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60+ Novels to Bring You Back to Nature

From action adventures that see characters battle elemental forces of nature, to eco-themed dystopian novels, to comfort reads set in the countryside, the natural world looms large in many world-class novels. Think the menace of the moors in Wuthering Heights. The omnipresent influence of the river in The Mill on the Floss. The entwining of environment and character in Thomas Hardy’s novels. The tropical forests and encroaching mountains of Wide Sargasso Sea

For historic fiction with added environmental atmosphere, Eowyn Ivey’s The Snow Child comes hugely recommended. Set in the Alaskan wilderness in the 1920s, it’s suffused in the otherworldliness of the Russian fairy tale that inspired it and sees a childless couple struggling with grief for their lost baby when a sparkle of soulful magic arrives with the first snowfall of winter. Or how about Elizabeth Gilbert’s The Signature of All Things? Set in the nineteenth-century, it follows the extraordinary journeys of a female botanist, taking in London, Peru and Tahiti along the way. Another historic gem that exudes the splendour of the natural world is Eva Ibbotson’s Journey to the River Sea. A classic of children’s literature, this Amazon-set adventure has the power to excite and charm readers of all ages - guaranteed.

If real-life stories are more your bag, try Beryl Bainbridge’s The Birthday Boys, an involving fictional account of Scott’s attempt to reach the South Pole. Ecologically-minded literary fiction fans would do well to try Maja Lunde’s The History of Bees, or Margaret Atwood’s Oryx and Crake. Then there’s the epic ride of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, an emotional father-and-son-story set in ravaged post-apocalyptic America.

Among my personal favourites are Nick Lake’s In Darkness, an enthralling novel that slips between the aftermath of the earthquake that devastated Haiti in 2010 and the 18th-century revolution spearheaded by Toussaint l’Ouverture, a visionary slave turned leader. A 2020 treat I can’t stop recommending is Sharks in the Time of Saviours. This majestically written family saga is infused with Hawaiian mythology, the power of the sea, and a sense of shifting landscape as the sugar cane industry declines.

If you fancy dipping into the natural world for a few moments at a time, try A Nature Poem for Every Day of the Year and its companion, A Nature Poem for Every Night of the Year. Beautifully curated (and presented), both collections include evocative nature-themed poems by esteemed heavyweights like Dickinson, Betjeman, Tennyson and Wordsworth alongside lesser-known writers.

All manner of nature and landscape await in the collection that follows - arctic tundra, humid jungles, strawberry-scented meadows, and much more besides. Read on to explore them all.

Wuthering Heights

Wuthering Heights

Author: Emily Brontë Format: Paperback Release Date: 30/01/2003

November 2012 Guest Editor Kate Mosse on Wuthering Heights... Powerful and elegiac, a novel of drama, passion and compelling characterisation. Most exceptional of all, though, the brilliance of Bronte’s descriptions of landscape and light on the Yorkshire Moors has had a major influence on my writing about southwest France.   One of Clare Balding's favourite books. Chosen by the public through a survey to coincide with the 10th birthday celebrations of World Book Day 2007, this title is one of ‘the ten books the nation can’t live without’. Have you read them all? Below are links to each title and position on the list. 1. Pride and Prejudice Jane Austen 2. The Lord of the Rings JRR Tolkien 3. Jane Eyre Charlotte Brontë 4. Harry Potter JK Rowling 5. To Kill a Mockingbird Harper Lee 6. The Bible 7. Wuthering Heights Emily Brontë 8. Nineteen Eighty-Four George Orwell 9. His Dark Materials Philip Pullman10. Great Expectations Charles Dickens Visit our '50 Classics Everyone Should Read' collection to discover more classic titles.

eBooks of the Month
The Mill on the Floss - Compact Editions

The Mill on the Floss - Compact Editions

Author: George Eliot Format: Paperback (b Format) Release Date: 03/05/2007

The story of a brother and sister who’s idyllic childhood is ended abruptly by the death of their father and how their lives fragment in the wake of adulthood and the path each of them takes. The cuts made in this edition are to lengthy descriptions and passages of dialogue and also to the authors own voice, although it has not been omitted.

eBooks of the Month
Far from the Madding Crowd

Far from the Madding Crowd

Author: Thomas Hardy Format: Paperback Release Date: 09/04/2015

Far From The Madding Crowd is a tale of loyalty, obsession and tragedy from a storytelling master. 2015 sees a major film release of probably Thomas Hardy's best novel, starring Carey Mulligan, Michael Sheen and Tom Sturridge.   The film version of Far from the Madding Crowd, is released in UK cinemas on Friday 1 May 2015. Click below to view the trailer.

eBooks of the Month
Tess of the D'Urbervilles

Tess of the D'Urbervilles

Author: Thomas Hardy Format: Paperback Release Date: 07/04/2011

One of Anne Michaels' favourite books. 'Why does Tess continue to move us?...One is Hardy's relentless compassion.  His characters are deeply human…and there is Tess herself, her lack of self-pity, her humility, her heorism…And of course, it is Hardy's writing, gloriously physical, full of passion and irony, humour and tenderness.'  You can read Anne Michaels' full Introduction to Tess of the D'Urbervilles in this Orange Inheritance edition published by Vintage.

eBooks of the Month
Oryx And Crake

Oryx And Crake

Author: Margaret Atwood Format: Paperback Release Date: 25/03/2004

Pigs might not fly but they are strangely altered. So, for that matter, are wolves and racoons. A man, once named Jimmy, lives in a tree, wrapped in old bedsheets, now calls himself Snowman. The voice of Oryx, the woman he loved, teasingly haunts him. And the green-eyed Children of Crake are, for some reason, his responsibility.

The Year of the Flood

The Year of the Flood

Author: Margaret Atwood Format: Paperback Release Date: 29/07/2010

This is essentially a follow up to Oryx and Crake tells the story of that world created there from a totally different perspective. It may help in some ways to have read the previous novel but it does read as a stand alone and is a fantastic and imaginative read from one of the best writers around.

eBooks of the Month
The Drowned World

The Drowned World

Author: J. G. Ballard, Martin Amis Format: Paperback Release Date: 10/09/2005

When London is lost beneath the rising tides, unconscious desires rush to the surface in this apocalyptic tale from the author of 'Crash' and 'Empire of the Sun', reissued here with a new introduction from Martin Amis. Fluctuations in solar radiation have melted the ice caps, sending the planet into a new Triassic Age of unendurable heat. London is a swamp; lush tropical vegetation grows up the walls of the Ritz and primeval reptiles are sighted, swimming through the newly-formed lagoons. Some flee the capital; others remain to pursue reckless schemes, either in the name of science or profit. While the submerged streets of London are drained in search of treasure, Dr Robert Kerans - part of a group of intrepid scientists - comes to accept this submarine city and finds himself strangely resistant to the idea of saving it. First published in 1962, Ballard's mesmerising and ferociously imaginative novel gained him widespread critical acclaim and established his reputation as one of Britain's finest writers of science fiction. This edition is part of a new commemorative series of Ballard's works, featuring introductions from a number of his admirers (including Robert Macfarlane, Martin Amis, James Lever and Ali Smith) and brand-new cover designs.

