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ga naar:           Minimum eisen boekenlijst Havo Vwo

                        Eisen Bookreports en invulformulier boekenlijst voor: Havo Vwo

                        Aanbevolen boeken voor 4 havo

                        Aanbevolen boeken voor 5 havo  

                        Aanbevolen boeken voor 4 vwo

                        Aanbevolen boeken voor 5 vwo

                        Aanbevolen boeken voor 6 vwo

                        De complete boekenlijst Engels: te downloaden via Its-learning

                        Short Stories Online

                        Uittreksels

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Minimum eisen te lezen romans, toneelstukken of korte verhalen.

4 Havo: 500 blz. - 3 werken - code e* - (1 werk lezen we klassikaal)

5 Havo: 500 blz. - 2 werken - code e/f*

4 Vwo: 400 blz. - 2 werken - code e*

5 Vwo: 500 blz. - 3 werken - code e/f*

6 Vwo: 500 blz. - 2 werken - code e/f, 1 f-boek is verplicht*

*Je mag uiteraard ook boeken lezen die niet uit de ludgerbieb komen: altijd eerst docent laten zien.

 

 

Voor doubleurs/overstappers/gezakten gelden wat extra regels:

 

 

 

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Aanbevolen(qua taal en inhoud)   boeken voor 4 havo
Klik op een titel voor een recentie of 'blurb' tekst. (geschreven door leerlingen: niet geheel foutloos)

A Christmas Carol in Prose (Charles Dickens)
Short Stories (Edgar A. Poe)
The War of the Worlds (H.G. Wells)
If Beale Street Could Talk (James Baldwin)
The Snapper (Roddy Doyle)
The Collector (John Fowles)
The Tenth Man (Graham Greene)
The Third Man (Graham Greene)
Being There (J. Kosinsky)
Sliver (Ira Levin)
A Kiss before Dying (Ira Levin)
The Boys from Brasil (Ira Levin)
Rosemary's Baby (Ira Levin)
The Stepford Wives (Ira Levin)
Of Mice and Men (J. Steinbeck)
Cal (B. MacLaverty)
Lies of Silence (B. Moore)
Animal Farm (George Orwell)
The Street (Ann Petry)
Chocky (John Wyndham)
The Time Machine (Wells)
Empire of the Sun (J.G. Ballard)
A Judgement in Stone (R. Rendell)
I Never Promised you a Rosegarden (H. Greene)
The Woman in Black (S. Hill)
I'm the King of the Castle (S.Hill)
The Cement Garden (I. McEwan)
The Life and Loves of a She-devil (F. Weldon)
Bridget Jones's Diary (H. Fielding)
Billy (A. French)
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
  (M.Haddon)
The Great and Terrible Beauty Libba Bray
When I Was a Soldier: One Girl's True Story Valerie Zenatti
Paradise End       Elizabeth Laird
Firebird                    Susan Gates
The Great Automatic Grammatizator and Other Stories         Roald Dahl
The Broken Bridge              Philip Pullman
The Education of Little Tree        Forrest Carter
Face Benjamin                 Zephaniah
Refugee Boy Benjamin       Zephaniah
Pictures in the Dark Patricia McCord
How I Live Now         Meg Rosoff
Girl, Missing                  Sophie McKenzie
The Five People you Meet in Heaven            Mitchel Albom
The White Tiger      Aravind Adiga

The Romance Reader       Pearl Abraham
Timbuktu     Auster
The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas   Boyne
Boy           Dahl
The Snapper    Doyle
About a Boy    Hornby 
 
Sarah’s key         Rosnay
The Girl on the Train    Hawkins

 

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Aanbevolen (qua taal en inhoud) boeken voor 5 havo
Klik op een titel voor een recentie of 'blurb' tekst. (geschreven door leerlingen: niet geheel foutloos)



A Christmas Carol in Prose (Charles Dickens)
Silas Marner (George Eliot)
Short Stories (Edgar A. Poe)
If Beale Street Could Talk (James Baldwin)
A Dry White Season (A. Brink)
The Snapper (Roddy Doyle)
Paddy Clark Ha Ha Ha (Roddy Doyle)
The Millstone (M. Drabble)
The Collector (John Fowles)
Lord of the Flies (William Golding)
The Tenth Man (Graham Greene)
Our Man in Havana (Graham Greene)
The Power and the Glory (Graham Greene)
The Human Factor (Graham Greene)
Brave New World (Aldous Huxley)
One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest (K. Kesey)
Being There (J. Kosinsky)
Angela's Ashes (F. Mc Court)
The Chosen (Chaim Potok)
Tis (F. Mc Court)
Cal (B. MacLaverty)
Lamb
  (B. MacLaverty)
Lies of Silence (B. Moore)
Animal Farm (George Orwell)
1984 (George Orwell)
The Street (Ann Petry)
The Catcher in the Rye (J.D. Salinger)
The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Runner (A. Sillitoe)
Saturday Night and Sunday Morning (A. Sillitoe)
Native Son (Richard Wright)
Empire of the Sun (J.G. Ballard)

Chocky (John Wyndham)
The Day of the Triffids (John Wyndham)
The Grass is Singing  (D. Lessing)
The Picture of Dorian Gray (Oscar Wilde)
The Midwich Cuckoos  (John Wyndham)
The Chosen (Chaim Potok)
The Picture of Dorian Gray (Oscar Wilde)
Of Mice and Men (J. Steinbeck)
The Grapes of Wrath (J. Steinbeck)
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (M. Angelou)
The Great Gatsby (F. Scott Fitzgerald)
The Girl with the Green Eyes (E. O'Brien)
July's People (N. Gordimer)
The Old Man and the Sea (E. Hemingway)
A Farewell to Arms (E. Hemingway)
Billy (A. French)
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time  (M.Haddon)
Now is the Time to Open Your Heart  (Alice Walker)
A Great Deliverance Elizabeth George
The Ice House Minette Walters
Deception Point Dan Brown
Bloodtide Melvin Burgess
Live Flesh Ruth Rendell
The Time Traveler's Wife Audrey Niffenegger
Oh, Play That Thing Roddy Doyle
Atonement Ian McEwan
Giving up America 
  Pearl Abraham
The Kite Runner Khaled Hosseini
The Time Traveler's Wife Niffenegger Audrey
Birdsong    Faulks, S.

The Killjoy     Anne Fine
Engleby    Sebastian Faulks
The White Tiger      Aravind Adiga
The Romance Reader       Pearl Abraham
Timbuktu     Auster
If Beale Street Could Talk    Baldwin
Before She Met Me    Barnes
The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas   Boyne
A Clockwork Orange     Burgess
The Awakening  Chopin
The Snapper    Doyle
Paddy Clark  Ha Ha Ha     Doyle
The Woman who walked into Doors   Doyle
Ordinary People     Guest
About a Boy    Hornby 
 
High Fidelity   Hornby
A Thousand Splendid Suns   Hosseini
Never let me go    Ishiguro
Sarah’s key         Rosnay
Slumdog Millionaire (aka Q&A)    Swarup
Shuttlecock       Swift
The Color Purple        Walker
The Day of the Triffids       Wyndham
What is the What    Eggers

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Aanbevolen (qua taal en inhoud) boeken voor 4 vwo  
Klik op een titel voor een recentie of 'blurb' tekst. (geschreven door leerlingen: niet geheel foutloos)

A Christmas Carol in Prose (Charles Dickens)
Short Stories (Edgar A. Poe)
The War of the Worlds (H.G. Wells)
If Beale Street Could Talk (James Baldwin)
The Snapper (Roddy Doyle)
The Collector (John Fowles)
The Tenth Man (Graham Greene)
The Third Man (Graham Greene)
Being There (J. Kosinsky)
Sliver (Ira Levin)
A Kiss before Dying (Ira Levin)
The Boys from Brasil (Ira Levin)
Rosemary's Baby (Ira Levin)
The Stepford Wives (Ira Levin)
Of Mice and Men (J. Steinbeck)
Cal (B. MacLaverty)
Lies of Silence (B. Moore)
Animal Farm (George Orwell)
The Street (Ann Petry)
Chocky (John Wyndham)
The Day of the Triffids (John Wyndham)
The Midwich Cuckoos  (John Wyndham)
The Time Machine (Wells)
Empire of the Sun (J.G. Ballard)
A Judgement in Stone (R. Rendell)
I Never Promised you a Rosegarden (H. Greene)
The Woman in Black (S. Hill)
I'm the King of the Castle (S.Hill)
The Cement Garden (I. McEwan)
The Life and Loves of a She-devil (F. Weldon)
Bridget Jones's Diary (H. Fielding)
Billy (A. French)
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time  (M.Haddon)
The Great and Terrible Beauty Libba Bray
When I Was a Soldier: One Girl's True Story Valerie Zenatti
Paradise End Elizabeth Laird
Firebird Susan Gates
The Great Automatic Grammatizator and Other Stories Roald Dahl
The Broken Bridge Philip Pullman
The Education of Little Tree Forrest Carter
Face Benjamin Zephaniah
Refugee Boy Benjamin Zephaniah
Pictures in the Dark Patricia McCord
How I Live Now Meg Rosoff
Girl, Missing Sophie McKenzie  
The Kite Runner Khaled Hosseini
The White Tiger      Aravind Adiga
One Day     David Nicholls
Hotel World    Ali Smith
Revolutionary Road     Richard Yates
A Gate at the Stairs    Lorrie Moore
The Romance Reader       Pearl Abraham
Timbuktu         Auster
Before She Met Me        Barnes
The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas       Boyne
Boy           Dahl

The Snapper    by    Doyle
Paddy Clark  Ha Ha Ha     Doyle
The Woman who walked into Doors   Doyle
Ordinary People     by  Guest
About a Boy    by Hornby 
 
High Fidelity   by Hornby
Sarah’s key         Rosnay
Slumdog Millionaire (aka Q&A)    by Swarup
Shuttlecock       Swift
The Color Purple        Walker
The Day of the Triffids       Wyndham
The Girl on the Train    Hawkins
The Circle    Eggers




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Aanbevolen (qua taal en inhoud) boeken voor 5 vwo  
Klik op een titel voor een recentie of 'blurb' tekst. (geschreven door leerlingen: niet geheel foutloos)

Emma (Jane Austen)
Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen)
Jane Eyre (Charlotte Bronte)
Wuthering Heights (Emily Bronte)
Great Expectations (Charles Dickens)
Silas Marner (George Eliot)
Short Stories (Edgar A. Poe)
Gulliver's Travels (Jonathan Swift)
If Beale Street Could Talk (James Baldwin)
A Dry White Season (A. Brink)
The Millstone (M. Drabble)
The Collector (John Fowles)
Lord of the Flies (William Golding)
The Inheritors (William Golding)
Brave New World (Aldous Huxley)
The Remains of the Day (K. Ishiguro)
One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest (K. Kesey)
Angela's Ashes (F. Mc Court)
Paddy Clark Ha Ha Ha (Roddy Doyle)
Cal (B. MacLaverty)
Lamb  (B. MacLaverty)
The Fifth Child (D. Lessing)
The Assistant (B. Malamud)
Lies of Silence (B. Moore)
1984 (George Orwell)
The Street (Ann Petry)
The Chosen (Chaim Potok)
The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Runner (A. Sillitoe)
Saturday Night and Sunday Morning (A. Sillitoe)
Rabbit..... (John Updike)
Native Son (Richard Wright)
Macbeth (Shakespeare)
Pygmalion (G.B. Shaw)
Disgrace (Coetzee)
Waiting for the Barbarians (Coetzee)
The House Gun (N. Gordimer)
Billy (A. French)
Huckleberry Finn (Mark Twain)
The House Gun (N. Gordimer)
Rites of Passage (W.Golding)
Portnoy's Complaint (P. Roth)
Bright Lights Big City (Jay McInerney)
Less than Zero (B. Easton Ellis)
The life and times of Michael K (Coetzee)
I Married a Communist (P. Roth)
The Mosquito Coast (P. Theroux)
The Innocent (I. McEwan)
The Painted Bird (Kosinski)
The Shipping News (A.Proulx)
The Da Vinci Code
(Dan Brown)
Now is the Time to Open Your Heart  (Alice Walker)
A Great Deliverance Elizabeth George
The Ice House Minette Walters
Deception Point Dan Brown
Bloodtide Melvin Burgess
Live Flesh Ruth Rendell
The Time Traveler's Wife Audrey Niffenegger
Oh, Play That Thing Roddy Doyle
Atonement Ian McEwan
Giving up America 
  Pearl Abraham
The  Brooklyn Follies    Paul Auster 
The Kite Runner Khaled Hosseini
The Time Traveler's Wife Niffenegger Audrey
Birdsong    Faulks, S.

The Killjoy     Anne Fine
Engleby    Sebastian Faulks
The White Tiger      Aravind Adiga
One Day     David Nicholls
Hotel World    Ali Smith
Revolutionary Road     Richard Yates
A Gate at the Stairs    Lorrie Moore
The Romance Reader       Pearl Abraham
If Beale Street Could Talk    by     Baldwin
Before She Met Me    by Barnes
A Clockwork Orange     by Burgess
The Snapper    by    Doyle
Paddy Clark  Ha Ha Ha     Doyle
The Woman who walked into Doors   Doyle
Ordinary People     by  Guest
A Thousand Splendid Suns   Hosseini
Never let me go    by Ishiguro
Sarah’s key         Rosnay
Slumdog Millionaire (aka Q&A)    by Swarup
Shuttlecock       Swift
Slaughterhouse Five      Vonnegut
The Color Purple
        Walker
The Day of the Triffids       Wyndham
Back to Blood    by Tom Wolfe
What is the What    Eggers
The Circle    Eggers


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Aanbevolen (qua taal en inhoud) boeken voor 6 vwo
Klik op een titel voor een recentie of 'blurb' tekst. (geschreven door leerlingen: niet geheel foutloos)

Great Expectations (Charles Dickens)
Jane Eyre (Charlotte Bronte)
Wuthering Heights (Emily Bronte)
Jane Eyre (Jane Austen)
Short Stories (Edgar A. Poe)
Gulliver's Travels (Jonathan Swift)
Invisible Man (Ralph Ellison)
Lord of the Flies (William Golding)
The Inheritors (William Golding)
Catch-22 (Joseph Heller)
Brave New World (Aldous Huxley)
One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest (K. Kesey)
Lamb  (B. MacLaverty)
The Fifth Child (D. Lessing)
The Grass is Singing  (D. Lessing)
The Assistant (B. Malamud)
1984 (George Orwell)
The Chosen (Chaim Potok)
The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Runner (A. Sillitoe)
Saturday Night and Sunday Morning (A. Sillitoe)
The Grapes of Wrath (John Steinbeck)
Rabbit..... (John Updike)
Native Son (Richard Wright)
Macbeth (Shakespeare)
Hamlet (Shakespeare)
Pygmalion (G.B. Shaw)
The Remains of the Day (K. Ishiguro)
Last Orders (G. Swift)
My Name is Asher Lev (C. Potok)
Davita's Harp (C. Potok)
A Midsummernight's Dream (W. Shakespeare)
The Merchant of Venice (W. Shakespeare)
The Fixer (B. Malamud)
The God of Small Things (Arundathi Roy)
Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf (Albee)
God's Grace (B.Malamud)
Look back in Anger (J. Osborne)
Huckleberry Finn (Mark Twain)
Dusk Land (A. Brink) (nog geen recensie)
Rites of Passage (W.Golding)
Portnoy's Complaint (P. Roth)
Bright Lights Big City (Jay McInerney)
Less than Zero (B. Easton Ellis)
The life and times of Michael K (Coetzee)
I Married a Communist (P. Roth)
The Mosquito Coast (P. Theroux)
The Innocent (I. McEwan)
The Painted Bird (Kosinski)
The Shipping News (A.Proulx)
The Da Vinci Code (Dan Brown)The Da Vinci Code (Dan Brown)
The Plot Against America (P. Roth)
Stolen Innocence J.Bath
Small Island Andrea Levy
The People's Act of Love James Meek
Fire Down Below William Golding
A Factory of Cunning Phillippa Stockley
The Life of Pi Yann Martel
Giving up America   Pearl Abraham
Life of Pi Yann Martel
The  Brooklyn Follies    Paul Auster 
The Kite Runner Khaled Hosseini
The Time Traveler's Wife Niffenegger Audrey
Birdsong    Faulks, S.
The Killjoy     Anne Fine
Engleby    Sebastian Faulks
The White Tiger      Aravind Adiga
One Day     David Nicholls
Hotel World    Ali Smith
Revolutionary Road     Richard Yates
A Gate at the Stairs    Lorrie Moore
The Bell Jar    Sylvia Plath
If Beale Street Could Talk        Baldwin
Before She Met Me    Barnes
A Clockwork Orange     by Burgess
Paddy Clark  Ha Ha Ha     Doyle
The Woman who walked into Doors   Doyle
Ordinary People     Guest
A Thousand Splendid Suns   Hosseini
Never let me go    Ishiguro
Sarah’s key         Rosnay
Slumdog Millionaire (aka Q&A)    Swarup
Shuttlecock       Swift
Slaughterhouse Five      Vonnegut
Back to Blood    by Tom Wolfe
What is the What    Eggers
The Circle    Eggers

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Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen)

Pride and Prejudice is only the second Jane Austen book that I have read, but certainly not the last! Though the numerous characters and complex sentences provide the reader with a challenge and requires some concentration, the end result is definitely rewarding. Complicated characters and complicated relationships leave the reader constantly on their toes, and you never know what to expect next. What's so wonderful about this book is that the characters are so real. There are so many memorable characters in this story about Mrs. Bennet attempting to marry off her five daughters, and these characters aren't perfect, merely human, making them easy to relate to as well as laugh at. In reading this book, you see yourself in the same tough situations and awkward moments as them and realize that we sometimes forget that we don¡¦t have to be flawless. Everyone is proud and prejudiced at sometime or another; we aren't perfect, and it's okay!
Though perhaps an easier read than Emma, Pride and Prejudice is similar in that it is also full of the same brilliant dialogue and subtle humor. This book is great for anyone who is interested in a romantic comedy that will that twirl you around with its genius and surprises.




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The House Gun (N. Gordimer)
The House Gun is Nadine Gordimer's twelfth novel, her second set in post-apartheid South Africa. For Harald and Claudia Lingard, the passively liberal, white couple at the center of the story, not much has changed in the political transition from apartheid to majority rule, from F.W. de Klerk to Nelson Mandela. Harald and Claudia live in comfort and safety until one evening when they discover "something terrible has happened." Their only son, Duncan, has been arrested for killing one of his housemates. There is never a question of his guilt -- he has confessed to the crime -- but Harald and Claudia cannot understand how Duncan could abandon his belief in the sanctity of human life, nor can they believe that the violence that had always affected "other people" has found a way into their world. The House Gun records with remarkable precision the psychological transformations that Harald and Claudia undergo as they search for the truth.

 

 


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The life and times of  Michael K (Coetzee)
In Coetzee's novel, Michael K. is the embodiment of apartheid aggression and brutality heaped on the black man. Powerful writing manifests itself in Coetzee's minds-eye of time and place. At the end of the story when Michael K. wanders the beach barely clothed and dying from starvation it showed that the apartheid era left nothing more and nothing less than the skeletal remains of the black man. As a side note to this, since at the time of this writing Coetzee had just received the Booker prize for DISGRACE; it makes me wonder if any of the journalist questioners read any of his other books. He was asked why DISGRACE is so dark. Darkness is at the heart of his writing as in Michael K. or Dostoevsky's descent into madness or an elderly white woman's suffering from cancer whose friendship with a black man ends with her suicide assisted death.

 




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I Married a Communist (P. Roth)
Iron Rinn (né Ira Ringold) is a self-educated radio actor, married to a spoilt, rags-to-riches beauty, silent-film star Eve Frame (née Chave Fromkin). He is a Communist, and a "sucker for suffering," locked into the cycle of violence from which he has emerged. She has risen by assiduous imitation of what is "classy"--which seems to include a wide swathe of anti-Semitism--and ultimately denounces her husband as a Soviet spook. And who would be the narrator of this McCarthy-era meltdown? None other than Philip Roth's longtime alter ego, Nathan Zuckerman, who learns the full tragedy several decades later, owing to a chance encounter with Ira's brother: "I'm the only person living who knows Ira's story," 90-year-old Murray Ringold tells Nathan, "you're the only person still living who cares about it."
Characteristically, Nathan also discovers that his own story was bound up with the blacklistings and ruined careers of the immediate postwar period. It seems that he had been tainted by his association with the Ringolds--Murray was in fact his high-school teacher--and was denied the Fulbright scholarship he deserved. "They had you down for Ira's nephew," Murray tells Nathan. "The FBI didn't always get everything right." Roth's acerbic style and keen eye for emotional detail goes to the heart of this moment of high tragedy in which the American dream was damaged beyond repair.

 




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The Mosquito Coast (P. Theroux)
Often cited as the best of Theroux's many novels and travelogues, Mosquito Coast is the hilarious and sometimes harrowing tale of Allie Fox, a man who abandons civilization for the wilds of Honduras. He defeats the mosquitoes, tames the river and swamp, and sets out to build an iceberg - mostly as a monument to himself. It's a taut psychological novel (and much better than the movie), best read as a parable of our own puniness in the face of nature.

 




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God’s Grace (B. Malamud)
The paleontologist Cohn is the sole human survivor of the nuclear holocaust. Together with a chimp, Buz, he lands upon an uninhabited island. The chimp has an implant that enables human communication. More monkeys appear. Cohn tries to establish a society. Having studied for the rabbinate Cohn teaches his Judaic world-view, but faces opposition from Buz whose previous human companion thought him the principles of Christianity. Cohn tries to recreate the monkeys in his own image, and goes as far as formulating his own set of seven commandments and creating his own addition to the scheme of evolution. But alas, paradise is lost again.
While it is not surprising that previous reviewers have mostly focused on the religious aspects involved in the story -too bad that anti-Semitism always lurks right around the corner- this short novel is way beyond a satire of religion. Using a very light and smooth writing style Malamud presents the reader with a narrative in which humor, horror, grace and mystery blend seamlessly. A modern classic.

