In one of the most acclaimed novels of recent years, Kazuo Ishiguro imagines the lives of a group of students growing up in a darkly skewed version of contemporary England. Narrated by Kathy, now thirty-one, Never Let Me Go dramatizes her attempts to come to terms with her childhood at the seemingly idyllic Hailsham School and with the fate that has always awaited her and her closest friends in the wider world.
Rosemary's started college, and she's decided not to tell anyone about her family. Rosemary is now an only child, but she used to have a sister the same age as her, and an older brother. Both are now gone - vanished from her life. There was something unique about Rosemary's sister, Fern. You'll have to find out for yourself what it is that makes her unhappy family unlike any other.
"Ignore idea of a 'twist' for more satisfying read"
Pirriwee Public is a beautiful little beachside primary school where children are taught that 'sharing is caring.' So how has the annual School Trivia Night ended in full-blown riot? Sirens are wailing. People are screaming. The principal is mortified. And one parent is dead. Was it a murder, a tragic accident or just good parents gone bad? As the parents at Pirriwee Public are about to discover, sometimes it's the little lies that turn out to be the most lethal.
"Liane's as Always Captivates You"
One summer's day in 1984, teenage runaway Holly Sykes encounters a strange woman who offers a small kindness in exchange for 'asylum'. Decades will pass before Holly understands what sort of asylum the woman was seeking.... The Bone Clocks follows Holly's life: not so far out of the ordinary, yet punctuated by flashes of precognition, visits from people who emerge from thin air, and brief lapses in the laws of reality.
Frances had been picturing her lodgers in purely mercenary terms - as something like two great waddling shillings. But this, she thought, was what it really meant to have paying guests: this odd, unintimate proximity, this rather peeled-back moment, where the only thing between herself and a naked Mrs Barber was a few feet of kitchen and a thin scullery door. An image sprang into her head: that round flesh, crimsoning in the heat.
Fiona Maye is a leading High Court judge, presiding over cases in the family court. She is renowned for her fierce intelligence, exactitude and sensitivity. But her professional success belies private sorrow and domestic strife. There is the lingering regret of her childlessness, and now, her marriage of thirty years is in crisis. At the same time, she is called on to try an urgent case: for religious reasons, a beautiful 17-year-old boy, Adam, is refusing the medical treatment that could save his life.
"A KIND NARRATIVE"
It is 1866 and Walter Moody has come to make his fortune upon the New Zealand goldfields. On arrival, he stumbles across a tense gathering of 12 local men, who have met in secret to discuss a series of unsolved crimes. A wealthy man has vanished, a whore has tried to end her life, and an enormous fortune has been discovered in the home of a luckless drunk. Moody is soon drawn into the mystery: a network of fates and fortunes that is as complex and exquisitely patterned as the night sky.
"Beautifully written, but slower than a snail"
When Barry Fairbrother dies in his early 40s, the town of Pagford is left in shock. Pagford is, seemingly, an English idyll, with a cobbled market square and an ancient abbey, but what lies behind the pretty facade is a town at war. Rich at war with poor, teenagers at war with their parents, wives at war with their husbands, teachers at war with their pupils.... Pagford is not what it first seems. And the empty seat left by Barry on the parish council soon becomes the catalyst for the biggest war the town has yet seen.
"Stick with it"
The smartest murder-mystery you will ever hearA misfit at an exclusive New England college, Richard finds kindred spirits in the five eccentric students of his ancient Greek class. But his new friends have a horrific secret. When blackmail and violence threaten to blow their privileged lives apart, they drag Richard into the nightmare that engulfs them. And soon they enter a terrifying heart of darkness from which they may never return.
"Brilliant book, terribly badly read"
Streetwise George and his big, childlike friend Lennie are drifters, searching for work in the fields and valleys of California. They have nothing except the clothes on their back, and a hope that one day they'll find a place of their own and live the American dream. But dreams come at a price. Gentle giant Lennie doesn't know his own strength, and when they find work at a ranch he gets into trouble with the boss's daughter-in-law. Trouble so bad that even his protector George may not be able to save him....
At the heart of Joseph Heller's best-selling novel, first published in 1961, is a satirical indictment of military madness and stupidity, and the desire of the ordinary man to survive it.
