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Looking for books that are transcendent, were released decades ago yet remain current to this day? Then look no further. This section of the LoveReading site is dedicated to the books that we think will stand the test of time and continue to capture the hearts of their readers for many years to come.
His aim was to take stock of the nation's public face and private parts (as it were), and to analyse what precisely it was he loved so much about a country that had produced Marmite; a military hero whose dying wish was to be kissed by a fellow named Hardy; place names like Farleigh Wallop, Titsey and Shellow Bowells; people who said 'Mustn't grumble', and 'Ooh lovely' at the sight of a cup of tea and a plate of biscuits; and Gardeners' Question Time. Notes from a Small Island was a huge number-one bestseller when it was first published, and has become the nation's most loved book about Britain, going on to sell over two million copies.
Three lively retellings of Daniel Defoe's classic novels, plus two bonus programmes about his extraordinary life and far-reaching influence. Robinson Crusoe and his Farther Adventures An imaginative blend of the famous castaway tale and its lesser-known sequel, this thrilling drama sees Crusoe setting sail for the far north. Facing danger in the Siberian wastes, he keeps terror at bay by telling his companions campfire tales of his many adventures on his beloved island. Starring Tim McInnerney as Crusoe. Moll Flanders When Daniel Defoe meets Elizabeth Atkins in Newgate jail, she recounts her stranger-than-fiction story of a rags-to-riches life that took her from prostitution to prosperity - but culminated in destitution. Inspired, Defoe mixes fact and fiction to re-invent her as one of his most engaging characters: Moll Flanders. Starring Ben Miles as Defoe and Jessica Hynes as Elizabeth Atkins. A Journal of the Plague Year Writing a fictional journal of the Great Plague of 1665, Defoe soon comes to be haunted by the characters he is conjuring. Starring Ben Miles as Defoe. This exciting new collection of reinvented tales will also include two bonus programmes about Daniel Defoe himself:Defoe: Merchant, Writer, Convict, Spy by Philip Palmer - A biographical drama about Defoe's life, starring Ben Miles as Defoe and Niamh Cusack as his wife Mary. Defoe: The Facts and Fictions - A documentary by Mark Lawson, exploring the far-reaching influence of the pioneering author.
Peter Jernigan's life is slipping out of control. His wife's gone, he's lost his job and he's a stranger to his teenage son. Worse, his only relief from all this reality - alcohol - is less effective by the day. And when the medicine doesn't work, you up the dose. And when that doesn't work, what then? (Apart from upping the dose again anyway, because who knows?) Jernigan's answer is to slowly turn his caustic wit on everyone around him - his wife Judith, his teenage son Danny, his vulnerable new girlfriend Martha and, eventually, himself - until the laughs have turned to mute horror. But while he's busy burning every bridge back to the people who love him, Jernigan's perverse charisma keeps us all in thrall to the bitter end.
When Adela Quested and her elderly companion Mrs Moore arrive in the Indian town of Chandrapore, they quickly feel trapped by its insular and prejudiced 'Anglo-Indian' community. Determined to escape the parochial English enclave and explore the 'real India', they seek the guidance of the charming and mercurial Dr Aziz, a cultivated Indian Muslim. But a mysterious incident occurs while they are exploring the Marabar caves with Aziz, and the well-respected doctor soon finds himself at the centre of a scandal that rouses violent passions among both the British and their Indian subjects.
One of Sue Perkins' favourite books. This is a much-loved classic but as relevant today as it was when first published over 40 years ago. Its vivid and colourful illustrations and cut back and die-cut pages together with some very simple text provide a wonderful story that is immensely satisfying for parents and child alike. It’s a book that’s more threadbare than most in the nursery in my house. Here are some wonderful resources inspired by The Very Hungry Caterpillar, whichyou can print off and enjoy: Ideas for a Very Hungry Caterpillar birthday party Make your own Very Hungry Caterpillar collage The Very Hungry Caterpillar Colouring Sheet The Life of a Very Hungry Caterpillar Draw your own Very Hungry Caterpillar lunch
Esther Freud's best-known novel, which inspired the Kate Winslet film, published as Penguin Essential for the first time.
