Comedian Romesh Ranganathan is a well known stand-up and podcaster and is a regular face on the small screen. He hosts a number of TV shows including his BBC travel documentary series The Misadventures of Romesh Ranganathan as well as Sky’s Rob & Romesh Vs, with fellow comedian Rob Beckett.


Below, the comic discusses the books which have inspired his life and career in comedy and lines up his final Fantasy Bookshelf selection.

Ranganathan shares which story ending he'd like to rewrite, the book he’d love his children to read one day and the qualities he once shared with Bilbo Baggins.

My Fantasy Bookshelf Logo

If you could only save one book in the world which would it be?

It would have to be Charlie and The Chocolate Factory. The whole family love it and it would mean they think I’m amazing for saving it, when in actual fact I really love it myself.

Which is the one book you would delete if you had to?

Even though it’s a brilliant book, Of Mice and Men is one that I cannot revisit without experiencing anxiety flashbacks from having to extract every single nuance from it for GCSE English.

Growing up, which character were you most like?

I was probably most like Bilbo Baggins from The Hobbit - lazy, liking home comforts, and very reluctant to do anything resembling exertion.

Which character would you say you were more like now?

I love the father-son relationship in Danny the Champion of The World and would like to think I have something similar with my children. Minus the poaching.

Which book would you want your own children to read one day?

I would love my children to read So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed by Jon Ronson as it’s all about the public shaming that seems so prevalent at the moment. I would love them to be aware of how ridiculous that all is.

Romesh Ranganathan at the Bassin Bleu, Haiti for The Misadventures of Romesh Ranganathan.
At the Bassin Bleu, Haiti for The Misadventures of Romesh Ranganathan.

Is there a book which has changed how you see the world?

Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Renni Eddo-Lodge has really made me reflect on race relations and my attitudes towards tackling issues around race.

Which writer has influenced the way you’ve written your own books?

Steve Martin’s autobiography really made me think about the way a comedian should write a book. My writing style is completely different to his, but he really made me reflect on what somebody wants from a book by a comic. It’s a brilliant read.

If you could go back in time and change the ending of any story, which would it be?

I would have loved Fantastic Mr. Fox to have come to some sort of accord with the farmers instead of turning them over like that. Farming is difficult and those guys didn’t deserve to be treated like that.

Is there a book you’ve read time and time again?

I love Life of Pi by Yann Martel and would recommend it to anyone and everyone. I probably read it once a year.

Which book is sitting on your bedside table now?

I am currently reading A History of the World by Andrew Marr in a desperate attempt to appear informed.


As Good As It Gets by Romesh Ranganathan is out now in hardback from Bantam Press, £20.

Read Romesh Ranganathan’s Fantasy Bookshelf

Charlie and The Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien 

Danny The Champion of The World by Roald Dahl

So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed by Jon Ronson

Why I’m not longer talking to White People About Race by Renni Eddo-Lodge

Born Standing Up: A Comic’s Life by Steve Martin

Fantastic Mr. Fox by Roald Dahl

Life of Pi by Yann Martel

A History of the World by Andrew Marr