Reading Group Core Collection
Half of a yellow sun
Set in Nigeria during the 1960s, this novel contains three main characters who get swept up in the violence during
these turbulent years. It is about Africa, about the end of colonialism, about class and race, and the ways in which
love can complicate these things.
When Nigeria begins to fall apart under a military coup, Kambili's father, involved in mysterious ways with the unfolding political
crisis, sends Kambili and her brother away to their aunt's. Here she discovers love and a life - dangerous and heathen - beyond the
confines of her father's authority.
The five people you meet in heaven
'The Five People You Meet in Heaven' is a beautifully written first novel that addresses the meaning of life - and life after death.
In this tale of two Muslim sisters Monica Ali explores how they live out their own personal tragedies. One lives in a tower block in
London's East End whilst the other lives in a Bangladeshi village.
Michael was looking forward to moving house. But now his baby sister's ill, his parents are frantic and Doctor Death has come to
call. Michael feels helpless. But what he finds in the crumbling garage will change his life forever.
I know why the caged bird sings
An autobiographical account of a black girl growing up in the southern states of America.
It’s not about the bike
Lance Armstrong won the 1999 Tour de France in spectacular style, taking four stages and both a mountain and a time trial. His
story is even more remarkable because he was diagnosed with stage 4 testicular cancer in October 1996.
Behind the scenes at the museum
Moving with stark contrast between the Coronation year celebrations and life in the trenches during the First World War, this debut
novel tells the story of a family observed by one of its members.
Full of suspense and heartbreak, 'Case Histories' is a feat of bravura storytelling that conveys the mysteries of life, its inanities and
its hilarities. Jackson is 45 but feels much older. Surrounded by death, intrigue and misfortune, his own life is brought sharply into
Sixteen years have passed since Grace was locked up for the cold-blooded murder of her employer and his housekeeper. She now
claims to have no memory of the murders, so an amnesia expert tries to find out if she is innocent.
The handmaid’s tale
The Republic of Gilead allows Offred only one function - to breed. If she deviates, she will, like all 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 whom her future hangs.
Emma Woodhouse is one of Austen's most captivating and vivid characters. Beautiful, spoilt, vain and irrepressibly witty, Emma
organises the lives of the inhabitants of her sleepy little village and plays matchmaker with devastating effect.
The Harmony Silk factory
This is the story of four people. Johnny is an infamous Chinaman, who uses his shophouse as a front for illegal businesses. Snow
Soong is the beautiful daughter of a prominent family who dies giving birth. Kunichika is a Japanese officer who loves Snow and
Peter Wormwood is an Englishman who loved Snow to the end of his life
The Olive Readers
In the olive producing region of Olea, the Readers are smuggling and storing books in a secret library hidden away in the house of
Jephzat and her family. When her sister disappears in suspicious circumstances, Jephzat is ordered to remain in the house,
unaware of the organisation operating from its hidden room.
Led by a charismatic doctor, a group of individuals form a violent protest movement to tear down the consumer society and replace
it with a more meaningful existence. As middle England comes under attack, a sense of panic grips the capital.
In Craiglockhart war hospital, Doctor William Rivers attempts to restore the sanity of officers from World War I. When Siegfried
Sassoon publishes his declaration of protest against the war, the authorities decide to have him …
The farm: the story of one family and the English countryside
Richard Benson was never cut out for life on the family farm, yet when his father chose to sell up he decided to return to Yorkshire.
This is his account of being outwitted by even the dimmest of animals whilst trying to make ends meet.
The town of Rossmore is full of character and charm. They used to say that you need never leave it at all since everything from birth
to death was on your doorstep. Nestled beside the Whitethorn Woods, the town has grown since the days when it was small and
friendly, now it has chain stores and traffic and housing estates.
Noughts and crosses
Sephy is a Cross, a member of the ruling class. Callum is a Nought - a colourless member of the underclass. Against a background
of prejudice, highlighted by violent terrorist activity, a romance blossoms between Sephy and Callum.
The righteous men
For rookie journalist Will Monroe, three apparently-related murders prove to be a gift during his first week on the New York Times.
But when his wife Beth is kidnapped, the riddle becomes personal.
Any Human Heart
This is the story of Logan Mountstuart, told through his journals. His travels take the reader from Uruguay to Oxford, Paris, the
Bahamas, New York and Africa. This is the story of a life lived to the full - and a journey deep into a very human heart.
When expert loss adjustor Lorimer Black discovers that his client has hung himself, it's a bad start to the day and the beginning of a
sinister chain of events.
When Sam Richardson returns from WW2 to Wigton in Cumbria, he finds little has changed, as far as his own limited prospects go.
In his absence, though, his young family has changed immensely, and Sam struggles to adjust to life in peacetime.
The sixth lamentation
A man arrives at Larkwood Monastery claiming sanctuary. Eduard Schwermann is accused of Nazi war crimes: the chances are he
is stained with blood, but politics demand that Larkwood shelter him. Father Anselm is given the task of finding out more about
Set in Yorkshire during the period of the Napoleonic Wars, this novel articulates the social realities of economic hardship, the
Luddite riots, dissatisfaction with the government and an inadequate Church.
At the centre of this novel is the passionate love between Catherine Earnshaw and Heathcliff - recounted with such emotional
intensity that a plain tale of the Yorkshire moors acquires the depth and simplicity of ancient tragedy.
