26 Books in 2017 Book 19: A Book With a One-Word Title

Unless by Carol Shields

Book number 19 in the challenge has to be a book with a one-word title.

At first I could only think of a couple that I’d actually read, but with a bit of effort I came up with several more.

My list started with books read in childhood up to the present. Below are some of them –

From my schooldays:

  • Heidi by Johanna Spyrie
  • Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson
  • Greenvoe by Georg Mackay Brown


From my time at university

  • Beowulf
  • Middlemarch by George Eliot


Adult era

  • Persuasion by Jane Austen
  • Emma by Jane Austen
  • Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
  • Room by Emma Donoghue


My favourite one-word title

But my pick of the list I came up with has got to be Unless by Carol Shields.

Carol Shields is one of my all-time favourite authors. I aspire to write like she did.

In Unless, published in 2002, she tells what appears to be a simple tale of the ordinary, the domestic and the everyday. But it’s so much more than that. This is ‘women’s fiction’ at its most meaningful and best, and indeed it defies and subverts this narrow categorisation.

Unless is a feminist take on  twenty-first century, family life and the insight and wisdom of Shields’ writing still applies today, fifteen years after its publication.

Shields was a Canadian writer. Her most famous book The Stone Diaries won the Pulitzer prize. Sadly, Carol Shields died in 2003 whilst still only in her forties.

Back Cover Blurb for Unless: Reta Winters has a loving family, good friends, and growing success as a writer of light fiction. Then her eldest daughter suddenly withdraws from the world, abandoning university to sit on a street corner, wearing a sign that reads only ‘Goodness’. As Reta seeks the causes of her daughter’s retreat, her enquiry turns into an unflinching, often very funny meditation on society and where we find meaning and hope. ‘Unless’ is a dazzling and daring novel from the undisputed master of extraordinary fictions about so-called ‘ordinary’ lives.

So over to you – what is your favourite book with a one-word title?