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
This is it. The place for the greatest writing: stories that transcend all other ‘genres’. Literary fiction goes above and beyond any specific genre in order to deliver stories that strike at the heart of what it means to be human.
April 2012 Guest Editor Paul Torday on Hangover Square... This novel is an atmospheric and gripping evocation of the lost souls that haunt bars and cheap hotels in west London in 1939. The central figure is George Harvey Bone, who is a hopeless drifter, and mentally unstable. He falls for an actress called Netta – herself not much more than a prostitute – and she uses him until his money starts to run out. The novel is often painfully funny but at the same time there is a sense of impending tragedy as George’s behaviour becomes more and more erratic. I love the way the author weaves the drift of the world towards war into the drifting and doomed lives of his characters.
October 2010 Guest Editor Juliet Gardiner on Sword of Honour... I laugh out loud so much that I hardly dare read Evelyn Waugh’s wartime trilogy Sword of Honour in public places. Partly based on Waugh’ own war experience the novels follow the unheroic career of the hapless Guy Crouchback of the Royal Corps of Halbadiersin his tangles with military bureaucracy.
One of Kerry Reich's favourite books. A book about love and friendship. Kingsolver always creates believable and interesting characters who enthral the reader and this story is no different. Taylor does not want to get pregnant young and live in the small town she is from but fate deals her a blow on her travels by suddenly making her the guardian of an abandoned baby girl. A lovely story with interesting characters who show the true meaning of friendship to each other.
This is considered one of her best novels and does deserve such praise. A wonderfully descriptive book, it is the attention to detail that makes this such an absorbing read, you can picture every line on each character’s face, each subtle movement that they make. Another book of love, longing and loss beautifully told.
Salley Vicker's sensational debut novel, 'Miss Garnet's Angel' is a voyage of discovery; a novel about Venice but also the rich story of the explosive possibilities of change in all of us at any time. Her new book, The Cleaner of Chartres is due to be published in May 2013. Click here to find out more.
May 2014 Guest Editor Daisy Goodwin on Scoop... Anybody who wants to learn how to write dialogue should read this novel. It is a masterpiece of comic precision. I still laugh when I read about William Boot’s expedition kit which includes a collapsible canoe and cleft sticks ‘invaluable for carrying messages’. And it contains my favourite Waugh character Mrs Stitch, who like Lady Glencora, is a pin sharp depiction of femine ruthlessness cloaked in charm and chiffon.
June 2011 Guest Editor Suzannah Dunn on Swimmer...This is much more ‘me’, and not just because I’m a (daily) swimmer! A suitable choice, too, perhaps, for this Olympic summer… but, er, perhaps not, because this is not - to say the least - an edifying tale… It’s the story of a competitive swimmer: her rise and fall. The shape of the novella is one of its impressive qualities but, within that fluid (no pun intended) structure there’s not a word out of place. I hesitate to call this a ‘literary’ or ‘lyrical’ piece, not because it isn’t, but because I might be (mis)understood to be implying that it’s wordy. On the contrary, it’s crystal clear. And what a story it tells. This novella really is one for a single, spellbound sitting. Addressed to the swimmer herself – ‘you’ – there’s something of a love letter to it, whilst the narration manages at the same time to be benignly detached, all-seeing, the observations forensic. What a balancing act! Quite simply breathtaking.
Shortlisted for the Best of the Orange Best 2010 by the Orange Prize Youth Panel. A naïve young Jewish woman, Evelyn, moves to Israel, the Promised Land, in 1946. The country is coping with an influx of refugees and gradually Evelyn’s eyes are opened to the complexities of a country coping with the displaced. A interesting and thought provoking novel.
A 2011 World Book Night selection. Looks at the real movers and shakers across history, myth and legend. Witty and thought-provoking, this is a tongue-in-cheek, no-holds-barred look at the real movers and shakers across history, myth and legend. If you have ever wondered how, exactly, Darwin came up with his theory of evolution, or what, precisely, Frau Freud thought about her husband, then this is the book for you. Our Editorial Guru, Sarah Broadhurst, has suggested others book and authors that would be perfect for you to read next or to pass on the recommendation - so your gift will keep on giving enjoyment. Her selection for this title is: Wendy Cope.
The Joad Family have been cleared off their land by the bank and are forced to hit the long and winding road from the dust bowl of Oklahoma to California in search of a new life. And oh what a journey it is. Joined by a lapsed preacher Jim Casy the road is long, hard and does not let up with adversity after adversity after adversity as the family strive to keep their spirit alive. This book is an absolute classic; after initial negativity it was selling 10,000 copies a week by May 1939, became the year’s best-selling novel and won the Pulitzer. It’s a pure and raw celebration of the working man with an indomitable spirit, and the book inspired a generation of writers and readers right across the world. First class.
July 2011 Guest Editor Alexander McCall Smith on Swami and Friends... Narayan was one of the very first Indian novelists writing in English to gain a substantial western following. His Malgudi novels provide a marvellous picture of the life of an Indian town and are full of humour and human yearning.
March 2012 Guest Editor Alan Bradley on Louise Penny... As a young child and early reader, I used to pilfer my older sister’s copy of Ulysses. I didn’t understand the book but I loved the words. More than sixty years later, there are parts of Joyce (notably Finnegans Wake) that I still don’t understand, but I still love the words. I keep both books on my night table.
Literary fiction is a bit of a “catch-all” phrase. Some call it “Serious Fiction” but we prefer to think of it as all of the greatest stories ever told, all in one place. This is where you will find literary classics from literary masters past and present.
Why not have a look at our monthly featured titles for inspiration? Revisit old friends? Discover new ones? Or finally read that book that your friends have been banging on about for ages? Whatever your reasons, settle down with your favourite tipple, unwind and open your mind with the home-spun brilliance of authors like Martin Amis, Salman Rushdie, David Nicholls and Zadie Smith; or those from further afield: Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Haruki Murakami, Ben Okri, Jostein Gaarder and so many more. There are obviously so many to choose from, you could get lost in the Sea of Choices.