Notes from a small island
In Notes From a Small Island, Bryson, who moved to England from the USA seventeen years ago and settled in North Yorkshire
with his family, turns an affectionate but ironic eye on his adopted country. Britain will never seem the same again.
Pearl S. BUCK
The Good Earth
When Wang Lung goes to collect his new wife, a slave from the great House of Hwang, the gatekeeper laughs at him. However, it
will not be long before even the gatekeeper treats Wang Lung with respect. One day, Wang Lung himself will be master of the
House of Hwang.
Oscar and Lucinda
Oscar and Lucinda is a moving love story and a historical tour de force that is also powerfully contemporary.
Looking for JJ
A gripping and emotionally searing novel from a talented author, 'Looking For JJ' explores the circumstances and motives behind
the murder of a child by her best friend. Seven years later, JJ has now been released, and has a new identity. But is there any way
that she can lead a 'normal' life?
Girl with a pearl earring
Griet, the young daughter of a tilemaker in 17th century Holland, obtains her first job as a servant in Vermeer's household. She
loves being drawn into his artistic life, but the cost to her own survival may be high.
Not married, not bothered
The life of Riley Gordon is an excellent one - she has no issues or crises, and she lives life to the full. But her mother is not so sure, suggesting
that instead she should find a man and settle down. This novel challenges our preconceptions regarding marriage, lifestyles, age and love.
Guppies for tea
In order to keep grandmother out of an old folk's home, get on with her mother, and partner Gerald, Amelia has to set up diversions
and plots, and make friends with unexpected people. This is a funny tale of a woman coping with the absurd.
This is an adventure story about a young shepherd boy who learns how to live his dreams. This is a story which has been compared
to the works of Richard Bach, and is aimed at the young and old alike.
A diamond of yellow hue is stolen from a shrine in India. Years later, unknowingly, the diamond is given to Rachel Verrinder as a
birthday gift. The diamond carries a terrible curse and is stolen on the eve of Rachel's birthday.
In South Carolina, a young black man faces the death penalty for the rape and murder of Marianne Larousse, daughter of one of the
wealthiest men in the state. Private detective Charlie Parker investigates.
I choose to live (Non Fiction)
In 1996, Sabine Dardenne, then 12 years old, was kidnapped by Marc Dutroux, a paedophile and multiple child rapist, and held
captive for 80 days. 'I Choose To Live' is her personal testimony of her experience, which she only survived due to exceptional
strength of character.
The God delusion
While Europe is secularized, the rise of religious fundamentalism, whether in the Middle East or Middle America, divides opinion
around the world. This work attacks God in various forms, from the sex-obsessed, cruel tyrant of the Old Testament to the more
benign, but still illogical, Celestial Watchmaker.
Lincoln and Amelia are hired to trace a cargo ship carrying two dozen illegal Chinese immigrants, as well as the killer known as the
Ghost. However, when things go wrong, Lincoln and Amelia race to stop the Ghost before he can commit more crime.
R F DELDERFIELD
To serve them all my days
Miner's son David Powlett-Jones returned from the carnage of the 1918 war. He began life again as a master at the remote Devon
school. David begins to find peace. But soon he has to face up to the prospects of another terrible war.
The red tent
Using the story from Genesis as the basis for this novel, Anita Diamant combines rich story telling with a new way of looking at the
place occupied by women in ancient Jewish society. The central character is Dinah, daughter of Jacob.
Inspector Zen receives the order he has been dreading all his professional life: his next posting is to Sicily. Set against the backdrop
of the 3000 year old city of Catania, Blood Rain reveals Aurelio Zen at his most desperate and driven.
'David Copperfield' draws openly on Dickens' own experiences in childhood and in his vocation as a successful novelist, reflecting
his relationship with his father. This edition includes appendices with extracts from John Forster's 'Life of Dickens' as well as the
number-plans for 'David Copperfield'.
Since childhood David Winkler has foretold the future in his dreams. Now he has started dreaming of his daughter's death by
drowning. When the floods come, David is unable to face his destiny and flees, never knowing whether Grace survived or not.
Twenty years later, he musters the strength to find out.
A gathering light
When Mattie is given letters by a guest at the hotel where she has a summer job, she thinks the guest is simply upset. But when the
woman is found drowned next day, Mattie must decide whether she will read them, or burn them as requested. A touching, funny
surprising novel, set in 1906 and based on a true story.
Arthur Conan DOYLE
The adventures of Sherlock Holmes
Scandal, treachery and crime are rife in Old London Town. A king blackmailed by his mistress, dark dealings in opium dens, stolen
jewels, a missing bride - these are cases so fiendishly complex that only the great Sherlock Holmes would dare to investigate.
Carol Ann DUFFY
The world’s wife: poems
In Carol Ann Duffy's latest collection of poems, the stories of famous men - Midas, Darwin, Quasimodo, Pontious Pilate, King Kong -
are presented from the perspective of the lesser-known wife.
The memory keeper’s daughter
It's 1964 and Dr David Henry finds himself delivering his wife's twins. Relieved, he sees that his son is born healthy, but recognises
the signs of Down's Syndrome in his daughter's face. In a split-second decision that will haunt their family forever, he asks the nurse
to take his daughter away.
An evocation of diverse lives and changing fortunes in a provincial community in early 19th century England.
With old friends like these, who needs enemies? It is a question mild-mannered detective Edward Newson is forced to ask himself
when, in romantic desperation, he logs on to the Friends Reunited website in search of the girlfriends of his youth. But Newson is
not the only member of the Class of '88 who has been raking over the ashes of the past.
