In what is arguably his greatest book, America’s most heroically ambitious writer follows the short, blighted career of Gary Gilmore, an intractably violent product of America’s prisons who became notorious for two reasons: first, for robbing two men in 1976, then killing them in cold blood; and, second, after being tried and convicted, for insisting on dying for his crime. To do so, he had to fight a system that seemed paradoxically intent on keeping him alive long after it had sentenced him to death. Norman Mailer tells Gilmore’s story—and those of the men and women caught up in his procession toward the firing squad—with implacable authority, steely compassion, and a restraint that evokes the parched landscapes and stern theology of Gilmore’s Utah. The Executioner’s Song is a trip down the wrong side of the tracks to the deepest sources of American loneliness and violence. It is a towering achievement—impossible to put down, impossible to forget.
J. R. R. Tolkien - The Hobbit
Seldom has any book been so widely read and loved as J.R.R. Tolkien's classic tale, The Hobbit. Since its first publication in 1937 it has remained in print to delight each new generation of readers all over the world, and its hero, Bilbo Baggins, has taken his place among the ranks of the immortals: Alice, Pooh, Toad... As with all classics, repeated readings continue to bring new detail and perspectives to the reader's mind, and Tolkien's Middle-earth is a vast mine of treasures and knowledge, its roots delving deep into folklore, mythology and language. The Hobbit is, therefore, an ideal book for annotation: as well as offering a marvellous and entrancing story, it introduces the reader to the richly imagined world of Middle-earth, a world more fully and complexly realised in The Lord of the Rings and The Silmarillion.
J. D. Salinger - The Catcher in the Rye
Ever since it was first published in 1951, this novel has been the coming-of-age story against which all others are judged. Read and cherished by generations, the story of Holden Caulfield is truly one of America's literary treasures. Salinger's classic coming-of-age story portrays one young man's funny and poignant experiences with life, love, and sex.
David Mitchell - Cloud Atlas
'Souls cross ages like clouds cross skies...' A reluctant voyager crossing the Pacific in 1850; a disinherited composer blagging a precarious livelihood in between-the-wars Belgium; a high-minded journalist in Governor Reagan's California; a vanity publisher fleeing his gangland creditors; a genetically modified dinery server on death-row; and Zachry, a young Pacific Islander witnessing the nightfall of science and civilisation. The narrators of _Cloud Atlas_ hear each other's echoes down the corridor of history, and their destinies are changed in ways great and small. In his extraordinary third novel, David Mitchell erases the boundaries of language, genre and time to offer a meditation on humanity's dangerous will to power, and where it may lead us.
Ray Bradbury - Fahrenheit 451 (angol)
The hauntingly prophetic classic novel set in a not-too-distant future where books are burned by a special task force of firemen. Guy Montag is a fireman. His job is to burn books, which are forbidden, being the source of all discord and unhappiness. Even so, Montag is unhappy; there is discord in his marriage. Are books hidden in his house? The Mechanical Hound of the Fire Department, armed with a lethal hypodermic, escorted by helicopters, is ready to track down those dissidents who defy society to preserve and read books. The classic novel of a post-literate future, Fahrenheit 451 stands alongside Orwells 1984 and Huxleys Brave New World as a prophetic account of Western civilizations enslavement by the media, drugs and conformity. Bradburys powerful and poetic prose combines with uncanny insight into the potential of technology to create a novel which over fifty years from first publication, still has the power to dazzle and shock.
William Faulkner - The Sound and the Fury
A novel which describes the dissolution of the once aristocratic Compson family in the American South, told through the eyes of three of its members. In different ways they prove unable to deal with either the responsibility of the past or the imperatives of the present.
Alan Moore - The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen
Comics scriptwriting supremo Alan Moore's incredible, reinvention of classic heroes and villains - now available in an eagerly-anticipated paperback. What if some of the best loved literary characters in history were to band together to fight crime? What if Captain Nemo, Allan Quatermain, Dr Henry Jekyll (together with his brutish alter ego Edward Hyde) and The Invisible Man were brought together by a Miss Mina Harker (who once had a dalliance with a certain Count from Transylvania), to fight the menace of Fu Manchu? Enter the extraordinary world of Alan Moore with this fantastic collection to find out!
Liza Dalby - Geisha
Geisha are exotic even in their homeland. At the same time, geisha are the most Japanese of Japanese. In this book, Liza Dalby examines these intriguing women, practitioners of the classical arts of music and dance and unmarried companions to the Japanese male elite. The profession was born in the licensed demimonde of eighteenth-century Japan, where geisha were originally entertainers to the high-ranked prostitutes and their customers. As their popularity grew, geisha gradually became society's fashion arbiters, and their sophisticated style had a great impact on the arts, music, and literature of nineteenth-century Japan. Today an air of paradox clings to geisha. They are trained in the respected arts of classical music and dance. Yet because they take lovers rather than marry, a middle-class girl who chooses the profession causes parental dismay. It is an unusual girl who chooses this disciplined, glamorous, recherché way of life today. During the 1930s they made the transition from fashion innovator to curator of tradition, and in so doing, geisha assured themselves a continuing role in modern society. The ideal of artistic achievement and feminine allure that they represent is deeply rooted in Japan. GEISHA combines ethnography with a view from the inside. Liza Dalby was accepted into the geisha community of Pontochô in Kyoto for a yearlong stint under the geisha name Ichigiku. This account of her unique experience provides an intimate look into a feminine community that has been the subject of rumor and fantasy for centuries in the West. In explaining the beauty of the paradox of geisha today, she holds up a mirror to the complexities of Japanese culture itself. She leads the reader to a rich understanding of Japan and one of the most Japanese of all existing institutions.
