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"
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."
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"
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"
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"
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"
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""
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"
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."
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!"
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!"
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."
Thirty days. That's all Adam Steinbeck demands of his wife. Thirty days in a remote cottage, doing everything he demands. After that, he'll sign her divorce papers and give her their company. That's how long he has to rediscover the man he once was. The dominant master he hid when he fell in love with her five years before.
"THIS DUET IS BETTER THAN EBONY & IVORY"
In a scrap heap within an abandoned factory, the greatest invention in history lies dormant and unused. By what fatal error of judgment has its value gone unrecognized, its brilliant inventor punished rather than rewarded for his efforts? In defense of those greatest of human qualities that have made civilization possible, one man sets out to show what would happen to the world if all the heroes of innovation and industry went on strike.
"A true classic! 'Who is John Galt?'"
As teenagers, Ifemelu and Obinze fall in love in a Nigeria under military dictatorship. The self-assured Ifemelu departs for America, where Obinze hopes to join her, but post-9/11 America will not let him in, and he plunges into a dangerous, undocumented life in London. Fifteen years later, after so long apart and so many changes, will they find the courage to meet again, face to face?
"Dazzling, Romantic, and Witty"
Nearly two weeks early, on March 3, 1947, in the maternity ward of Beth Israel Hospital in Newark, New Jersey, Archibald Isaac Ferguson, the one and only child of Rose and Stanley Ferguson, is born. From that single beginning, Ferguson's life will take four simultaneous and independent fictional paths. Four identical Fergusons made of the same DNA, four boys who are the same boy, go on to lead four parallel and entirely different lives. Family fortunes diverge. Athletic skills and sex lives and friendships and intellectual passions contrast.
"A great work"
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.
Sons begins where The Good Earth ended: revolution is sweeping through China. Wang Lung is on his deathbed in the house of his fathers, and his three sons stand ready to inherit his hard-won estate. One son has taken the family's wealth for granted and become a landlord; another is a thriving merchant and moneylender; and the youngest, an ambitious general, is destined to be a leader in the country.
A prostitute takes shelter with a group of young anarchists. A sister goes missing, mailing a trail of encoded postcards from destinations across the globe. The daughters of a Montreal bagel-shop owner navigate the tricky terrain of being young, Sikh, and female, one growing larger while the other fades. A woman watches with lust and longing as the object of her affections, her pregnant roommate, is pursued by an unsavory suitor.
Tom Brackett has created the perfect world for himself. He has a good job, a perpetually supportive wife, two kids, a mini-van, and even a golden retriever. But then, his mental instability causes him to commit a terrifying act of violence.
Zachariah and Rachel Wolff are brother and sister. Well, not exactly. They are star-crossed lovers. Well, not exactly. Rachel is the cherished daughter born to a Russian family living in London, and Zachariah is her parents' adopted son, who arrived from the orphanage with one jumper, a head of rambunctious curls, and a dexterous set of fists, or fives, as he likes to call them. As children, Rachel and Zach were as close as two people could be. But when they crossed this forbidden line, there was no going back.
In the winter of 1968, a young woman named Harriet disappears outside of Denver. Soon after, her father dies mysteriously. The family's three remaining sons - Wayne, Roy, and Conrad - grow increasingly distant as the specters of murder, family, and suspicion loom. As the brothers grow older, they learn that loss comes in many forms - in absence and silence, and in death. Decades later, Wayne's only child confronts the brothers, uncovering long-buried resentments that have plagued the family for generations.
The Road at My Door follows protagonist Reese Cavanaugh on a dark journey to save her family without destroying herself. Set against the backdrop of the Cold War and the sexual revolution, Mohr examines cultural forces shaping family life in a decade of upheaval. Road is a perfect storm of conflicting needs and beliefs about love of self, love of another, fast-changing attitudes about sex, and the toxicity of family secrets.
"The Road at My Door is a beautiful book"
Kimani reimagines the rise and fall of colonialism in Africa by telling the story of the birth of Kenya's railroad. Set in the shadow of Kenya's independence from Great Britain, Dance of the Jakaranda reimagines the rise and fall of colonialism and the special circumstances that brought black, brown, and white men together to lay the railroad that heralded the birth of the nation.
