From television to tennis, from the Illinois State Fair to the films of David Lynch, from postmodern literary theory to the supposed fun of traveling abroad a Caribbean cruise liner, David Foster Wallace brings to non-fiction the same curiosity, hilarity and exhilarating verbal facility that animated his bestselling novel Infinite Jest.
David Foster Wallace - Infinite Jest
A gargantuan, mind-altering comedy about the Pursuit of Happiness in America Set in an addicts' halfway house and a tennis academy, and featuring the most endearingly screwed-up family to come along in recent fiction, Infinite Jest explores essential questions about what entertainment is and why it has come to so dominate our lives; about how our desire for entertainment affects our need to connect with other people; and about what the pleasures we choose say about who we are. Equal parts philosophical quest and screwball comedy, Infinite Jest bends every rule of fiction without sacrificing for a moment its own entertainment value. It is an exuberant, uniquely American exploration of the passions that make us human - and one of those rare books that renew the idea of what a novel can do.
Harper Lee - To Kill a Mockingbird
The unforgettable novel of a childhood in a sleepy Southern town and the crisis of conscience that rocked it, To Kill A Mockingbird became both an instant bestseller and a critical success when it was first published in 1960. It went on to win the Pulitzer Prize in 1961 and was later made into an Academy Award-winning film, also a classic. Compassionate, dramatic, and deeply moving, To Kill A Mockingbird takes readers to the roots of human behavior - to innocence and experience, kindness and cruelty, love and hatred, humor and pathos. Now with over 18 million copies in print and translated into forty languages, this regional story by a young Alabama woman claims universal appeal. Harper Lee always considered her book to be a simple love story. Today it is regarded as a masterpiece of American literature.
Stephen Chbosky - The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Standing on the fringes of life... offers a unique perspective. But there comes a time to see what it looks like from the dance floor. This haunting novel about the dilemma of passivity vs. passion marks the stunning debut of a provocative new voice in contemporary fiction: The Perks of Being a Wallflower. This is the story of what it's like to grow up in high school. More intimate than a diary, Charlie's letters are singular and unique, hilarious and devastating. We may not know where he lives. We may not know to whom he is writing. All we know is the world he shares. Caught between trying to live his life and trying to run from it puts him on a strange course through uncharted territory. The world of first dates and mixed tapes, family dramas and new friends. The world of sex, drugs, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show, when all one requires is that perfect song on that perfect drive to feel infinite. Through Charlie, Stephen Chbosky has created a deeply affecting coming-of-age story, a powerful novel that will spirit you back to those wild and poignant roller coaster days known as growing up.
David Else - British Language & Culture
We're chuffed to bits to present the tour of Ole Blighty's lingo. It's the dog's bollocks! Try it out on the lads down your local, have a few pints, and don't worry about sounding naff - if it all goes pear-shaped, wait for the sound of 'Oh bless!' as they pat you on the back and buy you another bevvie. Get into the culture and humour behind the common - and not so common - English expressions and learn about the local languages that inspired them.
David Foster Wallace - Everything and More
One of the outstanding voices of his generation, David Foster Wallace has won a large and devoted following for the intellectual ambition and bravura style of his fiction and essays. Now he brings his considerable talents to the history of one of math's most enduring puzzles: the seemingly paradoxical nature of infinity. Is infinity a valid mathematical property or a meaningless abstraction? The nineteenth-century mathematical genius Georg Cantor's answer to this question not only surprised him but also shook the very foundations upon which math had been built. Cantor's counterintuitive discovery of a progression of larger and larger infinities created controversy in his time and may have hastened his mental breakdown, but it also helped lead to the development of set theory, analytic philosophy, and even computer technology. Smart, challenging, and thoroughly rewarding, Wallace's tour de force brings immediate and high-profile recognition to the bizarre and fascinating world of higher mathematics.