José Saramago - The History of the Siege of Lisbon
Raimundo Silva, an innocuous bachelor, has chosen the safe occupation of proofreader at a distinguished publishing house. One day he inexplicably takes it upon himself to alter a key word in a history text. His alteration leads him into an affair on the heart that changes the course of European history. Around a seemingly minor incident José Saramago has constructed one of his most ambitious, sweeping novels to date: a broad, multifaceted tableau involving meditations on historiography, the uses and abuses of language, and life under authoritarian rule. This rollicking love story is a delight for readers of Jorge Luis Borges, Salman Rushdie, and Gabriel García Márquez.
Ned Vizzini - It's Kind of a Funny Story
Like many ambitious New York City teenagers, Craig Gilner sees entry into Manhattan’s Executive Pre-Professional High School as the ticket to his future. Determined to succeed at life—which means getting into the right high school to get into the right college to get the right job—Craig studies night and day to ace the entrance exam, and does. That’s when things start to get crazy. At his new school, Craig realizes that he isn't brilliant compared to the other kids; he’s just average, and maybe not even that. He soon sees his once-perfect future crumbling away. The stress becomes unbearable and Craig stops eating and sleeping—until, one night, he nearly kills himself. Craig’s suicidal episode gets him checked into a mental hospital, where his new neighbors include a transsexual sex addict, a girl who has scarred her own face with scissors, and the self-elected President Armelio. There, isolated from the crushing pressures of school and friends, Craig is finally able to confront the sources of his anxiety. Ned Vizzini, who himself spent time in a psychiatric hospital, has created a remarkably moving tale about the sometimes unexpected road to happiness. For a novel about depression, it’s definitely a funny story.
Veronica Roth - Divergent
In Beatrice Prior's dystopian Chicago, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is—she can't have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself. During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles to determine who her friends really are—and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes infuriating boy fits into the life she's chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she's kept hidden from everyone because she's been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers a growing conflict that threatens to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves . . . or it might destroy her.
Carlos Ruiz Zafón - The Shadow of the Wind
Hidden in the heart of the old city of Barcelona is the 'cemetery of lost books', a labyrinthine library of obscure and forgotten titles that have long gone out of print. To this library, a man brings his 10-year-old son Daniel one cold morning in 1945. Daniel is allowed to choose one book from the shelves and pulls out LA SOMBRA DEL VIENTO by Julian Carax. But as he grows up, several people seem inordinately interested in his find. Then, one night, as he is wandering the old streets once more, Daniel is approached by a figure who reminds him of a character from LA SOMBRA DEL VIENTO, a character who turns out to be the devil. This man is tracking down every last copy of Carax's work in order to burn them. What begins as a case of literary curiosity turns into a race to find out the truth behind the life and death of Julian Carax and to save those he left behind. A page-turning exploration of obsession in literature and love, and the places that obsession can lead.
Mark Lawrence - Prince of Thorns
The thorns taught him a lesson in blood... _ "Before the thorns taught me their sharp lessons and bled weakness from me I had but one brother, and I loved him well. But those days are gone and what is left of them lies in my mother's tomb. Now I have many brothers, quick with knife and sword, and as evil as you please. We ride this broken empire and loot its corpse. They say these are violent times, the end of days when the dead roam and monsters haunt the night. All that's true enough, but there's something worse out there, in the dark. Much worse." _ Once a privileged royal child, raised by a loving mother, Jorg Ancrath has become the Prince of Thorns, a charming, immoral boy leading a grim band of outlaws in a series of raids and atrocities. The world is in chaos: violence is rife, nightmares everywhere. Jorg's bleak past has set him beyond fear of any man, living or dead, but there is still one thing that puts a chill in him. Returning to his father's castle Jorg must confront horrors from his childhood and carve himself a future with all hands turned against him. The Prince of Thorns is the first volume in a powerful new epic fantasy trilogy, original, absorbing and challenging. Mark Lawrence’s debut novel tells a tale of blood and treachery, magic and brotherhood and paints a compelling and brutal, sometimes beautiful, picture of an exceptional boy on his journey toward manhood and the throne.