Fifty-one years, nine months and four days have passed since Fermina Daza rebuffed hopeless romantic Florentino Ariza's impassioned advances and married Dr Juvenal Urbino instead. During that half-century, Flornetino has fallen into the arms of many delighted women, but has loved none but Fermina. Having sworn his eternal love to her, he lives for the day when he can court her again. When Fermina's husband is killed trying to retrieve his pet parrot from a mango tree, Florentino seizes his chance to declare his enduring love. But can young love find new life in the twilight of their lives?
When the downtrodden animals of Manor Farm overthrow their master Mr Jones and take over the farm themselves, they imagine it is the beginning of a life of freedom and equality. But gradually a cunning, ruthless elite among them, masterminded by the pigs Napoleon and Snowball, starts to take control. Soon the other animals discover that they are not all as equal as they thought, and find themselves hopelessly ensnared as one form of tyranny is replaced with another.
You may have read this but it certainly deserves another read. It’s the sort of book that becomes more profound with each reading. It is quite simply brilliant, a tale of prejudices and injustice in small town America which should be part of everyone’s collection. ~ Sarah Broadhurst Comparison: J D Salinger (Catcher in the Rye), William Golding (Lord of the Flies), Joseph Heller (Catch 22).
Lud-in-the-Mist - a prosperous country town situated where two rivers meet: the Dawl and the Dapple. The latter, which has its source in the land of Faerie, is a great trial to Lud, which had long rejected anything 'other', preferring to believe only in what is known, what is solid. Nathaniel Chanticleer is a somewhat dreamy, slightly melancholy man, not one for making waves, who is deliberately ignoring a vital part of his own past; a secret he refuses even to acknowledge. But with the disappearance of his own daughter, and a long-overdue desire to protect his young son, he realises that something is changing in Lud - and something must be done. Lud-in-the-Mist is a true classic, an adult fairy tale exploring the need to embrace what we fear and to come to terms with 'the shadows' - those sweet and dark impulses that our public selves ignore or repress.
An absolute classic of children’s literature, the great adventure of Bilbo Baggins and the Dwarfs. It’s important to remember how long ago this book was written, the style is not that of a modern children’s book, but the magic of the tale shines through the old-fashioned language. It is, and always has been, a little treasure of a book. If you would like to purchase through the official Tolkien site then click here.
October 2014 Guest Editor Cecelia Ahern on The Celestine Prophecy... The main character goes on a journey to find and understand a series of nine spiritual insights on an ancient manuscript in Peru. It’s a first person narrative of the main character’s spiritual awakening as he goes through a period of transition in his life. It discusses various psychological and spiritual ideas. I read this when I was twenty-one and going through a period of change and it really spoke to me and opened my mind. It was given to me by someone who read it during a time of change in their own life and I do the same to others. I’d like to read it again and see how it impacts me now.
The Evergreens - For books that stand the test of time.
Research carried out by Nielsen BookScan revealed twelve titles that have remained in their top 5,000 chart for every week since 1995 (The Bookseller, 1 August 2008). These evergreen titles have sold at least 100 copies a week in the UK in order to remain in the top 5,000. The twelve books are:
Sebastian Faulks, Birdsong
Eric Carle, The Very Hungry Caterpillar
J. R. R. Tolkien, The Hobbit
Delia Smith, Complete Cookery Course
Michael Rosen, We’re Going on a Bear Hunt
James Redfield, The Celestine Prophecy
Terry Pratchett, The Colour of Magic
Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom
Stephen Hawking, A Brief History of Time
M. Scott Peck, The Road Less Travelled
Terry Pratchett, The Light Fantastic
Terry Pratchett, Mort