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Mat Wright

冬の夜長に読書はいかがですか? ブリティッシュ・カウンシル英会話スクールの講師が、それぞれお気に入りの英国人作家の本をご紹介します。


第15回 Cloud Atlas’ ” David Mitchell

 I’m generally into Science Fiction, and read this for the sections that deal with the future.  However, this book is so much more than that and the ‘twists and turns’ and deep meaning really surprised me.  It’s truly art in the written form.


第14回 Tom’s Midnight Garden” Philippa Pearce

It’s the story of a small boy who hears the huge grandfather clock striking at midnight and can go downstairs and open a door into another world (a beautiful garden) to play. As a night owl myself, I identified with Tom because I myself always felt most creative and lively in the night hours. It’s a story of childhood imagination, and how in the end we have to surrender to adulthood. In that sense, it’s bittersweet.


第13回 A Clockwork Orange ” Anthony Burgess 

Centred around a sub culture of extreme violence, this dystopian novel featured slang that Burgess himself created. Alex and his 'droogs' are out to cause trouble and to enjoy themselves but one eventful night changes everything.  While the movie directed by Kubrick was a huge success, Burgess found the movie didn't have the 'happy ending' that he himself wrote. 


第12回 Trainspotting Irvine Welsh 

Often described as a post-modern novel and the book that inspired the hit movie in the mid- nineties, Trainspotting is a great example of what can happen if the rules of writing are disregarded. Characters that use a strong Scottish dialect gives the reader a realistic view of what the lives of the characters is like in Leith, Edinburgh. 


第11回 White Teeth” by Zadie Smith 

At the age of just 21, Zadie Smith took the British literature world by storm with this debut centered around families from different generations, culture and race. A great insight into modern family life in London. 


第10回 The Nowhere Men: The Unknown Story of Football's True Talent Spotters” by Michael Calvin

This in depth insight into the world of football scouting in the United Kingdom is a fascinating read. The scouts spend their weeknights talent spotting in rundown tin sheds of stadiums up and down the country not for the glamour, and certainly not for the money, but for the love of the game. The winner of ‘The Times British Sports Book Award 2014’ gives the reader a detailed understanding of the processes involved in the multi-million pound transfers of football. If you are a football lover, or even if you are not, you will find the stories of football's nowhere men intriguing and inspiring.


第9回 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin by Louis de Bernieres

I read this book 15 years ago when I was a young man. I was captivated from the very first page - the wonderful use of language, the colourful description, and the fluid, humorous writing style was something I hadn’t come across before. There are so many themes and ideas running throughout the book - love, war, tragedy, comedy, the importance of history – and they are all combined into an amazingly powerful and emotional  story (PS the film is absolutely awful). 


第8回 “The Pillars of the Earth” by Ken Follet 

I’ve always enjoyed historical fiction and this novel, set in the Anarchy in 12th century England, is excellently researched.  There are several strands to the plot and the relationships between the characters, really brings the book to life.


第7回 “The Picture of Dorian Gray” by Oscar Wilde 

Apart from the fact that it is chock-full of Wilde's amazing one-liner epigrams ("Nowadays people know the price of everything and the value of nothing"), I really like the main message of the book that 'you are what you do'.   


第6回 "Money " by Martin Amis   

A two times Booker Prize nominee, Martin Amis's novel explores the life of a London director who is given his first chance to direct a movie in America. Funny, smart but also mean. 


第5回 "A Handful of Dust " by Evelyn Waugh  

What starts as an amusing social satire becomes something much, much darker. The greatest ending to a novel that I can remember reading.


第4回 "1984" by George Orwell 

A chilling dystopian novel that has eerily predicted many things. Also introduced ‘Orwellian’ phrases into popular culture such as ‘Big Brother’ and ‘Room 101’.


第3回 "Birthday Letters" by Ted Hughes

Published just before Hughes passed away, Birthday letters is regarded as Hughes's response to Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar. An extremely interesting and personal collection of poems regarding his explosive marriage with Plath. 


第2回 "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time " by Mark Haddon

 It is written in very simple English, but is incredibly thought-provoking.  The book is about a boy with Asperger’s syndrome, and is written from his point of view.  As you see the world through his eyes, it seems a very different place.  For me, it was an almost life-changing experience.


第1回 "The Casual Vacancy" by J.K Rowling

J.K Rowling is a world famous name for her magical Harry Potter books. However, this book is very much for adults. The Casual Vacancy starts with a death and goes on to deal with issues of drugs, sex and the class divide in Britain. Set in the idyllic British countryside, this book is easily accessible as it is written in Rowling’s easy to follow yet page turning style. It’s great book to read for pleasure and learn more about British life. The Casual Vacancy was also recently made into a TV series by the BBC.