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....
"Murakami sparkles as ever"
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.
"“survival is insufficient”"
A natural storyteller and raconteur in his own right - just listen to Paddle Your Own Canoe and Gumption - actor, comedian, carpenter, and all-around manly man Nick Offerman (Parks and Recreation) brings his distinctive baritone and a fine-tuned comic versatility to Twain's writing. In a knockout performance, he doesn't so much as read Twain's words as he does rejoice in them, delighting in the hijinks of Tom - whom he lovingly refers to as a "great scam artist" and "true American hero".
"a classic for a reason"
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"
Unfolding in a graveyard over the course of a single night, narrated by a dazzling chorus of voices, Lincoln in the Bardo is a literary experience unlike any other, for no one but Saunders could conceive it. February 1862. The Civil War is less than one year old. The fighting has begun in earnest, and the nation has begun to realize it is in for a long, bloody struggle. Meanwhile, President Lincoln's beloved 11-year-old son, Willie, dies and is laid to rest in a Georgetown cemetery.
The second novel by Donna Tartt, best-selling author of The Goldfinch (winner of the 2014 Pulitzer Prize), The Little Friend is a grandly ambitious and utterly riveting novel of childhood, innocence and evil. The setting is Alexandria, Mississippi, where one Mother's Day a little boy named Robin Cleve Dufresnes was found hanging from a tree in his parents' yard. Twelve years later Robin's murder is still unsolved and his family remains devastated.
"Her third best book but still a wonderful story"
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"
Recipient of the 1966 Tanizaki Prize, it has been called Endo's supreme achievement" and "one of the twentieth century's finest novels". Considered controversial ever since its first publication, it tackles the thorniest religious issues of belief and faith head on. A novel of historical fiction, it is the story of a Jesuit missionary sent to seventeenth century Japan, who endured persecution that followed the defeat of the Shimabara Rebellion.
"How a man comes face to face with God"
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...
"Like Vonnegut but..."
It's a story you think you know: the age-old tale of "star-cross'd lovers"; two families at war; a romance, so pure and absolute, fated for a tragic end. It's a story so thoroughly embedded in our culture, and so frequently retold. Yet, nothing captures the spark, the possibility, and the surprise of Shakespeare's work quite like this....
Set on the French Riviera in the late 1920s, Tender Is the Night is the tragic romance of the young actress Rosemary Hoyt and the stylish American couple Dick and Nicole Diver. A brilliant young psychiatrist at the time of his marriage, Dick is both husband and doctor to Nicole, whose wealth goads him into a lifestyle not his own, and whose growing strength highlights Dick's harrowing demise. A profound study of the romantic concept of character - lyrical, expansive, and hauntingly evocative.
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.
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"
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"
Golden Globe-winning actor Michael C. Hall (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.
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.
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"
Lying in front of Harrison Opuku is a body, the body of one of his classmates, a boy known for his crazy basketball skills. Armed with a pair of camouflage binoculars and detective techniques absorbed from television shows like CSI, Harri and his best friend, Dean, plot to bring the perpetrator to justice. They gather evidence and lay traps to flush out the murderer. But nothing can prepare them for what happens when a criminal feels you closing in on him.
"If you loved Life of Pi..."
Set amid the corrupt glamour and multiplying intrigues of Alexandria, Egypt, in the 1930s and 1940s, the novels of Durrell's Alexandria Quartet (of which this is the first) follow the shifting alliances - sexual, cultural and political - of a group of quite varied characters. In Justine, an English schoolmaster and struggling writer falls in love with a beautiful and mysterious Jewish woman who is married to a wealthy Egyptian.
A 999 line poem in heroic couplets, divided into 4 cantos, was composed--according to Nabokov's fiction--by John Francis Shade, an obsessively methodical man, during the last 20 days of his life.
The day Stacey Grant loses her job feels like the last day of her life. Or, at least, the only life she'd ever known. For who was she if not a City high-flyer, Senior Partner at one of the top private equity firms in London? As Stacey starts to reconcile her old life with the new - one without professional achievements or meetings but instead long days at home with her dog and ailing mother, waiting for her successful husband to come home - she at least has The Girls to fall back on. Beth, Melissa and Gaby.