Emma Donoghue - Slammerkin
Born to rough cloth in Hogarth's London, but longing for silk, Mary Saunders's eye for a shiny red ribbon leads her to prostitution at a young age. A dangerous misstep sends her fleeing to Monmouth, and the position of household seamstress, the ordinary life of an ordinary girl with no expectations. But Mary has known freedom, and having never known love, it is freedom that motivates her. Mary asks herself if the prostitute who hires out her body is more or less free than the "honest woman" locked into marriage, or the servant who runs a household not her own? And is either as free as a man? Ultimately, Mary remains true only to the three rules she learned on the streets: Never give up your liberty. Clothes make the woman. Clothes are the greatest lie ever told.
Sylvia Plath - The Journals of Sylvia Plath
The 23 journals detail her adult life: student days at Smith College, her time at Cambridge University where she met and later married the poet Ted Hughes, the two years spent living in New England and life in Devon, including the birth of their children, before the marriage broke down in 1962.
Stephen Fry - Rescuing the Spectacled Bear
On New Years Day BBC 1 broadcast a programme about Stephen Fry going to Peru to track Paddington Bear's roots and more seriously to rescue a Spectacled bear, one of the world's endangered species. At Easter a follow up programme was shown on BBC 2, they went back, and helped rescue a mate for the young bear they had found on their first trip. Stephen is now gripped by drawing the world's attention to these bears and has written a diary of his time in Peru. It is packed with lovely colour pictures of Stephen, bears and Peru, and it is, of course, wildly funny. Stephen Fry is set to become the Diane Fossey of the bear world.
Ray Bradbury - Green Shadows, White Whale
In 1953, the brilliant but terrifying titan of cinema John Huston summons the young writer Ray Bradbury to Ireland. The apprehensive scribe's quest is to capture on paper the fiercest of all literary beasts -- Moby Dick -- in the form of a workable screenplay so the great director can begin filming. But from the moment he sets foot on Irish soil, the author embarks on an unexpected odyssey. Meet congenial IRA terrorists, tippling men of the cloth impish playwrights, and the boyos at Heeber Finn's pub. In a land where myth is reality, poetry is plentiful, and life's misfortunes are always cause for celebration, Green Shadows, White Whale is the grandest tour of Ireland you'll ever experience -- with the irrepressible Ray Bradbury as your enthusiastic guide.
Neil Gaiman - American Gods
Shadow is a man with a past and wants nothing more now than to live a quiet life with his wife. When his wife is killed in a terrible accident, Shadow flies home for the funeral. As a raging storm rocks the plane, the strange man in the seat next to Shadow introduces himself as Mr. Wednesday. He knows more about Shadow than is possible--and he warns Shadow an even bigger storm is coming.
Peter V. Brett - The Painted Man
Sometimes there is very good reason to be afraid of the dark... Eleven-year-old Arlen lives with his parents on their small farmstead, half a day's ride away from the isolated hamlet of Tibbet's Brook. As dusk falls upon Arlan's world, a strange mist rises from the ground, a mist carrying nightmares to the surface. A mist that promises a violent death to any foolish enough to brave the coming darkness, for hungry corelings - demons that cannot be harmed by mortal weapons - materialize from the vapours to feed on the living. As the sun sets, people have no choice but to take shelter behind magical wards and pray that their protection holds until the creatures dissolve with the first signs of dawn. When Arlen's life is shattered by the demon plague, he is forced to see that it is fear, rather than the demons, which truly cripples humanity. Believing that there is more to his world than to live in constant fear, he must risk leaving the safety of his wards to discover a different path. In the small town of Cutter's Hollow, Leesha's perfect future is destroyed by betrayal and a simple lie. Publicly shamed, she is reduced to gathering herbs and tending an old woman more fearsome than the corelings. Yet in her disgrace, she becomes the guardian of dangerous ancient knowledge. Orphaned and crippled in a demon attack, young Rojer takes solace in mastering the musical arts of a Jongleur, only to learn that his unique talent gives him unexpected power over the night. Together, these three young people will offer humanity a last, fleeting chance of survival.
Angela Carter - Love
"Love" is Angela Carter's fifth novel and was first published in 1971. With surgical precision it charts the destructive emotional war between a young woman, her husband, and his disruptive brother as they move through a labyrinth of betrayal, alienation, and lost connections. This revised edition has lost none of Angela Carter's haunting power to evoke the ebb of the 1960s, and includes an afterword, which describes the progress of the survivors into the anguish of middle age.