'Middlesex' is the tale of a gene that passes down through three generations and flowers in the teenage body of Callie. Thanks to
this gene, she begins to realise she is part girl, part boy. What results is a fable of the intricacies of gender and the untidy
promptings of desire.
Medea and other plays
The four tragedies collected in this volume all focus on a central character, once powerful, brought down by betrayal, jealousy, guilt
and hatred. The first playwright to depict suffering without reference to the gods, Euripides made his characters speak in human
Girl from the Lion D’Or
This is a beautifully controlled and powerful story of love and conscience, will and desire which begins when a mysterious young girl
arrives to take up a post at the seedy Hotel du Lion D'Or in a small French town in the mid 1930s.
Caught up in thick fog, a crew of Lancaster bombers are forced to make an emergency landing, nearly colliding with another plane
on the same course. The other plane swoops out of the way just in time and the bombadiers survive to meet their unlikely saviour -
a female ATA pilot.
Astrid has been raised by her headstrong mother, Ingrid, and the two are inseparable until Ingrid murders a former lover and is
imprisoned for life. As a foster child, Astrid finds strength in her certainty of self-worth and sense of the absurd.
Following the loss of her mother, eight-year-old Evie is sent to a new life in rural Wales. With a sense of being lied to she sets out to
discover her family's dark secret - unaware that there is yet more darkness to come with the sinister disappearance of local girl
The pillars of the earth
This is a timeless story of passion and idealism, about a group of men and women whose destinies are fatefully linked with the
building of a cathedral. It is an epic drama from the author of 'The Eye of the Needle' and 'On Wings of Eagles'.
When impetuous Helen Schlegel believes herself to be in love with Paul, the youngest of the Wilcox sons, she sparks off a
connection between the two families that leads to collision.
Daphne du Maurier
A biography of the novelist Daphne du Maurier that looks behind the relaxed and charming facade to expose the workings of a
complex and emotional character.
Have the men had enough?
Grandma is now increasingly unable to look after herself. So her family must care for her. They're filled with love and good
intentions. But as Grandma gradually loses herself and the strain within the family begins to show, is love enough?
Lady's Maid is a fictionalised account of the love story of Robert and Elizabeth Browning as narrated by a shy young woman who
arrived at Wimpole Street in 1844 to become their lady's maid.
Set against the backdrop of the American Civil War, this is the story of a wounded soldier, Inman, who escapes the army and tries
to make his way home to Cold Mountain and to Ada, the woman he left behind when the war began.
Ernest J GAINES
A lesson before dying
A bestseller in the US, this book tells the story of a young black man sentenced to death for a murder he did not commit, and of a
teacher who tries to impart to him his learning and pride before the execution
The man of property
Sweeping from the stiff feathers and frocks of London in the 1880s, to the end of the roaring 20s, this series is the story of the
triumphs and sorrows of the Forsytes, a family both fiercely loyal and heartbreakingly divided.
The Flight of the maidens
Set during the aftermath of World War Two, The Flight of the Maidens follows the lives of three maturing young women as they
leave school and take up their scholarships at university.
North and South
Set in the context of Victorian social and medical debate, this novel is about rebellion, posing fundamental questions about the
nature of social authority and obedience. This revised edition draws on recent theoretical work on gender and class.
Though handsome, clever, and charming, Justin is too depressed to get out of bed. When Mary Tendo responds to a cry for help
and returns from Uganda to look after Justin the balance of power in the house shifts dramatically, and tensions build towards a
startling climax on a motorway in a snowbound landscape.
The Hungry Tide
At the beginning of the last century a wealthy Scot tried to create a utopian society, of all races and religions, and conquer the area
known as the Sundarbans. When a small ship arrives to conduct an ecological survey of this environment, the scientists on board
begin to trace the journeys of the descendants of this society.
In pale battalions
Six months after her husband's sudden death, Leonora Galloway sets off on a holiday in Paris with her daughter Penelope. At last
the time has come when secrets can be shared and explanations begin.
Memoirs of a geisha
This seductive and evocative epic tells the extraordinary story of a geisha girl. It reveals the cruelty and ugliness of life behind the
rice-paper screens, and summons up more than 20 years of Japan's most dramatic history.
From the author of The Ten O'Clock Horses, this contemporary and funny novel looks at a year in the life of a TV cookery show host
The power and the glory
During a vicious persecution of the clergy in Mexico, a worldly priest is on the run. With the police closing in, his routes of escape
are being shut off, his chances getting fewer. But compassion and humanity force him along the road to his destiny.
The virgin’s lover
Elizabeth I has ascended to the throne of England, and is surrounded by advisers who are certain that a young woman cannot form
political judgements. Elizabeth feels she can rely on just one man, Robert Dudley. As pressure grows for Elizabeth to marry, her
preference is clear, but Robert is already married to Amy.
That Summer presents a romance set against the backdrop of the Battle of Britain in the summer of 1940. A young pilot, Len
Westbourne, falls for Stella Gardner, a radio operator. Both know their time together may be short.
This novel is a story of one boy's journey from innocence to experience. Luke helps his family pick the cotton from the farm that they
rent. He finds himself keeping secrets that threaten the crops and will change the life of his family forever.
The curious incident of the dog in the night time
A murder mystery like no other, this novel features Christopher Boone, a 15 year-old who suffers from Asperger's syndrome. When
he finds a neighbour's dog murdered, he sets out on a journey, which will turn his whole world upside down.