Even a lone wolf wants to belong.... Fourteen-year-old Linda lives with her parents in an ex-commune beside a lake in the beautiful, austere backwoods of Northern Minnesota. The other girls at school call Linda 'Freak' or 'Commie'. Her parents mostly leave her to her own devices whilst the other inhabitants have grown up and moved on. So when the perfect family - mother, father and their little boy, Paul - move into the cabin across the lake, Linda insinuates her way into the family's orbit.
Owen Hall drives into a petrol station to let his passenger use the facilities. She never comes back - and what's more, it seems she never even made it inside. When Owen raises a fuss, the police are called - and soon identify Owen himself as a possible culprit, not least because they already have him in the frame for another more sinister crime. Owen's always been a little different, and before long others in the community are baying for his blood. But this is a case where nothing is as it seems - least of all Owen Hall....
In this classic thriller, Ira Levin imagines Dr Josef Mengele's nightmarish plot to restore the Third Reich. Alive and hiding in South America 30 years after the end of the Second World War, Mengele gathers a group of former colleagues for a sinister project - the creation of the Fourth Reich. Ageing Nazi hunter Yakov Lieberman is informed of the plot, but before he hears the evidence, his source is killed....
If you lost everything you loved, how would you survive and begin again? Under the Almond Tree tells the story of one refugee family fleeing conflict and war in Afghanistan in the 1990s as they travel towards freedom and safety. Fifteen-year-old Samar, the middle child, shares the story of her incredible journey on the Trans-Siberian Express - with the help of Napoleon, the ticket collector; Tolstoy's Anna Karenina; and her parents and siblings.
When Caroline meets Kamal, the attraction is instant. He's enchanting, charismatic, and she can't wait to set up a new life with him in India. Both their families are against the union, but Caroline is convinced they'll come round, especially when she gives birth to a beautiful daughter, Asha.
The village of Chilbury in Kent is about to ring in some changes. This is a delightful novel of wartime gumption and village spirit that will make your heart sing out. Kent, 1940. The women of Chilbury village have taken umbrage at the Vicar's closure of the choir now that its male singers are at war. But when spirited music professor Primrose Trent arrives, it prompts the creation of an all-female singing group.
After caring for his mother in her last days, Alex has gone off round the world - with no plan other than to travel and maybe recapture some of his lost youth. Beginning his travels in Indonesia, the idea of finding himself sounds appealing...but soon he finds himself in real trouble. It starts with a bus crash on a terrifying mountain road. Lucky to escape with his life, Alex loses everything else - even his identity. But then he meets Domino, a beautiful girl who takes Alex under her wing.
This is an experimental literary piece that plays with the biblical myth about Satan and God, Cain and Abel, consciousness and unconsciousness, obedience and disobedience, and so on, in an eccentric style. You can call it a novel or a theater of the absurd or a poetic narrative or simply a literary piece or whatever you want to, it still remains the same, unintentionally powerful, and playfully raises some vital questions towards the enlightenment of humankind.
The protagonist, Jesús, is ugly. Extraordinarily ugly. He is so ugly that his friends and relatives are convinced that behind that ugliness there must be something else. A malefic power or possibly a momentous fate. The truth is that fairly special things happen wherever Jesús is. His biological father is a mystery. His half-sister is a child-prodigy who excels at everything she does, his mother becomes the president of the country, his best-friend Vero is a computer tycoon, his brother-in-law also makes it in politics...But for all the success around him he still feels unsettled.
For Robert Carter, life in his coastal Maine hometown is comfortably predictable. But in 1976, on his first day of eighth grade, he meets Nathan Tilly, who changes everything. Nathan is confident, fearless, impetuous - and fascinated by kites and flying. Robert and Nathan's budding friendship is forged in the crucible of two family tragedies, and as the boys struggle to come to terms with loss, they take summer jobs at the local rundown amusement park.
Lucy, a teenage girl from the West Indies, comes to North America to work as an au pair for Lewis and Mariah and their four children. Lewis and Mariah are a thrice-blessed couple - handsome, rich, and seemingly happy. Yet almost at once, Lucy begins to notice cracks in their beautiful façade. With mingled anger and compassion, Lucy scrutinizes the assumptions and verities of her employers' world and compares them with the vivid realities of her native place.