The Road

The Road

Author: Cormac Mccarthy Format: Paperback Release Date: 01/01/2010

January 2012 Guest Editor Simon Lelic selects The Road...   Technically and philosophically, this is probably not McCarthy’s best book. His masterpiece, probably, is Blood Meridian – although I also love Child of God. And Outer Dark. And . . . Well, everything else McCarthy has produced. But The Road, I would say, is my favourite of his novels, if only for the devastating portrait he paints of a father’s love for his son. I must have read this novel four or five times now (I’ve seen the film, too, but only once and never again). Devastatingly simple, yet dazzling in so many ways, this is the book I wish I had written.   A 2012 World Book Night selection.   Winner of The Pulitzer Prize for Fiction 2007.Once in a while a book comes along that is so powerful, so terrible and so beautiful that you are left staggered at its close.  This is one such.  A journey through a devastated, post-apocalyptic America that is both frightening and strangely hopeful.  It’s not an easy read but once embarked upon, it’s hard to draw away.  Father and son share their dreadful experiences and their love.  It has just won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and been chosen by Oprah Winfrey for her Book Club so it’s going to sell bucket-loads in America and deserves to do the same over here.Similar this month: None.Comparison: J G Ballard, J D Salinger.

eBooks of the Month
The Signature of All Things

The Signature of All Things

Author: Elizabeth Gilbert Format: Paperback Release Date: 03/07/2014

5 January 1800. At the beginning of a new century, Alma Whittaker is born into a perfect Philadelphia winter. Her father, Henry Whittaker, is a bold and charismatic botanical explorer whose vast fortune belies his lowly beginnings as a vagrant in Sir Joseph Banks's Kew Gardens and as a deck hand on Captain Cook's HMS Resolution. Alma's mother, a strict woman from an esteemed Dutch family, has a knowledge of botany equal to any man's. It is not long before Alma, an independent girl with a thirst for knowledge, comes into her own within the world of plants and science. But as her careful studies of moss take her deeper into the mysteries of evolution, the man she comes to love draws her in the opposite direction - into the realm of the spiritual, the divine and the magical. She is a clear-minded scientist; he is a Utopian artist. But what unites this couple is a shared passion for knowing - a desperate desire to understand the workings of this world and the mechanisms behind all of life. The Signature of All Things is a big novel, about a big century. It soars across the globe from London, to Peru, to Philadelphia, to Tahiti, to Amsterdam. Peopled with extraordinary characters - missionaries, abolitionists, adventurers, astronomers, sea captains, geniuses and the quite mad -above all it has an unforgettable heroine in Alma Whittaker, a woman of the Enlightened Age who stands defiantly on the cusp of the modern.

eBooks of the Month
Clade

Clade

Author: James Bradley Format: Paperback Release Date: 05/09/2017

From the author of bestselling Richard and Judy Book Club pick, The Resurrectionist, and one of The Guardian's top eco-fictions, comes a provocative, urgent novel about time, family and how a changing planet might transform our lives. On a beach in Antarctica, scientist Adam Leith marks the passage of the summer solstice. Back in Sydney his partner Ellie waits for the results of her latest round of IVF treatment. That result, when it comes, will change both their lives and propel them into a future neither could have predicted. In a collapsing England, Adam will battle to survive an apocalyptic storm. Against a backdrop of growing civil unrest at home, Ellie will discover a strange affinity with beekeeping. In the aftermath of a pandemic, a young man finds solace in building virtual recreations of the dead. And new connections will be formed from the most unlikely beginnings.

The History of Bees

The History of Bees

Author: Maja Lunde Format: Hardback Release Date: 07/09/2017

October 2017 Debut of the Month An outstanding feat of literary fiction in which three individuals - oceans and centuries apart - are indelibly connected by their devotion to beekeeping. This is speculative fiction at its smartest, and comes with a powerful message about the interconnectedness of life. In Hertfordshire, 1852, biologist and seed merchant William is creating a new kind of beehive he hopes will bestow great honour upon him and his children. With a skip forward to 2007, and a leap across the Atlantic to Ohio, we meet beekeeper George, who’s battling modern farming, while placing his hopes in his son’s hands. Then, in Sichuan, China in 2098, through Tao we witness a grim vision of a future in which the bees have disappeared, and so she painstakingly hand-paints pollen onto fruit trees. While the protagonists are very different people, leading very different lives, they share an elemental need to do the best for their children, and are driven by a deep-rooted impulse to fight and survive. At once sweeping, and intricately complex, this will make you see the world anew, and want to take action to make it better. ~ Joanne Owen

eBooks of the Month
In Darkness

In Darkness

Author: Nick Lake Format: Paperback Release Date: 03/01/2013

Survival is at the heart of the criss-crossing stories in this powerful time slip novel set in Haiti. Shorty, fifteen and living in desperate poverty in Site Solay, is trapped in rubble after the collapse of everything he knows in the Haitian earthquake. Dreaming and hallucinating as hunger and thirst take a grip, Shorty relives his own life and also travels back to a previous violent period in Haitian history when Toussaint l’Ouverture, the visionary real slave turned revolutionary led a revolt against the French occupying forces gaining control and freedom for the Haitians. Both stories are stirring and Nick Lake keeps the tension taut while also allowing his characters enough room to be convincing and moving.

eBooks of the Month
Ghosts of the Tsunami

Ghosts of the Tsunami

Author: Richard Lloyd Parry Format: Paperback Release Date: 17/05/2018

'A remarkable and deeply moving book' Henry Marsh, bestselling author of Do No Harm 'A breathtaking, extraordinary work of non-fiction' Times Literary Supplement On 11 March 2011, a massive earthquake sent a 120-foot-high tsunami smashing into the coast of north-east Japan. It was Japan's greatest single loss of life since the atomic bombing of Nagasaki. Richard Lloyd Parry, an award-winning foreign correspondent, lived through the earthquake in Tokyo, and spent six years reporting from the epicentre. Learning about the lives of those affected through their own personal accounts, he paints a rich picture of the impact the tsunami had on day to day Japanese life. Heart-breaking and hopeful, this intimate account of a tragedy unveils the unique nuances of Japanese culture, the tsunami's impact on Japan's stunning and majestic landscape and the psychology of its people. Ghosts of the Tsunami is an award-winning classic of literary non-fiction. It tells the moving, evocative story of how a nation faced an unimaginable catastrophe and rebuilt to look towards the future. **WINNER OF THE RATHBONES FOLIO PRIZE**

