With such a broad category it is difficult to know where to begin…

Lately I have been really connecting with books that put a twist on the the typical storytelling model.  These books alter the framework and force us to experience story in a different way.

Cassells01Gillespie & I — by Jane Harris
A fascinating and engrossing tale of a woman who befriends a Glasgow artist and his family.  Which could have been enough.  Instead Harris takes it to a new level with her complex narrator.

Your House Is On Fire, Your Children All Gone — by Stefan Kiesbye
Simply creep-tastic.  A modern, darker Grimms fairy-tale.  Sort of.

I’m also always on the look-out for a good, moody modern Gothic.  I’m a tough customer but occasionally I find one that strikes the right balance of suspense, romance and terror.

The Uninvited Guests — by Sadie Jones
This totally bizarre and creepy book takes place in the quintessential English country manor, just before dinner. English propriety and hospitality find themselves at odds. Plus there just might be a ghost or two.

Revenge — by Yoko Ogawa
A series of intertwining stories.  These tales are weird, but with the added distance due to translation.  The effect is chilling.

But I am not all darkness.  Here are some books that made me laugh out loud.

Forever Rumpole — by John Mortimer
Funny and clever stories from the English court system.

Everything Is Going To Be Great — By Rachel Shukert
If I had done half the things Rachel has, not only would I never tell anyone, I’d deny it.  Instead, she chooses to humorously recount episodes of her youth — for our enjoyment.

Anything by PG Wodehouse
I have a particular weakness for the antics of Jeeves and Wooster and find myself giggling in spite of myself.  Even in public places.

In general, I have found that classics are the books that changed my life.  Many of these I already discussed in the initial post for Armchair BEA 2013. I can share this story with you readers however.  When I began college, I took an general English class, thinking that is what I would major in.  That first semester was awful.  The professor was a joke and I began to wonder what I was doing.  Could I stand 4 years of this?  Then I took a class called The Detective and Criminal in Literature and we read The Moonstone.  It changed my life — as did my professor.  I decided it was worth it to declare English as my major and rededicate myself to literature.  Thanks, Professor Cronin!

6 thoughts on “ARMCHAIR BEA: Literature & Literary Fiction”

  1. I had a professor that made Shakespeare come alive for me, and I’ve loved it ever since. Thanks, Professor Edinger!

  2. I definitely have to read The Uninvited! Those other darker ones you mention sound intriguing. I also love Wodehouse’s Jeeves stories and the Rumpole stories; I listen to both on audio and they are funny done by any narrator.

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