MFAs Read for Fun, too

That’s right, we don’t just work, read for dissertations and scribble furtively in notebooks. We read for fun. Anyone who says that a writing degree ruined reading for them isn’t doing it right. So for your reading pleasure, here’s what the 2012 MFA cohort recommends to ensure an enjoyable, literature-filled holiday. Take a break from work and delve into some of our favourites. Here are our individual choices with a couple of words about why we love them:

Recommended Holiday Reading List from the MFAs

Citlalli: Dark Matter – by Michele Paver. “An arctic ghost story…I was scared!”

Jeanette: A Kind of Intimacy – by Jenn Ashworth. “Brilliant, funny and an unreliable narrator par excellence”

Amy: Horseradish: Bitter Truths You Can’t Avoid – by Lemony Snicket. “Known for his gallows humour, Snicket does not disappoint with this pocket-sized book full of humourous quips. Not a novel, nor a book of short stories, and certainly not poetry, it is a book that you pick up to read to remind yourself that life really is just a funny little thing.”

Emma: The Corrections – by Jonathan Franzen. “Because Xmas is all about family, and this book is all about a family gathering for one last Xmas.”

Vivienne: The Quantum Thief – by Hannu Rajaniemi. “If science fiction brings to mind pages of turgid technical description and butt-ugly writing, give The Quantum Thief a try. Rajaniemi turns quantum physics into poetry and explains nothing until around 250 pages in.”

Beatrice: A Cruel Bird Came to the Nest and Looked In – by Magnus Mills. “The latest of Mills’ eccentric, deadpan and addictive reads, this world is a sort of mixture between Medieval England, The Prisoner and In the Night Garden. Mills has the ability to mix humour and menace in his own idiosyncratic fashion – and we believe everything.”

Lucy: The Hearing Trumpet – by Leonora Carrington. “Surreal, funny and the main protagonist is a grumpy old lady who suddenly finds herself in the middle of a strange adventure.”

Simon: The Mask of Dimitrios – by Eric Ambler. “The Mask of Dimitrios is probably [Ambler’s] best, and vastly superior to, for instance, [Graham] Greene’s A Gun for Hire. Nothing new under the sun.”

Danny: Catch-22 – by Joseph Heller. “A moral masterpiece. The greatest novel of the 20th century. And sidesplitting.”

Alaa: The Gates – by John Connolly. “This is a hilarious horror novel that teases the reader with science and child innocence. You follow a boy who has discovered a plot to open up hells gates by some very inexperienced demons.”

Dorin: Me Talk Pretty On Day – by David Sedaris. “Because all of his non-fiction/memoir/essay books are comedic and just fun to read. It is the type of book that shows you how ridiculous life can be and gives you a good laugh.”

Catherine: US – by Michael Kimball. “This is the book I would love to write. It would also make a good beach read (if you don’t mind shedding a tear in public that is!)”

Ryan: The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay – by Michael Chabon. “Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 2001, this novel promises elements of Jewish mysticism, Americana and a comic-book superhero. From 1930s Prague to Brooklyn, this will be my winter solace.”

Carol: Bridget Jones’ Diary – by Helen Fielding. “The fastest book I’ve ever read that also made me laugh”

Sinéad: Poppy Shakespeare – by Clare Allan. “This hilarious, insightful novel is told in the voice of a patient at a north London psychiatric hospital. I was hooked from the first sentence and held spellbound by the engaging story and witty prose to the final page.”

We would love to hear what you think of our suggestions, what you’ll be reading this winter and what books, poems, plays and short stories you recommend to others – see you in the comments section.

Happy holiday reading from all of us!

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Nikki
    Dec 03, 2012 @ 17:28:16

    I’m all for Ryan’s tip, that’s a great novel, and I look forward to reading Anna Karenina, but another tip I’ve got would be The Discovery of Heaven by Dutch author Harry Mulisch. Unlike the film, it’s a masterpiece, and with over 900 pages, it will scare off any unwanted family members.

    Reply

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