Far from the madding crowd
This is the story of Bathsheba Everdene, who inherits her uncle's farm, then surprises the villagers of Weatherbury by deciding to
run it herself rather than hire a manager. Three men vie for the affections of this independent young woman.
Jude the Obscure
This is the story of a young country workman obsessed by his ambition to become an Oxford student, interwoven with his fraught
relationships with two women.
Alison Penton HARPER
For 13 years Helen has lived a life of suburban predictability with Robert, bending to his boorish demands and allowing her
independent spirit to retreat into the safety cage of mundane, dutiful routine. When Robert is killed in a freak accident, Helen
begins to rekindle relationships with old friends and close family.
Five Quarters of the Orange
Set in occupied France, this is the story of a successful woman whose carefully constructed and hidden past threatens to be
exposed by her profiteering nephew.
In 1816, at the age of 36, when she had been a minister of the Society of Friends for five years, Betsy Fry walked alone into the hell
of Newgate Gaol. The transformation she wrought among its wretched female inhabitants propelled her onto the stage of world
At the heart of Joseph Heller's best-selling novel is a satirical indictment of military madness and stupidity, and the desire of the
ordinary man to survive it. It is the tale of Captain Yossarian who spends his time plotting to survive.
Notes on a scandal
When Sheba arrives Barbara senses that she will be different from the rest of her staff-room colleagues. Sure enough Sheba starts
an affair with a pupil and is caught. When all the dust settles and Sheba's life falls apart, Barbara is there for her even if she can't
condone her sexual behaviour.
The woman in black
When Arthur Kipps attends the funeral of Alice Drablow he is unaware of the tragic secrets which lie hidden behind her house. It is
not until he glimpses a woman dressed all in black at the funeral that a creeping sense of unease begins to take hold.
On the brink of her own life-changing decision, Alexis Fielding longs to find out about her mother's past. But Sofia has never spoken
of it. All she admits to is growing up in a small Cretan village before moving to London.
The white Masai
Corinne Hoffmann fell in love with a Masai warrior while on holiday in Kenya. After overcoming all sorts of obstacles, she moved into
a tiny shack with him and his mother, and spent four years there. Slowly the dream crumbled, and she fled back home with her baby
daughter. This is her story.
The Line of Beauty
Picking up at the point in time where 'The Swimming-Pool Library' left off. Nick Guest has moved into the attic room of the Feddens:
Gerald, a Tory MP, his wife Rachel and their children Toby and Catherine. The troubled Catherine soon becomes Nick's friend and
How to be good
According to her own moral calculations, Katie Carr has earned her affair. She's a decent person, whilst her husband David is the
Angriest Man in Holloway. When David suddenly becomes good, she is forced to ask herself some questions.
A thousand splendid suns
'A Thousand Splendid Suns' is a chronicle of Afghan history, and a deeply moving story of family, friendship, and the salvation to be
found in love.
The Kite Runner
Winter, 1975: Afghanistan, a country on the verge of an internal coup. 12 year old Amir is desperate to win the approval of his
father, one of the richest merchants in Kabul. He's failed to do so through academia or brawn but the one area they connect is the
annual kite fighting tournament.
A prayer for Owen Meany
Eleven-year-old Owen Meany, playing in a Little League baseball game in Gravesend, New Hampshire, hits a foul ball and kills his
best friend's mother. Owen doesn't believe in accidents; he believes he is God's instrument. What happens to Owen after that 1953
foul is both extraordinary and terrifying.
Never let me go
Kathy, Ruth and Tommy were pupils at Hailsham - an idyllic establishment situated deep in the English countryside. The children
there were tenderly sheltered from the outside world, brought up to believe they were special, and that their personal welfare was
crucial. But for what reason were they really there?
When we were orphans
In 1930s England, Christopher Banks has become one of the country's most celebrated detectives. His cases are the talk of London
society. Yet one mystery has always haunted him, the disappearance of his parents in Old Shanghai, when he was a boy.
P D JAMES
The children of men
The year is 2021. No child has been born for a quarter of a century. The human race faces extinction. Under the despotic rule of
Xan Lyppiatt, Warden of England, the old are despairing, the young beautiful but cruel.
P D JAMES
The Light House
Combe Island off the Cornish coast has a bloodstained history of piracy and cruelty but now, privately owned, it offers respite to
over-stressed men and women in positions of high authority who require privacy and guaranteed security. But the peace of Combe
is violated when one of the distinguished visitors is bizarrely murdered.
After a stag night, the groom-to-be goes missing and four of his friends are dead. Detective Superintendent Grace is contacted by
the missing man's fiancée, and discovers that the one man who ought to know his whereabouts is saying nothing - but he has more
to gain out of the tragedy than anyone realizes.
Jane Wenham JONES
Stephanie, bored housewife and downtrodden mother, wants a job. Madeleine's recruitment company appears to be the ideal place
to go. Except that PAs isn't quite what it seems.
Journeys in the dead season
Ian is on remand in Durham high security jail for a series of attacks on young girls across Leicestershire, culminating in abduction,
rape and murder. Ian is reading a copy of Captain Crowe's odyssey across Leicestershire in 1922 in which he intended to visit his
old comrades from the war.
Sushi for beginners
Who will have the nervous breakdown? Will it be Clodagh who awaits her beautiful husband's homecoming, or Lisa, hard and brittle
and recently demoted? Or perhaps it will be Ashling who is so normal that she is actually weird.