 




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The Fixer (B. Malamud)
Aged 30, Yakov Bok makes a poor living as a handyman in a Jewish village in Russia. His wife Raisl has deserted him. Yakov decides to go to Kiev to build a new life. He trades his cow for an old horse and wagon to Shmuel, Raisl's father. He sets off with just a small bundle of books, his precious tools and some small savings.
Arriving in Kiev, Yakov first stays in the Jewish quarter. He soon finds that he can't make a better living there. He decides to venture out of the Jewish ghetto, looking for work. One evening he finds a man lying on his face in the snow. Yakov tries to help him, but notices a badge of the Black Hundreds, a fierce anti-Semitic organisation. When asked by a crippled girl, he helps the man, although he fears the man's reaction once he finds out Yakov is a Jew. As a reward for his help Nikolai Maximovitch offers Yakov a well-paid job repainting and papering a flat above his home.
Pleased with his work, Nikolai offers Yakov a permanent job at his brickworks in the Lukianovsky district, an area forbidden to Jews. At the building site Yakov makes enemies of the foreman Proshko and the lorry drivers, because he discovers they've been stealing bricks. Proshko suspects Yakov is a Jew and awaits his chance to take revenge.
On a snowy evening in April Yakov saves an old Jew from some boys who are attacking him. Although Yakov realises the danger, he takes the old Jew back to his room to dress his wound and let him wait until the snowfall ends. The next day a dead child is found in a cave near the brickworks. Propaganda accuses the Jews of killing the boy as a part of their Passover rituals. Frightened, Yakov decides to flee, but he is arrested as he leaves the room.
Yakov is interrogated by Bibikov, the Investigating Magistrate. Bibikov is sympathetic with Yakov and wants to limit the charge against Yakov to living in a forbidden area under an assumed name. The Prosecuting Attorney, Grubeshov, is however determined to convict Yakov for the murder on the Christian boy. Yakov is taken to the boy's mother and shown the mutilated body in the cave. A priest, a supposed expert on Jewish religion, declares that the Jews ritually kill Christians and drink their blood or bake it into matzos.
After some initial beatings, Yakov gets along fairly well with his fellow prisoners. He makes friends with Gronfein, a rich Jewish counterfeiter, but Gronfein turns his back on him for his own freedom. It turns out Bibikov is his only hope. He's trying his best to prove Yakov's innocence, but ends up in jail himself. In jail Bibikov is killed. The murder has been made to look like a suicide. Yakov spends three years in prison before he is finally brought to trial. During his time in prison he has little to occupy himself and no one to talk to. He often has dreams or hallucinations. Once Schmuel comes to talk with him, but that is discovered. After that Yakov is chained to the wall by day and to his wooden bed by night. Although his life is made a living hell, Yakov refuses to admit his guilt, even though he's offered personal freedom in exchange for it.
It turns out Yakov has to wait because Grubeshov is still unable to come up with a watertight case. At last a lawyer visits Yakov and Yakov realises that, insignificantl as he is, he's chosen to play an important role for the Jewish cause in Russia. The Czar and the Russian state are determined to find Yakov guilty, but there are people who dare to maintain his innocence: scientists, journalists, a few lawyers and, of course, many Jews.
Before Yakov leaves the prison for his trial, there is a small incident in which the Deputy Warden kills a guard, friendly to Yakov. During his journey to the courthouse, he has to move through dense crowds. A bomb is thrown towards his carriage, which severely wounds the Cossacks guarding the carriage. Yakov imagines himself killing Czar Nicholas II. The anti-hero has become a hero




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A Christmas Carol in Prose (Charles Dickens)

This story is about the Christmas-experience of Ebenezer Scrooge. A man who has a business of his own, and has a lot of money, but yet is very stingy. Jacob Marley was a business-partner of Scrooge, but Marley died exactly seven years ago.

The poor nephew of Scrooge, Fred, comes by every year to invite him to diner for Christmas, but every year Scrooge refuses to come, because he thinks Christmas is a waist of money. This year again, Scrooge thinks it's humbug and he's being very morose. Then a charity-character comes by to ask him for some money for the poor, but Scrooge refuses to give money. He asks if there aren't any working-houses, but the character says that those people rather die than go to working-houses. And then Scrooge says: "So let it be, and let them lessen the population.". Then Bob Cratchit, his employee, asks him if he can get the day off. And that's fine by Scrooge, but Bob has to come earlier in the morning then.

When Scrooge gets home, he sees the door-button turning into the face of Marley. He's very surprised, but he says to himself that it's all nonsense. And when he gets into the room he sees the ghost of Marley, and he keeps telling to himself that it's all humbug, nonsense. But it isn't humbug. Marley talks to him, and explains him something about the chains he is wearing; every wrong thing you do in your life will be turned into chains. Those chains you will have to wear when you're dead. So that's why he came to Scrooge; to warn him to live his life good, otherwise he will get chains too. To confirm that he will be sent three ghosts this night. Scrooge sees Marley flying away through the window, and he sees other ghosts, suffering with the chains. And some of them ghosts he knew, when they were people on earth….they will try and change him, but will they succeed???

 




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The Street (Ann Petry)

Ann Petry puts forth a painfully honest treatise on black/white relations in The Street, and while it was written nearly fifty years ago, her unblinking insights and powerful commentary on the dynamics of race in the United States remain accurate today. Lutie Johnson, an intelligent, strong, and beautiful black woman, is the vehicle for Ann Petry's message. Separated from her husband, Lutie is doing her best to raise an eight-year-old son, achieve independence from her father, advance in her job, and work her way out of the Harlem streets, which she calls "The North's lynch mobs ... the method the big cities use to keep Negroes in their place." Streetwise, she is able to avoid being conned and to exploit a con artist to get ahead. Though her self-knowledge is thorough, it can't stop her entanglement in a tradition of oppression and an upbringing which blames whites for present afflictions. Her goals and values are her strength, enabling her to make decisions when there is no apparent choice and to face a justice system fraught with injustice. She ultimately escapes, but not without a sacrifice that rips apart any woman's heart.

 




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Silas Marner (George Eliot)

I enjoyed this book very much. The morals and lessons it teaches you are very important. It is the story of a lonely man, who because he was falsely accused of stealing and because this cost him all his relationships with people, he secluded himself in his lonely house along with all his gold that he saved up. He never spent his money because he enjoyed its company. His gold was his only companion for several years of his life. Then one day, he was robbed, and he no longer had anything worth living for.

Silas was slowly dying of misery and depression. He had no reason to live. Then one day a little girl walked into his house and into his life. Her mother died, leaving the baby girl as an orphan. So, Silas adopted her and took her into his home. She grew up a poor, hard-working girl who loved her new father Silas and vice-versa. Because of this new daughter of his, Silas changed for the better. He became more caring and devoted to someone else besides himself. He started to go to church again and changed his views on what really was important in life. And one day when his treasure was found and returned to him, he didn't even care for it. He had something even more precious than gold: someone to love and receive love from

 




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The Picture of Dorian Gray (Oscar Wilde)

After Basil Hallward paints a beautiful, young man's portrait, his subject's frivolous wish that the picture change and he remain the same comes true. Dorian Gray's picture grows aged and corrupt while he continues to appear fresh and innocent. After he kills a young woman, "as surely as if I had cut her little throat with a knife," Dorian Gray is surprised to find no difference in his vision or surroundings. "The roses are not less lovely for all that. The birds sing just as happily in my garden."

As Hallward tries to make sense of his creation, his epigram-happy friend Lord Henry Wotton encourages Dorian in his sensual quest with any number of Wildean paradoxes, including the delightful "When we are happy we are always good, but when we are good we are not always happy." But despite its many languorous pleasures, The Picture of Dorian Gray is an imperfect work. Compared to the two (voyeuristic) older men, Dorian is a bore, and his search for ever new sensations far less fun than the novel's drawing-room discussions. Even more oddly, the moral message of the novel contradicts many of Wilde's supposed aims, not least "no artist has ethical sympathies. An ethical sympathy in an artist is an unpardonable mannerism of style." Nonetheless, the glamour boy gets his just deserts.

 




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Short Stories (Edgar A. Poe)

The most prominent feature of Edgar Allen Poe's writing is his obsession with death. Poe's writing does more than entertain the reader. It can be an insight into the dark and somber world of Edgar Allen Poe. One does not understand the meaning of Poe if one reads at the superficial level. One has to read into Poe, and understand the hardships of his life and how he maintained them that way. He knew that death was an inevitable part of life, it is the price of life, but, he tried to fight it as if it was an unnatural part of life. He was an extremely intriguing man from all view points, and he was and is, the dark side of all of us...

 




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The War of the Worlds (H.G. Wells)

This is the granddaddy of all alien invasion stories, first published by H.G. Wells in 1898. The novel begins ominously, as the lone voice of a narrator tells readers that "No one would have believed in the last years of the nineteenth century that this world was being watched keenly and closely by intelligences greater than man's..."

Things then progress from a series of seemingly mundane reports about odd atmospheric disturbances taking place on Mars to the arrival of Martians just outside of London. At first the Martians seem laughable, hardly able to move in Earth's comparatively heavy gravity even enough to raise themselves out of the pit created when their spaceship landed. But soon the Martians reveal their true nature as death machines 100-feet tall rise up from the pit and begin laying waste to the surrounding land. Wells quickly moves the story from the countryside to the evacuation of London itself and the loss of all hope as England's military suffers defeat after defeat. With horror his narrator describes how the Martians suck the blood from living humans for sustenance, and how it's clear that man is not being conquered so much a corralled

 




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If Beale Street Could Talk (James Baldwin)

Like the blues-sweet, sad, and full of truth-this masterful work of fiction rocks us with powerful emotions. In it are anger and pain, but above all, love--the affirmative love of a woman for her man, the sustaining love of the black family. Fonny, a talented young artist, finds himself unjustly arrested and locked in New York's infamous Tombs. But his girlfriend, Tish, is determined to free him, and to have his baby, in this starkly realistic tale... a powerful indictment of American concepts of justice and punishment in our time.

 




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The Snapper (Roddy Doyle)

A warm, frank, and very funny account of family life and pregnancy as Irish writer Doyle (The Commitments, 1989; also see below) continues the saga of the endearing working-class Rabbitte family of Barrytown, Dublin. A playwright as well as novelist, Doyle tells the story of 19- year-old Sharon Rabbitte's surprise pregnancy almost entirely in dialogue. In less gifted hands, the experience would be claustrophobic, but with Doyle the reader becomes the undetected fly on the wall able to relish the unguarded talk as Sharon plucks up courage to relay the news first to her mom and dad (Veronica and Jimmy, Sr.) and her siblings, and then to the toughest group--her girlfriends--who, ribald and skeptical, want to know everything. But Sharon isn't telling who the father of her ``snapper'' is, which naturally fuels speculation, especially when the father of one of her friends insists he's responsible. Sharon tries to deflect the gossip by claiming that while drunk she'd been seduced by a nameless Spanish sailor, ``but she knew this as well: everyone would prefer to believe that she'd got off with Mr. Burgess. It was a bigger piece of scandal and better gas.'' For a while, Jimmy, Sr., feels his friends at the pub are laughing at him, and he blames Sharon; but Jimmy, a wonderfully complex and good man, realizes he's being unfair and, to make up, concentrates on Sharon's pregnancy in earnest. From library books, he learns as much about sex as pregnancy--information that he shares with his pub pals while keeping close tabs on Sharon's condition: ``She was getting really tired of her dad; all his questions--he was becoming a right pain in the neck.'' There are the usual ups and downs of family life, but when Sharon sees her baby ``and about as Spanish- looking as--she didn't care. She was gorgeous. And hers.'' Life and pregnancy as it really is: scatological, unsentimental, and, in spite of it all, with lots to laugh at. Not a false note anywhere

 




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Paddy Clark Ha Ha Ha (Roddy Doyle)

In Roddy Doyle's Booker Prize-winning novel Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha, an Irish lad named Paddy rampages through the streets of Barrytown with a pack of like-minded hooligans, playing cowboys and Indians, etching their names in wet concrete, and setting fires. Roddy Doyle has captured the sensations and speech patterns of preadolescents with consummate skill, and managed to do so without resorting to sentimentality. Paddy Clarke and his friends are not bad boys; they're just a little bit restless. They're always taking sides, bullying each other, and secretly wishing they didn't have to. All they want is for something--anything--to happen.

Throughout the novel, Paddy teeters on the nervous verge of adolescence. In one scene, Paddy tries to make his little brother's hot water bottle explode, but gives up after stomping on it just one time: "I jumped on Sinbad's bottle. Nothing happened. I didn't do it again. Sometimes when nothing happened it was really getting ready to happen." Paddy Clarke senses that his world is about to change forever--and not necessarily for the better. When he realizes that his parents' marriage is falling apart, Paddy stays up all night listening, half-believing that his vigil will ward off further fighting. It doesn't work, but it is sweet and sad that he believes it might. Paddy's logic may be fuzzy, but his heart is in the right place.

 




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The Collector (John Fowles)

The Collector is a novel that really does work on more than one level. On the surface, it's a harrowing thriller about a demented butterfly collector who kidnaps and imprisons a young art student in the basement of his country home. It also works as an allegory about good and evil, a study of class resentment in Britain, and a meditation on the nature of obsession, love, and identity. It's also a gripping dual character study.

The book begins with the collector's chillingly matter-of-fact account of how he came to add the lovely and brilliant Miranda Grey to his quarry. Frederic Clegg is not initially a bad man, just a lonely one. His ultimate evil comes from his indifference to the lives of others. Once you finish this section and start reading Miranda's journal, the central part of the book, you instantly realize the horror and absurdity of the situation. The collector is in love with an image, not a human being. His attempts to make his prisoner fall in love with him are as futile as her attempts to escape. This section could almost be another novel in itself. Despite her plight, Miranda comes to the realization that her jailer is even more horribly trapped than she. The peculiar sympathy she comes to feel for Clegg is one of the strangest and saddest elements of the story. If anything, it makes you loathe him all the more.

 




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The Tenth Man (Graham Greene)

An utterly gripping story of a wealthy French lawyer being held prisoner by the Germans during World War II. The lawyer is chosen by the soldiers to die, but instead he makes a cowardly trade for his life--one that he will have to pay for even as a free man .

Graham Greene combines his fantastic prose with a few fantastic twists. What whould happen if you could trade all of your possesions for a second chance at life? Greene takes a stab at this very intiguing question, and throws in enough curveballs to keep you guessing until the end.

True, the characters may be flat, but the story is vivid, creative, and well worth a look.

 




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Grass is Singing (J. Kosinski)

Being There, written by Jerzy Kosinski, is a book about the life of Chauncey Gardiner, a gardener. He has worked all his life in a garden of an Old Man and has never left his "paradise" up to the day the Old Man died. When he leaves the house with its beautiful garden a totally new life begins. He is injured by a car of Elizabeth Eve Rand, wife of an influential financier. She feels pity for Chance and wants him to stay at her house. EE and Chance become friends and because of this friendship she introduces Chance to her other friends. Chance is introduced as a business man by a misunderstanding. From now on he becomes more and more famous. He meets many influential people, e.g. the President of the United States. His road to success has an unusual ending... Being There is an amusing book full of funny parts and a lot of misunderstandings. It is a mirror of today's society. It shows how a normal person can become famous by doing nothing.

 




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Sliver (Ira Levin)

Sliver is an exciting book about Kay Norris, who moves to an apppartment building where conspicious many people have died. She gets a relationship with Pete Henderson and she experiences his other love, watching. He has placed many cameras in all the appartments and Kay starts to enjoy watching too. When she finds out that the people who have died all found out about the cameras, Pete tries to kill him too, but her cat Felice scratches into the face of Pete and made him never be able to watch again. I have chosen this book, because I was a little disapointed after seeing the movie. My brother read the book too, and he said the book was much better than the movie, and it certainly was.

 




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A Kiss before Dying (Ira Levin)

A Kiss Before Dying not only debuted the talent of best-selling novelist Ira Levin to rave reviews, it also set a new standard in the art of mystery and suspense. Now a modern classic, as gripping in its tautly plotted action as it is penetrating in its exploration of a criminal mind, it tells the shocking tale of a young man who will stop at nothing-not even murder-to get where he wants to go. For he has dreams; plans. He also has charm, good looks, sex appeal, intelligence. And he has a problem. Her name is Dorothy; she loves him, and she's pregnant. The solution may demand desperate measures. But, then, he looks like the kind of guy who could get away with murder. Compellingly, step by determined step, the novel follows this young man in his execution of one plan he had neither dreamed nor foreseen. Nor does he foresee how inexorably he will be enmeshed in the consequences of his own extreme deed.

 




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The Boys from Brasil (Ira Levin)

In the 1970s Josef Mengele is hiding in South America. He has planned the assassination of 94 elderly men around the world who have to die on certain dates. Yakov Liebermann (based on Simon Wiesenthal) learns of the plan and soon discovers the significance of the murders. Each of the 94 men are the unwitting fathers of a clone: a pale, arrogant boy with dark hair and blue eyes. Liebermann discovers who the clone is, and realizes the terrible consequences waiting to unfold for an unsuspecting world... 

When this book was first published, it probably seemed far-fetched. Cloning has been in the news quite a lot in recent times. Bill Clinton declared human cloning as an immoral practice, but I'm not sure I agree. Think of the medical benefits. If you needed a blood transfusion, what better donor could you find than your own clone?

In "The Boys From Brazil" bringing someone back from the dead is not a simple matter of impregnating a woman with cells from a donor. The clone would have to have the same upbringing as the original, and experience the same things. Even then, there's a high probability that the clone will turn out different. That's why Mengele created 94 clones - to increase the chance of a successful outcome. An outcome with horrifying implications. The novel itself seems to drag in certain points, but it doesn't get monotonous. The ending is both amusing and thought-provoking.

 




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Rosemary's Baby (Ira Levin)

The plot line is deceptively simple: What if you were a happily married young woman, living in New York, and one day you awoke to find yourself pregnant? And what if your loving husband had--apparently--sold your soul to Satan? And now you were beginning to believe that your unborn child was, in reality, the son of Satan? Levin subtly makes it all totally plausible, unless of course, dear Rosemary--or the reader--can no longer distinguish fantasy from reality! A wonderfully chilling novel

 

 




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The Stepford Wives (Ira Levin)

This slim volume finds protagonist Joanna and husband Walter and kids leaving the wicked city for the bucolic town of Stepford. Despite its ideal facade, the sleepy little storybook town actually is more wicked. Joanna soon notices that her female neighbors are all body and no brains and seemingly exist only to do housework while their husbands gather nightly at a mysterious men's club. Even worse, it appears that the women who moved there just before her suddenly begin morphing into hausfraus built like swimsuit models-and she's next! It's hard to tell if this is a stab at the feminist movement or simply a male fantasy, but it's a fun read and will keep you turning the pages.

 




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Cal (B. MacLaverty)

Cal is a 19-year-old catholic boy. He lives together with his father, Shamie, in a village in the North off Ireland. They live in a Protestant neighbourhood.

After Cal has finished school he gets a job offered by his father to work in the slaughterhouse. But his stomach can't stand it, so he quits the job. Shamie is very disappointed. It was one off the few jobs where mostly catholics work. Crilly, an old friend from high school, also a catholic, takes over the job.

Cal is very bored at home and only lays on his bed, smoking a sigarette. He is too laizy to find a new job. Crilly is a member of the IRA. He works for Skeffington. He askes Cal to help him by driving the car by robberies. He does this a few times. Then he has to drive Crilly to the house off a policeman called Robert Morton. Against all expectations Crilly shoots the man. He is dead before he touches the ground. With his last breath he calls his wife: 'Marcella!'

After this event Shamie and Cal receive threatening letters of Protestants. They threaten to burn down their house. Cal pretends he is not scared. He and his father take measures. But they know it will happen one day.

In these days Cal comes often in the library. One day he comes in and discovers there is a new woman employee. She is very pretty. Then he finds out her name is Marcella………

 




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Lamb (B. MacLaverty)

Moving first novel by the acclaimed author of Cal. When Brother Sebastian, née Michael Lamb, runs away from a bleak reformatory, taking with him twelve-year-old Owen Kane, the media and the police call it a kidnapping. For Lamb, though, it is a rescue of a formerly abused boy from a place of no hope, a last grasp at an elusive happiness. But as the outside world closes in, as time and money run out, Lamb finds himself moving towards a solution that is as shocking as it is loving.

 




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Lies of Silence (B. Moore)

Michael Dillon has got an affair with Andrea Baxter, a nice girl who works for the BBC. Andrea is going to work in London, Michael has decided to give up his job as an hotelmanager to go with her. After he has decided to do this, he goes home, because he wants to tell his wife Moira about his decision. That night a few IRA gunmen break in into his house. They force Dillon and Andrea to sit in the living room. Two IRA men watch them whole night, one of them called Kev lifts up his mask to smoke. Michael can see his face for a few seconds at that time. Next morning an other IRA man comes into the room, he tells Dillon what they want him to do: they want him to place a bomb in the hotel he runs. Dillon has to drive to the hotel with a bomb in his car. He is not allowed to talk to anyone and if he doesn't do exactly what the IRA says they will kill his wife Moira. When Dillon drives to the hotel he realizes that many innocent people will be killed or hurt because of him if he does what the IRA wants him to do. He also realizes that the IRA wants to kill the radical Protetant minister Pottinger who is going to give a speach today in the hotel. After parking his car in the basement of the hotel Dillon goes to a shop across the street, he calls the police to warn them for what is going to happen. At the time the bomb explodes the hotel is already empty and Moira is also still alive, because the IRA went away early. The IRA man called Kev is arrested and Michael decides to testify against him. After all this, Michael and Moira split up. Michael is going to stay with Andrea in London where he is working at an other hotel of the same chain. But will the IRA leave them alone??

