No catches, no fine print just unadulterated book loving, with your favourite books saved to your own digital bookshelf.
New members get entered into our monthly draw to win £100 to spend in your local bookshop Plus lots lots more…Find out more
Browse audiobooks by Karen E. Bender, listen to samples and when you're ready head over to Audiobooks.com where you can get 3 FREE audiobooks on us
A Town of Empty Rooms presents the story of Serena and Dan Shine, estranged from one another as they separately grieve over the recent loss of Serena's father and Dan's older brother. Serena's actions cause the couple and their two small children to be banished from New York City, and they settle in the only town that will offer Dan employment: Waring, North Carolina. There, in the Bible belt of America, Serena becomes enmeshed with the small Jewish congregation in town led by an esoteric rabbi, whose increasingly erratic behavior threatens the future of his flock. Dan and their young son are drawn into the Boy Scouts by their mysterious and vigilant neighbor, who may not have their best intentions at heart. Tensions accrue when matters of faith, identity, community, and family all fall into the crosshairs of contemporary, small-town America. A Town of Empty Rooms presents a fascinating insight into the lengths we will go to discover just where we belong.Show more
A tour de force of literary craft and emotional resonance, Like Normal People charts a family constellation that revolves around an off-kilter center: Lena, who is forty-eight but mentally locked in childhood. Moving deftly between present and past, the novel follows Lena's day-long escape from her residential home with her troubled twelve-year-old niece. While this odd couple takes refuge on a honky-tonk southern California beach, Lena's widowed mother, Ella, goes in search of them. In the process, Ella relives her own life's dreams and disappointments: her marriage to a sweet, loving shoe salesman; her discovery of Lena's handicap and her aching attempts to give her daughter a "normal" childhood. For so long, Lena has been the focus of Ella's world. When Lena at last finds approximate normalcy - by marrying a man much like herself - Ella must contend with letting her daughter go. Covering three entire lifetimes in the course of one day, Like Normal People is tender, often hilarious, and deeply moving. Bender brilliantly enters into the consciousness of three women at very different stages of life, each on a private search for love and acceptance. Like Normal People is a novel about desire, about what constitutes normality, and, most poignantly, about the ways in which a family finds its strength in the face of adversity.Show more
We think about it every day, sometimes every hour: Money. Who has it. Who doesn't. How you get it. How you don't. In Refund, Bender creates an award-winning collection of stories that deeply explore the ways in which money and the estimation of value affect the lives of her characters. The stories in Refund reflect our contemporary world-swindlers, reality show creators, desperate artists, siblings, parents - who try to answer the question: What is the real definition of worth? In "Theft," an eighty-year-old swindler, accustomed to tricking people for their money, boards a cruise ship to see if she can find something of true value-a human connection. In "Anything for Money," the creator of a reality show is thrown into the real world when his estranged granddaughter reenters his life in need of a new heart; and in the title story, young artist parents in downtown Manhattan escape the attack on 9/11 only to face a battle over their subletted apartment with a stranger who might have lost more than only her deposit. Set in contemporary America, these stories herald a work of singular literary merit by an important writer at the height of her power.Show more