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Sophie Ratcliffe's Top Book Recommendations

Want to know what books Sophie Ratcliffe recommends on their reading list? We've researched interviews, social media posts, podcasts, and articles to build a comprehensive list of Sophie Ratcliffe's favorite book recommendations of all time.


The Dyer's Hand

In this volume, W. H. Auden assembled, edited, and arranged the best of his prose writing, including the famous lectures he delivered as Oxford Professor of Poetry. The result is less a formal collection of essays than an extended and linked series of observations—on poetry, art, and the observation of life in general.

The Dyer's Hand is a surprisingly personal, intimate view of the author's mind, whose central focus is poetry—Shakespearean poetry in particular—but whose province is the author's whole experience of the twentieth century.
Recommended by Sophie Ratcliffe, and 1 others.

Sophie RatcliffeThis is a collection of critical essays written in the fifties. Two of them discuss Wodehouse, quite briefly, but in beautiful ways. (Source)

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Wodehouse On Wodehouse

1 Bring on the Girls (with Guy Bolton) 1954
2 Performing Flea 1953
3 Over Seventy 1957
Autobiographical account published first by Herbert Jenkins UK. American editions differ "quite substantially", last 2 titled "Author! Author!" and "America, I Like You".
Recommended by Sophie Ratcliffe, and 1 others.

Sophie RatcliffeIt contains his autobiography, in which he describes his Victorian childhood. He used to visit grand houses but was incredibly shy. (Source)

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Here are a dozen stories to delight all Wodehouse addicts...A crooning tenor is attempting to captivate the affections of the Rev. Rupert Bingham's fiancee, Lord Emsworth is striving to remove a pumpkin-shaped blot on the family escutcheon, the Hon. Freddie Threepwood is making a last-ditch attempt to convert Lady Alcester to the beneficial quality of Donaldson's Dog-Joy, and in the bar-parlor of the Anglers' Rest, Mr. Mulliner fascinates everyone with the secret history of old Hollywood. less
Recommended by Sophie Ratcliffe, and 1 others.

Sophie RatcliffeThis is a short story collection, which includes what Kipling said was ‘the most perfect short story ever written’. (Source)

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Summer Lightning

"In Summer Lightning, the Honorable Galahad Threepwood has decided to write his memoirs and everyone dives for cover; "Psmith in the City finds the inimitable Psmith working a bank and determined not to let honest toil depress him; and the ten stories in "Ukridge revolve around Stanley Featherstonehough Ukridge's none-too-successful schemes to make some money. less
Recommended by Sophie Ratcliffe, and 1 others.

Sophie RatcliffeSummer Lightning is a detective story crossed with a romantic farce. It’s set in Blandings Castle, Wodehouse’s famous fictional country idyll. (Source)

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I Capture The Castle

I Capture the Castle tells the story of seventeen-year-old Cassandra Mortmain and her family, who live in not-so-genteel poverty in a ramshackle old English castle. Here she strives, over six turbulent months, to hone her writing skills. She fills three notebooks with sharply funny yet poignant entries. Her journals candidly chronicle the great changes that take place within the castle's walls and her own first descent into love. By the time she pens her final entry, she has "captured the castle"-- and the heart of the reader-- in one of literature's most enchanting entertainments. less
Recommended by Sophie Ratcliffe, Laura Wood, and 2 others.

Sophie RatcliffeIt is a delicious, glorious, coming-of-age tale told with humor about two sisters who live in a derelict, tumble-down, ramshackle castle. Underneath the surface, it’s a novel of absolute desolation. Cassandra is in mourning without having fully realized it yet. Her desperation to be noticed is partly because she likes Simon, and partly, I think, because she’s desperate for someone to love her. (Source)

Laura WoodCassandra and Rose are two very different sisters, isolated from the world by their peculiar and magical upbringing…I would say this is the most important book in my life. (Source)

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For readers of Atul Gawande and Paul Kalanithi, a palliative care doctor's breathtaking stories from 30 years spent caring for the dying.

Modern medical technology is allowing us to live longer and fuller lives than ever before. And for the most part, that is good news. But with changes in the way we understand medicine come changes in the way we understand death. Once a familiar, peaceful, and gentle -- if sorrowful -- transition, death has come to be something from which we shield our eyes, as we prefer to fight desperately against it rather than accept its...
Recommended by Sophie Ratcliffe, and 1 others.

Sophie RatcliffeMannix writes that two days in our life are fewer than 24 hours and stand like bookends: birth and death. With over 20 years of experience being a palliative care doctor, she set out to write a book (with the approval of the relevant ethics committee) which collects her experience of being a doctor in those final days of life. It’s extremely elegant and eloquent. What struck me was the humility... (Source)

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"Worry is the currency of my love... Worry for them now, worry for the future. I have tried to pass on only the adoration, because little shorts have such small pockets, and carrying all my concerns around would make it very hard to climb the highest trees and slide down the sheerest drops..."

Kate Gross died on Christmas morning 2014 from cancer aged just 36. She wrote this book as a gift to her two young sons, but it has powerful lessons for us all. She writes about the things we live for, the wonder to be found in the everyday, the importance of love and friendship, and how to...
Recommended by Sophie Ratcliffe, and 1 others.

Sophie RatcliffeKate Gross is grieving in advance for what she will not have: the life she will not have with her children, what she’s going to miss. It’s incredibly moving, but also extraordinarily uplifting and powerful. The book is addressed to her children, and the rest of us are eavesdropping on it. (Source)

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Broken Hierarchies

Poems 1952-2012

Broken Hierarchies collects twenty books of poems by Geoffrey Hill, written over sixty years, and presents them in their definitive form. Four of these books (Ludo, Expostulations on the Volcano, Liber Illustrium Virorum, and Al Tempo de' Tremuoti) have never before appeared in print, and three of them (Hymns to Our Lady of Chartres, Pindarics, and Clavics) have been greatly revised and expanded. less
Recommended by Sophie Ratcliffe, and 1 others.

Sophie RatcliffeThough any volume of poetry may be a balm for sadness, I would say that Geoffrey Hill is an extraordinary poet of broken love and grief. (Source)

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In a London flat, two young boys face the unbearable sadness of their mother's sudden death. Their father, a Ted Hughes scholar and scruffy romantic, imagines a future of well-meaning visitors and emptiness.

In this moment of despair they are visited by Crow - antagonist, trickster, healer, babysitter. This self-described sentimental bird is attracted to the grieving family and threatens to stay until they no longer need him. As weeks turn to months and physical pain of loss gives way to memories, this little unit of three begin to heal.

In this extraordinary debut -...
Recommended by Sophie Ratcliffe, and 1 others.

Sophie RatcliffeWhat struck me about this book is the way in which grief is embodied. In Max Porter’s novel (or novel-poem), grief becomes ‘Crow’, who descends upon this family. He’s variously a babysitter, a friend, a ghost, a terrorizer. He impersonates a mother; he’s a joker; he’s twisted. He causes chaos. That’s what it captures: the absolute unpredictability, and nastiness, and then sudden benevolence of... (Source)

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The Inimitable Jeeves (Jeeves, #2)

The Inimitable Jeeves contains eleven interconnected stories featuring the luckless Bertie Wooster, his perennially lovelorn friend Bingo Little, and who else but our old pal, the indefatigable butler Jeeves. These tales are sure to quench one's thirst for cultured buffoonery. less
Recommended by Jessica Livingston, Sophie Ratcliffe, and 2 others.

Sophie RatcliffeWodehouse has such a gift with language. The placement of the word macaroon in this story is magnificent. (Source)

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