Happy Valley is a place of dreams and secrets, of snow and ice and wind. In this remote little town, perched in its landscape of desolate beauty, everybody has a story to tell about loss and longing and loneliness, about their passion to escape. I must get away, thinks Dr Oliver Halliday, thinks Alys Browne, thinks Sidney Furlow. But Happy Valley is not a place that can be easily left, and White's vivid characters, with their distinctive voices, move bit by bit towards sorrow and acceptance.
One hot August day, a family drives to a mountain clearing to collect birch wood. Jenny, the mother, is in charge of lopping any small limbs off the logs with a hatchet. Wade, the father, does the stacking. The two daughters, June and May, aged nine and six, drink lemonade, swat away horseflies, bicker and sing snatches of songs as they while away the time. But then something unimaginably shocking happens, an act so extreme it will scatter the family in every different direction.
This appealing story about a poor lame shepherd boy, whose kind heart reaps unexpected rewards, is set in the beautiful countryside of southern France.
Sons begins where The Good Earth ended: revolution is sweeping through China. Wang Lung is on his deathbed in the house of his fathers, and his three sons stand ready to inherit his hard-won estate. One son has taken the family's wealth for granted and become a landlord; another is a thriving merchant and moneylender; and the youngest, an ambitious general, is destined to be a leader in the country.
Every night Marc Laurent, an American taken hostage in Pakistan, is bound and blindfolded. And every night a woman he knows only as Josephine visits his cell. At first, her questions are mercenary: is there anyone back home who will pay the ransom? But when Marc can offer no name, she asks him a question about his daughter that is even more terrifying than his captivity. And so begins a strange yet increasingly comforting ritual in which Josephine and Marc tell each other stories.
Tom Brackett has created the perfect world for himself. He has a good job, a perpetually supportive wife, two kids, a mini-van, and even a golden retriever. But then, his mental instability causes him to commit a terrifying act of violence.
A prostitute takes shelter with a group of young anarchists. A sister goes missing, mailing a trail of encoded postcards from destinations across the globe. The daughters of a Montreal bagel-shop owner navigate the tricky terrain of being young, Sikh, and female, one growing larger while the other fades. A woman watches with lust and longing as the object of her affections, her pregnant roommate, is pursued by an unsavory suitor.
In the winter of 1968, a young woman named Harriet disappears outside of Denver. Soon after, her father dies mysteriously. The family's three remaining sons - Wayne, Roy, and Conrad - grow increasingly distant as the specters of murder, family, and suspicion loom. As the brothers grow older, they learn that loss comes in many forms - in absence and silence, and in death. Decades later, Wayne's only child confronts the brothers, uncovering long-buried resentments that have plagued the family for generations.
Big Brother is watching you.... 1984 is the year in which it happens. The world is divided into three superstates. In Oceania, the Party's power is absolute. Every action, word, gesture and thought is monitored under the watchful eye of Big Brother and the Thought Police. In the Ministry of Truth, the Party's department for propaganda, Winston Smith's job is to edit the past. Over time, the impulse to escape the machine and live independently takes hold of him and he embarks on a secret and forbidden love affair.
In 1886, a mysterious travelling circus becomes an international sensation. Open only at night, constructed entirely in black and white, Le Cirque des Rêves delights all who wander its circular paths and warm themselves at its bonfire. Although there are acrobats, fortune-tellers and contortionists, the Circus of Dreams is no conventional spectacle. Some tents contain clouds, some ice.
"A comic book in wolf's clothing"
The Republic of Gilead offers Offred only one function: to breed . If she deviates, she will, like dissenters, be hanged at the wall or sent out to die slowly of radiation sickness. But even a repressive state cannot obliterate desire - neither Offred's nor that of the two men on which her future hangs....
"A great book to listen to :)"
The new audiobook from number one best-selling author Jodi Picoult, with the biggest of themes: birth, death, and responsibility. When a newborn baby dies after a routine hospital procedure, there is no doubt about who will be held responsible: the nurse who had been banned from looking after him by his father. What the nurse, her lawyer and the father of the child cannot know is how this death will irrevocably change all of their lives, in ways both expected and not.