Jackson, Mississippi, 1962. Aibileen is a black maid raising her 17th white child. Minny, Aibileen's best friend, is the sassiest woman in Mississippi: a wonderful cook with a gossip's tongue. Graduate Skeeter returns from college with ambitions, but her mother will not be happy until she's married. Although world's apart, Skeeter, Aibileen and Minny's lives converge over a clandestine project that will change the town of Jackson forever.
"Relished every minute"
A contemporary classic, The Remains of the Day is Kazuo Ishiguro's beautiful and haunting evocation of life between the wars in a Great English House. In the summer of 1956, Stevens, the ageing butler of Darlington Hall, embarks on a leisurely holiday that will take him deep into the countryside - and into his past.
A novel of high adventure, great storytelling and moral purpose, based on an extraordinary true story of eight years in the Bombay underworld. In the early 80s, Gregory David Roberts, an armed robber and heroin addict, escaped from an Australian prison to India, where he lived in a Bombay slum. There, he established a free health clinic and also joined the mafia, working as a money launderer, forger and street soldier. He found time to learn Hindi and Marathi, fall in love, and spend time being worked over in an Indian jail.
"Great for a rookie!"
A tour-de-force of historical imagination, this is the story of three young men at the dawn of the French Revolution. Georges-Jacques Danton: zealous, energetic, debt-ridden. Maximilien Robespierre: small, diligent, and terrified of violence. And Camille Desmoulins: a genius of rhetoric, charming, handsome, but erratic and untrustworthy. As these key figures of the French Revolution taste the addictive delights of power, they must also come to face the horror that follows.
Scotland, 1860. Reverend Alexander Ferguson takes up his new parish, an isolated patch on the Hebridean island of Harris. His time there will change his life, but the Sea House, on the edge of the dunes keeps its silence long after Alexander departs. More than a century later, Ruth and Michael buy the grand but dilapidated building for the family they hope to have. But their dreams are marred by a shocking discovery.
"Slow start but really enjoyable in the end."
Day one: The Georgia Flu explodes over the surface of the Earth like a neutron bomb. News reports put the mortality rate at over 99%. Week Two: Civilization has crumbled. Year Twenty: A band of actors and musicians called the Travelling Symphony move through their territories performing concerts and Shakespeare to the settlements that have grown up there. Twenty years after the pandemic, life feels relatively safe. But now a new danger looms, and it threatens the hopeful world every survivor has tried to rebuild.
"Evocatively Portrayed End of the World..."
How to Be Both is a novel all about art's versatility. There's a renaissance artist of the 1460s. There's the child of a child of the 1960s. Two tales of love and injustice twist into a singular yarn where time gets timeless, structural gets playful, knowing gets mysterious, fictional gets real - and all life's givens get given a second chance.
"Interesting and original"
Animal Farm is George Orwell's great socio-political allegory set in a farmyard where the animals decide to seize the farmer's land and create a co-operative that reaps the benefits of their combined labours. However, as with all great political plans, some animals see a bigger share of the rewards than others and the animals start to question their supposed utopia.
"A brilliant reading of a classic work"
As teenagers, Ifemelu and Obinze fall in love in a Nigeria under military dictatorship. The self-assured Ifemelu departs for America, where Obinze hopes to join her, but post-9/11 America will not let him in, and he plunges into a dangerous, undocumented life in London. Fifteen years later, after so long apart and so many changes, will they find the courage to meet again, face to face?
"Another great story from Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie"
Set on the island of Mallorca, The Rocks is a double love story told in reverse. Opening in 2005 with a dramatic event that seems to seal the mystery of two lives, the story moves backwards in time, unravelling over sixty years amid the olive groves and bars, the boats and poolside parties, the lives and relationships of two intertwined families within an expat community of endearing and flawed characters.
In December 1992 three groups of teenagers head to the theater to see the movie version of the famed Eons & Empires comic books. For Adam it's a last-ditch effort to connect with the girl he's had a crush on for years. Passionate fan Sharon skips school in Cincinnati so she can fully appreciate the flick without interruption from her vapid almost-friends--a seemingly silly indiscretion with shocking consequences.
Ryder Creed and his dogs have been making national headlines after intercepting several major drug stashes being smuggled through Atlanta's airport. But their newfound celebrity has also garnered some unwanted attention. When Creed and one of his dogs are called in to search a commercial fishing vessel, they discover a secret compartment. But the Colombian cartels' latest shipment isn't drugs.