 




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Animal Farm (George Orwell)

When the downtrodden beasts of Manor Farm oust their drunken human master and take over management of the land, all are awash in collectivist zeal. Everyone willingly works overtime, productivity soars, and for one brief, glorious season, every belly is full. The animals' Seven Commandment credo is painted in big white letters on the barn. All animals are equal. No animal shall drink alcohol, wear clothes, sleep in a bed, or kill a fellow four-footed creature. Those that go upon four legs or wings are friends and the two-legged are, by definition, the enemy. Too soon, however, the pigs, who have styled themselves leaders by virtue of their intelligence, succumb to the temptations of privilege and power. "We pigs are brainworkers. The whole management and organisation of the farm depend on us. Day and night, we are watching over your welfare. It is for your sake that we drink that milk and eat those apples." While this swinish brotherhood sells out the revolution, cynically editing the Seven Commandments to excuse their violence and greed, the common animals are once again left hungry and exhausted, no better off than in the days when humans ran the farm. Satire Animal Farm may be, but it's a stony reader who remains unmoved when the stalwart workhorse, Boxer, having given his all to his comrades, is sold to the glue factory to buy booze for the pigs. Orwell's view of Communism is bleak indeed, but given the history of the Russian people since 1917, his pessimism has an air of prophecy.

 




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Chocky (John Wyndham)

John Wyndham's Chocky is a rather humanistic story about how a family deals with one son's mysterious unseen friend, Chocky. At first they thought their son was suffering from an over-exercised imagination. Then it becomes plainly that Chocky is real, and is literally from out of this world. Trite? In a way, yes. But I found the characterizations, especially of the parents, to be very well judged. So from a science fiction perspective Chocky doesn't enthrall, but otherwise it stands fairly well on its own.

 

 




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The Day of the Triffids (John Wyndham)

The night the sky broke out in mysterious green flashes, all but a few people on Earth were blinded. The world went mad. Ordinary folk became animals, turning on one another in terror and desperation. Bill Masen was one of a handful who struggled to preserve a shred of civilization amidst the chaos. But chaos soon became the least of mankind's problems. Walking plants were appearing -- plants that fed on the bodies of their human prey. The triffids had arrived, and it was up to Bill Masen to...

 




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The Midwich Cuckoos  (John Wyndham)

The odd title is a reference to the way cuckoo birds place their eggs in the nests of other birds who mistake the eggs for their own - but even after they hatch the surrogate mothers are compelled by their natures to take care of the babies. In Midwich, at a time when England regarded itself as the most civilized political community the world had ever known (hey, it probably still thinks that way!), the locals find themselves unable to mistreat a brood of alien, mind-controlling children, even though the fate of the world is at steak. Lots of good narrative and entertaining philosophical conversations among the characters made this a truly great book

 




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Emma (Jane Austen)

Het boek draait om Emma, de hoofdpersoon. Zij is niet de spreker in het boek. De schrijver van het boek is in feite de spreker. Er komen ontzettend veel personen voor. Het zijn er zoveel dat het bijna lastig wordt om ze allemaal te onthouden en uit elkaar te houden. De belangrijkste personen zijn Emma, Mr. Woodhouse, Miss Taylor en Mr. Knightley. Het komt erop neer dat Emma altijd maar bezig is om allerlei mensen aan elkaar te koppelen. De vraag is natuurlijk steeds weer of het haar gaat lukken. Het rare is dat Emma zelf nooit een relatie heeft. Ze zegt zelfs dat ze nooit wil gaan trouwen. Na een tijdje komt ze erachter dat ze verliefd is op Mr. Knightley. Nu maar hopen dat hij ook verliefd op haar is. Gelukkig loopt het verhaal goed af. Emma trouwt met Mr. Knightley, iets wat niemand had verwacht. Iedereen is gelukkig op het eind. Dit boek heeft dus een zogenaamd happy end.

 

 




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Jane Eyre (Charlotte Bronte)

Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte, is a thrilling romance novel. Set in England in the 1800s, this novel tells of the life of Jane Eyre. Jane is an orphan left in the care of her aunt, Mrs. Reed. At Gateshead, the Reed's estate, she lives a life of solitude and hate, mistreated and misunderstood by all. At the age of ten, she is sent to grim Lowood school, a reformatory school for orphans. Her years at Lowood are gloomy and dull, and she has few friends. When she is 18, she advertises as a governess, and finds a job at Thornfield Hall. Thornfield is all she ever wanted; there she is happy and loved, until a twist of fate and a long kept secret find her once more in peril. This novel is very romantic and heart warming. Charlotte Bronte has a knack for making her characters and situations seem real. At times I felt as though I were right there with Jane, sharing her hopes and dreams. I found this book to be interesting and fun to read, although at times it became drawn out. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes romance novels with wonderful characters, settings, and situations.

 




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Great Expectations (Charles Dickens)

Pip, a boy of the marshes, is being "raised by hand" by his shrieking harridan of an older sister and her seemingly doltish husband, the blacksmith Joe Gargery. One day, while visiting his parents' gravesite, Pip is accosted by an escaped convict who demands that he bring him a file and some "wittles". When the convict, Abel Magwitch, is later captured, he accepts the blame for stealing the file and food before being carted back to prison.

Shortly thereafter, Pip is invited up to Miss Havisham's manor house to play with her beautiful ward Estella. Miss Havisham's life came to a halt when she was jilted at the altar, all clocks are stopped at the hour of her betrayal, the feast lies rotting on tables & she wanders about in the decaying wedding gown. Estella is to be the instrument of her revenge upon men.

Eventually, "Great Expectations" are settled upon Pip when a secret benefactor sets up a trust in his name and sends him to London to be educated and become a gentleman. Pip assumes, and Havisham allows him to believe, that she is his benefactress and that he is being elevated to a position that will make him worthy of Estella.

As Pip rises in society, he leaves Joe behind, despite the many kindnesses Joe had shown him growing up. He becomes a shallow arrogant middle class climber. So he is stunned when he discovers that he is actually benefiting from the secret wealth of Magwitch, who made a fortune in Australia after being transported. Moreover, Magwitch's unlawful return to England puts him and Pip in danger. Meanwhile, Estella has married another, a horrible man who Pip despises. Eventually, with Magwitch's recapture and death in prison and with his fortune gone, Pip ends up in debtors prison, but Joe redeems his debts and brings him home. Pip realizes that Magwitch was a more devoted friend to him than he ever was to Joe and with this realization Pip becomes, finally, a whole and decent human being.

 




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Gulliver's Travels (Jonathan Swift)

As a result of an astounding run of bad luck, Lemuel Gulliver, first a ship's surgeon and later a ship's captain, is washed ashore in one strange place after another.

First he meets the Lilliputians, tiny people about six inches tall. Next he visits the Brobdingnaggians, giants as large compared to Gulliver as he was to the Lilliputians. His third voyage takes him to Laputa, Balnibarbi, Luggnagg, Glubbdubdrib, and Japan.

 His last voyage is to the country of the Houyhnhnms. On his first three voyages, he sees the foibles and pettiness of humanity by observing the strange humans he meets. But he observes them from his own human perspective. In the country of the Houyhnhnms, he meets the degenerate and repulsive human-like Yahoos and the almost perfect horse-like Houyhnhnms. Viewing humanity (as represented by the Yahoos) from the Houyhnhnm perspective so sickens Gulliver that upon his return to England, he is loathe to associate himself with his fellow humans and requires a lenghty period of adjustment before he can look at himself in the mirror or even eat with his wife and children.

Gulliver's Travels is satire. Almost nothing in 18th century England is safe from attack by Swift's pen. Although much of the book is dated, the same sort of humans that Swift wrote about are still around today.

Je mag ook 1 van de 4 delen van Gulliver's Travels lezen (wel duidelijk op je lijst vermelden)

 




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A Dry White Season (A. Brink)

Brinks sketches the life of a idealistic man - Ben du Toit that lives his life in Apartheid South Africa on the brink of normalcy until the mysterious death of a black American friend and his son points to government involvement. As du Toit becomes obsessed with discovering the truth he becomes the symbol of Afrikaner conscience struggling to cope with the conflict and alienation that this crusade against Apartheid causes. With Apartheid being woven into the Afrikaner concept of nationhood and religion Ben finds himself not only in conflict with his family or the government but with his own history and ultimately with his own identity and even his soul. du Toit becomes a classical Afrikaner in his stubborn steadfast refusal to sway from his course , irrespective of the consequences, that he believes to be the only just and morally acceptable one.

He painfully exposes the moral vacuum of Apartheid and how it alienates not just du Toit from himself and his family but ultimately the Afrikaner from their fellow South Africans, as well as their own ideas of justice and morality.

The original Afrikaans language edition packs a powerful punch and is beautiful to read. English translation loses a bit of impact and fails to capture the finesse of the master writer in his mother tongue but is never the less worth burning the midnight oil for. It should however be noted that the story is dated and not a balanced portrayal of South Africa, Afrikaners or Apartheid.

 




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The Millstone (M. Drabble)

rarely have I ever experienced so much heartfelt concern for the well-being of a fictional character. Drabble endows her main character with a fierce, albeit flawed, sense of individualism and self-sufficiency. She tackles burdens and obstacles head-on and alone, even when help was available for the asking. Drabble also coveys the conflict present within her. Rosamund considers herself a modern and liberated woman, yet she is still bound by the Victorian sensativities she denounces. Her lifelong seach is for true love, but only does she find it in the place, or person, she was not seeking to meet.

 




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Lord of the Flies (William Golding)

William Golding's classic tale about a group of English schoolboys who are plane-wrecked on a deserted island is just as chilling and relevant today as when it was first published in 1954. At first, the stranded boys cooperate, attempting to gather food, make shelters, and maintain signal fires. Overseeing their efforts are Ralph, "the boy with fair hair," and Piggy, Ralph's chubby, wisdom-dispensing sidekick whose thick spectacles come in handy for lighting fires. Although Ralph tries to impose order and delegate responsibility, there are many in their number who would rather swim, play, or hunt the island's wild pig population. Soon Ralph's rules are being ignored or challenged outright. His fiercest antagonist is Jack, the redheaded leader of the pig hunters, who manages to lure away many of the boys to join his band of painted savages. The situation deteriorates as the trappings of civilization continue to fall away, until Ralph discovers that instead of being hunters, he and Piggy have become the hunted: "He forgot his words, his hunger and thirst, and became fear; hopeless fear on flying feet." Golding's gripping novel explores the boundary between human reason and animal instinct, all on the brutal playing field of adolescent competition

William Golding's classic tale about a group of English schoolboys who are plane-wrecked on a deserted island is just as chilling and relevant today as when it was first published in 1954. At first, the stranded boys cooperate, attempting to gather food, make shelters, and maintain signal fires. Overseeing their efforts are Ralph, "the boy with fair hair," and Piggy, Ralph's chubby, wisdom-dispensing sidekick whose thick spectacles come in handy for lighting fires. Although Ralph tries to impose order and delegate responsibility, there are many in their number who would rather swim, play, or hunt the island's wild pig population. Soon Ralph's rules are being ignored or challenged outright. His fiercest antagonist is Jack, the redheaded leader of the pig hunters, who manages to lure away many of the boys to join his band of painted savages. The situation deteriorates as the trappings of civilization continue to fall away, until Ralph discovers that instead of being hunters, he and Piggy have become the hunted: "He forgot his words, his hunger and thirst, and became fear; hopeless fear on flying feet." Golding's gripping novel explores the boundary between human reason and animal instinct, all on the brutal playing field of adolescent competition

 




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The Remains of the Day (K. Ishiguro)

The novel's narrator, Stevens, is a perfect English butler who tries to give his narrow existence form and meaning through the self-effacing, almost mystical practice of his profession. In a career that spans the second World War, Stevens is oblivious of the real life that goes on around him -- oblivious, for instance, of the fact that his aristocrat employer is a Nazi sympathizer. Still, there are even larger matters at stake in this heartbreaking, pitch-perfect novel -- namely, Stevens' own ability to allow some bit of life-affirming love into his tightly repressed existence.

 

 




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One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest (K. Kesey)

This is an amazing book; I honestly wish that I would have read it long before I saw the movie. Try as I might, I still cannot help but picture Jack Nicholson and Louise Fletcher whenever McMurphy or Nurse Ratched were "on stage."

Much more complex than the movie, the novel works on many levels. The characters are gripping, and the psychological undertones amazing. I read this first in high school, again in college, and twice during adult life, and each time I see something new in it that I hadn't seen before. In short, it is a modern masterpiece.

The book is told from the Chief's viewpoint. Chief deeply troubled psychotic, and pulling this off is Kesey's tour-de-force. Every utterance of this schizophrenic character rings true as he moves from the "fog" of fear into the real world. Not only does this progression make the novel more interesting than the movie, it makes you question certain elements of the movie.

For instance, was Mac a savior, or simply a dangerous whacko? The movie points towards savior, but the savior interpretation is merely the interpretation of a troubled mind yearning to be free in the novel. The nurse, too, seems less intimidating when you move back from the Chief's interpretation of her. I imagine that she was more humane than his inner fears and the fog that stands between him and the world would allow him to see. Once this is understood, the characters of Mac and Big Nurse become less "cut and dried," and more real, more vital and much more ambiguous. And Kesey's true purpose seems to surface. The actual characters of Mac/ Big Nurse are not important; how they react on the Chief's psyche is.

Seen in this way, the novel traces one of Joseph Campbell's grand mythic themes: The liberation of the masculine psyche from the chaotic rubble of the mother dominated chaos (can you tell this interpretation is based on my college paper?). This journey, which Campbell describes in his "Hero With a Thousand Faces," is a man's major mission early in life. To be free, a male must liberate himself from the feminine and establish himself in the real world. Mythic literature the world over teems with this theme. A man's inability to liberate himself from this dark, restraining yet safe world is a major cause of many psychoses. Kesey has managed to bring that myth into the modern world, and the effects are just as amazing and relevant as the original myths were.

 




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Angela's Ashes (F. Mc Court)

Frank McCourt's haunting memoir takes on new life when the author reads from his Pulitzer Prize-winning book. Recounting scenes from his childhood in New York City and Limerick, Ireland, McCourt paints a brutal yet poignant picture of his early days when there was rarely enough food on the table, and boots and coats were a luxury. In a melodic Irish voice that often lends a gentle humor to the unimaginable, the author remembers his wayward yet adoring father who was forever drinking what little money the family had. He recounts the painful loss of his siblings to avoidable sickness and hunger, a proud mother reduced to begging for charity, and the stench of the sewage-strewn streets that ran outside the front door. As McCourt approaches adolescence, he discovers the shame of poverty and the beauty of Shakespeare, the mystery of sex and the unforgiving power of the Irish Catholic Church. This powerful and heart-rending testament to the resiliency and determination of youth is populated with memorable characters and moments, and McCourt's interpretation of the narrative and the voices it contains will leave listeners laughing through their tears

 




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The Assistant (B. Malamud)

THE ASSISTANT is a simple novel that captures perfectly its time and place. It is also a morality tale. It features a street thrug named Frank Alpine who thinks he might want to turn his life around. He takes a job at a Mom and Pop grocery store to privately atone for a crime against that store (as well as other crimes elsewhere). He agrees to work for room-and-board. There is ethnic tension between the Jewish grocery store owners and the Italian criminal. These tensions grow more severe when a romance develops between Frank and the grocer's daughter. This novel comes as close to being perfect as any I've read in recent years.

 




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The Catcher in the Rye (J.D. Salinger)
Since his debut in 1951 as
The Catcher in the Rye, Holden Caulfield has been synonymous with "cynical adolescent." Holden narrates the story of a couple of days in his sixteen-year-old life, just after he's been expelled from prep school, in a slang that sounds edgy even today and keeps this novel on banned book lists. It begins,

"If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you'll probably want to know is where I was born and what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don't feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth. In the first place, that stuff bores me, and in the second place, my parents would have about two hemorrhages apiece if I told anything pretty personal about them."

His constant wry observations about what he encounters, from teachers to phonies (the two of course are not mutually exclusive) capture the essence of the eternal teenage experience of alienation

 

 




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Saturday Night and Sunday Morning (A. Sillitoe)

A working class man in northern England, Sillitoe bring to life the way it used to be. Between cups of tea, Woodbines, too many pints for sobriety and a long list of ladies, our man Arthur spends his days in mindless bicycle manufacture and his nights forgetting it all. There is the smell of coal smoke in the winter air, the taste and crunch of fried bread and bacon, the scent of a woman and the hard reality of no exit. Arthur came from a family who had spent too many years on the dole, a situation now repreating itself in England. Prosperity was a full larder and an endless supply of cigarettes and new clothes. Sillitoe has captured it all in a book which still breathes the life he infused into it almost 40 years ago

 

 




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Native Son (Richard Wright)

Bigger Thomas is doomed, trapped in a downward spiral that will lead to arrest, prison, or death, driven by despair, frustration, poverty, and incomprehension. As a young black man in the Chicago of the '30s, he has no way out of the walls of poverty and racism that surround him, and after he murders a young white woman in a moment of panic, these walls begin to close in. There is no help for him--not from his hapless family; not from liberal do-gooders or from his well-meaning yet naive friend Jan; certainly not from the police, prosecutors, or judges. Bigger is debased, aggressive, dangerous, and a violent criminal. As such, he has no claim upon our compassion or sympathy. And yet...

A more compelling story than Native Son has not been written in the 20th century by an American writer. That is not to say that Richard Wright created a novel free of flaws, but that he wrote the first novel that successfully told the most painful and unvarnished truth about American social and class relations.

 




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The Inheritors (William Golding)

This amazingly inventive piece of fiction takes on some of the same themes the author dealt with in Lord of the Flies, but in a surprising way. In this novel, the protagonists are the last of the Neandrathals who are in deadly conflict with emergent Homo Sapiens for their survival. Golding imagines these people as being essentially pre-verbal and it is a testiment to his skill as a writer that he can create effective characters without the tool of dialogue. Because of this convention, and the need to keep the story from the Neandrathal's (not quite human) point of view, it takes some time for the reader to achieve an understanding of what is happening and why. It becomes, nevertheless, a very moving story and one of the more inventive tales in serious modern literature.

 




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The Fifth Child (D. Lessing)

In the beginning, Harriet and Ben were a very happy couple. They were almost the same and had a close relationship with each other, until the birth of the fifth child. Harriet waged war against Ben from the moment she was pregnant of him. Through this became the relationship between Harriet and David ever worse. When Ben was born, Harriet had to take care about him and David about the other four children. Ben made Harriet very tired, because he was a unmanageable child. Because of this, David decided to put him in an institution, but Harriet still cares about Ben. She decided to take Ben back and to educate him on her own, and hadn't enough time to take care about her other children. But Ben didn't like Harriet. The only one he liked was John, and Harriet decided to pay John for the time he spend with Ben. Through this, Ben slowly became a criminal and Harriet lost her control about him. She decided to spend her time with David and to let go Ben.

 




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1984 (George Orwell)

The year is 1984; the scene is London, largest population center of Airstrip One.

Airstrip One is part of the vast political entity Oceania, which is eternally at war with one of two other vast entities, Eurasia and Eastasia. At any moment, depending upon current alignments, all existing records show either that Oceania has always been at war with Eurasia and allied with Eastasia, or that it has always been at war with Eastasia and allied with Eurasia. Winston Smith knows this, because his work at the Ministry of Truth involves the constant "correction" of such records. "'Who controls the past,' ran the Party slogan, 'controls the future: who controls the present controls the past.'"

In a grim city and a terrifying country, where Big Brother is always Watching You and the Thought Police can practically read your mind, Winston is a man in grave danger for the simple reason that his memory still functions. He knows the Party's official image of the world is a fluid fiction. He knows the Party controls the people by feeding them lies and narrowing their imaginations through a process of bewilderment and brutalization that alienates each individual from his fellows and deprives him of every liberating human pursuit from reasoned inquiry to sexual passion. Drawn into a forbidden love affair, Winston finds the courage to join a secret revolutionary organization called The Brotherhood, dedicated to the destruction of the Party. Together with his beloved Julia, he hazards his life in a deadly match against the powers that be.

 




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The Chosen (Chaim Potok)

In 1940s Brooklyn, New York, an accident throws Reuven Malther and Danny Saunders together. Despite their differences (Reuven is a Modern Orthodox Jew with an intellectual, Zionist father; Danny is the brilliant son and rightful heir to a Hasidic rebbe), the young men form a deep, if unlikely, friendship. Together they negotiate adolescence, family conflicts, the crisis of faith engendered when Holocaust stories begin to emerge in the U.S., loss, love, and the journey to adulthood. The intellectual and spiritual clashes between fathers, between each son and his own father, and between the two young men, provide a unique backdrop for this exploration of fathers, sons, faith, loyalty, and, ultimately, the power of love. (This is not a conventional children's book, although it will move any wise child age 12 or older, and often appears on summer reading lists for high school students.)

 




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The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Runner (A. Sillitoe)

…teaches strongness of the mind and soul. The main perdon was an excellent runner but was also a great thief. When living in Borstal, he was asked by the governor to run a 32-mile race. To show the governor that he was not to be used or bought, he lost the race on purpose, although he could have won it.

 




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Rabbit..... (John Updike)

For anyone who has yet to discover these extraordinary, sad. poignant, hilarious novels about the lives of middle class Americans in suburbia, I have this to say: I envy you.

These four novels, each written a different decade (50s, 60s, 70s, 80s) do more than capture the spirit of their era. They mark the changes in our neighborhoods, politics, entertainment and sports.

