When George Orwell joined up to fight in the Spanish Civil War, it seemed like the beginning of ‘an era of equality and freedom’. In Homage to Catalonia he vividly chronicles his experiences: the revolutionary euphoria of Barcelona, the courage of the ordinary Spanish men and women he fought alongside, the terror and confusion of the front, his near-fatal bullet wound and the cynical betrayal of his allies. Here he brings to bear all the force of his humanity, passion and integrity to describe the bright hopes and desperate disillusionment of a chaotic, brutal war.
Agatha Christie - The ABC Murders
There’s a serial killer on the loose, murdering his victims in alphabetical order. As a macabre calling card he leaves beside each victim’s corpse the ABC Railway Guide open at the name of the town where the murder has taken place. With the whole country in a state of panic, and growing more confident with each successful execution – Mrs Ascher in Andover, Betty Barnard in Bexhill, Carmichael Larke in Churston – the murderer’s trail of deliberate clues taunts the proud Poirot. Which might just be his first mistake… ‘A masterwork of carefully concealed artifice… most stunningly original.’ Julian Symons
Agatha Christie - The Big Four
Alone, each was formidable. Together, they were virtually invincible. A brilliant Chinese man, an American millionaire, a French scientist and an elusive master of disguise: the big four join together to plot a criminal conspiracy that shocks even Poirot. As he tracks them down it becomes ever more apparent that this could be his final, fatal case!
David Lodge - Nice Work
Vic Wilcox a self-made man and managing director of an engineering firm, has little regard for academics, and even less for feminists. So when Robyn Penrose, a trendy leftist teacher, is assigned to "shadow" Vic under a government program created to foster mutual understanding between town and gown, the hilarious collision of lifestyles and ideologies that ensues seems unlikely to foster anything besides mutual antipathy. But in the course of a bumpy year, both parties make some surprising discoveries about each other's world's - and about themselves.
George Orwell - A Clergyman's Daughter
Dorothy, the heroine of this novel, performs good works, cultivates good thoughts, and pricks her arm with a pin when a bad thought arises. She then has a series of unexpected and degrading adventures after becoming a victim of amnesia. Though she regains her life as a clergyman’s daughter, she has lost her faith.
Nancy Mitford - Love in a Cold Climate
In one of the wittiest novels of them all, Nancy Mitford casts a finely gauged net to capture perfectly the foibles and fancies of the English upper class. Set in the privileged world of the county house party and the London season, the story of coldly beautiful Polly Hampton and her aristocratic parents is is a comedy of English manners between the wars by one of the most individual, beguiling and creative users of the language.
Iris Murdoch - The Unicorn
When Marian Taylor takes a post as governess at Gaze Castle, a remote house upon a beautiful but desolate coast, she finds herself confronted with a number of weird mysteries and involved in a drama she only partly understands. Some crime or catastrophe in the past still keeps the house, like the castle of the Sleeping Beauty, under a spell, whose magic also touches the neighbouring house of Riders, inhabited by a scholarly recluse. Marian's employer, Hannah, and her retainers, seem to be acting out some tragic pattern: but it is not clear whether Hannah herself, the central figure, the Unicorn, is innocent victim or violent author, saint or witch... In a novel that has all the beauty of a fairy story and the melodrama of a Gothic tale, Murdoch explores the fantasies and ambiguities which beset those who are condemned to be passionately abandoned and yet hopelessly imperfect in their search for God.
Jacqueline Wilson - Double Act
Ruby and Garnet are ten-year-old twins. They're identical, and they do EVERYTHING together, especially since their mother died three years earlier - but they couldn't be more different. Bossy, bouncy, funny Ruby loves to take charge, and is desperate to be a famous actress, while quiet, sensitive, academic Garnet loves nothing more than to curl up with one of her favourite books. And when everything around the twins is changing so much, can being a double act work for ever?
Joanna Trollope - Second Honeymoon
Another compelling family drama from Joanna Trollope, this time set in London. The Boyd family are victims to the empty nest, twenty-first-century style. Ben, the youngest, is final leaving home to the devastation of his mother. His brother is wrestling with a relationship in which his girlfriend earns and achieves more and his sister is wrestling with debt and the end of a turbulent love affair.
Joanna Trollope - Next of Kin
Two generations of Merediths farm the land running down to the River Dean. Robin Meredith bought his dairy farm just before he married Caro, his enigmatic Californian wife, while his father Harry is an arable farmer on the adjoining farm, working the land, with the help of his other son Joe, just as his father and grandfather had before him. But now Caro had died, as much of a mystery to the Meredith family as she was when she arrived twenty years ago, leaving Robin and the rest of the family to cope with the loss. With Caro gone, her adopted daughter Judy feels cut adrift, while for Joe the despair at her death is far deeper than the family suspects. And into the midst of this unhappy family comes Zoe, Judy's London friend, an outsider with her strange townie appearance, independent spirit and disturbing directness. Everyone underestimates Zoe's power as a catalyst for change as the realities behind the seeming idyll of a rural community become ever clearer.
Joanna Trollope - Other People's Children
With her sensitive eye and unerring ear, Joanna Trollope, author of The Best of Friends, explores the hard-won truths and often harder to overcome difficulties of stepfamilies: coping with present and former husbands and wives, and above all, with other people's children.
