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A winter reading list

Even though the weather has been unseasonably warm, I am feeling the need to hunker down with a good book. It’s the literary equivalent of closing the curtains, lighting candles and lamps and stoking a fire.

Maybe it’s the fact that I have just celebrated a birthday, but I’m also feeling nostalgic. So my winter reading pile is made up of books I fancy revisiting.

So, in no particular order, these books are making up my winter reading pile:

  • Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Wolfe A day in the life of Clarissa Dalloway, a member of London high society after the First World War. I really like the rhythm of this short book, as it dips in and out of her consciousness.
  • A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K Le Guin Any child who comes to Inkpots will – at some stage – be told about Ged or Sparrowhawk – the boy wizard who doesn’t know his own powers (sound familiar?). I was introduced to this book at school – and I still love it after all this time. Ursula Le Guin is a consummate story teller – and this tale of wizards, dragons and Ged’s own demons is one of the best.
  • Bleak House by Charles Dickens This is one of my favourite Dickens novel and a meaty read for the long, dark evenings. It’s one of the most atmospheric Dickens’ novels as the settings switch from the Inns of Court to Lord Dedlock’s place in Lincolnshire among others. Amazing, unforgettable characters.
  • Tales of the City by Armistead Maupin Like Dickens, Armistead Maupin’s books were originally serialised. They tell the stories of a disparate group brought together in Barbary Lane, San Francisco in the 1970s; very funny.
  • Titus Groan by Mervyn Peake  It’s a very long time since I read this one. It’ll be quite interesting to see what I make of it nearly 40 years later. Mervyn Peake’s story starts with the birth of Titus who is heir to Gormenghast – a place where events are predetermined by complex ritual and order. I remember a darkly compelling book!
  • The Winter Story by Tove Jansson (the author of the Finn Family Moomintroll books). This is a collection of some of the Swedish writers best loved stories, chosen by Ali Smith.


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