Twelve hundred British soldiers isolated on the small island of Kheros off the Turkish coast, waiting to die. Twelve hundred lives in jeopardy, lives that could be saved if only the guns could be silenced. The guns of Navarone, vigilant, savage and catastrophically accurate. Navarone itself, grim bastion of narrow straits manned by a mixed garrison of Germans and Italians, an apparently impregnable iron fortress.
Can you define your life by a single song? Adam Sharp - former pianist in a hip Melbourne bar, now a respectable IT consultant in Norwich - can. And it's 'You're Going to Lose That Girl'.... On the cusp of 50 and a happy introvert, Adam is content. He's the music expert at his local pub quiz, and he and his partner, Claire, rumble along. Life may not be rock n' roll, but neither is it easy listening. Yet something has always felt off-key.
Dan's life has fallen apart at the seams. He's lost his house and his job, and now he's going to lose his family, too. All he's ever wanted is to keep them together, but is everything beyond repair? Maria is drowning in grief. She spends her days writing letters that will never be answered. Nights are spent trying to hold terrible memories at bay, to escape the pain that threatens to engulf her. Jack wakes up confused and alone. He doesn't know who he is, how he got there, or why he finds himself on a deserted clifftop, but will piecing together the past leave him a broken man?
Cyril Avery is not a real Avery, or at least that's what his adoptive parents tell him. And he never will be. But if he isn't a real Avery, then who is he? Born out of wedlock to a teenage girl cast out from her rural Irish community and adopted by a well-to-do if eccentric Dublin couple via the intervention of a hunchbacked Redemptorist nun, Cyril is adrift in the world, anchored only tenuously by his heartfelt friendship with the infinitely more glamourous and dangerous Julian Woodbead.
On a street in a town in the North of England, ordinary people are going through the motions of their everyday existence - street cricket, barbecues, painting windows.... A young man is in love with a neighbour who does not even know his name. An old couple make their way up to the nearby bus stop. But then a terrible event shatters the quiet of the early summer evening. That this remarkable and horrific event is only poignant to those who saw it means that those who witness it will be altered forever.
Out of Practice is based around a large country medical practice, which proves to be a hotbed of rivalry, resentment and romance - and that's just the doctors. Think James Herriot meets House.
Hame, n. Scottish form of 'home': a valued place regarded as a refuge or place of origin. In the wake of the breakdown of her relationship, Mhairi McPhail dismantles her life in New York and moves with her nine-year-old daughter, Agnes, to the remote Scottish island of Fascaray. Mhairi has been commissioned to write a biography of the late Bard of Fascaray, Grigor McWatt, a cantankerous poet with an international reputation. But who was Grigor McWatt?
Long-listed for the Man Booker Prize. David Carter cannot help but wish for more: that his wife, Eleanor, would be the sparkling girl he once found so irresistible; that his job as a museum curator could live up to the promise it once held; that his daughter's arrival could have brought him closer to Eleanor. But a few careless words spoken by his mother's friend have left David restless with the knowledge that his whole life has been constructed around a lie.
When Zoe's husband Ed dies, her world caves in. But what if Zoe can get Ed back? You find your soulmate.... Some people stare love in the face for years before they find it. Zoe and Ed fumbled their way into adulthood, both on different paths - but always in the same direction. Years later, having navigated dead-end jobs and chaotic house shares, romance finally blossoms. Their future together looks set.... Then the unthinkable happens.
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.
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.
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"
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"
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"
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"
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.
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""
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....
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"
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..."
Paul Auster's signature work, The New York Trilogy, consists of three interlocking novels: City of Glass, Ghosts, and The Locked Room - haunting and mysterious tales that move at the breathless pace of a thriller.
"The best audiobook I've heard"
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"
Kurt Vonnegut's first novel spins the chilling tale of engineer Paul Proteus, who must find a way to live in a world dominated by a supercomputer and run completely by machines. Paul's rebellion is vintage Vonnegut - wildly funny, deadly serious, and terrifyingly close to reality.
"Not Vonnegut's best effort."