A gleeful and exhilarating tale of global conspiracy, complex code-breaking, high-tech data visualization, young love, rollicking adventure, and the secret to eternal life - mostly set in a hole-in-the-wall San Francisco bookstore.The Great Recession has shuffled Clay Jannon out of his life as a San Francisco Web-design drone - and serendipity, sheer curiosity, and the ability to climb a ladder like a monkey has landed him a new gig working the night shift at Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore.
"Penumbra for President!"
In the not-so-distant future, the forecasted 'death of print' has become a reality. Bookstores, libraries, newspapers, and magazines are a thing of the past, as we spend our time glued to handheld devices called Memes that not only keep us in constant communication but have become so intuitive as to hail us taxis before we leave our offices, order takeout at the first growl of a hungry stomach, and even create and sell language itself in a marketplace called the Word Exchange.
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"
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.
In the five years since her young husband's death, Celia Cassill has retreated from view. She has moved from one New York neighbourhood to another but she has not moved on. The owner of a small apartment building, she has chosen tenants who will not intrude upon her grief. Privacy is the byword; self-containment the aim. Everything will change when a new tenant, Hope, moves in upstairs. Intoxicating and dangerous, Hope is on the run from a failed marriage and in thrall to a seductive, sinister man.
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.
"My family and other animals?"
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.
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.
"Ideal choice for listening"
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.
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.
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"
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!"
When Harold Fry nips out one morning to post a letter, leaving his wife hoovering upstairs, he has no idea that he is about to walk from one end of the country to the other. He has no hiking boots or map, let alone a compass, waterproof, or mobile phone. All he knows is that he must keep walking - to save someone else's life.
"Makes for a tired dog"
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"
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"
Austen's heroine Elizabeth Bennet deals with the issues of manners, upbringing, morality, education, and marriage in the society of the landed gentry of early 19th-century England. Austen at her wittiest.
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"
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"
Savagely funny and hauntingly sad, Lolita is Nabokov's most famous and controversial novel. It is the story of tortured college professor Humbert Humbert and his dangerous obsession with honey-skinned schoolgirl Dolores Haze.
F.X. Enderby travels to Indiana in order to impress the Hoosiers with his musical script on the career of Shakespeare and falls in love with a nightclub singer.
A Dead Man in Deptford re-imagines the riotous life and suspicious death of Christopher Marlowe. Poet, lover, and spy, Marlowe must negotiate the pressures placed upon him by theatre, Queen, and country. Burgess brings this dazzling figure to life and pungently evokes Elizabethan England.
A novel in verse form, Byrne echoes and takes further many of the preoccupations of Burgess's earlier fiction. It tells the story of a rampant Irish artist who, in the early days of the century, goes rapidly to the bad and ends up within Hitler's Third Reich.
Inside Mr. Enderby introduced to a captivated audience Burgess's dyspeptic poet, whose uniquely idiosyncratic, scatological brand of verse even won the genuine approval of T. S. Eliot. In his first clash with the outside world, Enderby is extracted from his lavatorial sanctuary by the professional widow Vesta Bainbridge in a most peculiar romance.
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.
Seventy-year old avant-garde composer Peter Els opens the door one evening to find the police outside. His DIY microbiology lab has come to the attention of Homeland Security. Panicked by the raid on his house, Els flees and turns fugitive, waiting for the evidence to clear him and for the alarm surrounding his activities to blow over. But alarm turns to national hysteria.
Set in both the fractured world of Jewish Harlem and the bohemian maelstrom of the Village, Mercy of a Rude Stream echoes Nabokov in its portrayal of sexual deviance, and offers a harrowing and relentless family drama amid a grand panorama of New York City in the 1910s and Roaring 20s.
Relocated to New York for The Clockwork Testament, or, Enderby's End, Enderby has to defend himself and his first film scenario, which he based on a poem by Gerald Manley Hopkins but - shades of Burgess's A Clockwork Orange - was transmogrified into an X-rated movie.
'The situation as far as I'm concerned', says the young narrator-hero of MF, 'is an interesting one. In two days in a strange country I've acquired a mother in the form of a Welsh-speaking Bird Queen who scares me. I've spent some hours in prison, I've discovered the works of an unknown superlative artist in a garden shed and I've been shot at by a riddling lion-faced expert on Bishop Berkeley. Most interesting of all I'm due tonight to be married by a circus clown to my own sister.'
Welcome back, dear Reader! Back to that wondrous world full of marvelous creatures. Back to that magical land full of (not so) little hills, brightly colored meadows, and wonderful little brooks that need crossing. But let us not forget, dear Reader, the darkness of the forest, and the inhabitants therein...
Every Tongue Got to Confess is an extensive volume of African American folklore that Zora Neale Hurston collected on her travels through the Gulf States in the late 1920s. The bittersweet and often hilarious tale, which range from longer narratives about God, the Devil, white folk, and mistaken identity to witty one-liners, reveal attitudes about faith, love, family, slavery, race, and community.
A selection of eight fairy tales from the book Tales of Old Japan by A B Mitford: The Tongue-Cut Sparrow, The Accomplished and Lucky Tea-Kettle, The Crackling Mountain, The Battle of the Ape and the Crab, The Adventures of Little Peachling, The Foxes' Wedding, The History of Sakata Kintoki, The Elves and the Envious Neighbour
Against the backdrop of wars, raging within the land and without, David is growing into the mantle of leadership. Between his anointment as a tribal king and his anointment as the king of all of Israel, he uses wisdom, cunning, and his own understanding of the forces of history, aiming for high ideals: stopping the bloodshed, uniting the nation, and bringing about healing and peace.
