Interviews by Beatrice Wilford
‘The Gothic’ can refer to ecclesiastical architecture, supernatural fiction, cult horror films and a recent subculture. Here, Nick Groom—who is professor in English at the University of Exeter and is also known as the ‘Prof. of Goth’—recommends five of the best books on the Gothic, showing how this term remains central to the way we think of our identities today.
The writer and journalist Hermione Hoby’s highly acclaimed first novel is set during a New York heatwave. Here she picks five books inspired by this capacious, overstated, indomitable city and discusses how it shaped her as a writer.
Shakespearean scholar Emma Smith picks her five favourite plays of the Bard, and controversially argues that not only are some of his plays just too long, but also that the most moving moments in Shakespeare’s oeuvre are where we might not expect them
The ‘subterranaut’ describes how the discovery of ancient bacteria miles beneath the Earth’s surface opens the possibility of finding life on Mars. He picks five books that show how our knowledge of life deep in this planet could lead us to discover it elsewhere.
The Gothic puts flesh on the bones of our darkest fears, novelist Sarah Perry tells Five Books. Here, she chooses five favourite novels in this ‘irresistible’ genre.
In our Shakespeare series, we ask experts to select their favourite plays from the Bard’s oeuvre. Here, preeminent Shakespearean scholar Sir Stanley Wells chooses five plays that best chart the evolution of the Bard of Avon during his 25-year career.
Is it possible to describe or study our inner experience, and – if so – how might one go about it? Charles Fernyhough, professor of psychology and author of The Voices Within chooses five of the best books that employ or examine streams of consciousness.
In the second of a Five Books series marking the 400th year since the world’s most popular playwright’s death, eminent Shakespearean René Weis picks his five favourite plays, and explains why King Lear will change your life.
Wilkie Collins, the sensationalist author and inventor of the detective novel, knew precisely how to “make ’em laugh, make ’em cry, make ’em wait”. Jason Hall, Victorian literature expert and editor of a new edition of Jezebel’s Daughter, chooses the five best books from Collins’s extensive oeuvre – and considers the voracious appetites and unorthodox lifestyle of this intriguing Englishman.
by Tom Fields-Meyer
Neurotribes: The Legacy of Autism and How to Think Smarter About People Who Think Differently
by Steve Silberman
Seven Keys to Unlock Autism
by Elaine Hall
Understanding Autism for Dummies
by Stephen Shore and Linda Rastelli
Asperger's from the Inside Out
by Michael John Carley
War writing extends to all sorts of genres, including blogs and Twitter. Oxford University’s Professor Kate McLoughlin, author of Authoring War: The Literary Representation of War from the Iliad to Iraq recommends some of her favourite books of war writing.
Think you’re not interested in church music? Think again. Read this interview and you’ll soon find yourself ordering some books about it too. And a Happy Christmas from your editors at Five Books.
The biographer and editor of John Berger reveals how Berger’s self-characterisation as a storyteller is visible across the numerous genres he writes in.
Christine L. Corton describes how Londoners loved and hated the fog that defined their city for over 200 years. Fog bought confusion, suicide and death; but also anonymity, mystery and beauty. Here, she picks the best five books on the pea-souper
The Sexuality of Christ in Renaissance Art and in Modern Oblivion
by Leo Steinberg
Image on the Edge: The Margins of Medieval Art
by Michael Camille
The Reformation of the Image
by Joseph Leo Koerner
Early Medieval Bible Illumination and the Ashburnham Pentateuch
by Dorothy Verkerk
by Alexander Nagel & Christopher Wood
The professor of religion explains how medieval Jews and Christians collaborated. He recommends five books that have changed the way we look at medieval art.
The author and journalist describes how racism, violence, and corruption became entrenched in police departments across America. He picks five books describing a stark reality, and suggests a blueprint for change
City of Refuge
by Tom Piazza
The Great Deluge: Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans, and the Mississippi Gulf Coast
by Douglas Brinkley
Breach of Faith: Hurricane Katrina and the Near Death of a Great American City
by Jed Horne
Disaster: Hurricane Katrina and the Failure of Homeland Security
by Christopher Cooper and Robert Block
New Orleans: The Making of an Urban Landscape
by Peirce F. Lewis
Katrina was not a natural disaster but an engineering one, says the journalist and author. He chooses the best books on Hurricane Katrina, ranging from a novel to a geographical biography of New Orleans.
The philosopher argues that a culture of debate, in which people of all backgrounds can openly discuss the truth, is philosophy’s real answer to conflict.
The futurist says work in futures is about patterns, not predictions. He recommends five books about the future that look backwards as well as forwards.
Evolutionary biologist Beth Shapiro tells us why it’s impossible to clone a mammoth, and why we might want to. She guides us through five inspiring books to get us thinking about extinction and the role genetics could potentially play in maintaining biodiversity.
A one-size-fits-all approach to sex education cannot function in a globalised world, says professor of education and history, Jonathan Zimmerman. He picks the best books on sex education.
The Professor of History outlines how our understanding of deceit has changed: from a devilish sin in the Middle Ages, to a social necessity in the Enlightenment
Neurological disorders lead to far more surreal stories than those we find in science fiction, argues University of California neuroscientist Bradley Voytek.
The social historian argues London is an intrinsically addictive city. He charts its history through its dependencies on chocolate, tobacco, coffee, and tea.
Literature is about revealing hard truths about the human condition, says the author of The Starboard Sea, and being a teenager can be a dangerous time.
Photographers Beth and Thom Atkinson, authors of the acclaimed photobook Missing Buildings, discuss five books that explore the mythology of war.