Sue Monk KIDD
The Secret Life of Bees
Lily has grown up believing she accidentally killed her mother when she was four years old. Now 14, she yearns for forgiveness and
a mother's love. When her only friend, a black servant, is beaten, the two become fugitives from justice, and end up following a trail
left by Lily's mother.
The Bachman books
The Poisonwood Bible
A fiery evangelist takes his family and mission to the Belgian Congo in 1959, carrying all they need from home, but they find it is
calamitously transformed on African soil. The tale recounts the family's tragic undoing and reconstruction.
Determined to prove the literal truth of the Bible, the Reverend Wilson sets out from England, in the summer of 1857, to find the
Garden of Eden, convinced it lies on the island of Tasmania. Unknown to him, others in his party have very different agendas
The history of love
A young girl, hoping to find a cure for her mother's loneliness, stumbles across a book that changed her mother's life and she goes
in search of the author. Soon these and other worlds collide in 'The History of Love', a captivating story of the power of love, of
loneliness and of survival.
Angry housewives eating bonbons
The women of Freesia Court have come together at life's table, fully convinced that there is nothing that good coffee, delectable
deserts and a strong shoulder can't fix. The five women each have a story to tell.
To kill a mockingbird
'Shoot all the bluejays you want, if you can hit 'em, but remember it's a sin to kill a mockingbird'. This is a lawyer's advice to his
children as he defends the real mockingbird of the story - a black man charged with raping a white girl in the 30s.
As I walked out one midsummer morning
It was 1934 when Laurie Lee left his home to tramp through Spain. This first book of Lee's autobiography paints a lyrical picture of a
beautiful and violent country that was to involve him inextricably.
Maddy's first day out with her newborn takes an awful turn. Arrested in Harrods for shoplifting, she finds herself falsely detained in
prison. She smuggles Jack to freedom in her friend Gillian's bag and ends up in court on a charge of infanticide.
Returning to England after the war Gilbert Joseph is treated very differently now that he is no longer in an RAF uniform. Joined by
his wife Hortense, he rekindles a friendship with Queenie who takes in Jamaican lodgers. Can their dreams of a better life in
England overcome the prejudice they face?
A short history of tractors in Ukrainian
For years, Nadezhda and Vera have had as little as possible to do with each other. But now they find they'd better learn how to get
along, because since their mother's death their ageing father has been sliding into his second childhood, and an alarming new
woman has just entered his life.
LITTLE black dress (ed Susan Maguire)
Every woman knows what a little black dress is for - seduction, mourning, revenge, celebration, perhaps even murder. It can be a
sign of belonging or a sign of individuality, a way to hide or a way to stand out. 15 women offer a range of views on the little black
In A House Unlocked, Penelope Lively recalls Golsoncott, the country house owned by her grandparents. She traces the history of
the house and its inhabitants and in doing so charts the social and cultural changes, which occurred in the 20th century.
When Glyn Peters chances upon an old photograph of his wife holding hands with another man his mind is filled with questions. As
he investigates the truth, even his work as a historian doesn't prepare him for the ensuing radical shift in perception as certainties of
past and present slip away.
It started with the blind violinist - shot twice through the head at point-blank range in the alley outside his dingy restaurant. It's only
when the omelette lady gets shot with the same gun in the same way 24 hours later that the 87th Precinct really starts to sit up and
The mermaids singing
This is a tense psychological thriller that explores the tormented world of a serial killer. A killer is on the loose in Bradfield, and
clinical psychologist Tony Hill is brought in to investigate.
Atonement is the novel for which Ian McEwan will always be remembered. Enthralling in its depiction of childhood, love and war,
class and England, at its centre is a profound and profoundly moving exploration of shame and forgiveness.
'Saturday' is a novel set within a single day in February 2003. Henry Perowne is a contented man, but what troubles him is the state
of the world. Following a minor car accident, Perowne is brought into contact with a small-time thug called Miller. This meeting has
If nobody speaks of remarkable things
On a street in an unnamed town in the north of England, perfectly ordinary people are doing totally ordinary things - but then a
terrible event shatters the quiet of the early summer evening and no one who witnesses it will be quite the same again
Adeline Yen MAH
Chinese Cinderella (Non fiction)
Set against the turbulent political times and the collision of East and West in 1930's China, this autobiography describes the
complexities of Adeline Yen Mah's relationships with her stepmother and siblings, and the trauma of her parents' deaths.
The loss of innocence
Alison is a medium. But what she hears is sometimes just too dark to pass on. She mostly tells her clients what they want to hear.
Colette, her manager and sidekick, makes the bookings and gets Alison on stage. And then there's Morris, Alison's foul-mouthed
and obscene Spirit Guide.
Gabriel Garcia MARQUEZ
Love in the time of cholera
An old man and his childhood sweetheart are united for the first time resulting in the consummation of an ‘amor interruptus’ that
spans half a century. This uplifting love story is set on the Colombian coast in the early 20th century.
'Stuart' is the story of an extraordinary friendship between a reclusive writer and illustrator and a chaotic, knife-wielding beggar
whom he gets to know during a campaign to release two charity workers from prison.
Under the Tuscan sun
Under the Tuscan Sun is a compelling story of Mayes experiences of buying and restoring an abandoned villa in the spectacular
Tuscan countryside. A sensuous and evocative account which captures the true essence of Tuscan life brilliantly.