Catherine Clark - Like Mother, Like Daughter
"This is it. She can finally go to Harvard like she's always wanted and get the education that I never got and get to do all the things that I never got to do and then I can resent her for it and we can finally have a normal mother-daughter relationship." Lorelai Gilmore Okay, let's face it. My mom and I are never going to have a "normal" mother-daughter relationship because my mom isn't just my mother, she's my best friend. She would do anything for me, including asking her parents for the tution money to send me to Chilton, this prestigous prep school that just accepted me. That was probably one ot the thoughest things she's ever done, although agreeing to weekly dinners in exchange for the loan probably runs a close second. My mom's just miserable at the merge thought of this. But the way I look at it?-I'd just say life is going to get a lot more interesting.
Ernest Hemingway - For Whom the Bell Tolls
One of the greatest novels which our troubled age will produce. _Observer_ High in the pine forests of the Spanish Sierra, a guerrilla band prepares to blow up a vital bridge. Robert Jordan, a young American volunteer, ahs been sent to handle the dynamiting. There, in the mountains, he finds the dangers and the intense comradeship of war. And there he discovers Maria, a young woman who has escaped from Franco's rebels. For Whom the Bell Tolls is Hemingway's finest novel, a passionate evocation of the pride and the tragedy of the Civil War that tore Spain apart. The best book Hemingway has written. _New York Times_
Haruki Murakami - 1Q84 1-3. (angol)
A mesmerising, epic masterpiece from Haruki Murakami. The year is 1984. Aomame sits in a taxi on the expressway in Tokyo. Her work is not the kind which can be discussed in public but she is in a hurry to carry out an assignment and, with the traffic at a stand-still, the driver proposes a solution. She agrees, but as a result of her actions starts to feel increasingly detached from the real world. She has been on a top-secret mission, and her next job will lead her to encounter the apparently superhuman founder of a religious cult. Meanwhile, Tengo is leading a nondescript life but wishes to become a writer. He inadvertently becomes involved in a strange affair surrounding a literary prize to which a mysterious seventeen-year-old girl has submitted her remarkable first novel. It seems to be based on her own experiences and moves readers in unusual ways. Can her story really be true? Aomame and Tengo's stories influence one another, at times by accident and at times intentionally, as the two come closer and closer to intertwining. As 1Q84 accelerates towards its conclusion, both are pursued by persons and forces they do not know and cannot understand. As they begin to decipher more about the strange world into which they have slipped, so they sense their destinies converging. What they cannot know is whether they will find one another before they are themselves found. 1Q84 is a magnificent and fully-imagined work of fiction, a thriller, a love-story and a mind-bending ode to George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four. It is a world from which the reader emerges stunned and altered.
Marya Hornbacher - Wasted
Why would a talented young girl go through the looking glass and step into a netherworld where up is down and food is greed, where death is honor and flesh is weak? Why enter into a love affair with hunger, drugs, sex, and death? Marya Hornbacher sustains both anorexia and bulimia through five lengthy hospitalizations, endless therapy, and the loss of family, friends, jobs, and ultimately, any sense of what it means to be "normal." By the time she is in college, Hornbacher is in the grip of a bout with anorexia so horrifying that it will forever put to rest the romance of wasting away. In this vivid, emotionally wrenching memoir, she re-created the experience and illuminated that tangle of personal, family, and cultural causes underlying eating disorders. Wasted is the story of one woman's travels to the darker side of reality, and her decision to find her way back - on her own terms.
Betty Smith - A Tree Grows In Brooklyn
The beloved American classic about a young girl's coming-of-age at the turn of the century, Betty Smith's A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is a poignant and moving tale filled with compassion and cruelty, laughter and heartache, crowded with life and people and incident. The story of young, sensitive, and idealistic Francie Nolan and her bittersweet formative years in the slums of Williamsburg has enchanted and inspired millions of readers for more than sixty years. By turns overwhelming, sublime, heartbreaking, and uplifting, the daily experiences of the unforgettable Nolans are raw with honesty and tenderly threaded with family connectedness -- in a work of literary art that brilliantly captures a unique time and place as well as incredibly rich moments of universal experience.
George Eliot - Middlemarch (angol)
Often called the greatest nineteenth-century British novelist, George Eliot (the pen name of Mary Ann Evans) created in Middlemarch a vast panorama of life in a provincial Midlands town. At the story’s center stands the intellectual and idealistic Dorothea Brooke—a character who in many ways resembles Eliot herself. But the very qualities that set Dorotheaapart from the materialistic, mean-spirited society around her also lead her into a disastrous marriage with a man she mistakes for her soul mate. In a parallel story, young doctor Tertius Lydgate, who is equally idealistic, falls in love with the pretty but vain and superficial Rosamund Vincy, whom he marries to his ruin. Eliot surrounds her main figures with a gallery of characters drawn from every social class, from laborers and shopkeepers to the rising middle class to members of the wealthy, landed gentry. Together they form an extraordinarily rich and precisely detailed portrait of English provincial life in the 1830s. But Dorothea’s and Lydgate’s struggles to retain their moral integrity in the midst of temptation and tragedy remind us that their world is very much like our own. Strikingly modern in its painful ironies and psychological insight, Middlemarch was pivotal in the shaping of twentieth-century literary realism.