Ruth discovers a Hello Kitty lunchbox washed up on the shore of her beach home. Within it lies a diary that expresses the hopes and dreams of a young girl. She suspects it might have arrived on a drift of debris from the 2011 tsunami. With every turn of the page, she is sucked deeper into an enchanting mystery. In a small cafe in Tokyo, 16-year-old Nao Yasutani is navigating the challenges thrown up by modern life. In the face of cyber-bullying, the mysteries of a 104-year-old Buddhist nun and great-grandmother, and the joy and heartbreak of family, Nao is trying to find her own place - and voice - through a diary.
"Far more interesting than expected."
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.
"The object of terrorism is terrorism."
The wonderful new novel from Alex Brown, best-selling author of The Great Christmas Knit Off, perfect for fans of Trisha Ashley and Jill Mansell. April Wilson is wondering what to do next - her life has been turned upside down after the loss of her husband so she's hoping to piece herself together again with a visit to her elderly great aunt, Edith. Arriving in the rural idyll of Tindledale, she's dismayed to find Edith's cottage and the orchards surrounding it in a sorry state of disrepair.
"Pure joy to read"
Shortlisted for the British Book Awards, Richard and Judy Best Read, 2007.Winner of the Costa Book Awards, Novel of the Year, 2006.A Richard and Judy Book Club selection.Longlisted for the Audiobook Download of the Year, 2007.What happens when everything you thought you knew about your mother turns out to be an elaborate lie? During the summer of 1976, Ruth Gilmartin discovers that her very English mother, Sally, is really Eva Delectorskaya, a Russian émigrée and one-time spy.
"A gripping and thoughtful book"
In May 1937, a man in his early 30s waits by the lift of a Leningrad apartment block. He waits all through the night, expecting to be taken away to the Big House. Any celebrity he has known in the previous decade is no use to him now, and few who are taken to the Big House ever return.
"The Noise of Time"
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.
"Gentle but engaging"
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?
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 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.
"True lies make excellent stories"
Fiver could sense danger. Something terrible was going to happen to the warren; he felt sure of it. They had to leave immediately. So begins a long and perilous journey of survival for a small band of rabbits. As the rabbits skirt danger at every turn, we become acquainted with the band, its humorous characters, and its compelling culture, complete with its own folk history and myths.
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"
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.
"Ralph is the best narrator ever"
Shocking and controversial when it was first published, Steinbeck's Pulitzer prize-winning epic remains his undisputed masterpiece. Set against the background of Dust Bowl Oklahoma and Californian migrant life, it tells of the Joad family, who, like thousands of others, are forced to travel west in search of the promised land.
"A book with a great voice"
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.
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.
"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"
Audible will donate 25p from every download to help ZSL build a future for wildlife. The partnership between Audible.co.uk and ZSL will help highlight the plight of many animals who feature in this classical story and live under threat, such as the Bengal tiger (Shere Khan). The magical story-telling and unforgettable characters in Bev Doyle and Richard Kurti's audio adaptation of this children's classic have been brought to life by many well known voices from film, TV, radio and comedy.
"Pretty good but ..."
Kate Atkinson's dazzling Life After Life, one of the top-selling adult books of 2014, explored the possibility of infinite chances, as Ursula Todd lived through the turbulent events of the last century again and again. In A God in Ruins, Atkinson turns her focus on Ursula's beloved younger brother, Teddy - would-be poet, RAF bomber pilot, husband, and father - as he navigates the perils and progress of the 20th century. For all Teddy endures in battle, his greatest challenge will be to face living in a future he never expected to have.
"Remarkable Companion to "Life After Life""
This hugely engaging story of murder, superstition, religious politics and drama in a medieval monastery was one of the most striking novels to appear in the 1980s. The Name of the Rose is a thrilling story enriched with period detail and laced with tongue-in-cheek allusions to fictional characters, the most striking of which is the Franciscan friar William of Baskerville, who displays many characteristics of Sherlock Holmes.
Scout (Jean Louise Finch) has returned to Maycomb from New York to visit her father, Atticus. She is forced to grapple with issues both personal and political as she tries to understand both her father's attitude toward society and her own feelings about the place where she was born and spent her childhood.
"Just wasn't for me!"
In quest of the unpublished manuscript of a martyred Yiddish writer, the American novelist Nathan Zuckerman travels to Soviet-occupied Prague in the mid-1970s. There, in a nation straightjacketed by totalitarian Communism, he discovers a literary predicament, marked by institutionalized oppression, that is rather different from his own. He also discovers, among the oppressed writers with whom he quickly becomes embroiled in a series of bizarre and poignant adventures, a perverse kind of heroism.
