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Seasonal Readings

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This is the time of year when I get most of my reading done. I think few pleasures beat snuggling up with some hot chocolate, a hottie, and a good book. Turn off your TV & read instead! Or just get some ideas for gift-giving. Here are some of my classics for the winter months…

Ghost Stories of M.R. James (UK | US)
No winter can go by without a few ghost stories, and M.R. James is my most favouritest ghost story writer. His stories are understated, and often not fully resolved, as I think is only proper for a ghost story. Some of them are also amazingly simple, but once you read one, you just can’t get enough! If you can find the old BFI films of ‘A Warning to the Curious’ and ‘Whistle and I’ll Come to You’, they’ll make perfect Christmas entertainment too.

In a Glass Darkly by Sheridan Le Fanu (UK | US)
Le Fanu is M.R. James’s literary predecessor. His stories tend to be longer, but still as uncanny. I particularly recommend ‘Carmilla’.

The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins (UK | US)
The classic sensationalist novel. This is a brilliant page-turner. I think The Woman in White has the best villain, and The Moonstone has the best detective.

Lady Audley’s Secret by Mary Elizabeth Braddon (UK | US)
If you’re into Victorian sensational fiction, this is another one for you. I don’t know why it isn’t better known. There’s a film with Stephen Mackintosh too, but I’ve never been able to get hold of it.

The Woman in Black by Susan Hill (UK | US)
I haven’t actually read the book, but the film was wonderfully terrifying, full of fog and apparitions. If you can get hold of it, I highly recommend watching it on Christmas Eve. Otherwise, I’m sure the book is quite as excellently chilling (if not more so).

His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman (UK | US)
My favourite books in the world. Ever. I’m completely potty about this trilogy. I re-read the books every winter, and listen to the audiobooks whenever I can’t sleep, or need a bit of comforting. The unabridged audiobooks narrated by Philip Pullman are perfect, but don’t bother with the Radio 4 adaptation.

Arctic Dreams by Barry Lopez (UK | US)
I’ve just started this book, though it’s been on my reading list for years. Admittedly, my interest in this is greatly stoked by my obsession with HDM, but it’s a seminal work on the Arctic, and an engaging piece of nature writing in itself.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this list. Leave your own recommendations in the comments if you like! :)

16th November, 2009  // Literature // tags: , , , .


  1. Jane says:

    I love your reading list! Not only do I, too, love ghost stories but Phillip Pullman’s trilology is among my all-time faves. I’m just about to launch Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger.

  2. […] while I am absent a little, delighting in the sudden brightness of my photos, the fulfilment of my HDM obsession (snow leopard!), and the smugness that comes from knowing that for a month or so at least, I am UP […]

  3. […] of his designs. I particularly yearn to wrap myself in a wispy Lyra one day, as those who share my love of His Dark Materials (and by association Ancient Greek and astronomy) will understand. Most of all though, I yearn to […]

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