Sarah Waters: TOP TEN BOOKS

Sarah Waters – Top Ten Books

Sarah Waters - Top Ten Books

One of Britain’s most accomplished and successful authors, Waters has published six novels, including three—Fingersmith, The Night Watch, and The Little Stranger—that were shortlisted for the prestigious Man Booker Prize. The Little Stranger and Fingersmith were both made into movies, the latter by the Korean director Park Chan-wook as The Handmaiden. “I’d hate to lose my belief in human creativity,” she said in an interview with Out magazine. “There’s something very life-affirming about it — even just a good plot. It’s like the best side of human nature.”

Below are Sarah Waters’s favorite books, available to purchase as a set or individually.


Great Expectations

Charles Dickens
I admire all of Dickens's novels, but this story of class, guilt, shame and desire is the one that's affected me most. It often pops up in my own writing, in ways I never expect.
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Jane Eyre

Charlotte Bronte
So many important life-lessons to be learned here: How to triumph, despite being a working class girl; how to hold on to your sense of self; how, if you fancy a handsome rich man - way above your social strata who’s already married, if you wait a while, his castle might burn down, killing his wife and making him blind, and then you can have him, having played the long game.
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Daphne du Maurier
Du Maurier was a brilliant story-teller, and a great evoker of place. Rebecca is far and away her best work: troubling and vivid and slightly queer.
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The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories

Angela Carter
This fabulous collection of reworked fairy tales blew me away when I first read it, at eighteen. I've returned to it many times since then, and always find something new in it.
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The Persian Boy

Mary Renault
Renault was one of the great historical novelists, able to do justice to the strangeness of the past, even while bringing it to life for modern readers. The Persian Boy, I think, was her masterpiece.
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Count Magnus and Other Ghost Stories

M.R. James
I've always loved a good ghost story, and James's supernatural tales are among the best. This collection contains the supremely unnerving 'Oh, Whistle and I'll Come to You, My Lad'.
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My Secret Life

This anonymous multi-volume erotic memoir offers extraordinary insights into Victorian sexual life. Absolutely un-putdownable.
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Philippa Gregory
A sensational novel in all sorts of ways, this study of gender, history and power was one of the books that made me want to start writing historical fiction of my own.
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The Talented Mr Ripley

Patricia Highsmith
Tense, dark, compelling: I wish I could write a novel like this.
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Fairy Tales from the Brothers Grimm

Fairy Tales from the Brothers Grimm
I loved these dark, unsettling stories as a child, and still find them compelling.
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