Louis-Ferdinand Celine's revulsion and anger at what he considered the idiocy and hypocrisy of society explodes from nearly every minute of this novel. Filled with slang and obscenities and written in raw, colloquial language, Journey to the End of the Night is a literary symphony of violence, cruelty, and obscene nihilism. This book shocked most critics when it was first published in France in 1932, but quickly became a success with the public in Europe, and later in America.
The Book Thief is the fourth novel by author Markus Zusak. The novel gives a unique perspective on World War II by telling the story from the non-Jews of Germany who remained in their country during the war. The novel is narrated by Death, who tells the story of a young girl, Liesel Meminger. Liesel and her brother must leave their mother to live with foster parents, Hans and Rosa Hubermann. What follows is a string of tragic events that causes Liesel to have nightmares.
Once upon a time in a far-off country, there lived a father and his daughter Beauty, along with his five other daughters and six sons. One day their house burned down, along with all their possessions. The same day he also found out all his ships had been looted and he lost all his wealth. The family fell into great poverty. One night Beauty wandered into a room and found Beast, and he asked her if she would ever marry him, when she said no, he became angry and left her, refusing to talk to her for a long time.
When Vivie learns that her mother's harlotry is the origin of her financial support, nothing in her world can ever be the same. There are serious consequences for her suitor, her mother, and herself.
These two novellas by LeFanu are full of suspense and horror. Green Tea relates the story of an English cleric's bout with a malignant spectral presence, while Squire Toby's Will is a chilling tale of sibling rivalry over a disputed inheritance.
All the Light We Cannot See, the second novel from Anthony Doerr, takes place during World War II. It tells the story of a young, blind girl living in Paris with her father. The pair must escape as the War nears Paris, but not without taking the precious, and highly sought after, Sea of Flames. Marie-Laure and her father travel to Saint-Malo to live with Uncle Etienne and Madame Manec.
Hear the Wind Sing follows the fortunes of the narrator and his friend, known only by his nickname, the Rat. The narrator is home from college on his summer break. He spends his time drinking beer and smoking in J's Bar with the Rat, listening to the radio, thinking about writing and the women he has slept with, and pursuing a relationship with a girl with nine fingers.
New York: a city that inspires, that draws people in...a city where everyone is watching, waiting to see what will happen next. Everyone Is Watching is a story about the people who have defined New York through their lives, perspectives and iconic works. New York itself solidifies; complex, rich, sordid, tantalizing, it is constantly changing and evolving. Both intimate and epic in its sweep, Everyone Is Watching is a love letter to New York and its people - past, present and future.
When the king sends Radmer of Donmouth on a mission to Rome, Donmouth is left in the safekeeping of his only daughter, Elfrun. This is the story of daughters in a man's world: Wynn, daughter of the smith; Saethryth, daughter of the village steward; and Auli, daughter of a merchant. Above all it is the story of Elfrun of Donmouth, uncertain of her father's fate, not knowing who she can trust or who she can love....
Norman Price, a 40-something playwright living in Chicago, considers the shuddering impact of the financial crash. What's needed, he thinks, is the will for a new existence. When his parents die, The New Existence becomes Norman's mantra as he tries to recalibrate his own shaken world. Norman's new existence is suddenly threatened by past secrets, and he receives a mysterious email from a man he has never met but whose name is painfully familiar....
This book you are about to enjoy is an independent resource to supplement the original book, enhancing your experience. If you have not yet purchased a copy of the original book, please do so before purchasing this unofficial Conversation Starters audiobook.
Inside these covers, find not simply stories of daring do, of intrigue and espionage, of Kings and Murderers. No, within this tome are not tales, but maps. Maps that lead to the origins of some of our best known stories and folklore. And keys. Keys to open doors to not only the past and the secret beginnings of such standards as Cinderella's Slipper, but to new ideas founded in history and mystery.
As Stephen Rojack, a decorated war hero and former congressman who murders his wife in a fashionable New York City high-rise, runs amok through the city in which he was once a privileged citizen, author Norman Mailer peels away the layers of our social norms to reveal a world of pure appetite and relentless cruelty. One part Nietzsche, one part de Sade, and one part Charlie Parker, An American Dream grabs the listener by the throat and refuses to let go.
When a northern California dilettante retreats to a convent for a week of introspection, writing, and a Thomas Merton study group, she is forced to confront her core beliefs. Is less truly more? Can generosity be learned? Forgiveness practiced? In this humorous send-up, short story writer Audrey Ferber channels one woman's empty nest grief and unsatisfiable desires.
Spanning almost 30 years, My Other Life traces the journey of a fictional Paul Theroux from young bachelorhood in Africa, to his travels between continents, being in and out of marriage, and through affairs and various means of employment. From his early education at the knee of a highly eccentric uncle, until his years as a fledgling novelist in London under the wing of the rapacious Lady Max, this writer of different guises eventually returns alone to his hometown.
