Showing posts with tag: Reading Lists


Five Ghost Stories that Scared M. R. James

Today marks 150 years since the birth of the master of the ghost story, Montague Rhodes James. In the century since they were first published, James’s stories have never been out of print. In the general scheme of things, terror in literature doesn’t have a very long shelf life. New generations of jaded readers demand new thrills, and the jump-cuts and sound effects of horror in cinema and on television make the literary ghost seem rather tame. But James’s stories are still as terrifying now as they ever were. Read more →

Reading List: War Correspondence – from Crimea to Iraq

The dangers of reporting the news from the frontline have become all too apparent (though perhaps the term frontline is inappropriate, since many of today’s conflicts appear, to the outsider, to be singularly lacking a frontline). In this era of satellite phones and 24-hour news, it has become even more important for reporters, photographers and cameramen to get into the heart of the action, bringing us the news as it happens.

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Reading List: The Bestsellers of 2011

Well, it may be 2012 already but many of the recent weekend papers took the opportunity to look back at the bestselling books of 2011. I always find it good fun to try and spot trends and make a note of a book or two that may have passed me. Previous years and, in fact, much of the last decade has been dominated by the mighty works of Dan Brown and JK Rowling.

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Reading List: My 2011 Favourites

This year, I’ve done a lot of read­ing.This is not entirely sur­pris­ing. I spent the first six months of 2011 work­ing in a book store, and the second half on an MA course, and both of those are occu­pa­tions that do tend to bring you into con­tact with the writ­ten word. Factor in that I was a book addict to begin with, and it all adds up to a lot of newly filled shelves and a fairly empty bank account. As far as I’m con­cerned, though, it was entirely worth it. Read more →

Independent Writers: They Did It Their Way

The French have always done things in their own way. They’re headstrong and have a desire to be the best of the best of the best. They eat frogs’ legs and hold the Mona Lisa at the heart of their capital city. They have a 324m tower known as Eiffel and, most importantly, had the power to make McDonald’s change the colour of their logo on the Champs-Élysées.

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Best of the Best

Despite very rarely winning anything, I am a competitive person. Although my days of playing team sports at school are now a distant memory, rather than mellowing with age, my competitive side has only got worse and I’ve found myself focussing all my competing instincts on academic pursuits. I’ll admit it: I like to be on the winning team in debates, get the best marks in essays and even come top of the class in the end of term Christmas quiz.

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British Books to Hollywood Screens

Film adaptations are becoming a very common trend, but where are all these stories coming from? Here are five books written by British writers that have made it big on the silver screen.

1. This list wouldn’t be a list without the obvious mention of Harry Potter; that cheeky little wizard spanned a school life of seven books taking on sports, fellow wizards and lords of the underworld.

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Loving books both large and small

In the world of books, small is beautiful, but large is also impressive. Kimberley Chen casts an appreciative eye over some of the largest, smallest, most exhaustive or streamlined tomes available, from bookshop favourites to record breakers. Read more →

The Burn

What drives you to write? It’s a simple question but one many of us never actually explore. Although we often plan and plot every last twist and turn of our latest stories, right down to the protagonist’s smallest facial twitch, very rarely do we sit back and question why we are even writing at all. Writing is an obsession and there has to be something lying dormant within us which spurs us on.

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Summer reads, whatever the weather

The British summer is almost, but not quite, upon us. April taunted us with the promise of a long, hot summer, only to pull the carpet out from under our flip-flops and replace the cloudless bank holidays with grey and drizzly 9-5s.

Maybe you are in the middle of exams or just plain sick of work? Perhaps you’re eagerly awaiting your summer holiday or maybe, like me, your student bank account won’t let you book one.

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Five Books for Summer ’11

Ah summer, the time when it is perfectly acceptable to sunbathe with your head in a book for hours. The time when you finally devote a week to that pet project you have been planning to start since January. The time when trashy thrillers are acceptable because they are the only thing stocked in WHSmiths at the airport. Hopefully these summer reads will entertain you longer than the typical British summer will:

Tik-Tok by John Sladek

A short and sweet sci-fi with a big dollop of satirical dark humor.

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Five Books for the Tube

Someone lost in a book is not an uncommon sight on the Tube. The next time you want to take a ten minute break from the rest of the world, why not give one of these five stories a go, compiled by our friends at Woolfson & Tay bookshop:

Easter Parade by Richard Yates

Easter Parade follows the lives of two very different sisters over a period of forty years.

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Five Expressionist Shorts

I guess the thing that appeals to me most in fiction is an emphasis on expressionism: the literary equivalent of (bear with me) the German Expressionist painters from the start of the twentieth century.  Those painters broke with realist ways of depicting subject matter so that they could better convey emotion. Think of Edvard Munch’s The Scream. It’s not a realistic depiction of a man screaming, but nor is it some kind of fantasy.

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