Pompeii

Pompeii

Author: Robert Harris Format: Paperback Release Date: 01/10/2009

Superb – there is no other word for it. The research, plotting, excitement and emotions are thrilling. His existing fans eagerly await it, and new readers will love it too.

eBooks of the Month
Catching the Sun

Catching the Sun

Author: Tony Parsons Format: Paperback Release Date: 07/06/2012

One of our Great Reads You May Have Missed in 2012. A new start for a family in the seedy beauty of Phuket in Thailand, set against man-made and natural disasters. Full of trademark Parsons characters that are fully formed, and totally absorbing. Great writing from a top flight author.   June 2012 Book of the Month and eBook of the Month.

eBooks of the Month
A Winter Book Selected Stories

A Winter Book Selected Stories

Author: Tove Jansson Format: Paperback Release Date: 01/11/2006

Following the widely acclaimed and bestselling The Summer Book, here is A Winter Book collection of some of Tove Jansson's best loved and most famous stories. Drawn from youth and older age, and spanning most of the twentieth century, this newly translated selection provides a thrilling showcase of the great Finnish writer's prose, scattered with insights and home truths. It has been selected and is introduced by Ali Smith. A Winter Book features 13 stories from Tove Jansson's first book for adults,The Sculptor's Daughter (1968) plus 7 of her most cherished later stories (from 1971 to 1996), translated into English and published here for the first time.

The Summer Book

The Summer Book

Author: Tove Jansson Format: Paperback Release Date: 29/05/2003

An elderly artist and her six-year-old grand-daughter while away a summer together on a tiny island in the gulf of Finland. As the two learn to adjust to each other's fears, whims and yearnings, a fierce yet understated love emerges - one that encompasses not only the summer inhabitants but the very island itself. Written in a clear, unsentimental style, full of brusque humour, and wisdom, The Summer Book is a profoundly life-affirming story.Tove Janssoncaptured much of her own life and spirit in the book, which was her favourite of her adult novels. This new edition, with a Foreword by Esther Freud, sees the return of a European literary gem - fresh, authentic and deeply humane.

Wide Sargasso Sea

Wide Sargasso Sea

Author: Jean Rhys, Andrea Ashworth Format: Hardback Release Date: 06/10/2016

Inspired by Charlotte Bronte, Jean Rhys turns one of her stories on its head and creates an absolute masterpiece in her sublimely crisp reimaging of Jane Eyre. Through making Bertha, the "madwoman in the attic", her narrator, Rhys makes and powerful statement about agency, and who gets to have their story told.    Born into the oppressive, colonialist society of 1930s Jamaica, white Creole heiress Antoinette Cosway meets a young Englishman who is drawn to her innocent beauty and sensuality. After their marriage, however, disturbing rumours begin to circulate which poison her husband against her. Caught between his demands and her own precarious sense of belonging, Antoinette is inexorably driven towards madness, and her husband into the arms of another novel's heroine. This classic study of betrayal, a seminal work of postcolonial literature, is Jean Rhys' brief, beautiful masterpiece. Read our 'Book-aneers of the Caribbean' listicle to find more unforgettable books by Caribbean writers. Visit our 'Women's Words - 60+ works of feminist-minded fiction' to explore our collection of feminist-minded fiction from around the world, and across centuries.

The Mermaid of Black Conch

The Mermaid of Black Conch

Author: Monique Roffey Format: Paperback Release Date: 02/04/2020

From the author of The White Woman on the Green Bicycle and Archipelago comes what might be Monique Roffey’s most ambitious and accomplished novel yet. It’s a feat of invention – a brilliant interweaving of mermaid myth and the effects of colonial legacies on modern life. The time and place is 1976 in a small fishing village on the island of Black Conch. David is out strumming his guitar, hoping for a catch when he attracts the attention of Aycaycia, a beautiful woman whom jealous wives cursed to live as a mermaid. Some weeks later Aycaycia is caught by American tourists out on a fishing trip. Seen as source of cash, she’s strung up by them, then rescued by David. While in his care, she begins to transform back into a woman.  Blending myth and history, magic and reality, this multi-voiced, multi-textured novel (it features journal excerpts and verse) tells a rich tale of love, jealousy and freedom, exposing racism, oppression and gender inequalities through its otherworldly cloak. Read our 'Book-aneers of the Caribbean' listicle to find more unforgettable books by Caribbean writers. Visit our 'Women's Words - 60+ works of feminist-minded fiction' to explore our collection of feminist-minded fiction from around the world, and across centuries.

Audiobooks of the Month
The Birthday Boys

The Birthday Boys

Author: Beryl Bainbridge Format: Paperback Release Date: 03/09/2009

A brilliantly realized evocation of the thoughts and voices of Captain Scott and the four men with him, who suffered extraordinary hardships before finally dying during their 1912 attempt to be the first to reach the South Pole. 'A whole lost era of fantastic courage, determination, idealism, curiosity, boyish foolishness and class mores is brought brilliantly and touchingly back by Bainbridge's penetrating psychological acumen and her superb scene and action painting...A masterly achievement, not to be missed by anyone who cherishes a strong, meaningful story beautifully told' Publishers Weekly The Birthday Boys is one of Beryl Bainbridge's most acclaimed novels, telling the story of Scott's doomed expedition through the voices of five men on the voyage. As Scott, Petty Officer Taff Evans, ship's doctor Dr Edward Wilson, Lieutenant Henry Bowers and Captain Lawrence Oates step forward for their place in the narrative, the reader is gripped by the the characters themselves alongside the vividly evoked period.

Quarantine

Quarantine

Author: Jim Crace, Stuart Evers Format: Paperback Release Date: 18/06/2015

With an introduction by Stuart Evers So this is happiness, she thought. Or this, at least, is what adds up to happiness. The prospect of never running after men and camels any more, of being Miri without shame or hesitation, of letting drop her headscarf for a change so that nothing intervened between her and the sky. Five travellers venture into the Judean wilderness in search of redemption. Instead, amidst the barren rocks, they are met by a dangerous man, Musa, and fall under his dark influence. As the unforgiving days and bitter nights erode their resolve, it becomes clear that one among them will go further than the rest: a fervent, solitary figure, he denies the temptations of his neighbours, and, ultimately, the needs of his own body. Quarantine, Jim Crace's provocative retelling of Jesus' forty day fast in the desert, won the Whitbread novel of the year and was shortlisted for the Booker Prize. Moving and fascinating in equal measure, this is a classic that tampers with tradition, a stunningly realised novel from one of the great writers of our time.

