Meet Ove. He's a curmudgeon - the kind of man who points at people he dislikes as if they were burglars caught outside his bedroom window. He has staunch principles, strict routines, and a short fuse. People call him "the bitter neighbor from hell". But behind the cranky exterior there is a story and a sadness.
"Maybe my favorite book ever!"
Offred is a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead, serving in the household of the enigmatic Commander and his bitter wife. She may go out once a day to markets whose signs are now pictures because women are not allowed to read. She must pray that the Commander makes her pregnant, for in a time of declining birthrates her value lies in her fertility, and failure means exile to the dangerously polluted Colonies. Offred can remember a time when she lived with her husband and daughter and had a job, before she lost even her own name....
"My Top Pick for 2012"
Ruth Jefferson is a labor and delivery nurse at a Connecticut hospital with more than 20 years' experience. During her shift, Ruth begins a routine checkup on a newborn, only to be told a few minutes later that she's been reassigned to another patient. The parents are white supremacists and don't want Ruth, who is African American, to touch their child. The hospital complies with their request, but the next day the baby goes into cardiac distress while Ruth is alone in the nursery. Does she obey orders, or does she intervene?
"Hard to read for several reasons"
The Newest Oprah Book Club 2016 Selection. Cora is a slave on a cotton plantation in Georgia. Life is hell for all the slaves but especially bad for Cora; an outcast even among her fellow Africans, she is coming into womanhood - where even greater pain awaits. When Caesar, a recent arrival from Virginia, tells her about the Underground Railroad, they decide to take a terrifying risk and escape. Matters do not go as planned - Cora kills a young white boy who tries to capture her. Though they manage to find a station and head north, they are being hunted.
"Should be recommended reading for all Americans"
Set in the pre-Christian world of Glome on the outskirts of Greek civilization, it is a tale of two princesses: the beautiful Psyche, who is loved by the god of love himself, and Orual, Psyche's unattractive and embittered older sister, who loves Psyche with a destructive possessiveness. Her frustration and jealousy over Psyche's fate sets Orual on the troubled path of self-discovery. Lewis's last work of fiction, this is often considered his best by critics.
"One of a kind."
10-year-old Sarah Crue lives life like a princess until tragedy strikes, taking away her fine clothes and privileges. Without her velvet and silk and French maids, she's no longer the envy of all the girls at Miss Minchin's London boarding school, and even has to live in the school's attic, working for the students who were once her friends. Will Sarah's spirit remain unbowed? Follow her through her trials and triumphs in this unforgettable tale beloved by children the world over.
"Credit Worthy Narration"
Quentin Coldwater is brilliant but miserable. A senior in high school, he's still secretly preoccupied with a series of fantasy novels he read as a child, set in a magical land called Fillory. Imagine his surprise when he finds himself unexpectedly admitted to a very secret, very exclusive college of magic in upstate New York, where he receives a thorough and rigorous education in the craft of modern sorcery.
"Not an average book"
In 1956, toward the end of Reverend John Ames's life, he begins a letter to his young son, an account of himself and his forebears. Ames is the son of an Iowan preacher and the grandson of a minister who, as a young man in Maine, saw a vision of Christ bound in chains and came west to Kansas to fight for abolition: He "preached men into the Civil War", then, at age 50, became a chaplain in the Union Army, losing his right eye in battle.
"A book for dreaming over"
One Sunday afternoon in Southern California, Bert Cousins shows up at Franny Keating's christening party uninvited. Before evening falls, he has kissed Franny's mother, Beverly - thus setting in motion the dissolution of their marriages and the joining of two families.
"A Must Listen for Patchett fans"
Okonkwo is born into poverty, with a wastrel for a father. Driven by ambition, he works tirelessly to gain the prosperity of many fields and wives and prestige in his village. But he is harsh as well as diligent. As he sees the traditions of his people eroded by white missionaries and government officials, he lashes out in anger.
"At the Dawn of Colonialism in Africa"
For fans of Big Little Lies and The Couple Next Door comes an addictive psychological thriller that's already an international sensation. When young lawyer Lily marries Ed, she's determined to make a fresh start. To leave the secrets of the past behind. But then she takes on her first murder case and meets Joe. A convicted murderer whom Lily is strangely drawn to. For whom she will soon be willing to risk almost anything.
""Lies...They start small and then they multiple""
Trisk and her hated rival, Kal, have the same goal: save their species from extinction. But death comes in the guise of hope when a genetically modified tomato created to feed the world combines with the government's new tactical virus, giving it an unexpected host and a mode of transport. Plague rises, giving the paranormal species the choice to stay hidden and allow humanity to die or to show themselves in a bid to save them.
