Read. Watch. Listen. with Manina Jones

Read. Watch. Listen. introduces you to the personal side of our faculty, staff and alumni. Participants are asked to answer three simple questions about their reading, viewing and listening habits – what one book or newspaper/magazine article is grabbing your attention; what one movie or television show has caught your eye; and what album/song, podcast or radio show are you lending an ear to.

Manina Jones is Chair of the Department of English & Writing Studies.

Today, she takes a turn on Read. Watch. Listen.

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Many people have been struggling with finding sustained focus when reading fiction during the COVID-19 lockdown. I have sought solace under these conditions by immersing myself in the other-worlds of historical fiction, which is not normally my genre.

Just to be nerdy, I’ve been creating a Spotify playlist of music from the era for each novel.

I’ve just finished Jesse Burton’s The Miniaturist, a novel redolent with the sights, sounds, scents and textures of 17th century Amsterdam. It takes its inspiration from an uncannily elaborate doll’s house on exhibit in Rijksmuseum.

I’m just settling into Slammerkin, written by London, Ont., author Emma Donoghue, whose plot was suggested by a murder committed by a young woman in the Welsh Borders in 1763. The story begins with a compelling portrayal of the palpably grubby and tumultuous streets of London, England.


Bosch. Set in contemporary Hollywood, this television series is a tribute to old-school noir style detective stories. Each season (six so far on Amazon Prime) is based on a Michael Connelly novel and depicts extravagantly complex police investigations led by homicide detective Hieronymus (aka Harry) Bosch against the background of LA’s byzantine political scene. The continuing characters, especially Harry, are compellingly developed over the trajectory of the series, and I especially enjoy the vintage Hollywood settings, such as the Ace Hotel Theater and Bunker Hill.


I look forward to every installment of BBC Radio 4’s The Kitchen Cabinet podcast. It’s comfort food for the ears. The Kitchen Cabinet is a panel show with experts in different cuisines and areas of food knowledge and experience. Held in a different British location each week, the show’s panelists discuss the histories and cultures of food, cooking, and eating, and take questions from listeners. I particularly relish the contributions of food historian Annie Gray.

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