The Sheltering Sky

The Sheltering Sky

Author: Paul Bowles, Paul Theroux Format: Paperback Release Date: 29/01/2004

'The Sheltering Sky is a book about people on the edge of an alien space; somewhere where, curiously, they are never alone' Michael Hoffman. Port and Kit Moresbury, a sophisticated American couple, are finding it more than a little difficult to live with each other. Endeavouring to escape this predicament, they set off for North Africa intending to travel through Algeria - uncertain of exactly where they are heading, but determined to leave the modern world behind. The results of this casually taken decision are both tragic and compelling.

Train Dreams

Train Dreams

Author: Denis Johnson Format: Paperback Release Date: 04/07/2013

Robert Grainier is a day labourer in the American West at the start of the twentieth century - an ordinary man in extraordinary times. Buffeted by the loss of his family, Grainier struggles to make sense of this strange new world. As his story unfolds, we witness both his shocking personal defeats and the radical changes that transform America in his lifetime. Suffused with the history and landscapes of the American West - its otherworldly flora and fauna, its rugged loggers and bridge-builders - Train Dreams captures the disappearance of a distinctly American way of life.

My Antonia

My Antonia

Author: Willa Cather Format: Paperback Release Date: 11/12/2008

  May 2010 Good Housekeeping selection.   On My Bookshelf by Nicci French... I read and re-read My Antonia by Willa Cather, and have passed it on to family and friends. It tells the story of poverty-stricken immigrant families living on the wild plains of Nebraska, and particularly of Antonia, a spirited and generous girl from Bohemia. Fabulous and good for the soul.

eBooks of the Month
The Giver of Stars

The Giver of Stars

Author: Jojo Moyes Format: Paperback Release Date: 16/06/2020

Alice had come halfway across the world to find that, yet again, she was considered wanting. Well, she thought, if that was what everyone thought, she might as well live up to it.' England, late 1930s, and Alice Wright - restless, stifled - makes an impulsive decision to marry wealthy American Bennett Van Cleve and leave her home and family behind. But stuffy, disapproving Baileyville, Kentucky, where her husband favours work over his wife and is dominated by his overbearing father, is not the adventure - or the escape - that she hoped for. That is, until she meets Margery O'Hare, a troublesome woman - and daughter of a notorious felon - the town wishes to forget. Margery's on a mission to spread the wonder of books and reading to the poor and lost - and she needs Alice's help. Trekking alone under big open skies, through wild mountain forests, Alice, Margery and their fellow sisters of the trail discover freedom, friendship - and a life to call their own. But when Baileyville turns against them, will their belief in one another - and the power of the written word - be enough to save them? Inspired by a remarkable true story, The Giver of Stars features five incredible women who will prove to be every bit as beloved as Lou Clark, the unforgettable heroine of Me Before You. 

Audiobooks of the Month
Barkskins

Barkskins

Author: Annie Proulx Format: Paperback Release Date: 11/04/2017

For the readership, this is a huge historical novel to immerse yourself in.  A dramatic, violent, absorbing, long read for which you need to put aside serious time to devour.  You will find it difficult to put down.  Charting the lives of two families, the Sels and the Duquets from 1693 to 2013, it tells of the rape of the Canadian natural resources, namely timber and fur but predominantly timber.  Hard men made fortunes with little regard for anything but power and wealth, certainly not for their workers’ lives or limbs.  The first of the immigrant Sels married an Indian; their offspring are then trapped between two cultures.  As you would expect, there is a huge number of characters for characters is what Proulx is all about.  This is a truly impressive work detailing the destruction of the forests to the point of ecological disaster.

eBooks of the Month
The Shipping News

The Shipping News

Author: Annie Proulx Format: Paperback Release Date: 01/08/1994

  May 2010 Good Housekeeping selection.   On My Bookshelf by Nicci French...I have never met anyone who has read E Annie Proulx’s The Shipping News and not fallen in love with it. It has an odd cast of characters, awkward, bruised, unnoticed and failed. Without a drop of sentimentality, it is a miracle of storytelling.’   The Lovereading view... This novel has become a modern classic and deservedly so. Telling the story of  Quoyle, who on the death of his wife moves the farthest reaches of Newfoundland. Tear and laughter abound in this story of a man trying to piece his life back together in the harsh but beautiful backdrop of Newfoundland. If you have yet to discover the joys of this novel rush and buy your copy now.

eBooks of the Month
The Mountain Can Wait

The Mountain Can Wait

Author: Sarah Leipciger Format: Paperback Release Date: 10/03/2016

March 2016 Debut of the Month. Simply captivating and beautiful, there is a raw honesty to ‘The Mountain Can Wait’ that whispers encouragement for hearts and minds to open. Set in the wilds of British Columbia and focusing on Tom and Curtis, the two men in a family, this is a novel that touches difficult subjects with straightforward sincerity and sensitivity. The characters feel entirely real, their mistakes don't fuel the story, instead it is their reactions, their decisions and relationship with their surroundings. Sarah Leipciger writers with a neat, almost functional hand, yet descriptions are powerful and evocative. When tragedy hits, when lives change in an instant, who can we trust to hold our hand? This is a sharply poignant story that spoke to my soul, it wasn't loud or abrasive, instead it tiptoed under my skin, and I loved it.

eBooks of the Month
Where the Crawdads Sing

Where the Crawdads Sing

Author: Delia Owens Format: Paperback Release Date: 12/12/2019

Crossing genres in style, this just has to be one of my favourite novels of the year. Set in the marshlands of North Carolina, the majority of this story takes place in the 1950’s and 60’s. The prologue begins in 1969 with the body of Chase Andrews being found in the marsh. The first paragraph of the prologue introduces surprising beauty, the marsh simply sings, it settled into my mind and became a part of me. The central character is Kya, we meet her as a child, and the truth of her life is immediately apparent. As the novel moves backwards and forwards in time, Kya emerges as the Marsh Girl, and suspicion begins to hound her after the body is found. Author Delia Owens is a wildlife scientist who has worked in Africa and written non-fiction, this is her debut novel. Descriptions entered my mind in wafting movement, I fell in love with the marsh and the girl who lived there. Where the Crawdads Sing is truly touching, almost hauntingly beautiful, and opens a doorway to a different world. It has been chosen as a LoveReading Star Book and a Liz Robinson Pick of the Month.