At the center is Harry Angstrom, a high school basketball star who never finds his niche in life. Harry is selfish, insensitive, yet also heart-breakingly sincere and a kind of protypical American romantic.

These books also are quite [nice] and have some of the best descriptions of sex I have read. And people have this picture of Updike as some boring WASP writer. Nothing could be further from the truth.

I don't want to waste anyone's time by saying the bleeding obvious. Updike is America's greatest living author and if you don't know why, you haven't been reading his work. These four novels are as good a place to begin as any. Then YOU can write the scintilating review I was about to write here.

 




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Macbeth (Shakespeare)

The supernatural mingles as if everyday occurence with the lives of the people, the weather is foul, the landscape is eerie and haunting, the castles are cold and the dungeons pitch-black. And then there are the three witches, who are always by a cauldron and worship the nocturnal goddess Hecate. It is these three witches who prophetize a crown on the head of Macbeth. Driven by the prophecy, and spurred on by the ambitious, egotistic and Machiavellian Lady Macbeth (Shakespeare's strongest female character), Macbeth murders the king Duncan and assumes the throne of Scotland. The roles of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth are tour de force performances for virtuosic actors. A wicked couple, a power-hungry couple, albeit a regal, intellectual pair, who can be taken into any form- Mafia lord and Mafia princess, for example, as in the case of a recent movie with a modern re-telling of Macbeth.

Nothing and no one intimidates Macbeth. He murders all who oppose him, including Banquo, who had been a close friend. But the witches predict doom, for Macbeth, there will be no heirs and his authority over Scotland will come to an end. Slowly as the play progresses, we discover that Macbeth's time is running up. True to the classic stylings of Shakespeare tragedy, Lady Macbeth goes insane, sleepwalking at night and ranting about bloodstained hands. For Macbeth, the honor of being a king comes with a price for his murder. He sees Banquo's ghost at a dinner and breaks down in hysteria in front of his guests, he associates with three witches who broil "eye of newt and tongue of worm", and who conjure ghotsly images among them of a bloody child. Macbeth is Shakespeare's darkest drama, tinged with foreboding, mystery and Gothic suspense. But, nevertheless, it is full of great lines, among them the soliloquy of Macbeth, "Out, out, brief candle" in which he contemplates the brevity of human life, confronting his own mortality. Macbeth has been made into films, the most striking being Roman Polansky's horrific, gruesome, R-rated movie in which Lady Macbeth sleepwalks in the nude and the three witches are dried-up, grey-haired naked women, and Macbeth's head is devilishly beheaded and stuck at the end of a pole. But even more striking in the film is that at the end, the victor, Malcolm, who has defeated Macbeth, sees the witches for advise. This says something: the cycle of murder and violenc will begin again, which is what Macbeth's grim drama seems to be saying about powerhungry men who stop at nothing to get what they want.

 




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Pygmalion (G.B. Shaw)

Two old gentlemen meet in the rain one night at Covent Garden. Professor Higgins is a scientist of phonetics, and Colonel Pickering is a linguist of Indian dialects. The first bets the other that he can, with his knowledge of phonetics, convince high London society that, in a matter of months, he will be able to transform the cockney speaking Covent Garden flower girl, Eliza Doolittle, into a woman as poised and well-spoken as a duchess. The next morning, the girl appears at his laboratory on Wimpole Street to ask for speech lessons, offering to pay a shilling, so that she may speak properly enough to work in a flower shop. Higgins makes merciless fun of her, but is seduced by the idea of working his magic on her. Pickering goads him on by agreeing to cover the costs of the experiment if Higgins can pass Eliza off as a duchess at an ambassador's garden party. The challenge is taken, and Higgins starts by having his housekeeper bathe Eliza and give her new clothes.

 




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Invisible Man (Ralph Ellison)

Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison is the most powerful description of the modern African-American experience on record. It follows the life of a nameless protangonist as he journeys from a poor rural southern college to the streetes of Harlem. Thorughout out the book he is constantly unsure of himself and unable to find some place to belong.

Each time he feels he has discovered someone who is truly color blind he finds that they are just out to use him for their own advantage. He is kicked out of his college when he shows a white benefactor, at his insistence, what life is like for poor rural blacks. When he goes north to New York, he is denied employment because of the "recommendations" his former college mentor is writing for him. He engages in Communist party rallies and human dog fights. Mostly he feels the isolation which comes from being alone in a crowd.

As he makes his way through life he really does become an invisible man. Obviously not in the literal sense but in the way that someone who is constantly ignored or put on the fringes of society becomes an invisible man. He becomes invisible because of the quiet racism that pervades so much of Northern society in his day and which has continued down to the present.

 




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Catch-22 (Joseph Heller)

There was a time when reading Joseph Heller's classic satire on the murderous insanity of war was nothing less than a rite of passage. Echoes of Yossarian, the wise-ass bombardier who was too smart to die but not smart enough to find a way out of his predicament, could be heard throughout the counterculture. As a result, it's impossible not to consider Catch-22 to be something of a period piece. But 40 years on, the novel's undiminished strength is its looking-glass logic. Again and again, Heller's characters demonstrate that what is commonly held to be good, is bad; what is sensible, is nonsense.

Yossarian says, "You're talking about winning the war, and I am talking about winning the war and keeping alive."
"Exactly," Clevinger snapped smugly. "And which do you think is more important?"
"To whom?" Yossarian shot back. "It doesn't make a damn bit of difference who wins the war to someone who's dead."
"I can't think of another attitude that could be depended upon to give greater comfort to the enemy."
"The enemy," retorted Yossarian with weighted precision, "is anybody who's going to get you killed, no matter which side he's on."
Mirabile dictu, the book holds up post-Reagan, post-Gulf War. It's a good thing, too. As long as there's a military, that engine of lethal authority,
Catch-22 will shine as a handbook for smart-alecky pacifists. It's an utterly serious and sad, but damn funny book.

 




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Hamlet (Shakespeare)

Hamlet is about a prince of the same name. He learns that his father, once King, had been murdered by his uncle, now the King, who, soon after his father's death, married Hamlet's mother. The ghost of King Hamlet arrives one night and wants Hamlet to revenge his father's death. The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark is woven with many unique characters that only Shakespeare could provide. These characters include the pathetic Polonius, the suicidal Ophelia and the ignorant and foolish Queen Gertrude. Hamlet struggles throughout the play to determine the right thing to do regarding his father's death, and how to do it.

I recommend this book to all people who love great drama. In this bold piece of literature and many of his other works, Shakespeare has the unique ability to teach many valuable and interesting lessons, some of which are comical, and some of which are serious. If you are new to the world of dramas such as Hamlet, you may soon become an addict. As you can see, Shakespeare is an amazing playwright, and I hope you have the pleasure of reading this story in the future.

 




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The Grapes of Wrath (John Steinbeck) 

The Grapes of Wrath is the story of the Joad family's experiences from their eviction from a farm near Sallisaw, Oklahoma to their first dismal winter in California. The novel has little plot in the ordinary sense. Out of its thirty chapters, only fourteen deal with the Joad story. The other sixteen chapters are not part of the narrative. They are called intercalary chapters or interchapters. Steinbeck desired to make the reader participate in the narrative of the Joads; but he also wanted the reader to identify and feel the pathos and futility of their situation. At the same time, Steinbeck wanted the reader to see beyond the Joads and sense the larger suffering of the displaced migrants. Steinbeck wanted to write a tragedy on an epic scale.

 




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Brave New World (Aldous Huxley) 

The Brave New World is introduced by a tour of the Central London Hatchery and Conditioning Centre. Bernard Marx and Lenina Crowne, two employees at the Centre, take a trip to the reservation in New Mexico, the only place where modern civilization isn't a fact of life. When they go back to the 'civilized' world they take Linda and her son John with them. Linda had been left there after becoming pregnant (which in modern civilization wasn't done). During the book John starts hating the so-called civilization of the New World which eventually leads to John hanging himself.

 




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The Grass is Singing (D. Lessing) 

The first chapter of the book is a flash-forward. It starts with a newspaper report; Mary Turner, wife of the farmer Richard Turner was found murdered. The houseboy has been arrested and he had confessed to the crime. No motive has been discovered. It is thought he was in search of valuables. A young Englishman who is just in Africa, and who was stayed with the Turners has his ideas, but he hold his peace. In the next chapter the story goes back to the past. The history of Mary=s life is told. She lived a lighthearted life in the town till she was thirty. She waked up to the fact that she was on her way to become an old maid. She rushes into marriage with Dick Turner, a poor farmer of a distant farm. Complete inprepared and unaware of the life on a farm, she arrives. The life reminds her to her own poor youth. Her marriage to Dick isn=t a succes and she is very unhappy. She can=t mix with the black servants. She=s lonely and the life on the farm is monotonous. After failed projects with bees, pigs and turkeys, Dick starts a store and Mary has to serve the natives. She runs away to the town, but after a while she comes back. Dick falls ill and Mary has to run the farm. She hates the black population, the farmer=s life and Dick the misfit. After she has sent the hundredth (black) houseboy away, there=s Moses. Moses is an high developed, English speaking seasonal worker. At any time, Mary has strucked him in his face with a whip. Moses is the new houseboy. Mary is fascionated by him. He can read and write and he does his work perfect. But she doesn=t forgot that he=s a native, she hates him as native. But for the first time, she doesn=t see a native only like a working machine or like a dog. When Moses threats to go away too, she becomes hysterical. Dick has said that he, after Moses, wouldn=t engage an other houseboy. Moses promises her to stay, provided that she behaves reasonable. So, the tables are turned. When Dick gets a malaria attack, Mary is completely at the mercy of Moses……

 




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Disgrace (Coetzee)

David Lurie is hardly the hero of his own life, or anyone else's. At 52, the protagonist of Disgrace is at the end of his professional and romantic game, and seems to be deliberately courting disaster. Long a professor of modern languages at Cape Town University College, he has recently been relegated to adjunct professor of communications at the same institution, now pointedly renamed Cape Technical University:

Although he devotes hours of each day to his new discipline, he finds its first premise, as enunciated in the Communications 101 handbook, preposterous: "Human society has created language in order that we may communicate our thoughts, feelings and intentions to each other." His own opinion, which he does not air, is that the origins of speech lie in song, and the origins of song in the need to fill out with sound the overlarge and rather empty human soul.

Twice married and twice divorced, his magnetic looks on the wane, David rather cruelly seduces one of his students, and his conduct unbecoming is soon uncovered. In his eighth novel, J.M. Coetzee might have been content to write a searching academic satire. But in Disgrace he is intent on much more, and his art is as uncompromising as his main character, though infinitely more complex. Refusing to play the public-repentance game, David gets himself fired--a final gesture of contempt. Now, he thinks, he will write something on Byron's last years. Not empty, unread criticism, "prose measured by the yard," but a libretto. To do so, he heads for the Eastern Cape and his daughter's farm. In her mid-20s, Lucy has turned her back on city sophistications: with five hectares, she makes her living by growing flowers and produce and boarding dogs. "Nothing," David thinks, "could be more simple." But nothing, in fact, is more complicated--or, in the new South Africa, more dangerous. Far from being the refuge he has sought, little is safe in Salem. Just as David has settled into his temporary role as farmworker and unenthusiastic animal-shelter volunteer, he and Lucy are attacked by three black men. Unable to protect his daughter, David's disgrace is complete. Hers, however, is far worse.

There is much more to be explored in Coetzee's painful novel, and few consolations. It would be easy to pick up on his title and view Disgrace as a complicated working-out of personal and political shame and responsibility. But the author is concerned with his country's history, brutalities, and betrayals. Coetzee is also intent on what measure of soul and rights we allow animals. After the attack, David takes his role at the shelter more seriously, at last achieving an unlikely home and some measure of love. In Coetzee's recent Princeton lectures, The Lives of Animals, an aging novelist tells her audience that the question that occupies all lab and zoo creatures is, "Where is home, and how do I get there?" David, though still all-powerful compared to those he helps dispose of, is equally trapped, equally lost.

 




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Waiting for the Barbarians (Coetzee)

Waiting For the Barbarians by J.M. Coetzee is a fine book, that depicts civilization at it's worst. I found the book to be boring frequently, but other parts, especially towards the end, were very thought provoking and good to read.
The book starts out with a thrilling opening, but then moves on into a dreary description of the magistrate's routine life. The beginning illustrates the empire's brutality and very appalling ways of punishment. The magistrate realizes this cruelty and this is why Coetzee then progresses onto the Magistrate's "digging" into the past and truth. When the empire is sick of the magistrate's reality check, his realization that the empire is not telling the truth perhaps, when he proceeds to take the enemy back to it's fort, that is when the book gets interesting again. The tone and image that the book creates is rather depressing, but very fascinating and truly makes a person question his or her morals. Should a person go against a mistaken society and corrupt government if that person thinks that everyone else is wrong?
The novel gives the reader a harsh and depressing picture of a corrupt Empire run by a tyrant. The book raises the question of whether or not an empire's lie to conceal the truth that could possibly ruin a civilization is permissible. In this book the Magistrate realizes that maybe the empire is not everything it is talked up to be, and that perhaps the empire's inhumane punishments are wrong and possibly over used.
This book, even though it is well written and very stimulating, is not a book for everyone, especially kids. A person who has a lot of time to think and analyze as he reads, is the person to read this 156 page book. This book is also a great book to use in an English class full of mature kids who are willing to think and discover.

 




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The House Gun (N. Gordimer)       
Harald and Claudia, highly successful professionals (he heads up an insurance company, she is a physician), find their comfortable life in post-apartheid South Africa turned upside down when their only son is accused of murdering one of his housemates, using the communal "house gun" they had purchased for protection. The parents are dumbfounded when Duncan does not deny the crime. How could their son be a murderer, and are they somehow to blame? Duncan acted out of jealousy, but was it heterosexual jealousy or something else? He is going to be defended by a black attorney. Will the attorney's lack of courtroom experience be a liability, or will his race favorably influence the judge? Harald and Claudia are ashamed to find themselves asking these questions. Nobel laureate Gordimer's book is much more ambitious than the plot-driven thrillers of Scott Turow or John Grisham. It is a novel of ideas that investigates troubling issues of race and gender, but it is also a subtle character study that avoids easy stereotypes. Gordimer's trademark prose style, with its sudden shifts of voice and points of view, seems especially well suited to capturing the moral ambiguities of South African life. Highly recommended.

 




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The Third Man (G. Greene)
The story begins after the second World War in Vienna. At that time Austria was occupied by four powers, America, France, England and Russia. Vienna was divided in zones, an American, a French, a Britisch and a Russianszone. Rollo Martins, a writter of westerns, came from Londen to meet his friend Harry Lime. When he arrived he heard his friend was dead. He had an accident and was driven over by a car. Martins went to the funeral and there he met a detective Calloway. Calloway invided him for a drink. Colloway told Martins that Lime was a racketeer. Martins didn’t believe. It was possible that the death of his friend was a murder, Martins wanted to investigate. Martins heard from the neighbour of Lime that three man were at the place of the murder, Mr. Kurtz, Mr. Cooler and another person. A few days later the neighbour was murdered. Martins heard from Calloway that the third man could be Harbin, an undercover man, who works with Lime. An evening Martins visit Anna Smith, the girlfriend of Lime. When he walked home he saw Lime. He thought he saw a ghost, but it was Lime in real person. Lime fluw into an entrance of a sewer. Martins believed that the death of Lime was set-up. With Calloway he made a plan. The next day Martins went to Cooler and he told him that he wanted te meet Lime, at a café near the sewer. Lime came out of the sewer, noticed the chaps, watched him and he flew back. After a great persuit Lime was shot, by Rollo Martins.

 




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The Time Machine (Wells)
The story is about the Time Traveller and his journey into the very distant future - to the year 802,701 AD. The Traveller chooses to go out of pure curiosity, hoping to see what the future had in store. What he found seemed like something out of the past. The semi-humans he encountered lived in an era not unlike the Bronze Age, with limited communication skills and little else. These Eloi seemed content to while away their time, without a care in the world - except when it was dark. For at that time the other semi-human species, the Morlocks, emerged from below...with a taste for Eloi. The Time Traveller struggles to understand how mankind could have degenerated into such a state of affairs. His distaste for the Morlocks and their actions (including the theft of his time machine) soon causes the Traveller to confront them, with disastrous consequences for both. Generally accepted as one of the first Science Fiction stories, it is believed Wells was also using the story to advance his criticism of the capitalist system. Specifically, the story relates what happens when one group of people is continually subjugated by another higher, elite class. Wells' tale of the fractured relationship between the Eloi and the Morlocks is his warning of the dangers of allowing such a system to continue unabated. All politics aside, the story remains excellent. Although written more than a century ago, it has lost none of its power or appeal. It is also a short read, at less than 150 pages, and is also very "readable" - despite its age the story does not seem at all antiquated. That Wells was able to accomplish this in the 1890s is no small feat, and is an indication of his prowess as an writer.  

 




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Of Mice and Men (J. Steinbeck)
John Steinbeck wrote this classic gem in 1937. It's been a Broadway play and there have been several adaptations of it in movies and TV. I was generally familiar with the story but this was the first time I actually read the book. Wow! I was completely blown away! This is the story of a two lonely and alienated men who work as farm laborers, drifting from job to job in California. Lennie is gentle giant, physically strong but mentally retarded. George guides and protects Lennie but also depends on him for companionship. Together, they have a dream to someday buy a little farm where they can grow crops and raise rabbits and live happily ever after. This, of course, is not to be as the title suggests. "The best laid plans of mice and men" is a line in a poem by Robert Burns, which describes how a field mouse's world is destroyed by a plow. Steinbeck's narrative voice is seemingly simple in his descriptions of nature of as well as the details of the bunkhouse. His characterizations of the people are magnificent. We meet the other workers, all loners, and appreciate the beauty of the unique friendship between Lennie and George. We meet Candy, the old man who is outliving his usefulness. We meet Crooks, the black stable hand, shunned by the men and therefore turning to books for companionship. We meet the cruel Curley who taunts Lennie into a fight. And we meet Curley's wife, another lonely soul who uses her femininity to get the wrong kind of attention. There's tension in every word and I found myself holding my breath, knowing that something awful would happen, my eyes glued to the page, the world of Lennie and George deeply etched into my consciousness. I was pulled right into the story, wanting to shout warnings as I saw the inevitable consequences. The ending was incredibly sad, but yet satisfying. It couldn't have ended any other way. It's a small book, only 118 pages long. But it is a masterpiece and I will never forget it. I give it my highest recommendation.   

 




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Empire of the Sun (J.G. Ballard)
Empire of the Sun is very much a true life memoir. In this book (made into a film by Steven Spielberg), Ballard first tells the life of a boy ("Jim") in pre-Pearl Harbor Shanghai, the privileged young son of an English business executive. When the war begins, Jim and his parents are separated, and Jim survives for weeks on his own, living of the food left in his and his neighbors' abandoned mansions. Most of the book is set in the Lunghua prison camp, where Jim is forced to grow up under circumstances no boy should endure. Finally, the war ends, and he is reunited with his parents under the shadow of nascent Chinese communism. Ballard tells a compelling story, and pulls no punches. Much of what Jim experiences is shocking, and Ballard neither embellishes nor understates Jim's experiences. Flies, death, and decomposition are everywhere, as are avarice and (occasionally) kindness. This is a very different "coming of age" story, but one I think a high-schooler would enjoy. (Query: Ballard assumes from his reader a fairly good grounding in World War II and cold war history, which I have. I understand that many young people lack such knowledge. Would such young people understand and appreciate Ballard's story and artistry? I don't know). I suspect this book will be read and recommended for many years to come.

 




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A Judgement in Stone (R. Rendell) 
I liked this book because it had a good story. In the beginning you don’t understand why Eunice could kill a whole family only because she can’t read or write. But later you understand what drove her so mad that she could kill these people. What I disliked was the way the story was told. Some parts were very difficult to understand and the words the author chose were difficult. It is very difficult to enter into Eunice’s part because I have never met and never seen someone that was like her. The book learns you what goes round in the head of an illiterate person. That was very interesting because I had never ever thought of that. In our society it is very hard to imagine how an illiterate person can survive. That really appealed to me. But there are also parts where I have my doubts. In the book things happen that are impossible. For example: when Eunice has to get some papers for George she can’t find them. But George gave her the title and in that title was a date. Eunice can read numbers (phone-numbers), so why couldn’t she find it? An other example is inspector Vetch. If he is really as good inspector as in the book is told, why didn’t he suspected Eunice? Only because he liked her? These things make the book a little bit implausible. But in despite of this I still think it is a very good book that I really liked to read. When I read how Eunice killed her first victim of the Coverdales I had to think of the book we read last year ‘After the first death’. Eunice’s first murder was her dad. You can read what happened after she killed her dad. So this book could have the same title as the book we read last year. And that made this book only better. The book is a ‘whydunit’ detective story. It’s about Eunice Parchman who kills four members of the Coverdale family. In the first chapter you already now who murdered the Coverdales and the main reason why Eunice killed them. The main reason is that she can’t read or write. In the beginning this reason doesn’t make much sense. You now that she is an illiterate but that can’t be a reason that she called the Coverdales. But later you find out that this is the reason why she killed these people.

 




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I Never Promised you a Rosegarden (H. Greene)
I read and loved this book as an adolescent. I recently saw it at the library and decided to take it out and read it again. I just finished re-reading it and found it as powerful as I remembered, possibly even more so. I Never Promised You a Rose Garden presents a complete picture of mental illness from the patient's point of view, without the stigma of wrongness that is frequently associated with it. The picture painted is a very real one, from Deborah's relief when the doctors confirm what she's known all along, that something is not right, to the way her family deals with the fact of her illness. Greenberg/Green evokes very strong emotions with her writing. You feel Deborah's fear that her secret world of Yr will punish her for revealing its existence to her doctor, and you share in her triumph when she begins to make her way back to the world. I put down this book with a little more understanding of how it must feel to be mentally ill. I would recommend it to anyone, teen or adult.