In the final days of the Chinese empire, Orchid, a beautiful 17-year-old from an aristocratic but impoverished family, is pushed into
the maelstrom of politics when she is chosen to be a lower-ranking concubine of the emperor.
A fine balance
In the tiny flat of the widowed Dina Dalal, Ishvar and Omprakesh Darji, tailors who have been forced from the country into the city,
and young student Maneck Kohlah are painfully putting together a new life, and making a family of sorts amidst crisis.
This story centres on a 79-year-old Parsi widower named Nariman who lives with his step-son and step-daughter. Nariman's wife
died many years before, leaving behind the two children from her first marriage, and the daughter, Roxanna, they had together.
Black Swan Green
Jason Taylor is 13, doomed to be growing up in the most boring family in the deadest village in the dullest county in the most
tedious nation on earth. This book follows 13 months in his life as he negotiates the pitfalls of school and home and contends with
bullies, girls and politics.
Deborah Moggach examines sexual betrayal and human failings in 17th century Amsterdam as the characters in Tulip Fever move
inexorably towards a grand deception and a tragic climax.
Stupid white men
Michael Moore is America's favourite thorn in the side. In 'Stupid White Men', Moore provides a much-needed alternative to the
steady let's-line-up-behind-the-president drumbeat of today's commentators.
And when did you last see your father? (Non fiction)
This is Blake Morrison's memoir of his father, a story of loss, love and death, and the familiar "domineering old sod" that we
recognize from so many of the books about fathers by their sons Edmund Gosse, and J.R. Ackerley.
'Runaway' is several stories connected into one long narrative about Juliet. She escapes from teaching into a wild and passionate
love match, then returns to the home of her parents, whose life and curious marriage she begins to examine, then her child turns up
caught in the grip of a religious cult.
Home: the story of everyone who ever lived in our house
Ever thought about all the people who lived in your house before you did? This work is a history of an ordinary British family home
that digs up layer upon layer of past lives to illuminate our own times, our family life and our heritage.
The NATION’S favourite twentieth century poems
This collection brings together a wealth of innovative poetry styles that have flourished in the 20th century, whether in the witty
modern-day sonnets of Wendy Cope, the nonsense poems of Spike Milligan, or the prose poems of T.S. Elliot.
'Suite Francaise' is a lost masterpiece written in World War II France, telling the spellbinding story of a group of characters living
under Nazi occupation.
A diary of survival at the extreme edges of Britain by an unlikely adventurer, this is a story passionately engaged with the beauty
and marvels of the wild Atlantic coast. It is also a self-portrait of a man in the middle of his life who is determined to find out what it's
The Time Traveler’s Wife
This is the story of Henry and Clare, who have known each other since Clare was six and Henry was 36, and were married when
Clare was 23 and Henry was 31. This is possible only because Henry is diagnosed with chrono-displacement-disorder.
The reading group
A glass of wine, a gossip, and a good book - 'The Reading Group' is born. Its members are as different as the books they read. But
each woman has secret hopes and fears - and each woman finds laughter and support in the group's monthly meetings.
Matthew's stepdaughters are charming to him in public but privately they loathe him. His unease over them is fully justified because
they are actually determined to get rid of him even if it means committing murder.
The Star of the Sea
Winter 1847, the Star of the Sea sets sail from Ireland for New York. Among the refugees are a maidservant, bankrupt Lord
Merridith, an aspiring novelist and a maker of revolutionary ballads. Each is connected more deeply than they know. But a killer is
stalking the decks, hungry for vengeance.
After you’d gone
Only hours after boarding a train, Alice is lying in hospital in a coma after an accident that could have been a suicide attempt. With
her life hanging in the balance her family sit by her side where long-buried tensions start to rise to the surface.
Joyce Carol OATES
This short novel transforms the unspeakable into the unforgettable and promises to introduce Joyce Carol Oates singular vision to a
new generation of readers.
This simple and tragic fable, telling what happens when the animals drive out Mr Jones and attempt to run their farm themselves,
has since become a world famous classic of English prose
Season with Verona
Tim Parks goes on the road to follow the fortunes of Hellas Verona football club, to pay a different kind of visit to some of the world's
most beautiful cities and to get a fresh take on the conundrum that is national character.
The Tenderness of Wolves
As winter tightens its grip on the isolated settlement of Dove River, a woman steels herself for the journey of a lifetime. A man has
been brutally murdered and her 17-year old son has disappeared. To clear her son's name, she has no choice but to follow the
tracks leaving the dead man's cabin.
My sister’s keeper
The only reason Anna was born was to donate her cord blood cells to her older sister. By the age of 13, she has undergone
countless surgeries, transfusions and injections so that her sister Kate can fight the leukaemia that has plagued her since she was a
child. Now Anna wants control over her own body.
For eighteen years the Hartes and the Goldes have lived next door to each other. Parents and children alike are best friends so it
comes as no surprise that in high school Chris and Emily's friendship blossoms into something more. But one night a call comes
from the hospital - Emily has been shot dead.
The bell jar
The ‘Bell Jar’ is Sylvia Plath's account of a young woman's breakdown. Renowned for its intensity and its vivid prose, the novel
follows her attempted suicide, hospitalisation and recovery.
When Lyra's friend Roger disappears, she and her daemon, Pantalaimon, determine to find him. The ensuing quest leads them into
the bleak splendour of the North, where armoured bears rule the ice and witch-queens fly through the frozen skies.
