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Tim Kendall's Top Book Recommendations

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



Sylvia Plath's celebrated collection.

When Sylvia Plath died, she not only left behind a prolific life but also her unpublished literary masterpiece, Ariel. Her husband, Ted Hughes, brought the collection to life in 1966, and its publication garnered worldwide acclaim. This collection showcases the beloved poet’s brilliant, provoking, and always moving poems, including "Ariel" and once again shows why readers have fallen in love with her work throughout the generations.
Recommended by Tim Kendall, and 1 others.

Tim KendallThe restored Ariel is a volume of rebirth and hope: it begins with the word love and ends with spring. We sometimes caricature Plath as some kind of doom-laden depressive. That’s absolutely not what the trajectory of Ariel conveys. (Source)

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The Collected Poems

The aim of the present complete edition, which contains a numbered sequence of the 224 poems written after 1956 together with a further 50 poems chosen from her pre-1956 work, is to bring Sylvia Plath's poetry together in one volume, including the various uncollected and unpublished pieces, and to set everything in as true a chronological order as is possible, so that the whole progress and achievement of this unusual poet will become accessible to readers. less
Recommended by Tim Kendall, and 1 others.

Tim KendallWhat Plath most often wrestles with is a sense that, as the metaphor of a bell jar suggests, she’s seeing the world through glass. She’s trapped. She’s constrained. She knows that there’s something greater within her, but it can’t break through. She’s struggling; she’s puzzled. To borrow one of her titles as a metaphor, she’s writing ‘stillborn’ poems. (Source)

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"A scintillating and poignant autobiography in letters. . . . Her letters blaze with fresh and stunning revelations, with more to come."—Booklist on The Letters of Sylvia Plath Vol 1

One of Kirkus’s best books of 2018

The second volume in the definitive, complete collection of the letters of Pulitzer Prize-winning poet, Sylvia Plath, from the early years of her marriage to Ted Hughes to the final days leading to her suicide in 1963, many never before seen.

One of the most talented and beloved poets, Sylvia...
Recommended by Tim Kendall, and 1 others.

Tim KendallPlath adapts her manner to her audience. ‘Who is Sylvia?’ She contains multitudes—with at least as many personae as there are correspondents. The Plath of Letters Home is vastly different from the Plath of the Beuscher letters, who is different again from the Plath writing to the Catholic priest Michael Carey (and sending him, of all poems, ‘Mary’s Song’!). She’s all these personae and more. (Source)

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The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath

First U.S. Publication

A major literary event--the complete, uncensored journals of Sylvia Plath, published in their entirety for the first time.

Sylvia Plath's journals were originally published in 1982 in a heavily abridged version authorized by Plath's husband, Ted Hughes. This new edition is an exact and complete transcription of the diaries Plath kept during the last twelve years of her life. Sixty percent of the book is material that has never before been made public, more fully revealing the intensity of the poet's personal and literary struggles, and providing...
Recommended by Tim Kendall, and 1 others.

Tim KendallThe Journals are, in their unabridged state, an astonishing body of work. We talk about how poets are born, not made, but what I always take away from every page of the Journals—and it’s a serious slab of a book—is the extent to which Plath was both born and self-made. (Source)

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The Bell Jar

Sylvia Plath's shocking, realistic, and intensely emotional novel about a woman falling into the grip of insanity.

Esther Greenwood is brilliant, beautiful, enormously talented, and successful, but slowly going under—maybe for the last time. In her acclaimed and enduring masterwork, Sylvia Plath brilliantly draws the reader into Esther's breakdown with such intensity that her insanity becomes palpably real, even rational—as accessible an experience as going to the movies. A deep penetration into the darkest and most harrowing corners of the human psyche, The Bell Jar is...

Bryony GordonAs a teenage girl, you have to read The Bell Jar. It’s a rite of passage. (Source)

The CEO Library Community (through anonymous form)One of the best 3 books I've read in 2019 (Source)

Tim KendallDespite its subject matter, The Bell Jar is often a very funny novel. Perhaps we miss it because the pall of Plath’s biography descends across the whole work and reputation. But The Bell Jar is viciously funny. There are people still alive today who won’t talk about it because they were so badly hurt by Plath’s portrayal of them. (Source)

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