 




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The Woman in Black (S. Hill)
Eel Marsh House stands tall, gaunt and isolated, surveying the endless flat saltmarshes beyond the Nine Lives Causeway, somewhere on England's bleak East Coast. Here Mrs Alice Drablow lived - and died - alone. Young Arthur Kipps, a junior solicitor, is ordered by his firm's senior partner to travel up from London to attend her funeral and then sort out all her papers. His task is a lonely one, and at first Kipps is quite unaware of the tragic secrets which lie behind the house's shuttered windows. He only has a terrible sense of unease. And then, he glimpses a young woman with a wasted face, dressed all in black, at the back of the church during Mrs Drablow's funeral, and later, in the graveyard to one side of Eel Marsh House. Who is she? Why is she there? He asks questions, but the locals not only cannot or will not give him answers - they refuse to talk about the woman in black, or even to acknowledge her existence, at all. So, Arthur Kipps has to wait until he sees her again, and she slowly reveals her identity to him - and her terrible purpose. The Woman In Black treads in the footsteps of the classic ghost story, following the tradition of Charles Dickens and M.R James, of Henry James and Edith Wharton. It is not a horror story or a tale of terror, yet the events build up to a horrifying climax and instil a sense of horror. It relies on atmosphere, a vivid sense of place, on hints and glimpses and suggestions, on what is shadowy, heard and sometimes only half-seen, to chill the reader's blood to the marrow and make reading the book alone at night inadvisable for the faint-hearted.

 




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I'm the King of the Castle (S.Hill)
Edmund Hooper is ten years old and his mother died when he was about four years. He knows no fear. From the start Edmund shows himself to be a brutal bully, sadist and a clever manipulator. He makes it very clear he looks down on Charles and he loves exploiting Charles’s fear.
Charles Kingshaw is also ten years old and his father died when he was about four years. He is easily frightened, he does not trust anybody and he is lonely.
He has a low self esteem. Charles always refuses to show his fear because he does not want to admit his fear and wants to prove himself. From the start Charles feels rejected because Edmund bullies him and his mother and Mr Hooper do not see his problems.
At the end of the book his problems are so enormous he does not see a way out.

 




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The Cement Garden (I. McEwan)
"I did not kill my father," this slim novel begins, "but I sometimes felt I had helped him on his way." Soon the mother is dead as well, and four children are left to fend for themselves in a secluded house in a dying part of the city. There's Julie, the eldest, a ripe & willful beauty who's almost a woman; there's Jack, the narrator, a boy bewildered by his growing body & appetites; there's Sue, bookish & ever-observant; and then there's Tom, the baby of the family, who actually seems to get younger, regressing as the days go by. These four form an uneasy family, slowly learning to be self-sufficient in this strangely apocalyptic setting. But an intruder in the form of Julie's new boyfriend threatens their fragile stasis by asking too many questions. How long have the four of them been alone? And just what is buried under the crumbling pile of cement in the basement? This book has been mistakenly marketed as a horror novel; it's horrific, sure, but not as horrible as the pulp that defines the genre. What makes it particularly good is its characters, the children who are both recognizably sympathetic and exotically extraordinary. Ian McEwan has created a taut & provocative thriller written in pitch-perfect and stripped-down prose. Beyond being a macabre morality tale, The Cement Garden is a psychological-suspense yarn, a perceptive portrayal of adolescence that will keep you riveted up to the final, climactic scene in an upstairs bedroom.

 




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The Life and Loves of a She-devil (F. Weldon) 
The Life and Loves of a She-Devil is the story of Ruth, an graceless, unattractive woman. Trapped in a loveless marriage with a cruelly indifferent, philandering husband named Bobbo, Ruth finds herself sinking under the weight of crushed expectations and neglect. But rather than simply accept her lot in life, Ruth decides to embrace the feelings of evil that are welling inside of her and transform herself into an avenging she-devil. The only reason I won't recommend this book to everyone is its unrelenting dark side. Nearly all of the characters are unlikable in an interesting way. Even the final ends for the She-Devil are unsettling. She's happy to have achieved her goal, but the reader is left to wonder about her wisdom. If you enjoy dark humor, read this book.     

 




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Bridget Jones's Diary (H. Fielding)
In the course of the year recorded in Bridget Jones's Diary, Bridget confides her hopes, her dreams, and her monstrously fluctuating poundage, not to mention her consumption of 5277 cigarettes and "Fat units 3457 (approx.) (hideous in every way)." In 365 days, she gains 74 pounds. On the other hand, she loses 72! There is also the unspoken New Year's resolution--the quest for the right man. Alas, here Bridget goes severely off course when she has an affair with her charming cad of a boss. But who would be without their e-mail flirtation focused on a short black skirt? The boss even contends that it is so short as to be nonexistent.   

 




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Our Man in Havana (Graham Greene)
Wormold is a middle-aged expatriot British vacuum cleaner store owner/salesman living in Havana with his only daughter, Milly, 16 or 17 year old archtyical good but bad Catholic school girl cum leathal "Lolita" cum Cher from the movie "Clueless"--her favorite passtime is spending her father's money, sometimes on credit to Wormold's dismay. Feeling a general ennui about life after Milly's mother (his wife) leaves him to run off with another man, Wormold's whole life is indulging Milly, drinking with an ex-Nazi (possibly) drinking buddy Dr. Hasselbacher, and collecting miniature bourbon and whisky bottles (he has 100s). When Milly wants a horse, Wormold decides to accept a manna from heaven in the form of a lucrative "part-time" job setting up the Havana station for the British secret service. Or was it a contract with the devil? As the heedless Wormold invents sub-agents and technical "drawings" for the "enemy's" (though which enemy we don't even know) secret installations in Havana, and generally fakes out the fools at Headquarters in London, real people start dying. What is going on? Can inventions--people and state secrets--of the imagination, "as if writing a novel" really come to life? Tightly written with Greene's usual cast of colorful characters both local and expatriot, like the would be suitor of Milly, a policeman reknowned in Havana for carrying a human-skin cigarette case, Captain Seguras, this book is short, dense, compact, and worthwhile reading. It's a comical/satirical look at the human condition as well one of Graham's favorite topics, international intrigue and the world of the "spy."   

 




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The Power and the Glory (Graham Greene)
In the 1930s one Mexican state has outlawed the Church, naming it a source of greed and debauchery. The priests have been rounded up and shot by firing squad--save one, the whisky priest. On the run, and in a blur of alcohol and fear, this outlaw meets a dentist, a banana farmer, and a village woman he knew six years earlier. For a while, he is accompanied by a toothless man--whom he refers to as his Judas and does his best to ditch. Always, an adamant lieutenant is only a few hours behind, determined to liberate his country from the evils of the church. On the verge of reaching a safer region, the whisky priest is repeatedly held back by his vocation, even though he no longer feels fit to perform his rites: "When he was gone it would be as if God in all this space between the sea and the mountains ceased to exist. Wasn't it his duty to stay, even if they despised him, even if they were murdered for his sake? even if they were corrupted by his example?" As his sins and dangers increase, the broken priest comes to confront the nature of piety and love. Still, when he is granted a reprieve, he feels himself sliding into the old arrogance, slipping it on like the black gloves he used to wear. Greene has drawn this man--and all he encounters--vividly and viscerally. He may have said The Power and the Glory was "written to a thesis," but this brilliant theological thriller has far more mysteries--and troubling ideals--than certainties.

 




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The Human Factor (Graham Greene)
This book presents a very believable portrait of espionage during the cold war. No guns, no gadgets, no glamour. Just a drab monotonous life infused with constant paranoia and ending in tragedy. Quite a contrast to Our Man In Havana, although the main characters share much of the same insecurities (as most Greene characters seem to). The hero is a completely sympathetic character who loves his wife and child and hates the cruelty that the world has shown his wife and will surely show his child. And although he has become jaded and old he idealistically decides to punish the West for its racism by spying for the East (ironic considering the level of racism in the East). In the end he looses what he had, he looses what he loved, and he gains nothing. This was the first Graham Greene novel that I read, in high school, 15 years ago. It hooked me and I have read most of his other works since then. Many other authors have created stupid banal characters living the seedy life, but only Greene (in my limited reading) has created human, complex, intelligent characters.....living the seedy life.   

 




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Tis (F. Mc Court)
The sequel to Frank McCourt's memoir of his Irish Catholic boyhood, Angela's Ashes, picks up the story in October 1949, upon his arrival in America. Though he was born in New York, the family had returned to Ireland due to poor prospects in the United States. Now back on American soil, this awkward 19-year-old, with his "pimply face, sore eyes, and bad teeth," has little in common with the healthy, self-assured college students he sees on the subway and dreams of joining in the classroom. Initially, his American experience is as harrowing as his impoverished youth in Ireland, including two of the grimmest Christmases ever described in literature. McCourt views the U.S. through the same sharp eye and with the same dark humor that distinguished his first memoir: race prejudice, casual cruelty, and dead-end jobs weigh on his spirits as he searches for a way out. A glimpse of hope comes from the army, where he acquires some white-collar skills, and from New York University, which admits him without a high school diploma. But the journey toward his position teaching creative writing at Stuyvesant High School is neither quick nor easy. Fortunately, McCourt's openness to every variety of human emotion and longing remains exceptional; even the most damaged, difficult people he encounters are richly rendered individuals with whom the reader can't help but feel uncomfortable kinship. The magical prose, with its singing Irish cadences, brings grandeur and beauty to the most sorrowful events, including the final scene, set in a Limerick graveyard.   

 




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I Know Why theCaged Bird Sings (M. Angelou)
In this first of five volumes of autobiography, poet Maya Angelou recounts a youth filled with disappointment, frustration, tragedy, and finally hard-won independence. Sent at a young age to live with her grandmother in Arkansas, Angelou learned a great deal from this exceptional woman and the tightly knit black community there. These very lessons carried her throughout the hardships she endured later in life, including a tragic occurrence while visiting her mother in St. Louis and her formative years spent in California--where an unwanted pregnancy changed her life forever. Marvelously told, with Angelou's "gift for language and observation," this "remarkable autobiography by an equally remarkable black woman from Arkansas captures, indelibly, a world of which most Americans are shamefully ignorant."    

 




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The Grapes of Wrath (J. Steinbeck)
John Steinbeck's novel The Grapes of Wrath tells the specific story of the Joad family in order to illustrate the hardship and oppression suffered by migrant laborers during the Great Depression. It is an explicitly political tract that champions collectivist action by the lower classes over expressions of individualist self-interest and chastises corporate and banking elites for shortsighted policies meant to maximize profit even while forcing farmers into destitution and even starvation. The novel begins with the description of the conditions in Dust Bowl Oklahoma that ruined the crops and instigated massive foreclosures on farmland. No specific characters emerge initially, a technique that Steinbeck will return to several times in the book, juxtaposing descriptions of events in a larger social context with those more specific to the Joad family.

 




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The Great Gatsby (F. Scott Fitzgerald)
Really, the start of this book is sooooo painful. It is confusing and boring. But if you take my word for it, the rest is worth it. I'm very sorry I judged this book by its first pages, considering how great it turned out. ...What I want to know is how a classic like this can resemble a soap opera so much?! And be so entertaining? It has adultery, murder, suicide, parties, abuse, long-lost love, deceit, everything! Though its language isn't as easy to follow as today's modern language is, the book still retains its clarity. Aside from its ability to enthrall, The Great Gatsby also addresses the American problem of superficiality and greed. It proves that "money can't buy me love" and greed gets you nowhere.

 




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The Girl with the Green Eyes (E. O'Brien) 
Beginsituatie van het verhaal: Caithleen en haar vriendin Baba wonen in bij Joanna. Ze huren daar een kamer. Samen gaan ze naar verschillende ballen, feesten en andere gelegenheden om mensen, vooral mannen, te ontmoeten. Omdat ze niet veel geld hebben, moeten Caithleen en Baba soms smoesjes verzinnen om binnen te komen. Op zo’n feest ontmoeten ze Eugene Gaillard en Caithleen wordt verliefd.
Eindsituatie van het verhaal: Na veel problemen in hun relatie vertrekt Caithleen uit Eugene’s huis. Ze is ervan overtuigd dat Eugene op haar brieven zal reageren en haar zal komen halen voordat ze naar Engeland gaat met Baba. Eugene komt echter niet en Caithleen vertrekt naar Soha, Engeland, om daar een nieuw leven op te bouwen, dit tot grote vreugde van haar familie en de kerk. Deze keurden haar relatie met een oudere, getrouwde man af. Caithleen krijgt nog enkele brieven van Eugene, maar uiteindelijk stopt de correspondentie als Eugene naar Amerika vertrekt.

 




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July's People (N. Gordimer)
As an expatriate south african, I can safely say that Nadine gordimers' "July's People" has had an impact that I have not felt since Brink's "Dry White Season". Gordimer captures perfectly the energy, volatility, and sweet sadness of the African experience, and I speak of that experience from a colour-blind place. The fluid prose and Doctorow-like economy of punctuation gives the reader the true flavour of the culture. I cannot recommend Ms. Gordimer more highly. Her contribution to the expansive and glorious solemnity of African literature puts her in much the same league as Credo Mutwe and the luminary Laurens Van Der Post. Read July's Children. Give yourself time, because you will be stopping to weep at regular intervals. I really had to make an effort to figure out her sentence syntax and structure. It's unconventional to say the least (and sometimes just plain ungrammatical). But the story itself is fascinating and kept me riveted. I kept thinking what it would be like to be plucked from my comfortable, secure middle class life and dropped into the African bush. In that way, the success of the book for me, particularly in light of its unsatisfactory ending, had more to do with getting me to think about the situation rather than the book itself. I'm not sure if that makes sense to you, but it's the only way I can describe it. Bottom line is that I kept reading (if it had been really bad, I would have discarded it on page 5) and the impressions it made will stay with me a long time.

 




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The Old Man and the Sea (E. Hemingway)
The Old Man and The Sea is perhaps one of Ernest Hemingway's finest achievements. Here you will find the lean descriptive prose that made him one of the finest writer's of the twentieth century. It tells the story of a fisherman who is down on his luck, but whose spirit is strong as the tropical winds that have tanned his skin and the sun that has made weak his eyes. He is devoted to the sea and knows all of its wildness and subtle moods. He goes out alone one day without his sidekick boy companion, because the boy's family has forbidden him to help his teacher for he has bad luck. He hooks a Marlin, a huge mythical Marlin, the kind that fishermen only dream of catching. And the fish drags him out deeper and deeper into the ocean, farther than he's ever traveled. The battle is fierce and his hands are even bloodied as he ties himself to the rope and the fish in a struggle that is somehow symbolic of man's eternal quest to gain control over natural forces. I would say more, however, Hemingway has done such a fine job that I suggest you read and read this wonderful tale. The ending is of course classic Hemingway. And it was for this book that Hemingway won the Nobel Prize for literature.

 




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A Farewell to Arms (E. Hemingway)
This is the story of Lieutenant Henry, an American, and Catherine Barkley, a British nurse. The two meet in Italy, and almost immediately Hemingway sets up the central tension of the novel: the tenuous nature of love in a time of war. During their first encounter, Catherine tells Henry about her fiancé of eight years who had been killed the year before in the Somme. Explaining why she hadn't married him, she says she was afraid marriage would be bad for him, then admits: I wanted to do something for him. You see, I didn't care about the other thing and he could have had it all. He could have had anything he wanted if I would have known. I would have married him or anything. I know all about it now. But then he wanted to go to war and I didn't know. The two begin an affair, with Henry quite convinced that he "did not love Catherine Barkley nor had any idea of loving her. This was a game, like bridge, in which you said things instead of playing cards." Soon enough, however, the game turns serious for both of them and ultimately Henry ends up deserting to be with Catherine. Hemingway was not known for either unbridled optimism or happy endings, and A Farewell to Arms, like his other novels (For Whom the Bell Tolls, The Sun Also Rises, and To Have and Have Not), offers neither. What it does provide is an unblinking portrayal of men and women behaving with grace under pressure, both physical and psychological, and somehow finding the courage to go on in the face of certain loss.   

 




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Billy (A. French)
This stunning first novel seems to have sprung full-blown from the red dirt of the land it portrays, hot and dusty rural Mississippi circa 1937. It's a blazing summer Saturday, and the black folks in Banes are happy not to be laboring in the fields. Billy Lee Turner, 10 years old and as mysterious and independent as his beautifully golden and regal mother Cinder, convinces his friend Gumpy to cross the railroad bridge that separates the black neighborhood from the homes of the whites. The boys can't resist wading in the cool pond on the Pasko property and are terrified when Lori, 15, red-haired, mean, and powerful, and her friend Jenny sneak up on them and beat them up. Gumpy escapes, but Lori has hurt Billy badly. When she finally lets him go, he stabs her in the chest. Lori's death is like a match to kindling. The sheriff can barely contain the mob of whites intent on revenge. The frightened boys are tried as adults in a trial based not on justice, but on blatant racism. This is an American tragedy, stark and resonant, told in a voice as unwavering as the August sun and as timeless as sorrow.   

 




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Last Orders (G. Swift)
On a bleak spring day, four men meet in their favorite pub in a working-class London neighborhood. They are about to begin a pilgrimage to scatter the ashes of a fifth man, Jack Dodds, friend since WWII of three of them, adoptive father to the fourth. By the time they reach the seaside town where Jack's "last orders" have sent them, the tangled relationship among the men, their wives and their children has obliquely been revealed. Swift's lean, suspenseful and ultimately quite moving narrative is propelled by vernacular dialogue and elliptical internal monologues. Through the men's richly differentiated voices, the reader gradually understands the bonds of friendship, loyalty and love, and the undercurrents of greed, adulterous betrayal, parental guilt, anger and resentment that run through their intertwined lives. Each of them, it turns out, has a guilty secret, and the ironies compound as the quiet dramas of their lives are revealed. Amy, Jack's widow, does not accompany the men; she chooses instead to visit her and Jack's profoundly handicapped daughter in an institution, as she has done twice a week for 50 years. Swift plumbs the existentialist questions of identity and the meaning of existence while remaining true to the vocabulary, social circumstances and point of view of his proletarian characters. Written with impeccable honesty and paced with unflagging momentum, the novel ends with a scene of transcendent understanding.

 




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Wuthering Heights (Emily Bronte)
When I first read this book I was a little confused at first. The beginning has random names coming at you, but once you get to Nelly laying out the story--I was hooked. I loved this passion and heartbreaking love story. Catherine and Heathcliff are extremely believeable as two star-crossed lovers, who had to hide their love. Their passion is so burning, yet so forbidden that you want to burst. Heathcliff is the best romantic hero of all literature. You just want him to succeed in his good or evil deeds. I think EVERYONE wants a love as strong as Catherine and Heathcliff's. A must read! There is a reason why Wuthering Heights is called one of the greatest love stories and pieces of literature of our time!

 




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Huckleberry Finn (Mark Twain)
This very funny novel about a mischievous orphan boy deals with the escapades of youth, yet its underlying moral element gives it the frame and distinction of "art." Hemingway said that this book marked the beginning of American literature. Certainly not an easy read as there are a lot of sub-plots

 




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Rites of Passage (W.Golding)

This book is the first part in a trilogy, but for me this novel hangs together exceptionally well as an individual story. In brief, it is written as the journal of Edmund Talbot, composed for his godfather and patron, an English lord, during a journey from England to Australia sometime during the early 19th century. In particular, it deals with the events before, and the investigation subsequent to, the death of a parson who is also on board. Because of the setting, characters of diverse backgrounds are thrown into closer contact than they might otherwise have had. This means that notions of class and how it impacts upon individuals play an important part in the novel. Questions of faith and the effect that it has upon actions are also crucial. Ultimately this is a very human story (much as is Golding's most famous book 'Lord Of The Flies') as it deals with the way that people react when put into extreme (and not so extreme) circumstances. This is certainly a book worth reading on its own terms. However, it has also whet my appetite to find and read the other two books, 'Close Quarters' and "Fire Down Below'.

 




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Portnoy's Complaint (P. Roth)

I can't get over Philip Roth; he rants and he whines and he obsesses...and instead of being annoying it is hilarious! Between the sarcasm and the self deprication, you may find the sad little voice of a confused child reaching out to you for help. But in the great words of Tennesse Williams (or Paul Newman, the reason I've memorized some of Williams' words) "How can one drowning man save another drowning man?". Exactly. Reading this book frustrated me; yes i have these problems, yes i recognize them, now what? All of the history, the digressions, the humor boils down to nothing and that is the biggest flaw of the book. Go forth, read, be entertained! But don't expect and you will not be disappointed. (Always a good philosophy on life by the way.)

 




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Bright Lights Big City (Jay McInerney)
I just read a review of this book in which the author stated that he loved it. He raved about how "fun" of a book it was. Quite the contrary. Quite. I loved the book too, but for different reasons. Bright Lights, Big City was about a lost soul in the depressing eighties. Glitz and glamour and decadence. He was lost in it. Like all of us. And he had a major drug addiction. It wasn't "fun." Was it fun when he coughed and coughed and then found himself with a bloody nose? You don't notice that these problems in his life are serious because of the use of second person. When something happens to you, you are too close to it, you can't see what happens. I got completely wrapped up in that frame of mind and didn't realize until the last chapter that the only thing he had consumed all weekend was crack. Very clever on McInerney's part. I liked the book. Oh, and to the person who wrote that review, I am in a college class and it was on the curriculum. I guess schools are getting a little more liberal!