Quartet in Autumn
'Quartet In Autumn' is the story of four people in late middle-age who work in the same office and who all suffer from loneliness.
Poignantly and with humour, Pym takes us through their small lives and the facades they erect to defend themselves against the
An illegal immigrant is found murdered in an Edinburgh housing scheme - a racist attack, or something else entirely? Rebus is
drawn into the case, but has other problems - his old police station has closed for business, and his masters would rather he retire
than stick around.
All Quiet on the Western Front
A young soldier in the trenches of Flanders tells this story during the First World War. Through his eyes we see the realities of war.
Incidents are vividly described, but there is no sense of adventure, only the feeling of youth betrayed.
Reader I married him
When Aurora decides to take herself off to Italy to visit her old friend, Nun Leonora, after her third husband's demise, she discovers
a rather dangerous lust for sex and food. Could this be the scenario that reveals the real Aurora?
The testament of Gideon Mack
Mack is a minister who doesn't believe in God, the Devil or an afterlife. One day he discovers a standing stone in the middle of a
wood where previously there had been none. Unsure what to make of this apparition, Mack's life begins to unravel dramatically.
In the first Inspector Banks novel a peeping tom is frightening the women of Eastvale whilst two young thugs are breaking into
homes. On top of all that an old woman may or may not have been murdered.
How I live now
Daisy is sent from New York to England to spend a summer with cousins she has never met. It seems like the perfect summer.
Falling in love is just the start of it but their lives are about to explode. War breaks out and lands on their doorstep. Daisy's life is
changed forever - and the world is too.
Carlos RUIZ ZAFON
Shadow of the wind
Hidden in the heart of the old city of Barcelona is a labyrinthine library of obscure & forgotten titles that have long gone out of print.
A man brings his 10-year-old son to the library & allows him to choose one book to keep. But as he grows up, several people seem
inordinately interested in his find.
253: the print remix
A Bakerline tube carriage has 36 seats. An ideally filled tube train with no one standing would carry 252 passengers. The driver
makes 253. Each has their own personal history, their own thoughts about themselves and their fellow passengers.
The catcher in the rye
A 16-year old American boy relates in his own words the experiences he goes through at school and after, and reveals with unusual
candour the workings of his own mind. What does a boy in his teens think and feel about his teachers, parents, friends and
Schlink explores questions of guilt, deceit, betrayal and memory in this novel, which traces the relationship between a German
lawyer, Michael, and an older woman, Hanna, who was formerly a guard at a satellite camp attached to Auschwitz.
The Lovely Bones
A huge bestseller in America, this is a novel about life and death, forgiveness and vengeance, memory and forgetting. 14-year-old
Susie Salmon, now dead, looks down on her family and friends from heaven.
The bookseller of Kabul
In the spring of 2002, journalist Asne Seierstad went to Afghanistan to live with a family for several months. Here she reveals her
experiences, telling the story of Sultan Khan - who defied the authorities for 20 years to supply books to the people of Kabul - and
Light on snow
The events of a December afternoon on which a father and his daughter find an abandoned infant in the snow will forever alter 11-
year-old Nicky Dillon's understanding of the world which she is about to enter and the adults who inhabit it.
New Hampshire, 1929, and Sexton Beecher proposes to Honora Willard. As the couple begin their new lives, their love is about to
be tested to the limit, for the Wall Street Crash has repercussions for everyone.
We need to talk about Kevin
Who is to blame for teenage atrocity? Narrator Eva Khatchadourian's son, Kevin, murdered seven of his fellow high school students,
a cafeteria worker, and the much-loved teacher who tried to befriend him. This novel is an examination of the effect tragedy has on
a town, a marriage and a family.
Touching the void
Joe Simpson and his climbing partner, Simon Yates, tackled the unclimbed West Face of the remote 21,000 ft Siula Grande in the
Peruvian Andes. In June 1985 they achieved the summit before disaster struck. In 'Touching the Void' they tell their story.
This is Nigel Slater's truly extraordinary story of his childhood remembered through food. Nigel's likes and dislikes, aversions and
sweet-toothed weaknesses form a fascinating and often amusing backdrop to this incredibly moving and evocative memoir of
childhood, adolescence and sexual awakening.
Alexander McCall SMITH
No 1 Ladies detective agency
The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency is one woman, Precious Ramotswe, working out of a breezeblock office in Botswana. A cross
between Kinsey Millhone and Miss Marple, Precious makes an unlikely heroine as she embarks on a very African mystery.
'The Accidental' is the follow-up novel to 'Hotel World', which was shortlisted for the Booker and Orange prizes in 2002. Ali Smith's
other novels include 'Free Love', 'Like', 'Other Stories and Other Stories' and 'The Whole Story and Other Stories'.
Moondust: in search of the men who fell to earth
This is a revealing book about the lives of the men who walked on the moon. Andrew Smith sets out to interview all the astronauts
still alive who walked on the moon, and to find out how their lives changed forever by what had happened.
When Howard Belsey's oldest son Jerome falls for Victoria, the stunning daughter of the right-wing Monty Kipps, both families find
themselves thrown together, enacting a cultural and personal war against each other.
White Teeth is a comic epic of multicultural Britain by one of the most exciting young writers of 2000. It tells the story of immigrants
in England over a period of 40 years.