David Herbert Lawrence - Lady Chatterley's Lover
The story of Constance Chatterley's sexual awakening through her affair with Mellors the gamekeeper has remained one of the most controversial novels of the twentieth century. Frustrated and ensnared by her marriage to Clifford Chatterley, an invalid, Constance is deeply unhappy and unfulfilled. Her relationship with Mellors rekindles her sexual feeling sand brings her back to life. She decides, however, to leave England to live with her sister Hilda and, though pregnant, she finds her own form of personal freedom. Unpublished in Britain until 1960 following the notorious trial, LADY CHATTERLEY'S LOVER is still considered to be an unsurpassed celebration of sexual love that broke new ground in its frankness and candour.
David Lodge - A David Lodge Trilogy
Changing Places - Small World - Nice Work This omnibus lines up David Lodge's trio of brilliantly comic novels that revolve around the University of Rummidge and the lives of its role-swapping academics. When Philip Swallow, lecturer in English at Rummidge, changes places with flamboyant Morris Zapp of Euphoric State University, USA, trouble ensues. Then, ten years on, older but not noticeably wiser, they are let loose on the international conference circuit - a veritable academic carnival. And finally, Dr Robyn Penrose becomes part of a scheme to learn about industry instead of reading about it, with hilarious results. David Lodge exposes the dizzy pursuit of knowledge - literary, commercial, romantic and erotic - with unparalleled wit and insight.
Joanna Trollope - The Best of Friends
Latest saga from the number one bestselling author, many of her books having transferred to television. Relates the events in the lives of two families, loyal and devoted friends for years. But both marriages become wrecked when one husband leaves, and when comforting goes too far, the other has an affair. Deals with the gradual return to normality, the effect on the children, and includes wonderful characters like the grandmother who finds true love at eighty!
Lawrence Durrell - The Black Book
Durrell's third work, the original angry young novel, was first published by his good friend and long-time correspondent Henry Miller as the first title in the short-lived "Villa Seurat" imprint of the Paris-based Obelisk Press. Unpublishable by the more staid (and censored) presses across the Channel, no work better captures the anguish and death-consciousness of a Europe about to plunge, once again, into cataclysmic war and destruction. The Black Book first saw print in 1938.
Joanna Trollope - The Rector's Wife
Anna Bouverie is the rector's wife. She irons his surplices (badly), delivers the parish newsletter, and scrimps to get by on a pittance, all the while keeping up appearances. She rarely complains and rarely rebels. But now-as she watches her children do without, as her husband withdraws further into his work, and her frustration mounts into fury-Anna realizes that she's willing to do whatever it takes to save herself..."A novel of large ideas and small touches," (Boston Globe) The Rector's Wife "will be quickly devoured and long remembered" (USA Today).
Virginia Woolf - Orlando / Mrs. Dalloway / To the Lighthouse
Gathered together in one volume, three of Virginia Woolf`s greatest novels. ORLANDO has lived as both a man and a woman through the centuries. Written as a tribute to Vita Sackville-West, this exuberant and entertaining novel is a unique contribution to twentieth-century literature. MRS DALLOWAY follows the toughts and memories of a fashionable society hostess during a single day in June as she prepares for a party that evening. As she takes her heroine through the day, Virginia Woolf breaks new ground in English fiction-writing. TO THE LIGHTHOUSE The Ramsay family and their guests are holidaying on the Isle of Skye. Virginia Woolf`s most celebrated novel explores, through the postponement of a visit to a nearby lighthouse, the complexities and tensions of family life.
William Golding - Lord of the Flies
Synopsis The story that never grows old... Lord of the Flies remains as provocative today as when it was first published in 1954, igniting passionate debate with its startling, brutal portrait of human nature. Though critically acclaimed, it was largely ignored upon its initial publication. Yet soon it became a cult favorite among both students and literary critics who compared it to J.D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye in its influence on modern thought and literature. Labeled a parable, an allegory, a myth, a morality tale, a parody, a political treatise, even a vision of the apocalypse,Lord of the Flies has established itself as a true classic. And now readers can own it in a beautifully designed hardcover edition worthy of its stature. This Christmas' meaningful gift, the 50th Anniversary Edition of the Lord of the Flies is the volume that every fan of this classic book will have to own.
Josephine Cox - Live The Dream
In a 1930's setting, Live The Dream tells the story of three people caught up in a tangle of love and hatred, which threatens to tear them apart forever. Handsome, wealthy and fair-minded, Luke Hammond could have the world at his feet. Instead, he has the world on his shoulders. Consumed by sadness, Luke's only respite from his respectable life is on a Tuesday, when he heads off to seek solace in a hideaway deep in the calm heart of the woods. Locked in his thoughts and dreams, living his humble 'Tuesday' life, Luke's quiet sadness intrigues Amy Maitland, a bright young woman whom Luke seems at first not to notice. Amy finds herself wondering more and more about this elusive man. But Amy worries too about Daisy, her beloved best friend, who masks the misery of a difficult home life behind her carefree hilarity. Amy knows that under the bravado and humour there is a desperate woman, searching for stability and love -- seemingly at any cost. Calling Luke her 'Tuesday Man', Daisy falls head over heels in love with him. Although he's aloof and appears to have little time for romance, she means to have him.
P. G. Wodehouse - Thank you, Jeeves
"Unpleasantness is rearing its ugly head in Berkeley Mansions, W1. I note also a lack of give-and-take and an absence of the neighbourly spirit. I have just been talking to the manager of the building on the telephone, and he has delivered an ultimatum. He says I must either chuck playing the banjolele or clear out." Jeeves' sympathies do not lie with his master's musical experiment and he threatens to leave. So Bertie seeks refuge in Lord Chuffington's cottage until his peace is shattered by the arrival of his ex-fiancee Pauline Stoker and her formidable father.