 




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Less than Zero (B. Easton Ellis)
Bret Easton Ellis deftly describes suburban L.A. as a an indefatigable moral vacuum that sucks any remaining semblance of morality away from the souls of his characters - namely Clay, Blair, & Julian. Ellis has aptly drawn from his influences of Hemingway(The Sun Also Rises), Fitzgerald(The Great Gatsby), and Elliot(The Wasteland) in delivering a tour de force that still resolutely resonates almost 20 years later. Although the singers(Billy Idol), video games(Centipede), cars(Fiat) have all changed since the writing in 1985, the central theme of disillusion and moral bankruptcy unfortunately still reverberates into the 21st Century. Ellis proves to be the master of shocking, eye-opening, outrageous, provocative, yet addictive and intoxicating prose that forced me to read until the book was finito. Ellis has been quoted as saying he distinctly loathes the movie seeing as very little of the script is taken directly from the book. Suffice it to say, the book itself is an achievement in literature that many have since copied, but none have duplicated.

 




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The life and times of Michael K (Coetzee)
In Coetzee's novel, Michael K. is the embodiment of apartheid aggression and brutality heaped on the black man. Powerful writing manifests itself in Coetzee's minds-eye of time and place. At the end of the story when Michael K. wanders the beach barely clothed and dying from starvation it showed that the apartheid era left nothing more and nothing less than the skeletal remains of the black man. As a side note to this, since at the time of this writing Coetzee had just received the Booker prize for DISGRACE; it makes me wonder if any of the journalist questioners read any of his other books. He was asked why DISGRACE is so dark. Darkness is at the heart of his writing as in Michael K. or Dostoevsky's descent into madness or an elderly white woman's suffering from cancer whose friendship with a black man ends with her suicide assisted death.

 




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The Innocent (I. McEwan)

The Innocent starts out as a meticulously detailed period piece, a marked departure for those readers who are fans of McEwan's previous work. Protagonist Leonard Marnham is a naïve new addition to a British-American military intelligence team in Cold War Berlin. Fans of espionage will find lots to like in McEwan's description of tunneling operations, surveillance, and the strange sequence of increasingly restrictive "top secret" classifications. McEwan shows his versatility here in depicting Cold War intelligence operations, but even though it consumes half of the novel this is merely staging for what will come. The story eventually (and suddenly) plunges back into familiar McEwan territory of love, sex, and violence as Marnham's relationship with his German lover spins brutally out of control. The Innocent in some ways lacks the complexity of Black Dogs and the subtlety of the Booker Prize winning Amsterdam, but it is immensely readable. An enjoyable novel.

 




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The Painted Bird (Kosinski) 
What makes this book so brilliant is the protagonist, an adolescent viewing his world through the pure, neutral eyes of childhood. Through him, the reader is forced to confront the nature of innocence, whether or not it even exists. The child becomes a microcosm for a world without order or structure, a place where laws are arbitrary and, often, brutally barbaric. That being said, this is not a casual read. By buying, and subsequently, reading this book, you will be forced to confront issues and ideas that you might not want to deal with. While this book may or may not be for you, do not deny its brilliance. No book has ever moved or shaken me the way this novel has.  

 




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My Name is Asher Lev (C. Potok)
As apart of my High School English class, I was assigned to read My Name Is Asher Lev. I really didn't feel like reading any books about some kid who has problems with how the way he draws and how it affects him. Reading about this Jewish kid growing up in Brooklyn, going through his life with the need to draw things around, well that really didn't seem appealing to me. However getting more into the book I realize there is a whole other world out there than my own. Within my community it isn't so tight as to Asher's where everyone seems to know what is going on in everyone else's life. I have never read a book where I believe that it can reach out to anyone. Having someone else with a whole other life tell his story, about his family, his troubles, that is something different for me. I believe that maybe there is a little of Asher Lev in all of us. Maybe the whole drawing thing doesn't really connect with me, but what does connect with me is that there is a time in everyone's life were their parents haven't always liked what we have done or what are decisions are in life. For Asher it is drawing, for me it is just to get through High School. I would definitely recommended this book for those who feel they have no one to be like because of what is holding them back, but there is. Just look at Asher Lev.

 




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Davita's Harp (C. Potok)
I have heard this book criticized because a male author is delving in to the mind a girl growing up to adulthood. They say that Ilana Davita does not ring true as a female character. I could not disagree more. So much about Ilana rings true. Much of her I recognize in myself. I too am the child of parents of strong ideology and had to find my own way. The cruel response of both teacher and classmates as she expressed her parents views about Stalin brought tears to my eyes. I recall a similar experience in my own life. It is a beautiful story of a girl longing for a feeling of belonging and finding it in Jewish faith. I recommend this book without reservation. Chaim Potok is a wonderful author, (he also wrote The Chosen which is my all time favorite book) and I think he created a believable, precocious, hurting girl who finds faith and healing and perseveres through hardship and injustice.

 




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A MidsummerNight's Dream (W. Shakespeare) 
When you are reading the play you feel like in a dream The play both contains romantic and anti-romantic attitudes. William Shakespeare stimulates the imagination of the spectator by fantastic contrasts and the creation of an exotic fairy world. The main theme of the play is the love among different persons". Like there are four groups of persons, there are four different plots which weave together: First, the wedding of Theseus and Hippolyta, second, the love-adventures of Lysander, Hermia, Demetrius and Helena, third, the quarrel between Oberon and Titania and last but not least the rehearsals and the performance of Bottom and the Athenian workmen of the play of "Pyramus and Thisby". At the beginning of the play it wasn't very simple to see through the four different plots and the language was sometimes very difficult to understand, but it's nevertheless a nice play you should really know! I think Shakespeare has put a symbolism into that play. The movement of the scenes could mean that the actors leave the real world for a short time, and enter in a dream world, to solve their problems there and come back, when all problems are solved.

 




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The Merchant of Venice (W. Shakespeare)

This play can be read as anti-semitic. In fact, it's pretty hard to defend it from such charges. Shylock is a pretty rotten character and the fact that he is jewish is difficult to overlook (particularly since the other characters mention it on pretty much EVERY page). However, I think it is important to mention that the "heroes" of this play do not necessarily have to be interpreted as heroes. They are by no means perfect and there are many subtle (and some not-so-subtle) instances within the text in which their biases against ANYONE unlike them is illustrated. If one reads the play this way, then Shylock becomes more of a tragic figure rather than an absolutely heartless villain. I don't know. My feelings about this are mixed. There are a few funny parts of this play and the language is, as always, beautiful. The theme of putting a price on human beings is one which has been explored numerous times since. Overall, it is enjoyable, but perhaps not so much so as some of the other comedies.

 




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The God of Small Things (Arundathi Roy)
In her first novel, award-winning Indian screenwriter Arundhati Roy conjures a whoosh of wordplay that rises from the pages like a brilliant jazz improvisation. The God of Small Things is nominally the story of young twins Rahel and Estha and the rest of their family, but the book feels like a million stories spinning out indefinitely; it is the product of a genius child-mind that takes everything in and transforms it in an alchemy of poetry. The God of Small Things is at once exotic and familiar to the Western reader, written in an English that's completely new and invigorated by the Asian Indian influences of culture and language.

 




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Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf (Albee)
Considered by some to be Albee's masterpiece, Virginia Woolf presents all of the playwright's main themes in this tightly compressed play. In a mere three acts, Albee breeches social as well as physical masochism at its most malevolent while displaying its truth-revealing effects while exposing its subconscious motivations. As for other Albee-eque motifs, there is his presentation of truth verses reality, linguistics aerobics, and, as par, a heavy dose of black humor. Albee remains faithful as a master of literature in that he never lapses into didacticism even when his characters voice personal soliloquies. As an aside, the play does differ from the famous film in that the former takes place within the confides of George and Martha's household, thus keeping their guests, Nick and Honey, as metaphorical prisoners throughout the night. Perhaps the most enjoyable aspect of the play, upon a close reading, is Albee's almost virtuoso execution of symbolism, especially Christian (comparable to Henry James). Highly recommended.

 




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Look back in Anger (J. Osborne) 
You'll never meet a more unique character than Jimmy Porter, a 20-something British Archie Bunker. He's filled with rage at the absence of ... something ... and spews forth venom, sarcasm and utter misery relentlessly. Sounds horrible, right? Well, it's fascinating. I couldn't put it down, and I'd like to see the current revival of the play in NYC. I've seen a few people like Jimmy Porter, people who have so much potential, energy and creativity, yet for one reason or another it's all squandered. They fail to surround themselves with people of equal passion, and the result is that they hurt the ones around them, who are more at peace with themselves. The question is, how does someone so young get this way?

 




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The Shipping News (A.Proulx)
The main person, huge, homely Quoyle works off and on for a newspaper. His cheating wife Petal is killed in a car crash while abandoning him and their two preschool daughters. Wallowing in grief, Quoyle agrees to accompany his elderly aunt and resettle in a remote Newfoundland fishing village. Memorable characters--gay aunt Agnis, difficult daughter Bunny, new love interest Wavey, many colorful locals in their new hometown--combine with dark stories of the Quoyle family's past and the staccato, often subjectless or verbless sentences (bound to make English teachers cringe) to create a powerful whole. For most fiction collections.
Winner of the 1994 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction 
Winner of the 1993 National Book Award for Fiction 
Winner of the Irish Times International Fiction Prize 
Winner of the Chicago Tribune Heartland Award 

 




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The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time  (M.Haddon)
Christopher John Francis Boone knows all the countries of the world and their capitals and every prime number up to 7,057. Although gifted with a superbly logical brain, Christopher is autistic. Everyday interactions and admonishments have little meaning for him. At fifteen, Christopher’s carefully constructed world falls apart when he finds his neighbour’s dog Wellington impaled on a garden fork, and he is initially blamed for the killing.

Christopher decides that he will track down the real killer, and turns to his favourite fictional character, the impeccably logical Sherlock Holmes, for inspiration. But the investigation leads him down some unexpected paths and ultimately brings him face to face with the dissolution of his parents’ marriage. As Christopher tries to deal with the crisis within his own family, the narrative draws readers into the workings of Christopher’s mind.

And herein lies the key to the brilliance of Mark Haddon’s choice of narrator: The most wrenching of emotional moments are chronicled by a boy who cannot fathom emotions. The effect is dazzling, making for one of the freshest debut in years: a comedy, a tearjerker, a mystery story, a novel of exceptional literary merit that is great fun to read.

(winner of the Whitbread Book of the Year Award 2003)

 




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The Da Vinci Code (Dan Brown)
Brown's latest thriller (after Angels and Demons)is an exhaustively researched page-turner about secret religious societies, ancient coverups and savage vengeance. The action kicks off in modern-day Paris with the murder of the Louvre's chief curator, whose body is found laid out in symbolic repose at the foot of the Mona Lisa. Seizing control of the case are Sophie Neveu, a lovely French police cryptologist, and Harvard symbol expert Robert Langdon, reprising his role from Brown's last book. The two find several puzzling codes at the murder scene, all of which form a treasure map to the fabled Holy Grail. As their search moves from France to England, Neveu and Langdon are confounded by two mysterious groups-the legendary Priory of Sion, a nearly 1,000-year-old secret society whose members have included Botticelli and Isaac Newton, and the conservative Catholic organization Opus Dei. Both have their own reasons for wanting to ensure that the Grail isn't found. Brown sometimes ladles out too much religious history at the expense of pacing, and Langdon is a hero in desperate need of more chutzpah. Still, Brown has assembled a whopper of a plot that will please both conspiracy buffs and thriller addicts.

 




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Angels & Demons (Dan Brown)
When world-renowned Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon is summoned to a Swiss research facility to analyze a mysterious symbol -- seared into the chest of a murdered physicist -- he discovers evidence of the unimaginable: the resurgence of an ancient secret brotherhood known as the Illuminati... the most powerful underground organization ever to walk the earth. The Illuminati has surfaced from the shadows to carry out the final phase of its legendary vendetta against its most hated enemy... the Catholic Church.

Langdon's worst fears are confirmed on the eve of the Vatican's holy conclave, when a messenger of the Illuminati announces he has hidden an unstoppable time bomb at the very heart of Vatican City. With the countdown under way, Langdon jets to Rome to join forces with Vittoria Vetra, a beautiful and mysterious Italian scientist, to assist the Vatican in a desperate bid for survival.


Embarking on a frantic hunt through sealed crypts, dangerous catacombs, deserted cathedrals, and even to the heart of the most secretive vault on earth, Langdon and Vetra follow a 400-year old trail of ancient symbols that snakes across Rome toward the long-forgotten Illuminati lair... a secret location that contains the only hope for Vatican salvation.


An explosive international thriller, ANGELS & DEMONS careens from enlightening epiphanies to dark truths as the battle between science and religion turns to war.

 




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The Plot Against America   (Philip Roth)
"What if" scenarios are often suspect. They are sometimes thinly veiled tales of the gospel according to the author, taking on the claustrophobic air of a personal fantasia that can't be shared. Such is not the case with Philip Roth's tour de force, The Plot Against America. It is a credible, fully-realized picture of what could happen anywhere, at any time, if the right people and circumstances come together. The Plot Against America explores a wholly imagined thesis and sees it through to the end: Charles A. Lindbergh defeats FDR for the Presidency in 1940. Lindbergh, the "Lone Eagle," captured the country's imagination by his solo Atlantic crossing in 1927 in the monoplane, Spirit of St. Louis, then had the country's sympathy upon the kidnapping and murder of his young son. He was a true American hero: brave, modest, handsome, a patriot. According to some reliable sources, he was also a rabid isolationist, Nazi sympathizer, and a crypto-fascist. It is these latter attributes of Lindbergh that inform the novel.

The story is framed in Roth's own family history: the family flat in Weequahic, the neighbors, his parents, Bess and Herman, his brother, Sandy and seven-year-old Philip. Jewishness is always the scrim through which Roth examines American contemporary culture. His detractors say that he sees persecution everywhere, that he is vigilant in "Keeping faith with the certainty of Jewish travail"; his less severe critics might cavil about his portrayal of Jewish mothers and his sexual obsession, but generally give him good marks, and his fans read every word he writes and heap honors upon him. This novel will engage and satisfy every camp.

"Fear presides over these memories, a perpetual fear. Of course, no childhood is without its terrors, yet I wonder if I would have been a less frightened boy if Lindbergh hadn't been president or if I hadn't been the offspring of Jews." This is the opening paragraph of the book, which sets the stage and tone for all that follows. Fear is palpable throughout; fear of things both real and imagined. A central event of the novel is the relocation effort made through the Office of American Absorption, a government program whereby Jews would be placed, family by family, across the nation, thereby breaking up their neighborhoods--ghettos--and removing them from each other and from any kind of ethnic solidarity. The impact this edict has on Philip and all around him is horrific and life-changing. Throughout the novel, Roth interweaves historical names such as Walter Winchell, who tries to run against Lindbergh. The twist at the end is more than surprising--it is positively ingenious.

 




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Stolen Innocence J.Bath

To lose one child is terrible; to lose two is unimaginable then be falsely accused of their murder and be imprisoned must be unbearable.  

Yet this was the reality that faced Sally Clark in one of the most appalling miscarriages of justice of our times. Reviled for crimes she had not committed, Sally endured a three-year-long hell locked away in prison. Following a relentless campaign to clear her name, she was acquitted by the court of appeal in 2003 a hugely publicised decision which threw into doubt a number of similar recent convictions.  

Stolen Innocence is written with the power of a thriller. It is both terrifying and moving, exposing a Kafka-esque nightmare while celebrating one family’s courage in fighting for what they knew to be right.

 ‘This fascinating book burns with moral outrage’ The Observer  

‘The first time we have heard Sally Clark’s voice... haunting reading’ The Sunday Times  

This book is a disturbing read. It is a terrible indictment of the criminal system, the legal profession, and our own experts’ British Medical Journal

 




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Now is the Time to Open Your Heart  Alice Walker

Kate has always been a wanderer. A well-published author, married several times, she has lived a life full of  

adventure. But now it is time for her to explore new territory. She leaves her lover Yolo and embarks on a mesmerising journey down the Colorado river ; then to the heartlands of the Amazon jungle. On her travels she encounters shamans and the mysterious spiritual world of the native Indian. Yolo too begins a journey as he travels to Hawaii and meets a former lover. As Kate and Yolo gain shifting insights into their lives and the world around them, will their paths lead back to each other?

 




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A Great Deliverance Elizabeth George

As the story opens, Father Hart is on a pilgrimage to Scotland Yard to help heal a rift among those who have been investigating the beheading of a local farmer. While most detectives would feel that finding the farmer's daughter, Roberta Teys, next to the body as she confesses that she's guilty would be enough evidence, Father Hart believes that Roberta is innocent. Thus, Scotland Yard enters the case. Havers is dispatched to haul Lynley back from a wedding he's attending, and the reader is soon enmeshed in "what might have been" thoughts concerning the lives of both Lynley and Havers.

Lynley is the golden boy, the eighth earl of Asherton, who doesn't even need to work . . . but who sees work as his obligation. Havers is a loose cannon of emotions, instincts and prejudice . . . but who's brilliantly and doggedly determined to find the answers to any crime. How they develop comfort with one another is quite intriguing in the book.

The mystery itself is pretty straightforward, so don't look for that aspect of the book to delight you with its charm. If you judge mysteries by how hard the mystery is to solve, this one will be a 2 or 3 star effort to you.

But if you love rich, complex characters with nuanced reactions in tricky situations, this book will delight you.

Literature fans will appreciate the references that are included in sorting out the mystery.

Those who require absolute accuracy in all aspects of what's English will detect false notes here and there. Still, the overall result is quite impressive coming from an American. And most American readers won't be able to tell the difference anyway.

 




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The Ice House Minette Walters

When David Maybury disappeared from his home, the Streech Grange Estate, his beautiful, young, red-haired wife, Pheobe, told police he just walked out on her and their two children one evening and never returned. Maybury was known to have been in financial difficulties. His wine business, funded by his wife, which he ran from the cellars of her estate, was virtually bankrupt. It was widely believed that Maybury physically abused Phoebe, although she excused her often bruised face as the result of clumsiness, falls, etc.. After ten days with no sign of the man, the police searched the Grange and the surrounding wood thoroughly, even digging up the Maybury's extensive gardens - to no avail. An overly zealous detective questioned Pheobe to the point of harassment. He also implied she was responsible for her parents death in an auto accident a few years before. Finally the unsolved Maybury mystery was laid to rest in the cold case files.

Ten years later Pheobe Maybury, now in her mid-thirties, is still living at her elegant country home, along with her two best friends from childhood, Anne Catrell, a journalist, and Diana Goode, an interior decorator. The three women are shunned by local society, and much maligned - believed to be witches, lesbians, or both. When a badly decomposed corpse is found in the estate's ice house, two cynical detectives arrive at the scene to investigate. The nightmare of ten years before begins anew. Detective Chief Inspector Walsh was originally in charge of the missing husband case ten ago. He has never lost his conviction that Pheobe murdered David, and is sure the unidentifiable body must be his. It appears Walsh, with the one-track mind, has his own agenda. Detective Sergeant Andy McLoughlin, a charismatic but troubled man looks at the clues, both recent and past, along with the various testimonies, and begins to take a different view from his superior. To arrive at the truth, however, he must examine his own demons and motivations.

Author Minette Walters won the John Creasey Award for Best First Crime Novel with "The Ice House." This unputdownable mystery is richly deserving of the prize and much praise. Phoebe, Anne and Diana are complex characters and their relationships with each other, and with the two detectives, really make the book special - a delightful and thrilling read. I was very much taken with the characters, more so than usual, and cared very much what happened to them. There is much more than a murder mystery, or two, or three, going on in this suspenseful novel. There are unexpected twists and turns along with a number of fascinating subplots.

 




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Small Island Andrea Levy

Andrea Levy's award winning book 'Small Island' is a story about prejudice: Britain's and American GI's racism towards the "invading darkies"; middle-class Londoners snobbery towards the Cockneys; the Jamaicans towards the "small islanders"; the British empires treatment of its Caribbean and Indian colonies.

Told from the perspective of four different characters, it tells the story of the first wave of Caribbean immigrants to Britain following World War II, through the life of Airman Joseph Gilbert and his wife Hortense. Despite fighting against the Nazi's as a member of the RAF, when Gilbert returns to his 'Mother Country' with ambitions of training to become a Lawyer, all he finds in London is unfriendly faces, hatred, and a job as Royal Mail driver. However, he does find accommodation with Queenie Bligh, who, in need of rent, lets the empty rooms of her house to immigrants and faces just as much scorn and hatred from her neighbours as a result. Events soon come to a head when Queenie's husband, Bernard, returns home from India two years after the War has ended.

Andrea Levy's writing is superb - rich, observant, engaging and funny - her characters each have a unique voice and the story or characters are never patronising or preaching, which is a great achievement for a book about racism and bigotry. 'Small Island' is a beautiful and accomplished novel, and well worth reading.

 




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Deception Point Dan Brown

The time is now and President Zachary Herney is facing a very tough re-election. His opponent, Senator Sedgwick Sexton, is a powerful man with powerful friends and a mission: to reduce NASA's spending and move space exploration into the private sector. He has numerous supporters, including many beyond the businesses who will profit from this because of the embarrassment of 1996, when the Clinton administration was informed by NASA that proof existed of life on other planets. That information turned out to be premature, if not incorrect. The embattled president is assured that a rare object buried deep in the Arctic ice will prove to have far-reaching implications on America's space program. The find, however, needs to be verified.

Enter Rachel Sexton, a gister for the National Reconnaissance Office. Gisters reduce complex reports into single-page briefs, and in this case the president needs that confirmation before he broadcasts to the nation, probably ensuring his re-election. It's tricky because Rachel is the daughter of his opponent. Rachel is thrilled to be on the team travelling to the Arctic Circle. She is a realist about her father's politics and has little respect for his stand on NASA, but Senator Sexton cannot help but have a problem with her involvement.