Star Books
Tidelands

Tidelands

Author: Philippa Gregory Format: Paperback Release Date: 20/02/2020

Awash with atmosphere, passion and suspense, this first novel in a new series by the mistress of popular historical fiction is an immersive, entertaining, feminist-spirited feast. Impoverished midwife and herbalist healer Alinor goes to a graveyard on Midsummer Eve wondering if she might find the ghost of her missing abusive husband. Instead she encounters James, a wealthy, handsome man who will change the course of her life. With England in the throes of civil war, James is a fugitive and Alinor puts herself at risk to take him across the dangerous marsh to his place of sanctuary. James cannot comprehend meeting “a woman like you in a place like this”, words that ignite Alinor’s heart and soul through her otherwise bleak existence: “I am bound as a tenant to a neglectful lord and I cannot leave. I am wife to a vanished man and cannot marry, and I am sister to the ferryman and he will never carry me across to the mainland and set me free”.  While helping James does lift Alinor from the mire, the tongues of local gossip women and bawdy men are set wagging, threatening her very existence and her daughter’s shot at a new life, and wise Alinor knows only too well that “no woman is innocent… Everything is our fault: sin and death are at our door, from now to Judgment Day”. The love story and evocation of time and place are utterly enthralling but, most of all, this is a dazzlingly compelling portrait of a complex, dignified woman standing strong and proud against the cruel confines of her class and sex.   Visit our 'Women's Words - 60+ works of feminist-minded fiction' to explore our collection of feminist-minded fiction from around the world, and across centuries.

Books of the Month
Once Upon a River

Once Upon a River

Author: Bonnie Jo Campbell Format: Paperback Release Date: 25/10/2012

After the violent death of her father, in which she is complicit, Margo takes to the Stark River in her boat, with only a few supplies and a biography of Annie Oakley, in search of her vanished mother. But the river, Margo's childhood paradise, is a dangerous place for a young woman travelling alone, and she must be strong to survive, using her knowledge of the natural world and her ability to look unsparingly into the hearts of those around her. Her river odyssey through rural Michigan becomes a defining journey, one that leads her beyond self-preservation and to deciding what price she is willing to pay for her choices.

eBooks of the Month
Sharks in the Time of Saviours

Sharks in the Time of Saviours

Author: Kawai Strong Washburn Format: Hardback Release Date: 02/04/2020

Ancient gods and the elemental spirit of an island are interwoven with modern reality in this remarkable debut that begins with a family impoverished by the decline of the sugar cane industry. In the pounding, poetic words of Augie, the father of the household: ”I was once the sugarcane. I was the cane and clacking and the sugar-sweet smoke of the reaping season.” Amidst escalating money struggles, a shiver of sharks save seven-year-old Nainoa from drowning, which the family embrace as a sign from Hawai’i’s ancient gods, especially when Nainoa also seems to have been bestowed with healing powers. Throughout the writing is majestically powerful, from punch-packing phrases that slam you in the gut, to monumental descriptions that rise, crash, roar and swell like Big Island waves, not least when life unravels again after Nainoi – now a young adult - and his siblings leave the island for various parts of the USA. Sister Kaui captures one of the novel’s core themes when, relocated to San Diego, she speaks of being, “A person of here and there, and not belonging in either place.” Meanwhile, in Portland, struggling with his healing gift, and the failings of this gift, Nainoa recalls the shark incident and memories call to him: “Home. Come home.” With its sweeping sense of myth, this multi-voiced family saga is a brilliant, involving exposition of how the places we inhabit also inhabit us at bone-deep level. It rings and rages with the wrath, revival, healing and hope of its characters. Head to our 'Black Lit Matters' list to find more must-read novels by black writers.

Debut Books of the Month
Moby Dick

Moby Dick

Author: Herman Melville Format: Paperback Release Date: 03/05/2007

Moby Dick  covers subjects such as racism, hierarchical relationships, politics, good and evil. None of this is lost in the Compact Edition. What have been cut are lengthy descriptions of whaling history and whales and some philosophical observations and reflections. Still an allegorical epic though.

eBooks of the Month
The River

The River

Author: Peter Heller Format: Paperback Release Date: 28/04/2020

Two friends Wynn and Jack have been best friends since their first day of college, brought together by their shared love the great outdoors. The adventure of a lifetime When they decide to canoe down the Maskwa River in northern Canada, they anticipate the ultimate wilderness experience: no phones, no fellow travellers, no way of going back. A wild ride But as a wildfire starts to make its way towards them, their trip becomes a desperate race for survival. And when a man suddenly appears, claiming his wife has vanished, the fight against the raging flames becomes a much deadlier game of cat and mouse.

Life of Pi

Life of Pi

Author: Yann Martel Format: Paperback Release Date: 18/08/2011

Winner of the Man Booker Prize 2002. One boy, one boat, one tiger bobbing around on a lifeboat in the Pacific...and yet it's so much more than that.  It really is even now nearly 10 years after it won the Booker Prize, an utterly unique story, brilliantly told with a tension that will almost engulf the reader and an ending you're not expecting.

eBooks of the Month
Prodigal Summer

Prodigal Summer

Author: Barbara Kingsolver Format: Paperback Release Date: 11/04/2013

Prodigal Summer weaves together three stories of human love within a larger tapestry of lives inhabiting the forested mountains and struggling small farms of southern Appalachia.  

eBooks of the Month
Flight Behaviour

Flight Behaviour

Author: Barbara Kingsolver Format: Paperback Release Date: 18/04/2013

May 2013 Book of the Month. Winner of the Orange Prize for Fiction in 2010 and on the shortlist for the Women's Prize for Fiction 2013. A topical, engrossing and thought-provoking read exploring how the unexpected arrival of millions of Monarch butterflies, due to climate change, in a poor rural area of America has profound effects on a whole community and in particular a discontented woman trapped in a loveless marriage dreaming of escape. Kingsolver, winner of the Orange Prize for Fiction in 2010 with The Lacuna and currently on the shortlist for the same prize with The Poisonwood Bible in 2013 has a real talent for getting you right inside her characters' lives and this is no exception in the poetically written and well researched Flight Behaviour.

eBooks of the Month
The Baron in the Trees

The Baron in the Trees

Author: Italo Calvino Format: Hardback Release Date: 28/01/2019

A gorgeous new edition of a playful, romantic fable by one of the twentieth century's master storytellers. From the age of twelve, the Baron Cosimo Piovasco di Rondo makes his home among ash, elm, magnolia, plum and almond, living up in the trees. He walks through paths made from the twisted branches of olive, makes his bed in a holly oak, bathes in a fountain constructed from poplar bark. An aerial library holds the books with which he educates himself in philosophy and mathematics. Suspended among the leaves, the Baron adventures with bandits and pirates, conducts a passionate love affair, and watches the Age of Enlightenment pass by beneath him.

