The Glass Castle
By Jeannette Walls
Now a major motion picture starring Brie Larson, Naomi Watts and Woody Harrelson.This is a startling memoir of a successful journalist's journey from the deserted and dusty mining towns of the American Southwest, to an antique filled apartment on Park Avenue. Jeanette Walls narrates her nomadic and adventurous childhood with her dreaming, 'brilliant' but alcoholic parents. At the age of seventeen she escapes on a Greyhound bus to New York with her older sister; her younger siblings follow later. After pursuing the education and civilisation her parents sought to escape, Jeanette eventually succeeds in her quest for the 'mundane, middle class existence' she had always craved. In her apartment, overlooked by 'a portrait of someone else's ancestor' she recounts poignant remembered images of star watching with her father, juxtaposed with recollections of irregular meals, accidents and police-car chases and reveals her complex feelings of shame, guilt, pity and pride toward her parents.
By Angela Thirkell
Barsetshire in the war years. Growing Up is the story of ladies, gentlemen, and their irrepressible children keeping the war at bay in their country town. Trying to do their part as the Second World War ravages Europe, Sir Harry and Lady Waring open their estate to convalescing soldiers - bringing romance, drama, and subtle life lessons to the Warings' young niece and her friends.
The Gift Giving: Favourite Stories
By Joan Aiken, Peter Bailey
Joan Aiken is justly famous for her Wolves of Willoughby Chase series of novels, but her greatest love was for short stories, which she wrote prolifically throughout her long career: 'Favourite stories, like unexpected presents, are things that you can keep and cherish all your life, carry with you, in memory, in your mind's ear, and bring out, at any time, when you are feeling lonely, or need cheering up, or, like friends, just because you are fond of them.' From a princess who turned into a pirate parrot, to a procession of Father Christmases being chased down Fifth Avenue by a rackety horse and cart; from the ghost of a crusader's dog, to a captured mermaid in a flying machine, there is something for everybody in this enthralling collection. These stories showcase Aiken's unique talents - the way she mixed magic and myth with humour to create a kind of modern fairytale. Her stories will appeal to readers of all ages for many years to come.
The Givenness Of Things
By Marilynne Robinson
A profound essay collection from the beloved author of Gilead, Houskeeping and Lila, now including Marilynne Robinson's conversation with President Barack Obama. Robinson has plumbed the depths of the human spirit in her trilogy of novels - Pulitzer Prize-winning Gilead, Orange-Prize winning Home and National Book Critics Circle Award-winning Lila - and in her moving essay collection When I Was a Child I Read Books. Now, in The Givenness of Things, she brings a profound sense of awe and an incisive mind to the essential questions of contemporary life and faith. Through fourteen essays of remarkable depth and insight, Robinson explores the dilemmas of our modern predicament. How has our so-called Christian nation strayed from so many of the teachings of Christ? How could the great minds of the past, Calvin and Locke-and Shakespeare-guide our lives? And what might the world look like if we could see the sacredness in each other? Exquisite and bold, these essays are a necessary call for us to find wisdom and guidance in our cultural treasures, to seek humanity and compassion in each other. The Givenness of Things is a reminder of what a marvel our existence is in its grandeur - and its humility.
A Game for the Living
By Patricia Highsmith
'I love Highsmith so much . . . What a revelation her writing is' Gillian Flynn'Ramón had done it. Obviously! He thought about Ramón, his Catholic soul trapped in his passion for Lelia. He'd find Ramón and see that he paid with his life for what he had done.'In A Game for the Living threads of sexual jealousy and guilt are shot through with all Patricia Highsmith's uncanny talent for the unexpected.Mild-mannered Theo is a wealthy German expatriate; hot-tempered Ramón was born into poverty in Mexico City. The two men are unlikely friends - especially as they are in love with the same woman. When Lelia is found brutally murdered, both lovers are suspects - and each suspects the other. But then they discover that a thief was seen at Lelia's apartment, and their hunt leads them on a frantic chase to sun-drenched Acapulco. Theo begins to get the uneasy feeling that his every move is being watched.