Adventure, romance, murder, skulduggery, and nail-biting tension ensue. By the end of Deception Point, the reader will be much better informed about how the space program works and how politicians react to new information

 




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The People's Act of Love James Meek

Ever conscious of it's wilful imitation of 19th century Russian literature, this book sometimes feels like an exercise in stylistic form than a art work in its own right. Nevertheless, it is littered with rather wonderful observations of the human experience and the mechanisms by which we frame our perceptions of ourselves and those close to us. Though situated in the aftermath of the Russian Revolution, in my view this work represented a timeless exposition of the contradiction between our desire to be truly autonomous and the obvious determinist qualities of our actions.

 




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Bloodtide Melvin Burgess

London is in ruins. Two warring families of ganglords, the Volsons and the Conors, control the city. To cement a truce, Vat Volson gives his fourteen-gear-old daughter as a bride to Conor. But can either man trust the other? And what does trust matter when the gods decide to play a part in the affairs of men...?

This book is pretty cruel, violent and savage. If you can stand that and if you like strange things happening such as people changing into cats this might be the book for you.

 




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Live Flesh Ruth Rendell

After ten years in prison for shooting - and permanently crippling - a young policeman, Victor Jenner is released to a strange new world and told to make a new life for himself. It's hard to fill the days, but at least there's one blessing - he was never convicted for all those rapes he committed. Then Victor meets David, the policeman he shot, and David's beautiful girlfriend, Clare. And suddenly Victor's new life is starting to look an awful lot like the old one.

 




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Fire Down Below William Golding

The final part of Golding's "Sea Trilogy". A decrepit man-of-war is on the last stretch of its voyage to Sydney, blown off course and battered by wind, storm and ice. After a risky operation to reset its foremast with red-hot metal, an unseen fire is smouldering below decks.

 




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A Factory of Cunning Phillippa Stockley

Thank goodness for a historical novel that doesn't have soppy women in it and ripping bodices. This story is very dark but also funny - which I didn't expect. The main character Mrs Fox has had a morality bypass and behaves like a man but with feminine cunning, manipulating everyone she comes across for her own ends, using sex or brains or straightforward lies to get what she wants. It reminded me a bit of Moll Flanders, who had a similar devil-take-the-hindmost attitude to life, and came out unrepentant, and on top. You get a really good sense of being in London in the 1780s; not only how it all looks and sounds, but that it is grubby too.

 




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The Time Traveler's Wife Audrey Niffenegger

This extraordinary, magical novel is the story of Clare and Henry who have known each other since Clare was six and Henry was thirty-six, and were married when Clare was twenty-two and Henry thirty. Impossible but true, because Henry is one of the first people diagnosed with Chrono-Displacement Disorder: periodically his genetic clock resets and he finds himself pulled suddenly into his past or future. His disappearances are spontaneous and his experiences are alternately harrowing and amusing. The Time Traveler's Wife depicts the effects of time travel on Henry and Clare's passionate love for each other with grace and humour. Their struggle to lead normal lives in the face of a force they can neither prevent nor control is intensely moving and entirely unforgettable.

 




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The Life of Pi Yann Martel

Some books defy categorisation: Life of Pi, the second novel from Canadian writer Yann Martel, is a case in point: just about the only thing you can say for certain about it is that it is fiercely and admirably unique. The plot, if that’s the right word, concerns the oceanic wanderings of a lost boy, the young and eager Piscine Patel of the title (Pi). After a colourful and loving upbringing in gorgeously-hued India, the Muslim-Christian-animistic Pi sets off for a fresh start in Canada. His blissful voyage is rudely interrupted when his boat is scuppered halfway across the Pacific, and he is forced to rough it in a lifeboat with a hyena, a monkey, a whingeing zebra and a tiger called Richard. That would be bad enough, but from here on things get weirder: the animals start slaughtering each other in a veritable frenzy of allegorical bloodlust, until Richard the tiger and Pi are left alone to wander the wastes of ocean, with plenty of time to ponder their fate, the cruelty of the gods, the best way to handle storms and the various different recipes for oothappam, scrapple and coconut yam kootu. The denouement is pleasantly neat. According to the blurb, thirtysomething Yann Martel spent long years in Alaska, India, Mexico, France, Costa Rica, Turkey and Iran, before settling in Canada. All those cultures and more have been poured into this spicy, vivacious, kinetic and very entertaining fiction.

 




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The Great and Terrible Beauty Libba Bray

It's 1895, and after the death of her mother, 16-year-old Gemma Doyle is shipped off from the life she knows in India to Spence, a proper boarding school in England. Lonely, guilt-ridden, and prone to visions of the future that have an uncomfortable habit of coming true, Gemma's reception there is a chilly one. To make things worse, she's being followed by a mysterious young Indian man, a man sent to watch her. But why? What is her destiny? And what will her entanglement with Spence's most powerful girls - and their foray into the spiritual world - lead to?

 




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When I Was a Soldier: One Girl's True Story Valerie Zenatti

This is the story of Valerie as she finishes her exams, breaks up with her boyfriend and then leaves to take up her national service with the Israeli army. Nothing has prepared her for the strict routines, gruelling marches, lack of sleep, poor food, absence of privacy or crushing of initiative. However, the book also depicts the undeniable excitements of the work, including working in a 'spying centre' near Jerusalem, listening in on the communications of the Jordanian pilots. This book offers a glimpse inside another world - of a world where a teenager can worry about what she wears, how much she's eating, whether her boyfriend will call, and at the same time living in a country that is effectively at war.

 




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Paradise End Elizabeth Laird

Tia may have everything money can buy, but in her lonely life there are some cruel secrets. Carly often finds herself gazing through the gates of Paradise End. She fantasises about discovering that she was swapped at birth, and is in fact the rightful owner of the beautiful, empty mansion. She longs to escape the three-bedroom semi she shares with her ordinary parents, her revolting brother and annoying sister, to go and live in the palatial luxury of the fascinating house. Then she meets Tia, the daughter of the new tenant of Paradise End, and Carly begins to realise that life behind the impressive pillars and long elegant windows isn't anything like her dream.

 




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Firebird Susan Gates

They live completely isolated lives on the edge of the city, tucked away in the wilderness, hidden out of sight. They never leave it, and they never, ever talk to strangers.

But one day Firebird breaks the rules and everything changes.

Now she doesn't know what's true and what's a lie any more.

What she does know is that letting out the family secrets will bring death and destruction,

Or will it open the door to freedom?

 




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The Great Automatic Grammatizator and Other Stories Roald Dahl

A selection of Roald Dahl's short stories, specially chosen for teenagers to introduce them to Dahl's work for adults.

 




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The Broken Bridge Philip Pullman

A compelling teenage mystery by one of today's top children's writers. 16 year-old Ginny's life is secure. Her mother is dead, but she's inherited her outstanding artistic talent, and she loves her life with her father in a seaside village in Wales. But the day a social worker arrives, and old files are re-opened, Ginny's world cracks apart. Everything her father has told her about her family is a lie. And Ginny must uncover the hidden secrets of the past on a journey that will ultimately lead her to the mother she's never known...

 




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The Education of Little Tree Forrest Carter

This story has entranced readers of all ages since it was first published twenty-five years ago. The tale tells the story of a boy orphaned very young, who is adopted by his Cherokee grandmother and half-Cherokee grandfather in the Appalachian mountains of Tennessee during the Great Depression. 'Little Tree' as his grandparents call him is shown how to hunt and survive in the mountains, to respect nature in the Cherokee Way, taking only what is needed, leaving the rest for nature to run its course. Little Tree also learns the often callous ways of the white businessmen and tax collectors, and how Grandpa, in hilarious vignettes, scares them away from his illegal attempts to enter the cash economy. Grandma teaches Little Tree the joys of reading and education. But when Little Tree is taken away for schooling by whites, we learn of the cruelty meted out to Indian children in an attempt to assimilate them and of Little Tree's perception of the Anglo world and how it differs from the Cherokee Way.

 




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Face Benjamin Zephaniah

In what he has described as the "new East End"--Caribbean and African and Asian people, but also a lot of the old white community who have extended families the same way that we always had"--Benjamin Zephaniah is something of a poet hero: a "black spokesman and political poet" according to critic, John Walsh. Set in this East End of fish and chips and curry, rap clubs and racism--"Many of the shops had metal shutters on their windows and doors to protect them from racist attacks"--Face is the story of Martin Turner and his "gang of three": their reactions when "something terrible" happens to Martin's face. Aimed (probably) at older children and teenagers, the novel skirts allegory. After a night in a local rap club--when Martin has to overcome a certain sense that blacks are "just different"--the (joy)ride accident which destroys his face propels Martin into a world where he has to learn to "deal with other people's prejudices". It's a world of pain, sometimes hatred, which, if anything, Zephaniah underplays here: this is Martin's tale of winning despite the odds. But that discretion may well help to jolt the imagination towards one of the underlying visions of Face: an East End where the white teen boys know they're not going to "get away with a racist remark here".

 




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Refugee Boy Benjamin Zephaniah

Alem is on holiday with his father for a few days in London. He has never been out of Ethiopia before and is very excited. They have a great few days togther until one morning when Alem wakes up in the bed and breakfast they are staying at to find the unthinkable. His father has left him. It is only when the owner of the bed and breakfast hands him a letter that Alem is given an explanation. Alem's father admits that because of the political problems in Ethiopia both he and Alem's mother felt Alem would be safer in London - even though it is breaking their hearts to do this. Alem is now on his own, in the hands of the social services and the Refugee Council. He lives from letter to letter, waiting to hear from his father, and in particular about his mother, who has now gone missing...A powerful, gripping new novel from the popular Benjamin Zephaniah

A heart rending story that shows how strong children can be. Although this is similar to Face which looked at a teenagers ability to cope with change, it is much more challenging about topical issues. My low ability class of 14yr old boys have begged me to buy this book after my description of reading it in one sitting and ending up in tears. It covers the problems of family break ups, bereavements and friendships. A rollercoaster ride.

 




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Pictures in the Dark Patricia McCord

The Nevilles are the perfect family - Dad runs a floor cleaning business and Mum takes care of the girls, Sarah and Carlie. It might seem that the only tension comes from Carlie sneaking out at night to see Jesse, the boy who lives and works at a nearby petrol station. But something is wrong with this seemingly perfect family and, no matter how careful Sarah and Carlie are, they never know what might set their mother off. They never know if they'll get dinner, or be able to take a bath, or talk to a new friend on the phone. And they are not sure if their hard-working dad even knows what is going on. The only question is how long they can last like this before someone snaps.

 




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How I Live Now Meg Rosoff

Possibly one of the most talked about books of the year, Meg Rosoff’s novel for young adults is the winner of the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize 2004. Heralded by some as the next best adult crossover novel since Mark Haddon’s The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, who himself has given the book a thunderously good quote, this author’s debut is undoubtedly stylish, readable and fascinating.

Rosoff’s story begins in modern day London, slightly in the future, and as its heroine has a 15-year-old Manhattanite called Daisy. She’s picked up at the airport by Edmond, her English cousin, a boy in whose life she is destined to become intricately entwined. Daisy is staying for the summer in her Aunt Penn’s country farmhouse with Edmond and her other cousins. They spend some idyllic weeks together--often alone with Aunt Penn away travelling in Norway. Daisy’s cousins seem to have an almost telepathic bond, and Daisy is mesmerised by Edmond and soon falls in love with him.

But their world changes forever when an unnamed aggressor invades England and begins a years-long occupation. Daisy is parted from Edmond when soldiers take over their home, and Daisy and Piper, her younger cousin, must travel to another place to work. Their experiences of occupation are never kind and always hard. Daisy’s pain, living without Edmond, is tangible.

Rosoff’s writing style is both brilliant and frustrating. Her descriptions and ability to portray the emotions of her characters are wonderful. Her long sentences and total lack of speech marks for dialogue is, however, exhausting. Her narrative is deeply engaging and yet a bit unbelievable. The end of the book is dramatic, but too sudden. The book has a raw, unfinished feel about it, yet that somehow adds to the experience of reading it. It’s flawed but unmissable. (Age 14 and over)

 




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Life of Pi    Yann Martel

A fourteen-year-old boy from India finds himself trapped on a lifeboat with an orangutan, a spotted hyena, an zebra, and a Bengal tiger. Sound improbable? Somehow Yann Martel makes the story believable in his award winning book Life of Pi.

Most of the book follows the story arc of Pi, the boy, and the tiger; however, sections of the book relate Pi's life growing up in India, and also flash forward to his adult life. The first third of the book devotes itself to exploring Pi's philosophy of life. What he learns as a precocious boy growing up in India helps him survive as he shares a small space with a deadly predator.

The craziest part of the book isn't even the boy/tiger/boat scenario. An encounter with a bizarre ecosystem on an island will creep the reader out.

 




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Oh, Play That Thing Roddy Doyle

It's 1924, and New York is the centre of the universe. Henry Smart, on the run from Dublin, falls on his feet. He is a handsome man with a sandwich board, behind which he stashes hooch for the speakeasles of the Lower East Side. He catches the attention of the mobsters who run the district and soon there are eyes on his back and men in the shadows. It is time to leave, for another America-Chicago is wild and new, and newest of all is the music. Furious, wild, happy music played by a man with a trumpet and bleeding lips called Louis Armstrong. His music is everywhere, coming from every open door, every phonograph. But Armstrong is a prisoner of his colour; there are places a black man cannot go, things he cannot do. Armstrong needs a man, a white man, and the man he chooses is Henry Smart.

 




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Atonement Ian McEwan

A strange and brooding book novel which suprises in its emotional impact. It starts very slowly indeed in a large country home with a seemingly very ordanry family set up. This coupled with McEwans understated prose style led this particular reader to be very sceptical of continuing. Thank heavens i did because after the first few chapters McEwans slow burning menace begins to filter through the subtle text. A large sense of impending doom slowly builds throughout part one of the story, growing in ineveitibilty as each chapter passes. Part two brings a fast and brutal change of pace to the story as we skip five years in time to a world war two setting, scattered with unsettling imagery of the hardships and hatred of the Brittish soldiers with their initial retreat. We find ourselves back in London in part three at a hospital for the wounded where the story's sense of impending doom is brought again to the foreground. the only suprise is that it is not delivered. It is only the final chapter, a retrospect from the present day where the young protagonists are now old and withered, which brings about revelations, realisations and the full understanding of McEwans subtext. In the guise of a simple romance struggling against the attrocities of war and the lies of one girl, McEwan explores a multitude of themes such as guilt, retribution, redemption and ultimately the role and purpose of authorship. In a nutshell Attonement is ultimately a book which builds and builds the tension which isnt shattered until the last three paragraphs. On a personal note those paragraphs made this reader blubber like a little girl for the best part of an hour(worth noting i'm a 25 year old male who likes beer and football). i wish i could say more about the story but i wouldn't wish to spoil it for anybody.

 




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Giving up America  Pearl Abraham

Pearl Abraham's first book was the wonderful 'The Romance Reader' focusing on a spirited young girl's attempts to come to terms with her strict Hassidic background and the affluent 'anything goes' American society around her. 'Giving up America' sees a similar character in her late twenties in a marriage so close it is stifling. Her husband's flirtation with a girl at work sets of a chain of unease that unravels her choice to become a good American.

The account of a relationship slowly falling apart was exquisitely handled - how do you mark the 'end of love' and can one partner really be to blame? Indecision and habit hold you back, especially when there is no clear path forward. The heroine knows she needs change but is uncertain what path to follow, having once chosen to defy her Hassidic background by marrying 'out'.

 




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Girl, Missing  Sophie McKenzie

Lauren is adopted and eager to know more about her mysterious past. But when she discovers she may have been snatched from an American family as a baby, her life suddenly feels like a sham. Why will no one answer her questions?

How can she find her biological mum and dad? And are her adoptive parents really responsible for kidnapping her?

Lauren runs away from her family to find out the truth, but her journey takes her into more and more danger - as she discovers that the people who abducted her are prepared to do anything to keep her silent...

 




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The White Darkness   McCaughrean

CAPTAIN OATES, hero of the Antarctic, has been dead for nearly a century. But not in Sym’s head. In there, he is her constant companion, her soul mate, her adviser. It is as if he walked out of the Polar blizzard and into her mind. In fact, if it were not for him, life might be as bleak as the Antarctic wilderness.

When a short family expedition spirals out of control, Sym is forced to ask herself a question that becomes a matter of life or death: is it madness to stake one’s happiness on someone who isn’t there?

 




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The Brooklyn Follies    Paul Auster

The 60-year-old Nathan Glass returns to Brooklyn after his wife has left him. He is recovering from lung cancer and is looking for a quiet place to die. In Brooklyn he meets his nephew, Tom, whom he has not seen in several years. Tom has seemingly given up on life and has resigned himself to a string of meaningless jobs as he waits for his life to change. They develop a close friendship, entertaining each other in their misery, as they both try to avoid taking part in life.

When Lucy, a little girl who refuses to speak, comes into their lives there is suddenly a bridge between their past and their future that offers both Tom and Nathan some form of redemption.

The Brooklyn Follies contains the classic elements of a Paul Auster novel. The main character is a lonely man, who has suffered an unfortunate reversal. The narrative is based on sudden and randomly happening events and coincidences.

 




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The Five People You Meet In Heaven       Mitch Albom

The Five People You Meet In Heaven is about an elderly amusement park maintenance man named Eddie. He served in the war and was wounded, leaving him with a permanent physical disability. He is angry with his life as he feels he had to give up his own goals. He feels robbed of his own prospects by the war and those around him. On his 83rd birthday, Eddie is killed trying to save a little girl from being crushed by a ride in the park. He awakens in heaven where he, in turn, meets five people whose purpose it is to explain to Eddie the events of his life. Some people he knows very well, others are strangers, yet all had an impact in his life and changed each others paths. It is Eddie's job to find closure for the events during his lifetime and to ascertain whether he did in fact save the little girl at the amusement park."

 




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The Kite Runner  Khaled Hosseini

"Amir lives a charmed life in a wealthy neighborhood in 1960's Kabul. He shares the joys of boyhood with his best friend, Hassan, the son of the family servant who is more like a brother to Amir, and their favorite pasttime is summer kite fighting. But Hassan is a despised racial minority in Afghanistan and when Amir betrays Hassan to the neighborhood bully, his guilt sets the rest of his life on a new course, constantly seeking redemption for his own weakness. When the Soviets invade Russia, Amir and his father flee for the United States where Amir marries and begins a writing career. He is never fully able to forget his betrayal of Hassan and, when his father's business partner in Pakistan sends a deathbed summons for him, Amir returns to Kabul for a last chance to find absolution."

 




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The Time Traveler's Wife Niffenegger Audrey

Audrey Niffenegger did a beautiful job taking some of the most complex ideas - time travel, marriage, love, children, friends, literary and artistic allusions, religion, death, drugs, childhood, growing, loss, and what it means to be human - and weaving them together poetically and with amazing clarity. Her characters are wonderful, "real" people with strengths and flaws, and I really grew to adore them. Despite skipping around time at the same rate as Henry, the time traveler, the events are sequenced in such a way that you still witness each character's growth as a person, as well as discover many surprises along the way. Clare and Henry's story is one of the best love stories I've read in a very long time. This book also echoes important modern-day questions about the appropriateness of gene therapy, and what it means to be a human being.

 




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Birdsong    Faulks, S.

This is a story about a romance during WWI. Faulks goes much deeper by creating complex characters that we grow to really care about. The story leaped from the trenches of WWI to modern-day England without breaking the story thread. It's a dense novel, loaded with thick feelings and philosophy, and as such is probably not for everyone; it's not an easy or casual read. The landscape of both the book's story and the writing is alternately lushly idyllic or lice-ridden gritty. If you know nothing about the use of WWI tunnels when you begin reading this book, by the end you'll probably consider yourself an expert.




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The Killjoy     Anne Fine

Nobody has ever treated Ian Laidlow in a natural way. Disfigured by hideous facial scars he had never been treated with anything other than distant courtesy. But then Alicia Davie, a careless, ignorant young student breaks this pattern by laughing in his face. Alicia goes on to infiltrate the hidden man, going through the face he presents to the world, through his scar patch, to discover the hidden man, never realising that she is playing with fire...  is Laidlow just a brutal sadist or are there redeeming qualities   (een verhaal waarin mensen niet zachtzinnig met elkaar omspringen dus)

 



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Engleby    Sebastian Faulks

What is wrong with Mike Engleby? Is he really just a working class kid at Cambridge univ.? Is he a sly drug dealer and petty thief? Is he a stalker, a psychopath and a murderer? Perhaps he is just a misunderstood genius. In ENGLEBY, author Sebastian Faulks introduces an unreliable narrator. It was recognized early on that Mike was smart, but he seemed to attract bullies and trouble. He shares all of this with readers with an eerie detachment. He describes his obsession with a fellow-student, Jennifer. When Jennifer disappears one night after a party, readers are unsure of Mike's connection to the event. Is he really as heartbroken as he says he is at her disappearance, or was he in some way responsible?


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The White Tiger      Aravind Adiga
White Tiger by Aravind Adiga is the compelling story of an Indian man trying to break free of societal chains and expectations. Balram Halwai lived in the Darkness, a small village, in India under the thumb of his grandmother and the rules of his culture, until he is hired as the driver for a landlord who brings him into the Light of Delhi. The story is told through a letter Balram is writing to a Chinese official to show him entrepreneurial spirit. Balram is intelligent, which gains him the nickname White Tiger in his home town, but because of his family name and no education, he can expect nothing greater than being a virtual slave to his boss. He has dreams of something, anything different than the life laid out in front of him, but they only begin to take root when his boss changes. As long as his boss is honorable in his actions to Balram, he can accept his lot in life, but when the man starts abusing him and sleeping with prostitutes, Balram sees that he is just as corrupt as the rest of the system and decides to break free, utilizing violence to do so. Despite Balram's deplorable behavior, you can't help but root for him and want him to break the cycle of back-breaking labor and destitute poverty that has followed his family for generations. He's a funny narrator whose descriptions of both monetary and moral poverty alternately make you laugh and cry.