"Would have liked a stronger female lead"
Ralph Elllison's Invisible Man is a monumental novel, one that can well be called an epic of 20th-century African-American life. It is a strange story, in which many extraordinary things happen, some of them shocking and brutal, some of them pitiful and touching - yet always with elements of comedy and irony and burlesque that appear in unexpected places.
"A Classic that deserves Whispersync!"
George Orwell's classic satire of the Russian Revolution is an intimate part of our contemporary culture, quoted so often that we tend to forget who wrote the original words! This must-read is also a must-listen!
"If you hate spoilers, save the intro for last."
Pulitzer Prize, Fiction, 2016. It is April 1975, and Saigon is in chaos. At his villa, a general of the South Vietnamese army is drinking whiskey and, with the help of his trusted captain, drawing up a list of those who will be given passage aboard the last flights out of the country. The general and his compatriots start a new life in Los Angeles, unaware that one among their number, the captain, is secretly observing and reporting on the group to a higher-up in the Viet Cong.
"The Great Vietnamese Novel(Port)Nguyen's Complaint"
Sixteen-year-old John Grady Cole's grandfather has just died, his parents have permanently separated, and the family ranch, upon which he had placed so many boyish hopes, has been sold. Rootless and increasingly restive, Cole leaves Texas, accompanied by his friend Lacey Rawlins, and begins a journey across the vaquero frontier into the badlands of northern Mexico.
A natural storyteller and raconteur in his own right - just listen to Paddle Your Own Canoe and Gumption - actor, comedian, carpenter, and all-around manly man Nick Offerman (Parks and Recreation) brings his distinctive baritone and a fine-tuned comic versatility to Twain's writing. In a knockout performance, he doesn't so much as read Twain's words as he does rejoice in them, delighting in the hijinks of Tom - whom he lovingly refers to as a "great scam artist" and "true American hero".
"Stop what you are doing!"
It's been 10 years since Nicolette Farrell left her rural hometown after her best friend, Corinne, disappeared from Cooley Ridge without a trace. Back again to tie up loose ends and care for her ailing father, Nic is soon plunged into a shocking drama that reawakens Corinne's case and breaks open old wounds long since stitched. The decade-old investigation focused on Nic; her brother, Daniel; her boyfriend, Tyler; and Corinne's boyfriend, Jackson. Since then only Nic has left Cooley Ridge.
"Loved the challenge!"
Two half sisters, Effia and Esi, unknown to each other, are born into different villages in 18th-century Ghana. Effia is married off to an Englishman and will live in comfort in the palatial rooms of Cape Coast Castle, raising children who will be sent abroad to be educated before returning to the Gold Coast to serve as administrators of the empire. Esi, imprisoned beneath Effia in the castle's women's dungeon and then shipped off on a boat bound for America, will be sold into slavery.
"A Novel in Stories"
Moonglow unfolds as the deathbed confession, made to his grandson, of a man the narrator refers to only as "my grandfather". It is a tale of madness, of war and adventure, of sex and desire and ordinary love, of existential doubt and model rocketry, of the shining aspirations and demonic underpinnings of American technological accomplishment at midcentury, and, above all, of the destructive impact - and the creative power - of the keeping of secrets and the telling of lies.
"Loved the book. Winced at the pronunciation."
Owen Hall drives into a petrol station to let his passenger use the facilities. She never comes back - and what's more, it seems she never even made it inside. When Owen raises a fuss, the police are called - and soon identify Owen himself as a possible culprit, not least because they already have him in the frame for another more sinister crime. Owen's always been a little different, and before long others in the community are baying for his blood. But this is a case where nothing is as it seems - least of all Owen Hall....
The day Stacey Grant loses her job feels like the last day of her life. Or, at least, the only life she'd ever known. For who was she if not a City high-flyer, Senior Partner at one of the top private equity firms in London? As Stacey starts to reconcile her old life with the new - one without professional achievements or meetings but instead long days at home with her dog and ailing mother, waiting for her successful husband to come home - she at least has The Girls to fall back on. Beth, Melissa and Gaby.
Even a lone wolf wants to belong.... Fourteen-year-old Linda lives with her parents in an ex-commune beside a lake in the beautiful, austere backwoods of Northern Minnesota. The other girls at school call Linda 'Freak' or 'Commie'. Her parents mostly leave her to her own devices whilst the other inhabitants have grown up and moved on. So when the perfect family - mother, father and their little boy, Paul - move into the cabin across the lake, Linda insinuates her way into the family's orbit.