By Amanda Coe
They were colour-supplement darlings of the 1980s: Patrick, the sexy, ferocious young playwright, scourge of an enthralled establishment, and Sara, who abandoned her two children to fulfil her destiny as Patrick's beautiful, devoted wife and muse.Thirty-five years later, Sara's death leaves Patrick alone in their crumbling house in Cornwall, with his whisky, his writer's block and his undimmed rage against the world. But bereavement is no respecter of life's estrangements, and Sara's children, Louise and Nigel, are now adults, with memories, questions and agendas of their own. What was their mother really like? Why did she leave them? What has she left them? And how can Patrick carry on without the love of his life? Getting Colder is a painfully funny and perceptive novel about family, love, and how sometimes the harder you look, the less you find.
The Glass Cell
By Patricia Highsmith
'The Glass Cell has lost little of its disturbing power . . . Highsmith was a genuine one-off, and her books will haunt you' Daily TelegraphPhilip Carter has spent six years in prison for a crime he didn't commit. On his release his beautiful wife is waiting for him. He has never had any reason to doubt her. Nor their friend, Sullivan. Carter has never been suspicious, or violent. But prison can change a man.In 1961, Patricia Highsmith received a fan letter from a prison inmate. A correspondence ensued and Highsmith became fascinated with the psychological traumas that incarceration can inflict.
The Glass Ocean
By Lori Baker
The Glass Ocean is a story of becoming. Flamehaired, six-foot-two in stocking feet, newly orphaned Carlotta Dell'oro recounts the lives of her parents - solitary glassmaker Leonardo Dell'oro and beautiful, unreachable Clotilde Girard - and discovers in their loves and losses, their omissions and obsessions, the circumstances of her abandonment and the weight of her inheritance. With a master artisan's patience and exquisite craft, debut novelist Lori Baker has created a gemlike Victorian world, a place where mistakes of the past reappear in the future, art can destroy, and family is not to be trusted.
By Katie Ward
An orphan poses nervously for a Renaissance maestro in medieval Siena, and an artist's servant girl in seventeenth-century Amsterdam snatches a moment away from her work to lose herself in tales of knights and battles. A woman reading in a Shoreditch bar catches the eye of a young man who takes her picture, and a Victorian medium holds a book that she barely acknowledges while she waits for the exposure.
Great Food, All Day Long
By Maya Angelou
At one time, I described myself as a cook, a driver, and a writer. I no longer drive, but I still do write and I do still cook. And having reached the delicious age of eighty-one, I realize that I have been feeding other people and eating for a long time. I have been cooking nearly all my life, so I have developed some philosophies.'With her second cookbook, Maya Angelou turns her attention to good food, well-made and eaten in moderation, and gives us time-tested recipes along with intimate autobiographical sketches of how they came to be. Packed with delicious dishes here can be eaten in small portions, many times a day and, more importantly, converted into other mouth-watering incarnations. Great Food, All Day Long is an essential reference for everyone who wants to eat more healthily and joyfully - and a delightful peek into the kitchen and heart of a remarkable woman.
By Molly Keane
I do know how to behave - believe me, because I know. I have always known...'Behind the gates of Temple Alice the aristocratic Anglo-Irish St Charles family sinks into a state of decaying grace. To Aroon St Charles, large and unlovely daughter of the house, the fierce forces of sex, money, jealousy and love seem locked out by the ritual patterns of good behaviour. But crumbling codes of conduct cannot hope to save the members of the St Charles family from their own unruly and inadmissible desires.
By Catherine Horwood
From Flora, Roman goddess of plants, to today's gardeners at Kew, women have always gardened. Women gardeners have grown vegetables for their kitchens and herbs for their medicine cupboards. They have been footnotes in the horticultural annals for specimens collected abroad. They taught young women about gardening twenty-five years before women's horticultural schools officially existed. And their influence on the style of our gardens, frequently unacknowledged, survives to the present day.From these triumphs to the battles fought against male-dominated institutions, from the horticultural pioneers to the bringers of change in society's attitudes, this book is a celebration of the best of the species -- gardening women.
By Margaret Atwood
By the author of The Handmaid's Tale and Alias GraceThese wise and witty writings home in on Shakespeare, tree stumps, ecological disasters, bodies (male and female), and theology, amongst other matters. We hear Gertrude's version of what really happened in Hamlet; an ugly sister and a wicked stepmother put in a good word for themselves,and a reincarnated bat explains how Bram Stoker got Dracula hopelessly wrong. Good Bones is pure distilled Atwood - deliciously strong and bittersweet.'A marvellous miniature sample case of Atwood's sensuous and sardonic talents' TIMES LITERARY SUPPLEMENT
A Glass Of Blessings
By Barbara Pym
Wilmet Forsyth is well dressed, well looked after, suitably husbanded, good looking and fairly young - but very bored. Her husband Rodney, a handsome army major, is slightly balder and fatter than he once was. Wilmet would like to think she has changed rather less.Her interest wanders to the nearby Anglo-catholic church, where at last she can neglect her comfortable household in the more serious-minded company of three unmarried priests, and, of course, Piers Longridge, a man of an unfathomably different character altogether.
