have a whole collection of such books…. This volume describes my own collection …”

A Reader’s Delight collects 38 articles Perrin wrote over the course of several years as an occasional columnist for the Washington Post. Only two rules applied in selecting the books covered: “No book less than about fifteen years old was eligible;” and “no book that more than two or three of my colleagues had read got considered.”


The Adventures of Jonathan Corncob, Loyal American Refugee, Noel Perrin (ed.)
All Hallows Eve, Charles Williams
The Best of Friends: Further Letters to Syndey Carlyle Cockerell, Viola Meynell (ed.)
The Bitter Box, Eleanor Clark
Born to Race, Blanche Perrin
The Bottom of the Harbor, Joseph Mitchell
Bridgeport Bus, Maureen Howard
A Casual Commentary, Rose Macaulay
Democracy, Henry Adams
The Diary of George Templeton Strong, Allan Nevins and Milton Thomas (eds.)
Essays in Idleness: The Tsurezregusa of Kenko, Kenko
Fables in Slang, George Ade
Far Rainbow, Brothers Strugatsky
A Fine and Private Place, Peter Beagle
A Genius in the Family, Hiram Maxim
The Green Child, Herbert Read
Guard of Honor, James Gould Cozzens
Indian Summer, William Dean Howells
Instead of a Letter, Diana Athill
Islandia, Austin Tappan Wright
Journal of a Disappointed Man, W.N.P. Barbellion
Kai Lung’s Golden Hours, Ernest Bramah
The Maker of Heavenly Trousers, Daniele Vare
Many Cargoes: Famous Stories of the Sea, W.W. Jacobs
My Father’s Glory, Marcel Pagnol
My Mother’s House, Marcel Pagnol
On Love, Stendhal
Period Piece, Gwen Raverat
Riding the Rails, Michael Mathers
Roman Wall, Bryher
The Semi-Attached Couple, Emily Eden
The Silver Stallion, James Branch Cabell
They Asked for a Paper, C.S. Lewis
The Three Royal Monkey, Walter de la Mare
The Valleys of the Assassins, Freya Stark
The Walls Came Tumbling Down, Henriette Roosenburg
Watch the North Wing Rise, Robert Graves
When the Snow Comes, They Will Take You Away, Eric Newby
Wild Animals I Have Known, Ernest Thompson Seton