Best-selling Oxford author Philip Pullman has raided his bookshelves to pick 40 of his favourite titles to recommend to the nation.

The award-winning creator of His Dark Materials, has become the second person to host The Writer's Table at Waterstone's, allowing him to reveal the books that influenced his writing.

Mr Pullman, 62, whose bestselling Northern Lights was last year named Best Book of the Last 25 Years by Waterstone's, could only choose books still in print.

The author's favourites ranged from Hergé's adventures of Tintin to John Le Carré and from HG Wells to PG Wodehouse.

Mr Pullman, who lives outside Oxford said: "It was great fun choosing these books and it was hard to limit myself to 40 - I could have picked 400 or 4,000.

"But there was enough room for a bit of variety, including children's books, funny books, poetry - a real selection.

"I tried to avoid including the obvious choices such as Hamlet, and I didn't bother with Paradise Lost because I know that by heart.

"It took me a lifetime to put this collection together. I've still got copies of most of them.

Mr Pullman's said his favourite is probably Robert Burton's The Anatomy of Melancholy, "an immensely, funny book about depression written in a very prolix, ornate style".

The author, who did not include any of his own titles, would have included American writer Macdonald Harris, but his books are out of print.

Toby Bourne, head of fiction at Waterstone's, said: "It's a fantastically eclectic and thought-provoking list."

The list will feature in a number of Waterstone's stores, from Thursday, and will run throughout the month, with the author's handwritten thoughts on each title.

Sebastian Faulks was the first host of the Writer's Table.

PULLMAN'S PICKS 1: Complete Poems by Elizabeth Bishop 2: The Anatomy of Melancholy by Robert Burton 3: A Perfect Spy by John le Carré 4: The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins 5: Kolymsky Heights by Lionel Davidson 6: The Ancestor's Tale by Richard Dawkins 7: The Complete Brigadier Gerard Stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle 8: The Letters of Vincent Van Gogh 9: Art and Illusion by EH Gombrich 10: The Complete Fairy Tales by The Brothers Grimm 11: The Castafiore Emerald by Hergé 12: The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner by James Hogg 13: Count Magnus and Other Ghost Stories by MR James 14. The Varieties of Religious Experience by William James 15: Finn Family Moomintroll by Tove Jansson 16: Kim by Rudyard Kipling 17: The Marquise of O by Heinrich Von Kleist 18: A Voyage to Arcturus by David Lindsay 19: The Magic Pudding by Norman Lindsay 20: Lavender's Blue edited by Kathleen Lines 21: Venice For Pleasure by JG Links 22: The Call of Cthulhu by HP Lovecraft 23: Buddenbrooks by Thomas Mann 24: The Man Without Qualities by Robert Musil 25: The Best of Myles by Flann O'Brien 26: The Gnostic Gospels by Elaine Pagels 27: The Emperor's New Mind by Roger Penrose 28: The Book of Disquiet by Fernando Pessoa 29: Wolf Solent by John Cowper Powys 30: Exercises in Style by Raymond Queneau 31: We Didn't Mean to Go to Sea by Arthur Ransome 32: Duino Elegies by Rainer Maria Rilke 33: Selected Writings by John Ruskin 34: The Complete Maus by Art Spiegelman 35: Wallace Stevens (Poet to Poet) edited by John Burnside 36: The New Biographical Dictionary of Film by David Thomson 37: The Country of the Blind and Other Selected Stories by H.G. Wells 38: Molesworth by Geoffrey Willans and Ronald Searle 39: Summer Lightning by P.G. Wodehouse 40: The Art of Memory by Frances A Yates