Angela Carter - Shadow Dance
Carter's heady first novel introduces one of her most enigmatic characters. Honeybuzzard spends his nights scavenging the contents of abandoned buildings and his days seducing and tormenting lovers, enemies, and friends. He and his best friend Morris scour the backstreets of London, leaving behind a trail of destruction in the broken hearts and dashed hopes of those they love, manipulate, and ultimately discard.
William S. Burroughs - The Western Lands
A fascinating mix of autobiographical episodes and extraordinary Egyptian theology, Burroughs's final novel is poignant and melancholic. Blending war films and pornography, and referencing Kafka and Mailer, The Western Lands confirms his status as one of America's greatest writers. The final novel of the trilogy containing Cities of the Red Night and The Place of Dead Roads, this is a profound meditation on morality, loneliness, life and death.
Neil Gaiman - Don't Panic
'It's all devastatingly true - except the bits that are lies' Douglas Adams Don't Panic celebrates the life of an ape-descended human called Douglas Adams who, in a field in Innsbruck in 1971, had an idea. This is also the story of what that idea became: The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy - the original radio series which started it all, and the five book 'trilogy', the TV series, almost-film, computer game, towel and website that followed. Acclaimed author Neil Gaiman also tells the whole story of Liff, the Universe of Dirk Gently, and everything else Douglas ever worked on, including his posthumous collection The Salmon of Doubt. As Douglas himself said, it is 'certainly the most outstandingly brilliant book to have been written about The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy since this morning.'
Kate Morton - The House at Riverton
Summer 1924: On the eve of a glittering Society party, by the lake of a grand English country house, a young poet takes his life. The only witnesses, sisters Hannah and Emmeline Hartford, will never speak to each other again. Winter 1999: Grace Bradley, 98, one-time housemaid of Riverton Manor, is visited by a young director making a film about the poet's suicide. Ghosts awaken and memories, long-consigned to the dark reaches of Grace's mind, begin to sneak back through the cracks. A shocking secret threatens to emerge; something history has forgotten but Grace never could.
Haruki Murakami - After the Quake
The economy was booming. People had more money than they knew what to do with. And then the earthquake struck. For the characters in After the Quake, the Kobe earthquake is an echo from a past they buried long ago. Satsuki has spent thirty years hating one man: a lover who destroyed her chances of having children. Did her desire for revenge cause the earthquake? Junpei's estranged parents live in Kobe. Should he contact them? Miyake left his family in Kobe to make midnight bonfires on a beach hundreds of miles away. Fourteen-year-old Sala has nightmares that the Earthquake Man is trying to stuff her inside a little box. Katagiri returns home to find a giant frog in his apartment on a mission to save Tokyo from a massive burrowing worm. 'When he gets angry, he causes earthquakes, says Frog. And right now he is very, very angry. This new collection of stories, from one of the world's greatest living writers, dissects the violence beneath the surface of modern Japan.
Barbara Pym - A Few Green Leaves
Completed barely two months before her death, Pym's last novel is an incisive and wry portrait of life in an English village in Oxfordshire. It is also certain to be considered by many her masterwork. In A Few Green Leaves the author combines the rural setting of her earliest novels with many of the themes--and even some characters--of her later ones. Switching points of view among many characters, she builds with accumulating effect the picture of life in a town forgotten by time yet affected dramatically by it. Historical time--represented by Druid ruins, the local eighteenth-century country manor, and the last aristocrats who occupied it in the 1920's--is juxtaposed against the banalities of life in today's world.
William Boyd - Any Human Heart
Every life is both ordinary and extraordinary, but Logan Mountstuart's - lived from the beginning to the end of the twentieth century - contains more than its fair share of both. As a writer who finds inspiration with Hemingway in Paris and Virginia Woolf in London, as a spy recruited by Ian Fleming and betrayed in the war and as an art-dealer in '60s New York, Logan mixes with the movers and shakers of his times. But as a son, friend, lover and husband, he makes the same mistakes we all do in our search for happiness. Here, then, is the story of a life lived to the full - and a journey deep into a very human heart.