Conspirators plot to explode a train carrying nerve gas. A perfect servant suddenly reveals himself to be the insidious Dr. Fu Manchu. Science-fantasy wars, racism, corporate capitalism, drug addiction, and various medical and psychiatric horrors all play their parts in this mosaic, experimental novel. Here is William S. Burroughs at his coruscating and hilarious best.
Celeste is mourning the tragic death of her young son, Jack, who died from leukaemia. So when she learns that her nephew is coming to stay, she doesn't think she can bear to have another child in the house. But when Bruno arrives, she has no choice but to make him feel welcome and loved, even though her heart is breaking. And when he starts to show some insight into what Jack was like, Celeste dares to dream there might be something more than meets the eye....
In a world prone to violent flooding, Britain, ravaged 20 years earlier by a deadly virus, has been largely cut off. Survivors are few and far between, most of them infertile. Children are a rare commodity. For 22-year-old Roza Polanski, life with her family in their isolated tower block is relatively comfortable. But when a stranger called Aashay Kent arrives, everything changes. Roza can't shake the feeling that there's more to Aashay than he's letting on. Is there more to life beyond their isolated bubble?
Fascinated by the supernatural, Charles Dickens had a passion for the macabre and the afterlife that spawned a fascinating collection of short ghost stories. Dickens' unique blend of fantastic credibility and paranormal absurdity made his form of ghost story an instant success - one that keeps on chilling our spines nearly 200 years later. Volume 2: 'The Ghosts of the Mail', 'Christmas Ghosts', 'To Be Read at Dusk', 'The Baron of Grogzwig', 'The Queer Chair', 'Mr Testator's Visitation'.
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"
It is 1499, the eve of a new century full of threat and promise. In Renaissance Verona, Romeo and Juliet, offspring of the Capulets and the Montagues, two families at war, meet by chance and decide to marry secretly. But Juliet is about to be betrothed to a nobleman she doesn't know or want. And Romeo is part poet and part knight, too ready to reach for a sword in anger. Hours after their secret wedding, their hidden romance turns to tragedy and bloodshed as Romeo is forced to flee the city and Juliet is ordered to marry the nobleman, Paris.
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"
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”"
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"
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.
"The unresolved American South."
For almost a decade, Rachel Caine has turned her back on home, kept distant by family disputes and her work monitoring wolves on an Idaho reservation. But now, summoned by the eccentric earl of Annerdale and his controversial scheme to reintroduce the grey wolf to the English countryside, she is back in the peat and wet light of the Lake District. The earl's project harks back to an ancient idyll of untamed British wilderness.
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.
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.
With an abandoned degree behind her and a 30th birthday approaching, amateur writer Bonnie Falls moves out of her parents' home into a nearby flat. Her landlady, Sylvia Slythe, takes an interest in Bonnie, encouraging her to finish one of her stories, in which a young woman moves to the seaside, where she comes under strange influences. As summer approaches, Sylvia suggests to Bonnie that, as neither of them has anyone else to go on holiday with, they should go away together - to the seaside, perhaps.
"Hard to take seriously"
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.
"Well read, well written, but very, very slow"
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..."
It is the rainy season; a drunk and delirious old man lies dying in the Queensland bush. In his opium-hazed last hours, a priest finds his deserted shack and listens to his last words. Half-awake and half-dreaming the old man tells the story of an adventure set decades in the future, in a very different world...
"A Nice Change"
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"
Through a series of mishaps, Henry Warren, a recently divorced City financier, ends up in hospital in a Northern town ruined by the closure of its shipyard. Moved by the fate of the town's inhabitants, Warren risks his fortune and reputation to save the shipyard and restore the town to its former prosperity. In seeking to change the fate of the town, he radically changes his own.
"Fascinating, throroughly engaging and enjoyable"
Alan Duncan returns to his family home in Australia after the war and several years of study in England. But his homecoming is marred by the mysterious suicide of his parents' quiet and reliable parlour-maid. A search through her belongings in search of clues leads to heart-breaking revelations about the woman's identity, the death of Alan's brother Bill, and, above all, the disappearance of his brother's fiancée, Janet.
"A poignant love story told with great restraint"
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 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.
"It's not bad."
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?
"Not a dark thriller on any level -disappointing"
Italy in the early 1960s: A dying painter considers the sacrifices and losses that have made him an enigma, both to strangers and those closest to him. He begins his last life painting, using the same objects he has painted obsessively for his entire career - a small group of bottles. In Cumbria thirty years later, a landscape artist - and admirer of the Italian recluse - finds himself trapped in the extreme terrain that has made him famous.