After caring for his mother in her last days, Alex has gone off round the world - with no plan other than to travel and maybe recapture some of his lost youth. Beginning his travels in Indonesia, the idea of finding himself sounds appealing...but soon he finds himself in real trouble. It starts with a bus crash on a terrifying mountain road. Lucky to escape with his life, Alex loses everything else - even his identity. But then he meets Domino, a beautiful girl who takes Alex under her wing.
The village of Chilbury in Kent is about to ring in some changes. This is a delightful novel of wartime gumption and village spirit that will make your heart sing out. Kent, 1940. The women of Chilbury village have taken umbrage at the Vicar's closure of the choir now that its male singers are at war. But when spirited music professor Primrose Trent arrives, it prompts the creation of an all-female singing group.
If you lost everything you loved, how would you survive and begin again? Under the Almond Tree tells the story of one refugee family fleeing conflict and war in Afghanistan in the 1990s as they travel towards freedom and safety. Fifteen-year-old Samar, the middle child, shares the story of her incredible journey on the Trans-Siberian Express - with the help of Napoleon, the ticket collector; Tolstoy's Anna Karenina; and her parents and siblings.
In this classic thriller, Ira Levin imagines Dr Josef Mengele's nightmarish plot to restore the Third Reich. Alive and hiding in South America 30 years after the end of the Second World War, Mengele gathers a group of former colleagues for a sinister project - the creation of the Fourth Reich. Ageing Nazi hunter Yakov Lieberman is informed of the plot, but before he hears the evidence, his source is killed....
Running brings together an ensemble of outsiders who get by as runners - hustlers who sell tourists on low-end accommodations for a small commission and a place to stay. Bridey Sullivan, a young American woman who has fled a peculiar and traumatic upbringing in Washington State, takes up with a queer British couple, the poet Milo Rollack and Eton drop-out Jasper Lethe.
The protagonist, Jesús, is ugly. Extraordinarily ugly. He is so ugly that his friends and relatives are convinced that behind that ugliness there must be something else. A malefic power or possibly a momentous fate. The truth is that fairly special things happen wherever Jesús is. His biological father is a mystery. His half-sister is a child-prodigy who excels at everything she does, his mother becomes the president of the country, his best-friend Vero is a computer tycoon, his brother-in-law also makes it in politics...But for all the success around him he still feels unsettled.
This is an experimental literary piece that plays with the biblical myth about Satan and God, Cain and Abel, consciousness and unconsciousness, obedience and disobedience, and so on, in an eccentric style. You can call it a novel or a theater of the absurd or a poetic narrative or simply a literary piece or whatever you want to, it still remains the same, unintentionally powerful, and playfully raises some vital questions towards the enlightenment of humankind.
Brilliant heart surgeon Suzette Kendall is stunned when Hyland, her husband of 15 years, admits his yearning for a child. From the beginning they'd decided that having children was not an option, as Suzette feared passing along the genes that landed her mother in a mental institution. But Hyland proposes a different idea: a baby via surrogate. Suzette agrees, and what follows is a whirlwind of candidate selections, hospital visits, and Suzette's doubts over whether she's made the right decision.
For Robert Carter, life in his coastal Maine hometown is comfortably predictable. But in 1976, on his first day of eighth grade, he meets Nathan Tilly, who changes everything. Nathan is confident, fearless, impetuous - and fascinated by kites and flying. Robert and Nathan's budding friendship is forged in the crucible of two family tragedies, and as the boys struggle to come to terms with loss, they take summer jobs at the local rundown amusement park.
Anthony Peardew is the keeper of lost things. Forty years ago he carelessly lost a keepsake from his beloved fiancée, Therese. That very same day, she died unexpectedly. Brokenhearted, Anthony sought consolation in rescuing lost objects - the things others have dropped, misplaced, or accidently left behind - and writing stories about them. Now, in the twilight of his life, Anthony worries that he has not fully discharged his duty to reconcile all the lost things with their owners.
Lucy, a teenage girl from the West Indies, comes to North America to work as an au pair for Lewis and Mariah and their four children. Lewis and Mariah are a thrice-blessed couple - handsome, rich, and seemingly happy. Yet almost at once, Lucy begins to notice cracks in their beautiful façade. With mingled anger and compassion, Lucy scrutinizes the assumptions and verities of her employers' world and compares them with the vivid realities of her native place.