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One Day by David Nicholls   The concept is as high as an elephant's eye. Two students at the University of Edinburgh have a post-finals fling on July 15, 1988 - “one really nice night together” which neither wants nor expects, at that point, to lead to anything more permanent (though a clever coda will revise our perception of events). One Day revisits Emma and Dexter on this day, St Swithin's Day, over the next 20 years, tracing their lives sometimes in parallel but mostly at moments of charged intersection, when what is obvious to us becomes obvious to them, too: that they are happier, funnier, better people when they are together than when they are apart; that they are meant to be together; that they are in love. As it is, the couple remain friends, best friends in some ways, but their paths diverge radically. Working-class northerner Emma moves to London and becomes a waitress in a bad Mexican restaurant before deciding to become a teacher. She moves in with her boyfriend, Ian, a soulsappingly unfunny stand-up comedian. Meanwhile, confident, quasi-posh Dexter drifts into the media and ends up presenting a terrible post-pub TV show called largin' it. He dates his co-host, Suki, and becomes addicted to sex, drugs and his own pitiful C-list celebrity. Naturally, Emma dislikes Dexter's belligerent telly persona and, in the chapters that follow their momentous falling out, they meet only at the weddings of mutual friends. We know that they have the capacity to redeem each other but as the years tick by it seems increasingly unlikely that this will ever happen. You're not convinced, are you? You're thinking, “I don't need to read that, I've seen When Harry Met Sally”, or, “That sounds saccharine beyond belief”. Or, if your bent is more literary, you're imagining walking past racks of One Day in Asda or Tesco, glowing with pride because you never read novels like that, “commercial” romantic comedies with cartoons and squiggly writing on the cover. Well, be convinced: One Day is a wonderful, wonderful book: wise, funny, perceptive, compassionate and often unbearably sad. It's also, with its subtly political focus on changing habits and mores, the best British social novel since Jonathan Coe's What a Carve Up! What lifts it beyond genre isn't just the writing - Nicholls's witty prose has a transparency that brings Nick Hornby to mind: it melts as you read it so that you don't notice all the hard work that it's doing - but the richness of its characterisations and refusal to provide any sort of easy consolation. For, in spite of its comic gloss, One Day is really about loneliness and the casual savagery of fate; the tragic gap between youthful aspiration and the compromises that we end up tolerating. Not for nothing has Nicholls said that it was inspired by Thomas Hardy. One of the novel's epigraphs is from Days, by Philip Larkin, a Hardy fan - “Where can we live but days?” It's an apposite choice, but the Larkin poem that buzzed around my head in the grief- stricken hours after I finished One Day was The Mower: “We should be careful/ Of each other, we should be kind/ While there is still time.”




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Hotel World  by Ali Smith    Five people: four are living, three are strangers, two are sisters, one is dead. In her highly acclaimed and most ambitious book to date, the brilliant young Scottish writer Ali Smith brings alive five unforgettable characters and traces their intersecting lives. This is a short novel with big themes (time, chance, money, death) but an eye for tiny detail: the taste of dust, the weight of a few coins in the hand, the pleasurable pain of a stone in one's shoe...   Five disparate voices inhabit Ali Smith's dreamlike, mesmerising Hotel World, set in the luxurious anonymity of the Global Hotel, in an unnamed northern English city. The disembodied yet interconnected characters include Sara, a 19-year-old chambermaid who has recently died at the hotel; her bereaved sister, Clare, who visits the scene of Sara's death; Penny, an advertising copywriter who is staying in the room opposite; Lise, the Global's depressed receptionist; and the homeless Else who begs on the street outside. Smith's ambitious prose explores all facets of language and its uses. Sara takes us through the moment of her exit from the world and beyond; in her desperate, fading grip on words and senses she gropes to impart the meaning of her death in what she terms "the lift for dishes"--then comes a flash of clarity: "That's the name for it, the name for it; that's it; dumb waiter dumb waiter dumb waiter." Blended with hers are other voices: Penny's bland journalese and Else's obsession with metaphysical poetry.


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The Bell Jar Sylvia Plath

Esther, an A-student from Boston who has won a guest editorship on a national magazine, finds a bewildering new world at her feet. Her New York life is crowded with possibilities, so that the choice of future is overwhelming, but she can no longer retreat into the safety of her past. Deciding she wants to be a writer above all else, Esther is also struggling with the perennial problems of morality, behaviour and identity. In this compelling autobiographical novel, a milestone in contemporary literature, Sylvia Plath chronicles her teenage years - her disappointments, anger, depression and eventual breakdown and treatment - with stunning wit and devastating honesty.




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Revolutionary Road  by Richard Yates

Revolutionary Road   April and Frank Wheeler are a young, ostensibly thriving couple living with their two children in a prosperous Connecticut suburb in the mid-1950s. However, like the characters in John Updike's similarly themed Couples, the self-assured exterior masks a creeping frustration at their inability to feel fulfilled in their relationships or careers. Frank is mired in a well-paying but boring office job and April is a housewife still mourning the demise of her hoped-for acting career. Determined to identify themselves as superior to the mediocre sprawl of suburbanites who surround them, they decide to move to France where they will be better able to develop their true artistic sensibilities, free of the consumerist demands of capitalist America. As their relationship deteriorates into an endless cycle of squabbling, jealousy and recriminations, their trip and their dreams of self-fulfillment are thrown into jeopardy.  

 

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Gate At the Stairs    by Lorrie Moore

Now, in her dazzling new novel—her first in more than a decade—Moore turns her eye on the anxiety and disconnection of post-9/11 America, on the insidiousness of racism, the blind-sidedness of war, and the recklessness thrust on others in the name of love. As the United States begins gearing up for war in the Middle East, twenty-year-old Tassie Keltjin, the Midwestern daughter of a gentleman hill farmer—his “Keltjin potatoes” are justifiably famous—has come to a university town as a college student, her brain on fire with Chaucer, Sylvia Plath, Simone de Beauvoir. Between semesters, she takes a job as a part-time nanny. The family she works for seems both mysterious and glamorous to her, and although Tassie had once found children boring, she comes to care for, and to protect, their newly adopted little girl as her own. As the year unfolds and she is drawn deeper into each of these lives, her own life back home becomes ever more alien to her: her parents are frailer; her brother, aimless and lost in high school, contemplates joining the military. Tassie finds herself becoming more and more the stranger she felt herself to be, and as life and love unravel dramatically, even shockingly, she is forever changed. This long-awaited new novel by one of the most heralded writers of the past two decades is lyrical, funny, moving, and devastating; Lorrie Moore’s most ambitious book to date—textured, beguiling, and wise.

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The Romance Reader by Pearl Abraham

Rachel Benjamin is the rabbi's eldest daughter she is expected to set an example for her brothers and sisters. She must wear thick tights with seams; she must never wear a bathing suit in public; she is not to read books in English. But Rachel does read forbidden books; she reads the books of Barbara Cartland, Victoria Holt and Charlotte Bronte, paperbacks bought with babysitting money or stolen from the supermarket or borrowed from the library that she has been forbidden to join. She starts to wear sheer stockings and to take classes to become a lifeguard. As the prospects of an arranged marriage draws nearer, Rachel is torn between the opportunity it offers to leave her family and the realization that it is not a genuine escape.


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Timbuktu by Auster

If you've ever owned or loved a dog you will certainly love this wonderful little book. It manages to cram more depth, emotion and pathos into its few pages than much longer works can only dream of.  I had to hide a tear (or two) on public transport at the ending.
If you've never owned or loved a dog...it's about time you tried!

 


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If Beale Street Could Talk    by     Baldwin


If Beale Street Could Talk is a lesson in the injustices of America that existed in the 70s In New York and is still indicative of that great city today. Trish and Fonny are young lovers who believe in the American dream of marriage and family. Best friends since they were young children, they are aware of the racism that surrounds them as being black in America but nevertheless believe they have what it takes to make it, their love.

That is until the day Fonny is arrested and thrown in jail for rape. What follows is a horror that tears at the reader's soul as we go through the pain and frustration with these characters of trying to prove a young black male's innocence, a near impossibility at this time period in our history. Trish is pregnant and working at a dead-end job but has the full support of her Renaissance family. Fonny, on the other hand, only has the support of his wearied father, who once owned a neighborhood business and now is subject to working at a job where he is made to feel less than a man. His wife is self-righteous and unapproachable while his grown daughters are frustrated "old maids" who with their imagined bourgeois airs have tried and convicted their brother.

This story is a testament to the human spirit, of how a people prevail against all odds, telling a story that is so familiar to the Blues the title of the book symbolizes.


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Before She Met Me    by Barnes
This novel is a story of jealousy; one man's jealousy of his wife's past. Graham has left his first wife amd married his lover, Ann. They are happy, and appear to have everything going for them, but then the jealousy sets in, and gradually Graham becomes obsessed with Ann's past lovers. Eventually, this take over his life, as he watches over and over again the films in which she acted when she was younger, searches through papers, and generally hunts for evidence to support his suspicions, singling out his best friend as one of the main suspects. Meanwhile, Ann puts up with all this fairly calmly, and tries to get on with her life and marriage. And that's just about all, until the shocking (and for me totally unexpected, not to say far-fetched) ending.

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The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas   by  Boyne
Bruno is a 9-year-old boy growing up during World War II in Berlin with his loving mother and father.[2] He lives in a huge house with his parents, his twelve-year-old sister Gretel (whom he refers to as a Hopeless Case) and maid servants called Maria and Pavel. His father is a high-ranking SS officer who, after a visit from Adolf Hitler (referred to in the novel as "The Fury", Bruno's misrecognition of the word "Führer") and Eva Braun, is promoted to Commandant, and to Bruno's dismay the family has to move away to a place called Out-With (which turns out to be Auschwitz).

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A Clockwork Orange     by Burgess

In this nightmare vision of a not-too-distant future, fifteen-year-old Alex and his three friends rob, rape, torture and murder - for fun. Alex is jailed for his vicious crimes and the State undertakes to reform him - but how and at what cost?


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The Awakening  by Chopin
first published in 1899 (see 1899 in literature). Set in New Orleans and the Southern Louisiana coast at the end of the nineteenth century, the plot centers around Edna Pontellier and her struggle to reconcile her increasingly unorthodox views on femininity and motherhood with the prevailing social attitudes of the turn-of-the-century South. It is one of the earliest American novels that focuses on women's issues without condescension. It is also widely seen as a landmark work of early feminism.



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Boy     By   Dahl
is the first autobiographical book by British writer Roald Dahl. It describes his life from birth until leaving school, focusing on living conditions in Britain in the 1920s and 1930s, the public school system at the time, and how his childhood experiences led him to writing as a career. It ends with his first job, working for Royal Dutch Shell.


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The Snapper    by    Doyle

Roddy Doyle's humour is razor sharp - I found myself laughing at every page! Not only is this book a comic masterpeice it is also a moving portrayal of working-class, family life in a run-down part of Dublin. The well-meaning father, the stressed-out wife and the demanding kids orbit around the world of the heroine, Sharon Rabbitt and her 'out-of-wedlock' pregnancy.


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Paddy Clark  Ha Ha Ha      by Doyle
The book follows little Paddy Clarke as he reflects on life. He is a kid and so the story jumps for serious to trivial in the space of a paragraph. He is a smart kid though so you end up laughing out loud constantly at the scrapes he gets into. I was once a little boy and the unflinching cruelty that their ignorance can bring out is captured superbly by Doyle. This is no sentimentalising of childhood. Clarke is a little brat at times. As the novel progresses we get to see a child's eye view of the breakup of a marriage and the effect that this has on the world the protagonist lives in.

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The Woman who walked into Doors   by Doyle
it's Paula's relationship with her husband, Charlo, that's central to the book. They have been separated for over a year as the book opens - though they are still technically, married. They couple had four children together, three of whom still live with Paula. (She hasn't seen her eldest son, John-Paul, in quite some time: she last heard of him squatting in some flats and suspects he's on heroin). She works as a cleaner, just about earns enough to make ends meet and is an alcoholic. As if all that isn't enough, the book opens with the arrival of a policeman at her front door to inform her of Charlo's death. Paula spends the book looking back over her life in general and her time with Charlo in particular.

While it isn't always a very cheerful book, Paula's story isn't one that will leave you feeling depressed. She proves to be a character you want the best for and, not only does she manage to raise a smile from time to time, she also manages to leave you with a bit of hope. Absolutely recommended.

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Ordinary People     by  Guest
Conrad Jarret, who is the main character, goes through many torments. Conrad has severe depression, and does not find solice in his fathers blindness to the problem, or his mothers neglect. This book goes through the stages of grieving that Conrad goes through. It shows how his father handles it. Which is very numbingly. Mr. Jarret trys to hide his true feelings of remorse, to help his son. This how ever makes the matter even worse. Mrs. Jarret could be considered a main root to Conrads sadness. She doesn't forgive herself or her son for the terrible incident that started this mess. Not only can she not forgive him, but she can't love him.

 


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About a Boy    by Hornby           

Will is 36 and acts like a teenage boy and Marcus is a 12 year old boy, too old for his years and a victim of bullying. Will gets involved with a single Mum and this leads him to get to know Marcus. The book is funny and touching in parts. Nick Hornby is a very talented writer and this novel is a must read. It will make you think about life big questions and it will charm and entertain you too. As well as making you laugh out loud.


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High Fidelity   by Hornby

Nick Hornby's novel "High Fidelity" tells the story about a midthirthy record store owner who is suffering from a late break up with his girlfriend Laura. Laura has a totally different lifestyle than Rob. She is a lawyer and knows what's best for him, he still thinks like a college kid. After the break up Rob starts to meet his top 5 ex girlfriends to find out what the reasons are all the relationships have ended and spends the rest of the time with his record store friends Dick and Barry making up top 5 list about everything.



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A Thousand Splendid Suns   by   Hosseini
Mariam from a young age is forced to marry a man much older than her and then has to endure a loveless and quite often violent marriage, about 20 years later this man takes another much younger wife called Laila and the two women soon form a strong bond. These women are inflicted with suffocating horror from both their husband and from the Taliban all the while their friendship develops and brings some small relief.


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Never let me go    by Ishiguro
the first third of the book is all about her reminiscing conversations and minor incidents at a boarding school. We slowly find out that this is no ordinary school, these children have been cloned for a purpose - to donate their organs! Yes, REALLY. The story focusses on Kathy's relationships mainly with her friend Ruth (who she doesn't really get on with), and her friend Tommy (who she takes far too long to get it on with)

 


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Sarah’s key         by  Rosnay
It starts in Paris during the round up of the Jews in 1942. One little girl, Sarah, decides to lock her brother in a hidden cupboard in her parents apartment to keep him safe, not realising she will not come back for many years. From that day forward her life is lived in turmoil.
Many years latter a journalist is asked to write an article about the Jews being collected to-gether to be transported to concentration camps. She discovers ths story about Sarah's action and her ultimate involvement with her. This book is about the consequences of her action, a compelling read. Beautifully written.


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Slumdog Millionaire (aka Q&A)    by Swarup
a modern Cinderella story. It takes place in the slums of India. The hero is a young boy, Ram Mohammed Thomas. His Prince on White Horse is a TV show, "Who Wants to Be Billionaire?" Why does an 18 year-old poor waiter want to participate in such a programme, and what are his chances to win? In this story, Ram becomes the Prince Charming, there to save his sweetheart from the darkest debasements of humanity, where human beings become commodity, where light, compassion, warmth are scarce, where death is more comforting than life.
Swarup's book is witty, engaging and compelling. The unbelievable story becomes real as the plot unfolds, and we learn to know Ram and the twists and turns in his adventurous life.


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Shuttlecock       by   Swift

Prentis, senior clerk in the ‘dead crimes’ department of police archives, is becoming more and more confused. Alienated from his wife and children, and obsessed by his father, a wartime hero now the mute inmate of a mental hospital, Prentis feels increasingly unsettled as his enigmatic boss, Mr Quinn, turns his investigation towards him - and his father. Gradually Prentis suspects that his father’s breakdown and Quinn’s menacing behaviour are connected and the link is to be found in his father’s memoirs, ‘Shuttlecock’


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Slaughterhouse Five    by  Vonnegut
It took Vonnegut more than 20 years to put his Dresden experiences into words. He explained, "there is nothing intelligent to say about a massacre. Everybody is supposed to be dead, to never say anything or want anything ever again." Slaughterhouse Five is a powerful novel incorporating a number of genres. Only those who have fought in wars can say whether it represents the experience well. However, what the novel does do is invite the reader to look at the absurdity of war. Human versus human, hedonist politicians pressing buttons and ordering millions to their deaths all for ideologies many cannot even comprehend. Flicking between the US, 1940's Germany and Tralfamadore, Vonnegut's semi- autobiographical protagonist Billy Pilgrim finds himself very lost. One minute he is being viewed as a specimen in a Tralfamadorian Zoo, the next he is wandering a post-apocalyptic city looking for corpses. Slaughterhouse Five-Or The Children's Crusade A Duty-Dance with Death is a remarkable blend of black humour, irony, the truth and the absurd. The author regards his work a "failure", millions of readers do not. Released the same time bombs were falling on South East Asia, this title caused controversy and awakening.


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The Color Purple        Walker
Celie is a poor black woman who has been wronged since the day she was born. Sexually abused by her stepfather, given to her husband to look after his children and house, with no love involved. She hangs her head and fights to get through every day, unable to understand why this all is happening. You think she is a weak black woman, but really celie is so strong. She quietly fights to stop these dreadful things happening to her beloved sister. Men have done nothing to help her all her life, just being cruel and selfish towards her. women are the ones that have shown her any kindness or compassion, It seems hardly surprising that she is confused by her sexuality. This is a wonderfully uplifting book of Celies life and her eventual acceptance of herself and the people around her.


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The Day of the Triffids  Wyndham
The triffid is a unique form of plant life, with appetites similar to a Venus flytrap, and is believed to have been genetically engineered by the Russians, though its true origin remains unknown. It also is able to pick up its roots and lurch about, almost as if it were walking, and seems to manifest a rudimentary intelligence.

Ever resourceful, mankind puts the triffids to work and harvests the rich oils that they produce. The only true drawback of the triffid is that it also has a stem that can lash out and sting a person with enough poison to kill. Still, mankind finds a way to control even this aberration of the oil rich triffid, now viewed as a profitable form of vegetation.

Then, came the meteorite shower, a stellar phenomena that lit the sky with a bright green light, but which would, ultimately, leave all those who saw it, forever changed. Those few, who were fortunate enough to have missed the spectacle, struggle to survive in a world that has transformed radically. It is up to them to set right what has gone terribly wrong. Soon enough, however, they realize that the day of the triffids has come.

 

 
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The Girl on the Train    Hawkins


Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning. Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. She’s even started to feel like she knows them. “Jess and Jason,” she calls them. Their life—as she sees it—is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost.

And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel offers what she knows to the police, and becomes inextricably entwined in what happens next, as well as in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good?

Compulsively readable, The Girl on the Train is an emotionally immersive,  thriller and an electrifying debut.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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What is the What     by Dave Eggers

What Is the What is the epic novel based on the life of Valentino Achak Deng who, along with thousands of other children —the so-called Lost Boys—was forced to leave his village in Sudan at the age of seven and trek hundreds of miles by foot, pursued by militias, government bombers, and wild animals, crossing the deserts of three countries to find freedom. When he finally is resettled in the United States, he finds a life full of promise, but also heartache and myriad new challenges. Moving, suspenseful, and unexpectedly funny, What Is the What is an astonishing novel that illuminates the lives of millions through one extraordinary man.


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The Circle   by Dave Eggers

When Mae Holland is hired to work for the Circle, the world’s most powerful internet company, she feels she’s been given the opportunity of a lifetime. The Circle, run out of a sprawling California campus, links users’ personal emails, social media, banking, and purchasing with their universal operating system, resulting in one online identity and a new age of civility and transparency. As Mae tours the open-plan office spaces, the towering glass dining facilities, the cozy dorms for those who spend nights at work, she is thrilled with the company’s modernity and activity. There are parties that last through the night, there are famous musicians playing on the lawn, there are athletic activities and clubs and brunches, and even an aquarium of rare fish retrieved from the Marianas Trench by the CEO. Mae can’t believe her luck, her great fortune to work for the most influential company in the world—even as life beyond the campus grows distant, even as a strange encounter with a colleague leaves her shaken, even as her role at the Circle becomes increasingly public. What begins as the captivating story of one woman’s ambition and idealism soon becomes a heart-racing novel of suspense, raising questions about memory, history, privacy, democracy, and the limits of human knowledge.

 

 


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Back to Blood    by Tom Wolfe

As a police launch speeds across Miami's Biscayne Bay-with our hero, officer Nestor Camacho, on board-Tom Wolfe is off and running headlong into the only city in the world where people from a different country with a different language and a different culture have taken over at the ballot box.

This melting pot is full of hard cases who just won't melt, damn it: a Cuban mayor; a black police chief; a hot young reporter and a timid editor of the Miami Herald, both WASPs who went to Yale; an Anglo sex-addiction psychiatrist who keeps his lovely Latina nurse, Magdalena, in his bed and his star patient, a porn-addicted billionaire, on a string; a status-addled Haitian professor who thinks he's really French and wants his pale-skinned daughter to "pass" and his Creole-spouting son to be quiet.

Then there are the clueless collectors who "See it! Like it! Buy it!," spending tens of millions per minute on de-skilled art at Miami Art Basel; black drug dealers colliding with the Cuban cops; Columbus Day Regatta "spectators" who only have eyes for the annual après-race orgy; and "Active Adult" condos full of yenta-heavy ex-New Yorkers, not to mention a nest of shady Russians.

Based on the same sort of detailed, on-scene, high-energy reporting that powered Tom Wolfe's previous bestselling novels, BACK TO BLOOD is another brilliant, spot-on, scrupulous, and often hilarious reckoning with our times.


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