Duddy - the third generation of a Jewish immigrant family in Montreal - is combative, amoral, scheming, a liar, and totally hilarious. From his street days tormenting teachers at the Jewish academy to his time hustling four jobs at once in a grand plan to "be somebody", Duddy learns about living - and the lesson is an outrageous roller-coaster ride through the human comedy.
"Today is Wednesday 2nd October. If I am back in this very room in the Reform Club on Saturday 21st December by eight forty-five in the evening, I win." Phileas Fogg bets £20,000 that he can go round the world in eighty days--a huge sum of money in 1872, worth more than a million pounds today. When he sets off on his amazing journey with his clever servant, Passepartout, they cannot afford the slightest delay.
Rosie Mortimer, celebrity gardener with a successful TV show, has a pleasantly uneventful life with her undemanding beau. Her gay son and his partner live nearby. When her estranged daughter Susannah, product of a fractured family, returns to Rosie's Connecticut town with her husband, a former priest, to open a restaurant, the tense relationships among these three build to a near-tragedy.
During WWII, Avelino Carrillo spent four harrowing years in the South Pacific with one thought driving his survival: to return to his beloved home in Napa Valley. The Carrillos have a history in the valley that stretches deep, like grapevine roots in the soil. For a century, they worked the vineyard at their family home, la Casa de los Sueños, until they lost the property to a wealthy land baron. Now, Avelino is determined to reclaim the land and home he loves so much.
Dream of the Red Chamber is one of the Chinese Noble Classics.
Baoyu has always believed that he will marry his childhood sweetheart, Daiyu. Daiyu is beautiful and talented, very sensitive, and physically fragile. It is a huge shock to him when he learns that his parents instead want him to marry Baochai, a healthy and considerate girl. Baoyu's family is fast losing its fame and fortune.
When Dr. Watson agrees to share lodgings with Sherlock Holmes, he soon finds himself involved in a shocking and mysterious murder case. What will Holmes discover when he examines the body? There are no marks on the dead man, so why is there so much blood at the scene of the crime? Inspector Lestrade and Inspector Gregson have asked Holmes to help them. But will they listen to his advice?
When Miss Mary Morstan is invited to meet a secretive stranger, she asks Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson to help her.
Captain Morstan has disappeared from his hotel without a trace. Should Miss Morstan dare to hope that her father is still alive?
What horrible scene awaits the famous detective and his friend when they break down the door to Bartholomew Sholto's attic room? Who is the man with the wooden leg, and why is he so full of bitterness and hatred?
Journey to the West is one of the Chinese Noble Classics.
In ancient China a magical monkey appears, creating chaos everywhere he goes. The only way to put his tricks and talents to good use is to make him protector of Xuanzang, a young and handsome monk determined to travel from China to India in search of precious scriptures. Monkey and his fellow disciples, Piggy and Sandy, have to protect Xuanzang from monsters and demons who think they can live forever just by taking bites out of the monk.
"It wouldn't be pleasant sharing my flat with a dead body, but there was nothing else I could do."
Richard Hannay is bored with life in London. Then he discovers a horrible crime and finds himself in the middle of a clever and frightening plot. Can he find the proof he needs to save his country from disaster? When Hannay hides out on the wild Scottish moors, will he escape from the dangerous gang that wants to silence him forever? Who can he trust on his journey?
This is a book about phobias and obsessions, isolation and dark corners. It's about families, friendships, and carefully preserved secrets. But above everything else it's about love. Finding love - in any of its forms - and nurturing it. Miss Hayes has a new theory. She thinks my condition's caused by some traumatic incident from my past I keep deep-rooted in my mind. As soon as I come clean I'll flood out all these tears and it'll all be ok and I won't be scared of Them anymore.
On a December night in 1938, a 10-year-old girl named Lore is put on the Kinder transport, a train carrying hundreds of Jewish children out of Austria to safety from Hitler's increasingly alarming oppression. Temporarily housed at the Dover Court Camp on England's east coast, Lore will find herself living in other people's houses for the next seven years: the Orthodox Levines, the Hoopers, the working-class Grimsleys, and the wealthy Miss Douglas and Mrs. Dillon.
After years teaching Romantic poetry at the Technical University of Cape Town, David Lurie, middle-aged and twice divorced, has an impulsive affair with a student. The affair sours, he is denounced and summoned before a committee of inquiry. Willing to admit his guilt, but refusing to yield to pressure to repent publicly, he resigns and retreats to his daughter Lucy's isolated smallholding.
