Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Books of the Year 2015

And now for our own selection of top books of interest published this year. Click here for our annual summary of all those other lists in newspapers, magazines, blogs and more.

  • Louise O'Neill came to the College in October to read from her latest novel, Asking for It, and had a big impact, prompting much discussion in the weeks following her visit. Asking For It is important, gripping and (understandably) depressing in its examination of the intersection of misogyny, sexual assault and the online world. Read it.
  • Robert Seethaler's very different A Whole Life is just out in paperback in English, translated from German. Rooted in a vividly-recreated Alpine valley over decades, it does just what the title promises, covering the entire life of a man with tenderness and respect.
  • One for (mostly) teachers: John Tomsett's This Much I Know About Love Over Fear: creating a culture of truly great teaching is full of profoundly good sense, a tonic in an educational world which can seem shadowed by utilitarianism and excessive measurement. And it's also full of human interest and great stories.
  • Anthony Wilson's collection Lifesaving Poems really comes from the same humane well as Tomsett's book. Read our review here of this wonderful selection with a wonderful commentary on each poem.
  • And finally, our book of the year, not too surprisingly from a blog which has Shakespeare as its 'branding' is ... James Shapiro's 1606: William Shakespeare and the Year of Lear. Shapiro wears his deep learning lightly: this is a stunning account of an amazing year (Lear, Macbeth, Antony and Cleopatra, plague, Gunpowder Plot!), and Shapiro does it full justice as a literary critic, historian and story-teller. He's 'done' 1599 already: there are plenty more years, James...

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