Five Favourite Books

The was something I did for the Unthank School blog last Christmas that I’d forgotten about until I spotted Ashley’s list while browsing his blog just now. The idea was for Unthank staff to briefly list and discuss five books that we had read in 2015, regardless of publishing date or genre. This was mine…

Do you rush out and buy a new book as soon it’s published? Do you read a review, drop everything and have to read that book right this second? Or, do books hang around in stacks for ages until they reach the top of your pile or you discover the right mood? Do you follow your interests and obsessions, or are you led by PR?

Rather than ask our tutors to list their favourite books published in 2015, instead we asked them about the books they actually read. Our Head of Online, Stephen Carver reels out his list here.

Tales of Mystery and the Supernatural

I’m writing about Victorians and ghosts this year so my reading has tended to focus on these areas. Although I read all the time professionally, personal reading has to fit around work and parenting, so although it’s always a pleasure it also has to constitute research. If I read for fun, it’s usually a graphic novel – I’m a sucker for Lone Wolf and Cub and The Walking Dead – and I always have a short story collection on the go. I’ve read so many anthologies of Victorian and Edwardian ghost stories this year that it’s difficult to nominate a favourite. I recommend anything in the Wordsworth ‘Tales of Mystery and the Supernatural’ series, but there are a couple in particular that have amazed me on the same level as those childhood discoveries of J.S. Le Fanu and M.R. James, so I’ll start with these…

The Power of Darkness by E. Nesbit (2006). The celebrated children’s author also wrote four collections of horror stories published between 1893 and 1910. This is a Wordsworth collection of many of the best, taking its name from a story about a man who recklessly spends the night in the Musée Grévin. Nesbit has a direct, journalistic style, using ambiguously uncanny events to explore inter-personal relationships, particularly marriage: ‘The door opened slowly, slowly, slowly, and the figure of my dead wife came in…’ That never happened in The Railway Children.

To read the full list please click here


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