The setting is Berlin. Into this divided city, wrenched between East and West, between past and present; comes twenty-five-year-old Leonard Marnham, assigned to a British-American surveillance team. Though only a pawn in an international plot that is never fully revealed to him, Leonard uses his secret work to escape the bonds of his ordinary life - and to lose his unwanted innocence.
In 1938, while tensions in Europe are reaching a boiling point, four young women with big ambitions enter secretarial school in San Francisco. Motivated to attain the financial stability that eluded their parents, they go to battle for their futures. Moira, of Scottish descent, dreams of being an actress. Ann yearns for the education her Jewish immigrant parents provided for her brother, but not for her. Japanese American Wanda experiences firsthand the racial injustices running rampant in the United States.
Siddhartha, the son of a Brahmin, who enjoys a near idyllic existence is secretly unsatisfied and leaves his home to join the Samanas who believe enlightenment can be reached through asceticism, a rejection of the body and physical desire. His companion Govinda is also in search of enlightenment and decides to come along with Siddhartha. Both of them walk the earth with the samanas in search of enlightenment. Will they achieve enlightenment?
As a native teenager from Kansas she comes to New York in search of fame and fortune. The pursuit of her dream leads her into marriage, motherhood, a heart-rending separation and then divorce. At the age of 45, she meets a man who not only gives her a renewed sense of her Jewish heritage, but also offers her the chance for total fulfillment as a woman.
Jack London's classic adventure story about the friendship developed between a Yukon gold hunter and the mixed dog-wolf he rescues from the hands of a man who mistreats him. White Fang is a companion novel and thematic mirror to London's best-known work, The Call of the Wild.
The year is 1984 and the city is Tokyo.
A young woman named Aomame follows a taxi driver's enigmatic suggestion and begins to notice puzzling discrepancies in the world around her. She has entered, she realizes, a parallel existence, which she calls 1Q84 - "Q" is for "question mark". A world that bears a question....
"Story sneaks up on you, so don't give up too soon"
Of all of John Irving's books, this is the one that lends itself best to audio. In print, Owen Meany's dialogue is set in capital letters; for this production, Irving himself selected Joe Barrett to deliver Meany's difficult voice as intended. In the summer of 1953, two 11-year-old boys - best friends - are playing in a Little League baseball game in Gravesend, New Hampshire. One of the boys hits a foul ball that kills the other boy's mother. The boy who hits the ball doesn't believe in accidents; Owen Meany believes he is God's instrument. What happens to Owen after that 1953 foul ball is extraordinary and terrifying.
"An amazing and memorable book"
Paul Auster's signature work, The New York Trilogy, consists of three interlocking novels: City of Glass, Ghosts, and The Locked Room - haunting and mysterious tales that move at the breathless pace of a thriller.
Kenneth Toomey is an eminent novelist of dubious talent; Don Carlo Campanati is a man of God, a shrewd manipulator who rises through the Vatican to become the architect of church revolution and a candidate for sainthood. These two men are linked not only by family ties but by a common understanding of mankind's frailties. In this epic masterpiece, Anthony Burgess plumbs the depths of the essence of power and the lengths men will go for it.
When Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm published their Children's and Household Tales in 1812, followed by a second volume in 1815, they had no idea that such stories as "Rapunzel", "Hansel and Gretel", and "Cinderella" would become the most celebrated in the world. Yet few people today are familiar with the majority of tales from the two early volumes, since in the next four decades the Grimms would publish six other editions, each extensively revised in content and style.
Golden Globe-winning actor Michael C. Hall (Dexter, Six Feet Under) performs Truman Capote's masterstroke about a young writer's charmed fascination with his unorthodox neighbor, the "American geisha" Holly Golightly. Holly - a World War II-era society girl in her late teens - survives via socialization, attending parties and restaurants with men from the wealthy upper class who also provide her with money and expensive gifts. Over the course of the novella, the seemingly shallow Holly slowly opens up to the curious protagonist.
"I have no idea why this is a classic..."
Like his father before him, Arthur Winthrop is the Headmaster of Vermont's elite Lancaster School. It is the place he feels has given him his life, but is also the site of his undoing as events spiral out of his control. Found wandering naked in Central Park, he begins to tell his story to the police, but his memories collide into one another, and the true nature of things, a narrative of love, of marriage, of family and of a tragedy Arthur does not know how to address emerges. Luminous and atmospheric, the novel is part mystery, part love story and an exploration of the ties of place and family.