For mysterious reasons, a man forsakes his American life and arrives in a strange country called Andorra. He settles into the grand - and only - hotel in its seaside capital and gradually makes the acquaintance of this tiny city's most prominent residents: the ancient Mrs. Reinhardt, who has a lifetime lease on the penthouse in the hotel; Sophonsobia Quay, the kayaking matriarch of an Andorran dynasty; and the Ricky Dents, an Australian couple who share a first name, a gigantic dog, and a volatile secret.
Happy Valley is a place of dreams and secrets, of snow and ice and wind. In this remote little town, perched in its landscape of desolate beauty, everybody has a story to tell about loss and longing and loneliness, about their passion to escape. I must get away, thinks Dr Oliver Halliday, thinks Alys Browne, thinks Sidney Furlow. But Happy Valley is not a place that can be easily left, and White's vivid characters, with their distinctive voices, move bit by bit towards sorrow and acceptance.
Hortensia James and Marion Agostino are neighbours. One is black, one white. Both are successful women with impressive careers. Both have recently been widowed. And both are sworn enemies, sharing hedge and hostility and pruning both with a vim and zeal that belie the fact that they are over 80. But one day an unforeseen event forces the women together. And gradually the bickering and sniping soften into lively debate, and from there into memories shared.
"Probably deserves 5 stars instead of 4..."
One hot August day, a family drives to a mountain clearing to collect birch wood. Jenny, the mother, is in charge of lopping any small limbs off the logs with a hatchet. Wade, the father, does the stacking. The two daughters, June and May, aged nine and six, drink lemonade, swat away horseflies, bicker and sing snatches of songs as they while away the time. But then something unimaginably shocking happens, an act so extreme it will scatter the family in every different direction.
This appealing story about a poor lame shepherd boy, whose kind heart reaps unexpected rewards, is set in the beautiful countryside of southern France.
Every night Marc Laurent, an American taken hostage in Pakistan, is bound and blindfolded. And every night a woman he knows only as Josephine visits his cell. At first, her questions are mercenary: is there anyone back home who will pay the ransom? But when Marc can offer no name, she asks him a question about his daughter that is even more terrifying than his captivity. And so begins a strange yet increasingly comforting ritual in which Josephine and Marc tell each other stories.
When four classmates from a small Massachusetts college move to New York to make their way, they're broke, adrift, and buoyed only by their friendship and ambition. There is kind, handsome Willem, an aspiring actor; JB, a quick-witted, sometimes cruel Brooklyn-born painter seeking entry to the art world; Malcolm, a frustrated architect at a prominent firm; and withdrawn, brilliant, enigmatic Jude, who serves as their center of gravity.
"Brutal, But Beautiful"
Recipient of the 1966 Tanizaki Prize, it has been called Endo's supreme achievement" and "one of the twentieth century's finest novels". Considered controversial ever since its first publication, it tackles the thorniest religious issues of belief and faith head on. A novel of historical fiction, it is the story of a Jesuit missionary sent to seventeenth century Japan, who endured persecution that followed the defeat of the Shimabara Rebellion.
Penobscot Indian Molly Ayer is close to "aging out" out of the foster care system. A community-service position helping an elderly woman clean out her home is the only thing keeping Molly out of juvie and worse.... As she helps Vivian sort through her possessions and memories, Molly learns that she and Vivian aren’t as different as they seem to be. A young Irish immigrant orphaned in New York City, Vivian was put on a train to the Midwest with hundreds of other children whose destinies would be determined by luck and chance.
"Moving story of sharing and transformation."
Hailed by The New York Times as "a marvel of storytelling", The Things They Carried’s portrayal of the boots-on-the-ground experience of soldiers in the Vietnam War is a landmark in war writing. Now, three-time Emmy Award winner-Bryan Cranston, star of the hit TV series Breaking Bad, delivers an electrifying performance that walks the book’s hallucinatory line between reality and fiction and highlights the emotional power of the spoken word.
Graham Greene’s evocative analysis of the love of self, the love of another, and the love of God is an English classic that has been translated for the stage, the screen, and even the opera house. Academy Award-winning actor Colin Firth (The King’s Speech, A Single Man) turns in an authentic and stirring performance for this distinguished audio release.
"Excellent performance of Graham Greene classic"
The year is 1984 and the city is Tokyo.
A young woman named Aomame follows a taxi driver's enigmatic suggestion and begins to notice puzzling discrepancies in the world around her. She has entered, she realizes, a parallel existence, which she calls 1Q84 - "Q" is for "question mark". A world that bears a question....