"Loved everything about this book"
Born in Dickens, Los Angeles, the narrator of The Sellout spent his childhood as the subject in his father's racially charged psychological studies. He is told that his father's memoir will solve their financial woes. But when his father is killed, he discovers there never was a memoir. Fuelled by despair, he sets out to right this wrong with the most outrageous action conceivable: reinstating slavery and segregating the local high school, which lands him in the Supreme Court.
"A clever, enjoyable satire on racism in todays USA"
Cyril Avery is not a real Avery, or at least that's what his adoptive parents tell him. And he never will be. But if he isn't a real Avery, then who is he? Born out of wedlock to a teenage girl cast out from her rural Irish community and adopted by a well-to-do if eccentric Dublin couple via the intervention of a hunchbacked Redemptorist nun, Cyril is adrift in the world, anchored only tenuously by his heartfelt friendship with the infinitely more glamourous and dangerous Julian Woodbead.
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.
"An incredible piece of art (written & narrated)"
The man Clemency loves belongs to someone else. She has to hide her true feelings - but when she ropes in an unsuspecting friend to help, wires start to get crossed. For the first time in Ronan's life his charm has failed him in winning over the woman he wants. Loving her from afar appears to be his only option. Belle seems to have the perfect boyfriend, but something isn't quite right. And now a long-buried secret is slowly rising to the surface. The truth has a funny way of revealing itself, and when it does St Carys will be a very different place indeed....
"predictable but lovable"
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.
A bold English adventurer; an invincible Japanese warlord; a beautiful woman torn between two ways of life, two ways of love - all brought together in an extraordinary saga of a time and a place aflame with conflict, passion, ambition, lust, and the struggle for power.
Dazzlingly energetic and deeply human, Swing Time is a story about friendship and music and true identity, how they shape us and how we can survive them. Moving from Northwest London to West Africa, it is an exuberant dance to the music of time. Two brown girls dream of being dancers - but only one, Tracey, has talent. The other has ideas: about rhythm and time, about black bodies and black music, what constitutes a tribe or makes a person truly free.
"Couldn't stop reading"
"Why do you want to be a boat builder?" "Because," said Morwenna, "I like the way the boats grow." Morwenna and Corwin are eight years old, wind-swept and salty-haired twins growing up on the Devon coast. In the soft autumn light they play as their grandfather, Matthew, watches the boats come in. But it is a day unlike any other.
"Short sweet tale of life and death"
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.
"Brilliant classic, superbly read by Simon Callow"
Dorothea Brooke is an ardent idealist who represses her vivacity and intelligence for the cold, theological pedant Casaubon. One man understands her true nature: the artist Will Ladislaw. But how can love triumph against her sense of duty and Casaubon's mean spirit? Meanwhile, in the little world of Middlemarch, the broader world is mirrored: the world of politics, social change, and reforms, as well as betrayal, greed, blackmail, ambition, and disappointment.
Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2015. A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara is an immensely powerful and heartbreaking novel of brotherly love and the limits of human endurance. When four graduates from a small Massachusetts college move to New York to make their way, they're broke, adrift and buoyed only by their friendship and ambition. Over the decades, their relationships deepen and darken, tinged by addiction, success and pride.
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.
Nutshell is a classic story of murder and deceit, told by a narrator with a perspective and voice unlike any in recent literature. A bravura performance, it is the finest recent work from a true master. To be bound in a nutshell, see the world in two inches of ivory, in a grain of sand. Why not, when all of literature, all of art, of human endeavour, is just a speck in the universe of possible things?
"One of his best."
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.
Meet Samuel: stalled writer, bored teacher at a local college, obsessive player of online video games. He hasn't seen his mother, Faye, in decades, not since she abandoned her family when he was a boy. Now she has suddenly reappeared, having committed an absurd politically motivated crime that electrifies the nightly news, beguiles the Internet, and inflames a divided America. The media paints Faye as a radical hippie with a sordid past, but as far as Samuel knows, his mother was an ordinary girl who married her high school sweetheart.
"Draws you in and keeps you hooked until the end!"