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NPR’s Best Ever Teen Fiction

America’s excellent National Public Radio conducted a Best Ever Teen Fiction poll a few years ago and this list still stands in my opinion. Some fantastic books here for every teen age, taste and gender.

NPR’s Best Ever Teen Fiction

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And you thought home isolation was bad…

Getting a perspective sometimes make things feel better. These great books should do the job.

The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck. The ultimate ‘hard times’ book, written during the Great Depression. Classic Steinbeck with unforgettable characters.

Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt. Remember this one? A heart-wrenching but also very funny memoir by the Irish-American author who grew up in extreme poverty in Limerick, Ireland.

Blood River – A journey into Africa’s Broken Heart by Tim Butcher. A gripping non-fiction story of a journalist’s journey through Congo, one of the most dangerous countries on earth.

Pachinko by Min Jin Lee. Set in Korea during the Japanese occupation, this family epic vividly describes the one-bowl-of-rice-a-day-existence.

The Five – the Untold Lives of the Women Killed by Jack the Ripper by Hallie Rubenhold. Being a poor, divorced or single woman in Victorian times is the last thing you’d ever want to be after reading this superbly researched Baille-Gifford prize winning non-fiction book.

…and, of course, ANYTHING Charles Dickens.

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Women’s Prize for Fiction short-list 2020

Just what we need right now. A curated selection of books by smart women in the know, the judging panel of the Women’s Prize for Fiction 2020. There’s a one time winner of the Booker Prize (Bernadine Evaristo) and a two-time (possibly a third?) winner of the Booker Prize (Hilary Mantel). There’s the wonderful Jenny Offill whose books (Weather and Dept. of Speculation) we love. And then there’s our recent favourite, Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell. Good choices judging panel!

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Take-your-mind-off-coronavirus books

We thought a list of utterly addictive, read-while-you’re-brushing-teeth, stay-up-all-night books might be called for at this point. Here are our top ten:

 

Fingersmith by Sarah Waters

North Water by Ian McGuire

Rebecca by Daphne de Maurier

The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock by Imogen Hermes Gowar

The Porpoise by Mark Haddon

The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton

And then There Were None by Agatha Christie

Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood

The Shardlake Series by CJ Samson

The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver

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Books about plagues

Personally, I’m a bit of an escapist, but for those of you who feel like reading about it here are some of the best books featuring plagues. From Daniel Defoe’s memoir from the 1665 bubonic plague to Stephen King’s The Stand where no less the 99% (!) of the population dies there should be something for every brave reader here.

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Best Books for Christmas 2019

I can’t think of a better year to turn to plastic-free, (relatively) low carbon footprint Christmas gifts like books. They generate hours and hours of pleasure, can be enjoyed over and over again, can be given away and are recyclable. We have thought long and hard about which books we think will make good gifts and here is our selection for Christmas 2019. Spread the love!

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Olafur Eliasson’s choice of books on the environment

I had the pleasure of seeing artist Olafur Eliasson’s Tate Modern exhibition In Real Life on the weekend and loved his selection of books on the environment which I thought I’d share with you here. As fans of Eliasson will know, environmentalism is central to much of his work as seen in his melting ice blocks displayed in London, Paris and Copenhagen. Some of these titles sound unbearably depressing so I would probably begin with the more solution oriented sounding ones. For an initial call to action, Greta Thunberg’s book is a inspiring place to start.

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And now for the Booker Prize short-list 2019

Out today, the 2019 Booker Prize short-list. A mix of well-known and not so well-known authors of different nationalities; British, American, Nigerian, British/Turkish, British/Indian and Canadian. Two literary superstars: Margaret Atwood and Salman Rushdie. Some names we have seen before: Elif Shafak and Chigozie Obioma. And two names that were new to us: Lucy Ellmann and Bernardine Evaristo.

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Where to start on the Booker Prize long-list 2019?

The Booker Prize long-list 2019 of 13 books was published yesterday and the question is, as always, where to start, if at all…We’ve reviewed a few of them and thought we’d share our views. The big unknown – although entirely unsurprising – entry is The Testaments, Margaret Atwood’s much-anticipated sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale, out in September. The Booker judges, bound by strict non-disclosure agreements, can’t say a word about what happens in the book, so we’ll have to take their word for it.

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