Dark Tides

Dark Tides

Author: Philippa Gregory Format: Paperback Release Date: 24/11/2020

Continuing the immersive, suspenseful story began in Tidelands, Philippa Gregory’s Dark Tides is a sweeping family saga that takes in the poverty and wealth of Restoration London, decadence and distrust in Venice, and hope and unrest in the New World. It’s 1670, 21 years after the events of Tidelands, and Alinor now runs a humble wharf warehouse in London with her daughter Alys, while her grandchildren Sarah and Johnnie are apprenticed to trades. The arrival of two visitors shakes their existence. Firstly, James, Alinor’s former lover who once failed her and now comes offering to share his wealth. And secondly beautiful Venetian Livia, widower of Alinor’s beloved son Rob, who comes in a whirlwind of glamour and ambition. While Livia and Alys form a close bond, and Livia promises to transform their lives if they’ll help her transport valuable antiquities from Venice, wise woman Alinor doesn’t believe Rob is dead, and so sends Sarah across the seas to discover the truth. Thousands of miles away, in the New World, Alinor’s ferryman brother Ned isn’t enjoying the new life he’d hoped for. A former New Model Army infantryman, he’d hoped “to get away from all the money-making and grabbing from each other.” Unlike his fellow Britons, he’s respectful of Native Americans, and with growing conflict between indigenous communities and the settlers, Ned might have to choose a side. I especially enjoyed Sarah’s sojourn in Venice - her voyage of discovery in this “city of spies” where “imaginings can come to life” takes as many twists as the tangled streets of Venice itself. She’s a fabulously adventurous character, determined not to “get stuck here, hoping for a man to rescue me." The narratives of London, Venice and America unfold with delectable drama, driven by the characters’ desires, and underpinned by a tremendous sense of time and place.

Books of the Month
Shadow Country

Shadow Country

Author: Peter Matthiessen Format: Paperback Release Date: 11/12/2020

Inspired by a near-mythic event of the wild Florida frontier at the turn of the twentieth century, Shadow Country reimagines the legend of the inspired Everglades sugar planter and notorious outlaw E. J. Watson, who drives himself to his own violent end at the hands of his neighbours. His son Lucius investigates the killing which has come to obsess him. In this bold new rendering of the Watson trilogy Matthiessen has deepened the insights and motivations of his characters, consolidating his fictional masterwork into a poetic, compelling novel of a monumental scope and ambition, with breathtaking accomplishment.

In The Shadow Of The Banyan

In The Shadow Of The Banyan

Author: Vaddey Ratner Format: Paperback Release Date: 06/06/2013

For seven-year-old Raami, the shattering end of childhood begins with the footsteps of her father returning home in the early dawn hours bringing details of the civil war that has overwhelmed the streets of Phnom Penh, Cambodia's capital. Soon the family's world of carefully guarded royal privilege is swept up in the chaos of revolution and forced exodus. Over the next four years, as she endures the deaths of family members, starvation, and brutal forced labour, Raami clings to the only remaining vestige of childhood - the mythical legends and poems told to her by her father. In a climate of systematic violence where memory is sickness and justification for execution, Raami fights for her improbable survival. Displaying the author's extraordinary gift for language, In the Shadow of the Banyanis testament to the transcendent power of narrative and a brilliantly wrought tale of human resilience.

The Snow Child

The Snow Child

Author: Eowyn Ivey Format: Hardback Release Date: 01/02/2012

Winner of the Specsavers National Book Awards 'International Author of the Year' 2012. A bewitching tale of heartbreak and hope set in 1920s Alaska. Jack and Mabel have staked everything on making a fresh start for themselves in a homestead 'at the world's edge' in the raw Alaskan wilderness. But as the days grow shorter, Jack is losing his battle to clear the land, and Mabel can no longer contain her grief for the baby she lost many years before. The evening the first snow falls, their mood unaccountably changes. In a moment of tenderness, the pair are surprised to find themselves building a snowman - or rather a snow girl - together. The next morning, all trace of her has disappeared, and Jack can't quite shake the notion that he glimpsed a small figure - a child? - running through the spruce trees in the dawn light. And how to explain the little but very human tracks Mabel finds at the edge of their property? Written with the clarity and vividness of the Russian fairytale from which it takes its inspiration, The Snow Child is an instant classic - the story of a couple who take a child into their hearts, all the while knowing they can never truly call her their own.

eBooks of the Month
Days of Anger

Days of Anger

Author: Sylvie Germain Format: Paperback Release Date: 20/10/1993

Deep in the forests of Moran, far from civilization, live families of woodcutters and shepherds. A remote and beautiful world, it is a place where madness still reigns, murder occurs, and bloody punishments are delivered. What has happened to the body of the sensual and beautiful Catherine Corvol, wife of a rich landowner, killed not out of hatred but an excess of love? Around this central enigma, Germain has created a gothic enchantment, a dazzling rural fantasy rich in angels, obsession, and revenge where the reader is carried forward as much by the lyricism and strangeness of the language as by the macabre and fantastic turns of the plot.

The Darling Buds of May

The Darling Buds of May

Author: H.E. Bates Format: Paperback Release Date: 30/11/2006

August 2010 Guest Editor Veronica Henry on The Darling Buds of May... The Larkins are a total contrast to the Corleones, but equally compelling. The characters and the setting are so wonderfully vivid – you can taste actually taste the strawberries and feel the sun on your back.  And Ma Larkin is the ultimate domestic goddess –Bates’ descriptions of her legendary feasts leave your mouth watering.

eBooks of the Month
Cider With Rosie

Cider With Rosie

Author: Laurie Lee Format: Paperback Release Date: 05/09/2002

The classic evocative tale of an idyllic childhood in the English countryside Cider with Rosie is a wonderfully vivid memoir of childhood in a remote Cotswold village, a village before electricity or cars, a timeless place on the verge of change. Growing up amongst the fields and woods and characters of the place, Laurie Lee depicts a world that is both immediate and real and belongs to a now-distant past. 'Remains as fresh and full of joy and gratitude for youth and its sensations as when it first appeared. It sings in the memory' Sunday Times

Thrush Green

Thrush Green

Author: Miss Read Format: Paperback (b Format) Release Date: 01/02/2007

Thrush Green is the neighbouring village to Fairacre which leads to a whole new set of characters for us to enjoy. The first novel in the series is set on one particular May Day when the fair has come to the village. This is a great introduction to some new characters and a reminder of gentler times.

eBooks of the Month
On The Black Hill

On The Black Hill

Author: Bruce Chatwin Format: Paperback Release Date: 03/12/1998

On the Black Hill is an elegantly written tale of identical twin brothers who grow up on a farm in rural Wales and never leave home. They till the rough soil and sleep in the same bed, touched only occasionally by the advances of the twentieth century. In depicting the lives of Benjamin and Lewis and their interactions with their small local community Chatwin comments movingly on the larger questions of human experience.