The field is all around us. It's our needs and our wants. This is what George tells Lydia. A disturbance, however, is something that keeps us from grasping and attaining the things we need. Usually, we can adapt to these disturbances and move forward. But, what happens if a disturbance becomes too great to move past? In this entrancing tale of loss and understanding, acclaimed author Lynne Sharon Schwartz plots the course of a woman's life, through the cycles of love, loss, and acceptance.
Lily McCain is cursed. With just one touch she can see a person's future, whether it's a good fortune or a terrible fate. Afraid of the potent visions she foresees, she distances herself from the world, succumbing to a life of solitude. But at the touch of a mysterious stranger - who has powers of his own - Lily sees a new, chilling future for herself: one where she is fated to make a terrible choice ...
During a cold, British winter, three women reach crisis point. Emily, an immigrant survivor of the Rwandan genocide, is existing but not living. Vera, a Christian Londoner, is striving to live a moral life, undermined by secrets from her past. Lynn, battling a disease, is consumed by resentment of what she hasn't achieved. Each suffers her own demons. But as their paths interweave, they begin to unravel their pasts, and change each other's futures.
Therese is just an ordinary sales assistant working in a New York department store when an alluring woman in her 30s walks up to her counter. Standing there, Therese is wholly unprepared for the first shock of love. She is an awkward 19-year-old with a job she hates and a boyfriend she doesn't love; Carol is a sophisticated, bored suburban housewife in the throes of a divorce and a custody battle for her only daughter. As Therese becomes irresistibly drawn into Carol's world, she soon realises how much they both stand to lose....
Connecticut, 1913. Wrongly accused of attending anarchist gatherings Austin Voronkov, engineer, an inventor and Russian immigrant is deported with his young family. While his wife and children are eventually able to return, Austin becomes indefinitely stranded in Mexico City because of the black mark on his record. He keeps a daily correspondence with Julia, as they struggle to remain a family across a distance of two countries.
A man cursed by insomnia. After sleepless nights, he takes to that same night to release boredom and finds adventure.
Judy Chicurel's exquisitely written debut evokes the atmosphere of a 1970s summer in a close-knit working class community on Long Island. For readers of Jennifer Egan and Anne Tyler. Katie and her young friends face a changing world, with prospects very different from those presented to their parents. The Vietnam War seems pointless to many but has devastated lives that remain broken even after the fighting is over.
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"
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.
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.
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..."
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.
Against the mythical dreamscape of America, Auster brilliantly weaves the bizarre narrative of Marco Stanley Fogg, an orphan searching for love, his father, and the key to the riddle of his origin and fate.
"My favourite Paul Auster novel"
Hailed by The New York Times as "a marvel of storytelling", The Things They Carried's portrayal of the boots-on-the-ground experience of soldiers in the Vietnam War is a landmark in war writing. Now, three-time Emmy Award winner-Bryan Cranston, star of the hit TV series Breaking Bad, delivers an electrifying performance that walks the book's hallucinatory line between reality and fiction and highlights the emotional power of the spoken word.
In the summer of 1914 a young Englishwoman, Vivian Rose Spencer, finds herself fulfilling a dream by joining an archeological dig in Turkey. Working alongside Germans and Turks, she falls in love with archaeologist, Tahsin Bey, and joins him in his quest to find an ancient silver circlet. The outbreak of war in Europe brings her idyllic summer to a sudden end, and her friends become her nation's enemies.
It is 1948 and a young American couple arrive in France for a holiday, full of anticipation and enthusiasm. But the countryside and people are war-battered, and their reception at the Chateau Beaumesnil is not all the open-hearted Americans could wish for.
A hopeless stutterer, taunted by his schoolmates, Mizoguchi feels utterly alone until he becomes an acolyte at a famous temple in Kyoto. But he quickly becomes obsessed with the temple's beauty, and cannot live in peace as long as it exists.
"Rewarding Yet Demanding"
The richest, most depraved man on Earth, Malachi Constant, is offered a chance to take a space journey to distant worlds with a beautiful woman at his side. Of course, there's a catch to the invitation...
It is 1998, the year in which America is whipped into a frenzy of prurience by the impeachment of a president, and in a small New England town, an aging classics professor, Coleman Silk, is forced to retire when his colleagues decree that he is a racist. The charge is a lie, but the real truth about Silk would have astonished even his most virulent accuser.
"A must listen"
The setting is the Georgia wilderness, where the state's most remote white-water river awaits. In the thundering froth of that river, in its echoing stone canyons, four men on a canoe trip discover a freedom and exhilaration beyond compare. And then, in a moment of horror, the adventure turns into a struggle for survival as one man becomes a human hunter who is offered his own harrowing deliverance.
"Deliverance of a beautifully written book"
A masterpiece of European imagination, The Sufferings of Young Werther is the classic Sturm und Drang tale of youthful angst and tragedy. The acclaimed translator Stanley Corngold brings new passion and precision to Goethe's timeless novel of obsessive love and madness in this magnificent new translation.
If somewhere is said to be 'beyond the black stump', it is in the deepest darkest wilds of the Australian outback. This is the sun-baked setting for Nevil Shute's novel of a romance that is tested by the differences between two young people's home lives. Stanton Laird is sent from his small town in America to work in a remote outpost in Western Australia.
To the Lighthouse is Virginia Woolf's arresting analysis of domestic family life, centering on the Ramseys and their visits to the Isle of Skye in Scotland in the early 1900s. Nicole Kidman (Moulin Rouge, Eyes Wide Shut), who won an Oscar for her portrayal of Woolf in the film adaptation of Michael Cunningham's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Hours, brings the impressionistic prose of this classic to vibrant life.
"The narrative moves on"