Jen’s Just Perfects
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‘The Unknown Unknown: Bookshops and the delight of not getting what you wanted’ – Mark Forsyth - From the author of ‘The Etymologicon’, this short essay deconstructs the concepts of “unknown unknowns”, challenging perceptions of knowledge and thought processes in the modern age, alongside the wonderful analogy of shopping for a new book. A delightful read, advocating the importance of your local independent bookshop.
“Coraline” - Neil Gaiman
Sitting somewhere between science fiction and mild horror, this children’s book was an absolute favourite of mine in my formative years. Moving into a new apartment with her parents, Coraline discovers a corridor that leads her into a world that mirrors her own, but with a creepy twist.
“The Power of Yes” - David Hare
Although I have never seen this play, it is a fantastic and objective view of the events that caused the 2008=2009 economic crisis. Presented in this entertaining format, it illuminates, while effectively questioning the moral and ethical implications of the relationship between money and power.
“The Turn of the Screw and Other Stories - Henry James
Channelling my love of the 19th century tradition of ghost stories, I couldn’t omit one of my favourites. Expertly written, James’s tension building tales will leave you both unsettled and exhilarated. From jilted lovers,supernatural feelings and strange children, this book has a story to scare everyone.
“The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde” - Robert Louis Stevenson
A 19th century classic, this tiny book challenges preconceived notions of the relationship between class and morality. The eerie novella with its curt narrative and speedy development, is a perfect summary of the growing fears of society in relation to class structure, scientific development and religious certainty.
“The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy and Other Stories” - Tim Burton
The world-class director has turned his weird hands towards poetry. This short collection of creepy poems with accompanying illustrations captures the weird and unnerving imagination trapped inside all of us. My favourite is “The Boy with Nails in his Eyes”.
“Anthem” Ayn Rand
Equality 7-2521 is a man born into a world where individualism and singular identity are forbidden, The short novella follows his journey of rediscovery of not only himself, but the glorious past of a world eradicated from history. Written in 1937as a reaction against communism, Rand explores the contradictory human need for both freedom and structure in society.