Born just 15 months apart, Subhash and Udayan Mitra are inseparable brothers, one often mistaken for the other in the Calcutta neighborhood where they grow up. But they are also opposites, with gravely different futures ahead. It is the 1960s, and Udayan - charismatic and impulsive - finds himself drawn to the Naxalite movement, a rebellion waged to eradicate inequity and poverty; he will give everything, risk all, for what he believes. Subhash, the dutiful son, does not share his brother's political passion; he leaves home to pursue a life of scientific research in a quiet, coastal corner of America.
"Flat and depressing"
Will Marion has two perfect kidneys. His daughters aren't so lucky. Question is: which one should he save? Will's 47. His wife bailed out when the twins were in nappies and hasn't been seen since. He coped OK by himself at first, giving Georgie and Kay all the love he could, working in a boring admin job to support them. Just after the twins turn sixteen, Georgie suffers kidney failure and is placed on dialysis. Her type is rare, and Will immediately offers to donate an organ.
Anthony Powell's universally acclaimed epic encompasses a four-volume panorama of twentieth century London. Hailed by Time as "brilliant literary comedy as well as a brilliant sketch of the times," A Dance to the Music of Time opens just after World War I. Amid the fever of the 1920s and the first chill of the 1930s, Nick Jenkins and his friends confront sex, society, business, and art.
"The best way to enjoy this true classic"
Penobscot Indian Molly Ayer is close to "aging out" out of the foster care system. A community-service position helping an elderly woman clean out her home is the only thing keeping Molly out of juvie and worse. As she helps Vivian sort through her possessions and memories, Molly learns that she and Vivian aren't as different as they seem to be. A young Irish immigrant orphaned in New York City, Vivian was put on a train to the Midwest with hundreds of other children whose destinies would be determined by luck and chance.
"Lovely easy read"
Including many of the greatest stories ever told - the labours of Hercules, the voyage of the Argonauts, Theseus and the minotaur, Midas and his golden touch, the Trojan War and Odysseus's journey home - Robert Graves's superb and comprehensive retelling of the Greek myths for a modern audience has been regarded for over fifty years as the definitive version. With a novelist's skill and a poet's eye, Graves draws on the entire canon of ancient literature, bringing together all the elements of every myth into one epic and unforgettable story.
The Sheltering Sky is a landmark of 20th-century literature, a novel of existential despair that examines the limits of humanity when it touches the unfathomable emptiness of the desert. Academy Award-winning actress Jennifer Connelly (A Beautiful Mind, Requiem for a Dream) gives masterful voice to this American classic.
When Pembe leaves the Kurdish village of her birth, and her twin sister with it, it is for love. She follows her husband, Adem, to London with the hope of making a new life, but the family soon faces a stark choice: to stay loyal to the old traditions or try their best to fit in. When Adem abandons his family, it is Iskender, Pembe's eldest son, who must step in and prevent shame from falling on the family name. And when Pembe begins a chaste affair with a man named Elias, Iskender will discover that you could love someone with all your heart and yet be ready to hurt them.
"The narrative moves on"
Spring, 1971, East Pakistan. Rehana Haque is throwing a party for her beloved children, Sohail and Maya. Her young family is growing up fast, and Rehana wants to remember this day forever. But out on the hot city streets, something violent is brewing. As the civil war develops, a war which will eventually see the birth of Bangladesh, Rehana struggles to keep her children safe and finds herself facing a heartbreaking dilemma.
In a rural Iranian village, Zal's demented mother, horrified by the pallor of his skin and hair, becomes convinced she has given birth to a "White Demon." She hides him in a birdcage and there he lives for the next decade. Unfamiliar with human society, Zal eats birdseed and insects, squats atop the newspaper he sleeps upon, and communicates only in the squawks and shrieks of the other pet birds around him. Freed from his cage and adopted by a behavioral analyst, Zal awakens in New York to the possibility of a future.
When a baby goes missing on a lonely roadside in Australia, it sets off a police investigation that will become a media sensation and dinner-table talk across the world. Lies, rumours and guilt snowball, causing the parents, Joanna and Alistair, to slowly turn against each other. Finally Joanna starts thinking the unthinkable: could the truth be even more terrible than she suspected? And what will it take to make things right?
"Top class story"