By Mary McCarthy
THE GROUP follows eight graduates from exclusive Vassar College as they find love and heartbreak, forge careers, gossip and party in 1930s Manhattan.THE GROUP can be seen as the original SEX AND THE CITY. It is the first novel to frankly portray women's real lives, exploring subjects such as sex, contraception, motherhood and marriage.
A Game Of Hide And Seek
By Elizabeth Taylor
'Elizabeth Taylor is finally being recognised as an important British author: an author of great subtlety, great compassion and great depth. As a reader, I have found huge pleasure in returning to Taylor's novels and short stories many times over. As a writer I've returned to her too - in awe of her achievements, and trying to work out how she does it' Sarah WatersAn intelligent, haunting love story, with echoes of Brief Encounter, by one of the best British writers of the 20th century.During summer games of hide and seek Harriet falls in love with Vesey and his elusive, teasing ways. When he goes to Oxford she cherishes his photograph and waits for the letter that never comes. Years pass, and Harriet stifles her imaginings; with a husband and daughter, she excels at respectability. But then Vesey reappears and her marriage seems to melt away. Harriet is older, it is much too late, but she is still in love with him.
By Jenny Uglow
One of the most brilliant writers of her day, George Eliot (1819-1880) was also one of the most talked about. Intellectual and independent, she had the strength to defy polite society with her highly unorthodox private life, so why did she deny her fictional characters the same opportunities?
By Daphne Du Maurier
Prior to the publication of this biography, the elusive Anthony Bacon was merely glimpsed in the shadow of his famous younger brother, Francis. A fascinating historical figure, Anthony Bacon was a contemporary of the brilliant band of gallants who clustered round the court of Elizabeth I, and he was closely connected with the Queen's favourite, the Earl of Essex. He also worked as an agent for Sir Francis Walsingham, the Queen's spymaster, living in France where he became acquainted with Henri IV and the famous essayist Michel de Montaigne. It was in France that du Maurier discovered a secret that, if disclosed during Bacon's lifetime, could have put an end to his political career . . . Du Maurier did much to shed light on matters that had long puzzled historians, and, as well as a consummate exercise in research, this biography is also a strange and fascinating tale.
By Lori Lansens
I have never looked into my sister's eyes. I have never bathed alone. I have never stood in the grass at night and raised my arms to a beguiling moon. I've never used an aeroplane bathroom. Or worn a hat. Or been kissed like that... So many things I've never done, but oh, how I've been loved. And, if such things were to be, I'd live a thousand times as me, to be loved so exponentially'In twenty-nine years, Rose Darlen has never spent a moment apart from her twin sister, Ruby. She has never gone for a solitary walk or had a private conversation. Yet, in all that time, she has never once looked into Ruby's eyes. Joined at the head, 'The Girls' (as they are known in their small town) attempt to lead a normal life, but can't help being extraordinary. Now almost thirty, Rose and Ruby are on the verge of becoming the oldest living craniopagus twins in history, but they are remarkable for a lot more than their unusual sisterly bond.
A Grain Of Truth
By Nina Bawden
Emma's anxious and manipulative plea, 'Someone listen to me', opens- and closes- this deliciously uncomfortable novel in which Nina Bawden explores myriad emotional disguises with her characteristic acuity. When Emma's father-in-law falls down the stairs to his death, she is convinced she pushed him in an act of wish-fulfilment. To her husband Henry and her close friend Holly, this is unthinkable. Guilt is simply Emma's obsession in a humdrum domestic existence enlivened by romantic fantasy. For Holly, who successfully fields a string of love affairs, sexual pleasures are more easily attainable, whereas Henry, a Divorce lawyer, prides himself on being a realist. Each tells their story in turn, illuminating and distorting their separate versions of the truth. As they do so, an intricate jigsaw of the private deceits with which they shore up everyday life emerges.