Guest Post: 10 Amazing Cult Novels, With Amazing Antiheroes – Billy Moran

In September, I brought you my thoughts on Billy Moran’s debut novel, Don’t Worry, Everything Is Going To Be Amazing, and I am pleased to welcome Billy back to Bookshine and Readbows today with a special top ten list for your run up to Christmas (after all, ’tis the season for buying lots of books, right?!)

Over to you, Mr Moran!

10 Amazing Cult Novels, With Amazing Antiheroes

My debut novel Don’t Worry, Everything Is Going To Be Amazing is all about its anti-heroes. I’ve never got on with fictional goody-two shoes! I’ve always been attracted to naughtiness, and always respected compassion above convention – so anti-heroes mean a lot to me, and these are some of my favourites. I hope these reads can help inspire a better 2021. Happy reading and happy Christmas! Billy.

Mr Phillips by John Lanchester

Mr Phillips follows a day in the life of a middle-aged career man in existential crisis brought on by redundancy. It’s a charming, hilarious ‘park bench breakdown’ of a read. A friend I recommended this to said to me years later: “If ever I’ve lost my way, I usually find myself asking what Mr. Phillips would do.” Given that Mr Phillips is a very ordinary man enduring the worst day of his life, this is what makes him a great anti-hero.

Slow Down Arthur Stick To 30 by Harland Miller

The one and only novel from artist Harland Miller follows the 80s Yorkshire adventures of Billy ‘Kid’ Glover and a mysterious David Bowie impersonator (our anti-hero) called Ziggy Hero. Ziggy is quirky, totally unique, with some great lines – but he seems to be careering towards a life of delusion…the perfect anti-hero! I absolutely loved this book.

A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole

‘Literature’s most famous posthumous debut novel,’ sounds like the sales line for something that will be incredibly underwhelming, but this lives up to expectations. Packing his day with vicious rants and one liners, spoilt, raging, Ignatius J Reilly is one of fiction’s greatest creations.

Trainspotting by Irvine Welsh

The protagonists of Trainspotting had little they wanted to say, apart from leading light Mark Renton – they were a nihilistic bunch, each with their own cod philosophy sure, of violence (Begbie), selfishness (Sick Boy) and failure (Spud), but together all believing not that life had picked on them, just that it was rubbish.

American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis

Classic 90s which feels like classic 80s, this bloodthirsty romp follows the cold dark journey of rampant (fictional) serial killer Patrick Bateman, heading through his high-end New York trader life, hacking poor people to bits.

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larrson

How I love Lisbeth Salander, the damaged, dangerous, private and uniquely individual star of this series. It’s frightening to think what Larrson could have achieved, given that he tragically dropped dead aged 50 with only three of a ten book series completed and none yet printed. The interest levels around Larrson don’t detract from the intrigue either – it’s alleged that his will stated a wish to leave his estate to the Communist Worker’s League. It was however not recognised in law, and his assets thus landed in the lap of his estranged father and brother, to the horror of his partner, who had not originally been named because of the security risk surrounding naming your address in a will, what with all the various religious and political targets in Larrson’s books. His left-field approach to life makes it unsurprising his heroine is so rebellious and unconventional.

Gemma Bovary by Posy Simminds

If you can’t be doing with reading classic novels and hunting down the dusty tomes of Gustav Flaubert, do what I did and read the graphic ‘Gemma Bovary’ version put together by cartoonist Posy Simmonds instead – it’s ace! If you’re not familiar – and I wasn’t – it’s the tale of a woman bored into an adultery she never thought herself capable of.

The Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger

The ultimate, must-have ‘coming of age and not enjoying it’ book. Holden Caulfield is the grumpy teenager involved. A classic.

A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess

I love a book which challenges you to throw yourself into the world it creates, and boy does this do that, with its very own language and sensationalized dystopian world view, fronted by ultra-violent Alex and his droogs (pals). The film is far more infamous, a fact I used cynically for my own good when a student by basing my thesis on it. It was banned at the time, and I figured I’d win some extra pretentiousness points for picking up a dodgy VHS and writing a critical comparison of book and film – and fortunately I was proved right…well, right enough to pass anyway J.

The Godfather by Mario Puzo

Michael (and Vito) Corleone, two of the big screen’s greatest ever characters, but let’s not forget where it all began, on the pages of Mario Puzo’s epic mafia novel.

And, as if the above list wasn’t riches enough, here is Billy Moran’s own book for your Christmas wish lists!


Chris Pringle: simpleton, casualty or local hero?

Propped up by biscuits, benefits and a baffling faith in his plan, he lives in a world where every day is obsessively the same: wedged in his recliner, watching murder mysteries, taking notes. Until the day a serious and peculiar crime stumps the local police – and Chris announces he can solve it.

Accompanied by a loyal crew of chancers, committed to making amends, and pursued by a depressed Detective Inspector, trying to join the dots, Chris heads back to the raves of his past, where a heartbreaking personal tragedy lies abandoned. But what exactly is Chris Pringle looking for? Has he really worked out the way to find it? And what will happen if he does?


Billy Moran is an award-winning television writer for shows including Horrible Histories. He grew up in the West Country, where his teenage years were rudely interrupted by the Second Summer of Love. Since then he has been embracing mysteries, craving solutions and writing lots of lists. He lives in London and has two children, two cats, one football team and several favourite detectives. Don’t Worry, Everything Is Going To Be Amazing is his debut novel.

Don’t Worry, Everything Is Going To Be Amazing is out now and you can order it here!




Don’t forget to check out the other blog stops on the tour for more great reviews and content (see the poster below for details)!


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