Sophie's Choice is set in Brooklyn in 1947, and tells the story of Sophie, a Polish Catholic immigrant who is haunted by her
memories of the concentration camp in wartime Europe and the terrible choice she was forced to make.
Born in sweaty, fetid eighteenth-century Paris, Grenouille is distinctive even in infancy. He has the finest nose in Paris and no
personal odour. Suskind develops this idea into a tale of murder controlled by a loathing of humanity.
Q and A
Eighteen-year-old Ram Mohammad Thomas is in prison after answering twelve questions correctly on a TV quiz show to win one
billion rupees. The producers have arrested him, convinced that he has cheated his way to victory. In his warm-hearted tale lies all
the comedy, tragedy, joy and pathos of India.
Life isn’t all ha ha hee hee
‘Life Isn't All Ha Ha Hee Hee’ is a hilarious, thoughtful and moving novel about friendship, marriage and betrayal which focuses on
the difficult choices that contemporary women have to make.
The Kitchen God’s Wife
This story takes readers back to Shanghai in the 1920s, through World War II, and the harrowing events that lead to Winnie's arrival
in America in 1949.
The little friend
Harriet grows up haunted by the murder of her brother. His killer was never identified. Harriet lives largely in the world of her
imagination, alone even in company. Then one day she decides to find his murderer and exact her revenge.
Daughter of time
The Daughter of Time is Josephine Tey's search for the truth about the murder of the Princes in the Tower. Was Richard III the
monster the history books have portrayed? The search takes the form of a crime novel featuring Inspector Alan Grant.
Iris and Ruby
A story of love, loss and the distance between three generations of one family, this novel centres on Iris and Ruby - a grandmother
and her granddaughter - as they try and make sense of their respective lives.
The invisible woman
Claire Tomalin's story of the life of Nelly Ternan and Charles Dickens returns the neglected actress to her rightful place in history as
well as providing a compelling and truthful portrait of the great Victorian novelist.
Frankie and Stankie
Dinah and her sister Lisa are growing up in South Africa in the fifties. It is at school that Dinah first learns about racism. As we follow
Dinah from childhood, through adolcescence and marriage, to voluntary exile in London, we get a vivid glimpse of one of the darker
passages of 20th century history.
'The Colour' is a sweeping saga of sacrifice and greed set during the mid-nineteenth century gold rush in New Zealand.
Barnaby Gaitlin is a loser. Just short of 30, he's the black sheep of a philanthropic Baltimore family with an ex-wife, a daughter with
attitude, and an unreliable classic car. The author of Breathing Lessons looks at love and families.
Finding Violet Park
16-year-old Lucas Swain becomes intrigued by the urn of ashes left in a cab office. Convinced that its occupant - Violet Park - is
communicating with him, he contrives to gain possession of the urn, little realising that his quest will take him on a voyage of self-
discovery and identity.
Miss Garnet’s angel
Miss Garnet's Angel is a voyage of discovery, a novel of Venice but also a rich story of the explosive possibilities of change in all of
us at any time.
Now is the time to open your heart
Kate has always been a wanderer. A well-published author, she has lived a life full of exploration. Now, as she begins to feel the
first ravages of age, she wants to find a sense of meaning in her life. She sets out on a journey down the Colorado river - a journey
that will force her to re-explore her past and future.
'Fox Evil' tells the tale of what happens to a village when most of the houses are sold off as second homes, what happens to a
family when one of them turns bad and what happens when Captain Nancy Smith returns from peace-keeping duties in Kosovo.
Set in 1860s London, this is the story of Susan, a pickpocket who is persuaded to pose as a lady's maid and infiltrate the house of a
young heiress. This novel explores the nature of identity and what people do with disguise.
The Night Watch
Set in 1940s London, this story follows four characters - Kay, Helen, Viv and Duncan - as they deal with their everyday lives, set
against the backdrop of World War Two.
Bed of Roses
A love story set in a charming rural village where the follies of modern life are gently mocked.
Clive Wearing famously suffered an extreme case of amnesia. For years his wife Deborah supported him but eventually tried to
break away and make a new life for herself in America. Then, miraculously, his memory started to return, and she was pulled back
to England, and to Clive. This is their love story.
H G WELLS
The History of Mr Polly
Mr Polly is an ordinary middle-aged man who is tired of his wife's nagging and his dreary job as the owner of a regional gentleman's
outfitters. Unexpected events, however, conspire at the last moment to lead the bewildered Mr Polly to a bright new future.
Roman Fever is a collection of short stories. They tell of the emotions women feel: in love, in jealousy, when they long for children or
seek independence - & when their passions lead them to overstep the bounds laid down by exacting conventions.
The story of Tracy Beaker
Tracy is ten years old. She lives in a children's home but would like a real home one day, with a real family. Meet Tracy, follow her
story and share her hopes for the future.
Motherless and anchorless, Silver is taken in by the timeless Mr Pew, keeper of the Cape Wrath lighthouse. Pew tells Silver ancient
tales of longing and rootlessness, of ties that bind and of the slippages that occur throughout every life. One life, Babel Dark's,
opens like a map that Silver must follow.
Oranges are not the only fruit
Innovative in style, Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit is a few days ride into the bizarre outposts of religious excess and human
Gem squash tokoloshe
Faith leads an isolated existence on her family's drought- stricken farm in South Africa. When the rain stopped, her father took to the
road as a travelling salesman, returning at weekends. Faith lives with her mother Bella anticipating his visits, until one day he stops
coming & Bella's health begins to go into rapid decline.