Here are forty texts to read at some stage in your life: forty texts that can enrich you in all manner of ways. Some are recent, like Harry Potter; some ancient, like Homer and Lao Tzu. There are memoirs (Nelson Mandela), poetry (Les Murray) and many of the world's great novels, from George Eliot's Middlemarch to Toni Morrison's Beloved. Our guide, in entertaining short essays about personal encounters with each of these works, is Michael McGirr: schoolteacher and former priest, reviewer of hundreds of novels and lifelong lover of literature. His humour and insight shine through in stories that connect the texts he has selected with each other, and connect us to them.