- 04 Sep 18
A selection of leading Irish authors pick the best books for students to read, so that you'll know your Dostoyevsky from your Tolstoy during those 3am dorm-room discussions.
I’m resisting the temptation to include a Collected Works as one of three book recommendations, partly because I don’t want to be that person, but also because the biggest barrier to accessing Shakespeare is the intimidation factor. I came to love Shakespeare by reading one play over and over again, because the writing is a magical substance that endlessly replenishes. Shakespeare is what prevents you from emptying the trash on your Mac because ‘an item is in use’. Its resonance is unwipeoutable, unshutdownable, unforcequittable, un-time-stamped. I tend not to re-read things. I’m far too slow a reader and there are so many books! But Shakespeare is the exception. (And all good poetry books. But then, Shakespeare writes only poetry.) Pick one play whose synopsis is most appealing to you. (For me, the right play was Hamlet.) Get a paper copy of that play as a single volume. Let it take hold.
Burning Your Boats by Angela Carter
This is a Collected Stories, but not a Collected Works! Some of these stories will not be for everyone, but the beauty of this volume is its scope and variety. It ranges from surreal to mythical, realist to absurdist, gothic to biblical, and from reimaginings to the heretofore unimaginable. It will blow any student’s mind what one writer can accomplish – how much knowledge, inspiration, wisdom, aesthetic integrity, interest and ambition one book can embody. It also doubles up as a philosophical text, a study of aesthetics, folklore and mythology… And if this sounds a bit heavy, it is. It’s as dense a collection as they come. So don’t try and read it all in a row. The joy of the short story form is that each can stand alone.
- Film & TV
- 30 Jun 22
- Lifestyle & Sports
- 10 Jun 22