A Kestrel for a Knave

A Kestrel for a Knave

Author: Barry Hines Format: Paperback Release Date: 04/08/2016

The classic book that inspired Kes, the famous film, now published as a Penguin Essential for the first time. Barry Hines's A Kestrel for a Knave was published in 1968, and was made into one of the key British films of the sixties. Billy Casper is beaten by his drunken brother, ignored by his mother and failing at school. He seems destined for a hard, miserable life down the pits, but for a brief time, he finds one pleasure in life: a wild kestrel that he has raised and tamed himself.

Hungry Tide

Hungry Tide

Author: Amitav Ghosh Format: Paperback Release Date: 03/05/2005

Set amongst the islands and mangrove forests of the Bay of Bengal, an extraordinarily hostile place where the tides reach more than a hundred miles inland, people have eked out a living probably unchanged since time began.  Now the possibility of development threatens.  A big multi-layered Indian saga, rich, exotic, fascinating.Comparison: Tash Aw, Vikram Seth, Rani Manicka.Similar this month: None.

eBooks of the Month
Walkabout

Walkabout

Author: James Vance Marshall Format: Paperback Release Date: 02/07/2015

Walkabout is a survival story for children written by James Vance Marshall. Mary and her young brother Peter are the only survivors of an aircrash in the middle of the Australian outback. Facing death from exhaustion and starvation, they meet an aboriginal boy who helps them to survive, and guides them along their long journey. But a terrible misunderstanding results in a tragedy that neither Mary nor Peter will ever forget . . . Reissued in the 'A Puffin Book' series of Puffin modern classics for children, Walkabout has been continuously in print since its first publication over 50 years ago.

The Old Man and the Sea

The Old Man and the Sea

Author: Ernest Hemingway Format: Paperback Release Date: 04/01/1994

One of the greatest novels of the 20th century by one of the greatest writers in American history - THE BOOK THAT WON ERNEST HEMINGWAY THE NOBEL PRIZE FOR LITERATURE Set in the Gulf Stream off the coast of Havana, Hemingway's magnificent fable is the story of an old man, a young boy and a giant fish. Here, in a perfectly crafted story, is a unique and timeless vision of the beauty and grief of man's challenge to the elements in which he lives. Not a single word is superfluous in this widely admired masterpiece, which once and for all established his place as one of the giants of modern literature.

The Snows Of Kilimanjaro

The Snows Of Kilimanjaro

Author: Ernest Hemingway Format: Paperback Release Date: 04/03/2004

In these early Hemingway stories, which are partly autobiographical, men and women of passion live, fight, love and die in scenes of dramatic intensity. They range from haunting tragedy on the snow-capped peak of Kilimanjaro, to brutal America with its deceptive calm, and war-ravaged Europe.

Islands in the Stream

Islands in the Stream

Author: Ernest Hemingway Format: Paperback Release Date: 06/07/2017

Hemingway's last major novel, set in the Gulf Stream islands, captures the struggles of adult personal relationships in his consummate distinctive style. This is the last book Hemingway wrote before he died, the story of Thomas Hudson, an artist and adventurer. Living a bachelor's life on an island in the Gulf Stream during the thirties, Hudson's existence is dictated by the waves and tides. But when his sons come to visit, Hudson must grapple with the role of father and the unfamiliar demands of family. A late work by one of America's greatest writers.

The Faber Book of Beasts

The Faber Book of Beasts

Author: Paul Muldoon Format: Paperback Release Date: 19/10/1998

'The Faber Book of Beasts is a generous and intelligent round- up of old favourites, new juxtapositions, and poems we mightn't know about ... Will set heads shaking, as well as nodding with pleasure.' Independent William Wordsworth's 'To a Skylark' W.B. Yeats' 'Leda and the Swan' Elizabeth Bishop's 'The Moose' D.H. Lawrence's 'Bat' Marianne Moore's 'Elephants' William Blake's 'The Tyger' Gerard Manley Hopkins' 'The Windhover' Thom Gunn's 'The Snail' Seamus Heaney's 'Otter' John Donne's 'The Flea' Christopher Smart's 'My Cat Jeoffry' 'Baa Baa Black Sheep' From childhood rhymes to canonical classics, Homer to Ted Hughes, this eclectic poetry anthology celebrating the earth's creatures brims with beastly delights. Celebrated poet Paul Muldoon's bestiary shows that we are 'most human in the presence of animals', whether tame or wild, common or exotic, mammals or reptiles, real or imaginary - and the result is a must-read for animal-lovers of all ages everywhere. 'Animals bring the best out in us [and make] the best art ... Elephants, skunks, otters, hedgehogs and hippos feature in Muldoon's menagerie; how charming it is to observe how they nuzzle along together in his engaging anthology.' Irish Times

A Nature Poem for Every Day of the Year

A Nature Poem for Every Day of the Year

Author: Jane McMorland Hunter Format: Hardback Release Date: 04/10/2018

Wake up to the wonder of our countryside with this gorgeous book containing a nature poem for every day of the year. I adore this idea, in a world that is changing and becoming endangered in our lifetime, reading a poem a day about nature through the seasons helps to open our eyes to the importance of simple natural beauty and pleasures. The cover is a stunner, bold, simple colours catch the eye, the illustrations by Tatiana Boyko effectively highlight the introduction to each month contained within. The poems range from old to new, the poets from the well known such as William Blake, Percy Bysshe Shelley and Edgar Allan Poe, to those I hadn’t heard of, all of the poems connect with love to the natural world that surrounds us. Jane McMorland Hunter explains in her introduction that the poems are either in their entirety or reduced to an extract. The natural world is what is on show here, and an extract can, in essence, highlight the beauty of that with just a few simple lines such as Thomas Lovell Beddoes “A Lake Is a river curled and asleep like a snake”. Any extracts are explained, so you can easily search out the rest of the poem. A Nature Poem for Every Day of the Year is going to sit on my bedside table, I can’t wait to open it up each day, to reaffirm and celebrate my love for nature.

