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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.
The hilarious 1980s political satire by Jonathan Coe, published as a Penguin Essential for the first time. Newspaper-columnist Hilary gets thousands for telling it like it isn't; Henry's turning hospitals into car parks; Roddy's selling art in return for sex; down on the farm Dorothy's squeezing every last pound from her livestock; Thomas is making a killing on the stock exchange; and Mark is selling arms to dictators.
Winner of the Orange Prize for Fiction 2005. Narrated by a mother, Eve, in letters to her estranged husband, this is a truly horrific story of a 15-year old boy’s killing spree but it is more the tale of how he got there than of the crime itself. It harks back to Eve’s relationship with her husband and the upbringing of the child. The big question is how much she is, or not, to blame for the tragedy that unfolds. Stark and unbelievably painful, it touches on truths not often spoken of. A great book. ~ Sarah Broadhurst
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).
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
The classic Cold War thriller, published as a Penguin Essential for the first time. Alec Leamas is tired. He must travel deep into the heart of Communist Germany and betray his country, a job that he will do with his usual cynical professionalism. But when George Smiley tries to help a young woman Leamas has befriended, Leamas's mission may prove to be the worst thing he could ever have done.
Allie Fox is going to re-create the world. Abominating the cops, crooks, junkies and scavengers of modern America, he abandons civilisation and takes the family to live in the Honduran jungle. There his tortured, messianic genius keeps them alive, his hoarse tirades harrying them through a diseased and dirty Eden towards unimaginable darkness.
When Marlowe next encounters Lavery, he's denying nothing - on account of the two bullet holes in his heart. Now Marlowe's on the trail of a killer, who leads him out of smoggy LA all the way to a murky mountain lake ...
'It is impossible to do justice here to the subtleties, comedy and wisdom of this very beautiful novel. The author of The Joke is clearly one of the best to be found anywhere.' Salman Rushdie, Observer
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.
The History of Love explores the lasting power of the written word and the lasting power of love. The book was short-listed for the Orange Prize for Fiction 2006 and was the winner of the 2006 Prix du Meilleur Livre Etranger. Published as a Penguin Essential for the first time.
The Help is a deeply moving, timeless and universal story about the lines we abide by, and the ones we won't. It is about how women, whether mothers or daughters, the help or the boss, relate to each other - and that terrible feeling that those who look after your children may understand them, even love them, better than you...
July 2013 Guest Editor Cath Staincliffe on The Handmaid's Tale... A story about a terrifying dystopian world, ruled by a military and religious dictatorship which is homophobic, racist and misogynistic. Where infertility is rife, the handmaid’s role is to bear children for the ruling class. This chilling book imagines what a backlash to feminism might lead to and though it is horrifying there is also humanity, wit and humour in the writing. One of Hardeep Singh Kohli's favourite books. September 2010 Guest Editor Belle de Jour on Margaret Atwood... Atwood’s books hugely influenced my reading style (though probably not my writing style!). I love the way she weaves research so seamlessly into her stories. In the hands of a lesser writer, some of her books might be mere dystopian sci-fi, but she makes the characters as real as documentary. The Handmaid’s Tale, in particular, influenced a lot how I think about politics, religion, and feminism.
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