"Slow, Strange, and (ultimately) Satisfying"
With the coruscating gaze that informed The Sympathizer, in The Refugees Viet Thanh Nguyen gives voice to lives led between two worlds, the adopted homeland and the country of birth. From a young Vietnamese refugee who suffers profound culture shock when he comes to live with two gay men in San Francisco, to a woman whose husband is suffering from dementia and starts to confuse her for a former lover, to a girl living in Ho Chi Minh City whose older half sister comes back from America having seemingly accomplished everything she never will.
Of all of John Irving's books, this is the one that lends itself best to audio. In print, Owen Meany's dialogue is set in capital letters; for this production, Irving himself selected Joe Barrett to deliver Meany's difficult voice as intended. In the summer of 1953, two 11-year-old boys – best friends – are playing in a Little League baseball game in Gravesend, New Hampshire. One of the boys hits a foul ball that kills the other boy's mother. The boy who hits the ball doesn't believe in accidents; Owen Meany believes he is God's instrument. What happens to Owen after that 1953 foul ball is extraordinary and terrifying.
"The Best ever audio book"
Masterful in its simplicity, Chronicle in Stone is a touching coming-of-age story and a testament to the perseverance of the human spirit. Surrounded by the magic of beautiful women and literature, a boy must endure the deprivations of war as he suffers the hardships of growing up. His sleepy country has just thrown off centuries of tyranny, but new waves of domination inundate his city.
"I loved it very much."
A debut novel already praised as "unbearably poignant and beautifully told" (Eimear McBride), this captivating story follows - over the course of four seasons - a misfit man who adopts a misfit dog. It is springtime, and two outcasts - a man ignored, even shunned by his village, and the one-eyed dog he takes into his quiet, tightly shuttered life - find each other, by accident or fate, and forge an unlikely connection. As their friendship grows, their small seaside town suddenly takes note of them.
Set on the French Riviera in the late 1920s, Tender Is the Night is the tragic romance of the young actress Rosemary Hoyt and the stylish American couple Dick and Nicole Diver. A brilliant young psychiatrist at the time of his marriage, Dick is both husband and doctor to Nicole, whose wealth goads him into a lifestyle not his own, and whose growing strength highlights Dick's harrowing demise. A profound study of the romantic concept of character - lyrical, expansive, and hauntingly evocative.
"Was it all just the champagne"
When Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm published their Children's and Household Tales in 1812, followed by a second volume in 1815, they had no idea that such stories as "Rapunzel", "Hansel and Gretel", and "Cinderella" would become the most celebrated in the world. Yet few people today are familiar with the majority of tales from the two early volumes, since in the next four decades the Grimms would publish six other editions, each extensively revised in content and style.
"Once upon a time when a stepmom was only a mom..."
Golden Globe-winning actor Michael C. Hall (Six Feet Under) performs Truman Capote's masterstroke about a young writer's charmed fascination with his unorthodox neighbor, the "American geisha" Holly Golightly. Holly - a World War II-era society girl in her late teens - survives via socialization, attending parties and restaurants with men from the wealthy upper class who also provide her with money and expensive gifts. Over the course of the novella, the seemingly shallow Holly slowly opens up to the curious protagonist.
""Better to look at the sky than live there""
It's a story you think you know: the age-old tale of "star-cross'd lovers"; two families at war; a romance, so pure and absolute, fated for a tragic end. It's a story so thoroughly embedded in our culture, and so frequently retold. Yet, nothing captures the spark, the possibility, and the surprise of Shakespeare's work quite like this....
"The Story and The Voice"
The richest, most depraved man on Earth, Malachi Constant, is offered a chance to take a space journey to distant worlds with a beautiful woman at his side. Of course, there's a catch to the invitation....
Push Not the River is the rich story of Poland in the late 1700's - a time of heartache and turmoil as the country's once peaceful people are torn apart by neighboring countries and divided loyalties. It is then, at the young and vulnerable age of seventeen, that Lady Anna Maria Berezowska loses both of her parents and must leave the only home she has ever known.
"Save your time; buy something else."
Having inspired a classic film and Broadway play, The Caine Mutiny is Herman Wouk's boldly dramatic, brilliantly entertaining novel of life—and mutiny—on a Navy warship in the Pacific theater. It was immediately embraced upon its original publication as one of the first serious works of American fiction to grapple with the moral complexities and the human consequences of the Second World War. In the intervening half century, this gripping story has become a perennial favorite, selling millions throughout the world, and claiming the Pulitzer Prize for fiction.
"Even Better than the Movie"