A Nature Poem for Every Night of the Year

A Nature Poem for Every Night of the Year

Author: Jane McMorland Hunter Format: Hardback Release Date: 02/09/2020

Companion to A Nature Poem for Every Day of the Year and Friends: A Poem for Every Day of the Year, A Nature Poem for Every Night of the Year is an exquisitely curated collection that induces calm contemplation as it evokes nature in all its awe-inspiring forms - frozen lakes, majestic trees, creeping autumnal twilights, disquieting night winds, multitudes of birds, and much more besides. It’s a book to reach out to before bed, for pondering each poem will instil a sense of slowing down before sleep sets in, nurturing gentle focus and moments of natural respite.  As the book progresses through the year, there’s a tangible sense of nature budding, blooming and abating through the shifting seasons. We walk with Oscar Wilde by the “withered leaf of the moon”. We pass through the “door of spring” with Ethelwyn Wetherald. We revel in springtime birdsong beside William Wordsworth. We’re dazzled by Christina Rossetti’s blossoming “golden glories”. And then comes Betjeman’s harvesttime hues, Tennyson’s September dew, and Sara Teasdale’s “feathery filigree of frost”. Alongside such esteemed names, lesser-known poets are included too, which means it also serves as an excellent springboard to discovering hitherto unknown voices.

Star Books
A Gathering Light

A Gathering Light

Author: Jennifer Donnelly Format: Paperback Release Date: 07/08/2006

When Mattie Gokey is given a bundle of letters to burn she fully intends to execute the wishes of the giver, Grace Brown.  When Grace Brown is found drowned the next day in Big Moose Lake, Mattie finds that it is not as easy to burn those letters as she had thought.  And, as she reads, a riveting story emerges - not only Grace Brown's story but also Mattie's hopes and ambitions for the future and her relationships with her friends and family.

Journey to the River Sea

Journey to the River Sea

Author: Eva Ibbotson Format: Paperback Release Date: 08/05/2014

August 2013 Guest Editor, Lauren St John  "To me, Eva Ibbotsen is a genius. You can pick up any of her books – The Dragonfly Pool and One Boy and His Dog are also fantastic – and be guaranteed a good read. Journey to the River Sea is about orphaned London schoolgirl, Maia, who, accompanied by her strict but kind governess, is sent to live with her ghastly relatives in South America. Unlike her nature-phobic relatives, Maia loves her exotic, colourful new world. This is a journey of the spirit as well as the globe and the way Maia unfurls like a flower with each new adventure and encounter is one of the many reasons Journey to the River Sea is a classic. A warm, joyous book to be enjoyed by any generation." JOURNEY TO THE RIVER SEA won the Smarties Book Prize Gold Award, was runner-up for the Whitbread Children's Book of the Year and the Guardian Fiction Award, and was also shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal.

October, October

October, October

Author: Katya Balen Format: Hardback Release Date: 17/09/2020

Raw, lingering and stirringly lyrical, October, October had me hooked from opening to end.  Conjured in language that crackles and smoulders like an autumn bonfire, this is a book of bones and bark, of frost and flame, captivating in the manner of Skellig or Stig of the Dump as it undulates towards a wondrous homecoming of the heart.   “We live in the woods and we are wild… Just us. A pocket of people in a pocket of the world that’s small as a marble. We are tiny and we are everything and we are wild.” October has everything she wants living in the woods in the house her father built. Her mother left when October was four and she’s adamant that, “I don’t want her. She’s not wild like we are.”     This year October’s euphoria at the onset of autumn is sullied when she discovers a dead owl and a motherless baby owl: “my heart won’t stop bruising my ribs.” So, she rescues the baby, names it Stig and declares it her first ever friend. Calamity strikes when the woman “who calls herself my mother” arrives as a birthday surprise - her beloved dad breaks his spine after falling from a tree and October must stay with this woman – her mother – in London while he recuperates. In the chaotic city, October is a bird with clipped wings. Torn from her wild world, she implodes, becomes a “firework of fury”, until she strikes up a bond with a boy named Yusef and discovers mudlarking, which makes her once more “a wild animal skulking and prowling for food”, “a pirate hunting for treasure.”   An unforgettable story, an unforgettable heroine – it’s no exaggeration to hail this a future classic.

Eye of the Wolf

Eye of the Wolf

Author: Daniel Pennac Format: Ebook Release Date: 04/01/2018

Born worlds apart - a wolf from the North and a boy from Africa. The wolf has lost nearly everything on his way to the zoo, including his eye and his pack. The boy too has lost much and seen terrible things. They stand either side of the wolf's enclosure and make their stories known to each other.

Little House on the Prairie

Little House on the Prairie

Author: Laura Ingalls Wilder Format: Paperback Release Date: 30/01/2014

William Nicholson, our April 2010 Guest Editor, on The Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder: "My younger sister's favourite books (there's a whole series of them) and ignored by me until I was grown up. How wrong I was. Not soupy girly stuff at all, real gritty pioneer life, and intensely moving."

Watership Down

Watership Down

Author: Richard Adams Format: Paperback Release Date: 04/10/2011

A book that resonates as vividly today as it did nearly half a century ago, this keepsake Oneworld Classic edition showcases more than twenty sumptuous, evocative paintings from Aldo Galli, an illustrator chosen by Richard Adams himself. It is the first full-colour illustrated edition of a celebrated modern classic and international bestseller.   Stunning and compulsive are two words that best describe the story of Fiver, of Hazel and the rabbit warren full of family and friends.  Rejected by most publishers before eventually being snapped up by Rex Collings in 1972, it was an instant hit and has since sold millions of copies the world over.  Beautifully written with some of the best characterisation you'll come across in children’s literature, it tells the story of a group of rabbits and their will to survive despite human attempts to do otherwise.  Full of adventure, humour, excitement and sadness it will enthral as much now as it did when it was first published.

Running Wild

Running Wild

Author: Michael Morpurgo Format: Paperback Release Date: 27/05/2010

Winner of the Independent Booksellers' Prize 2010.  Prize-winning author Michael Morpurgo’s new novel is a towering adventure and emotional roller coaster set at the time of a great tsunami. Trying to get over his father’s death, Will and his mother travel to Indonesia for a trip of a life time. For his Christmas present, Will is given a ride on an elephant. Elephants are his favourite animals and when Will sets off on Oona’s back he feels like a king. But then Oona begins to act strangely and soon she and Will are fighting for their lives as the great tsunami comes crashing in.

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