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Classics

Classics are books that are as relevant and popular now as in their own era. Have a glance through history when you scroll through our selection of time-tested Classics. You might re-discover a forgotten gem!

The Color Purple

The Color Purple

Author: Alice Walker Format: Paperback Release Date: 31/08/2017

Set in the deep American south between the wars, this is the classic tale of Celie, a young poor black girl. Raped repeatedly by her father, she loses two children and then is married off to a man who treats her no better than a slave. She is separated from her sister Nettie and dreams of becoming like the glamorous Shug Avery, a singer and rebellious black woman who has taken charge of her own destiny. Gradually Celie discovers the support of women that enables her to leave the past behind and begin a new life. Head to our 'Black Lit Matters' list to find more must-read novels by black 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.

eBooks of the Month
I Capture the Castle

I Capture the Castle

Author: Dodie Smith Format: Paperback Release Date: 04/08/2016

In a nutshell: Iconic | Outspoken | Big Issues | Difficult Truths A story about writing, this is also a wonderfully romantic story told by a young narrator trying to capture the unusual behaviour of her family and the life they lead in an unusual ruined castle as well as describing her own emotional turmoil. Cassandra is determined not to be pretentious as she tells the stories of her family and the story of her own desperate entanglement with the man who loves her sister. The result is a book that is delightfully entertaining and humorous. ~ Julia Eccleshare It is one of The Originals from Penguin - iconic, outspoken, first.  The Originals are the pioneers of fiction for young adults. From political awakening, war and unrequited love to addiction, teenage pregnancy and nuclear holocaust, The Originals confront big issues and articulate difficult truths. The collection includes: The Outsiders - S.E. Hinton, I Capture the Castle - Dodie Smith, Postcards from No Man's Land - Aidan Chambers, After the First Death - Robert Cormier, Dear Nobody - Berlie Doherty, The Endless Steppe - Esther Hautzig, Buddy - Nigel Hinton, Across the Barricades - Joan Lingard, The Twelfth Day of July - Joan Lingard, No Turning Back - Beverley Naidoo, Z for Zachariah - Richard C. O'Brien, The Wave - Morton Rhue, The Red Pony - John Steinbeck, The Pearl - John Steinbeck, Stone Cold - Robert Swindells.

eBooks of the Month
After the First Death

After the First Death

Author: Robert Cormier Format: Paperback Release Date: 04/08/2016

In a Nutshell: Psycho-political thriller * Terrorist hijacking * Extremes of patriotism   Unreservedly uncompromising, this gripping, thought-provoking novel raises pertinent questions about trust, sacrifice and the extremes people will go as a result of absolute devotion to a cause, and makes for a relentlessly intense reading experience. The novel opens as teenager Ben awaits the first visit of his US General father since he was used as a pawn - by his father - in a terrorist negotiation that left him dreaming of “screaming children”. These screams belong to the preschoolers who were bound for day camp when their bus was hijacked, trapping teenage driver Kate in a battle between violent terrorists (“No one is free from war until our homeland is free”, they state) and a secret government defence agency known as Inner Delta, for which Ben’s father works. One of the hijackers, Miro, is himself only sixteen, but “he was not a child anymore”; “inflicting death did not bother him”. As the ordeal goes on and negotiations get underway, Kate begins to wonder: “what had made him a monster? This world, his works. Who was guilty, then: the monster or the world that created it?” But, whatever the cause, the terrorists’ actions are monstrous. As the deadline for meeting their demands draws closer, “eager to serve” Ben, with his “air of innocence”, is sent to deliver proof that the terrorists’ leader has been captured, and chaos erupts.While the terrorists are prepared to murder to realise their aims, Ben’s father is so consummately committed to defending his nation that he’s prepared to use his own son as a go-between, and herein lies the moral crux of this complex novel: how far will an individual go in the name of their cause? And, in addition, how might any of us act in such extreme circumstances? Kate, too, finds herself “amazed at her ability to lie, to improvise, to plot and scheme.” While the themes are big, bold and masterfully presented, the impeccably precise writing also makes this a perfect – if harrowing - page-turner. ~ Joanne Owen It is one of The Originals from Penguin - iconic, outspoken, first.  The Originals are the pioneers of fiction for young adults. From political awakening, war and unrequited love to addiction, teenage pregnancy and nuclear holocaust, The Originals confront big issues and articulate difficult truths. The collection includes: The Outsiders - S.E. Hinton, I Capture the Castle - Dodie Smith, Postcards from No Man's Land - Aidan Chambers, After the First Death - Robert Cormier, Dear Nobody - Berlie Doherty, The Endless Steppe - Esther Hautzig, Buddy - Nigel Hinton, Across the Barricades - Joan Lingard, The Twelfth Day of July - Joan Lingard, No Turning Back - Beverley Naidoo, Z for Zachariah - Richard C. O'Brien, The Wave - Morton Rhue, The Red Pony - John Steinbeck, The Pearl - John Steinbeck, Stone Cold - Robert Swindells.

eBooks of the Month
The Outsiders

The Outsiders

Author: S. E. Hinton Format: Paperback Release Date: 04/08/2016

In a Nutshell: Teen rebellion * Class conflict * Gangs gone wrong   A heartrending coming-of-age classic that blazed the trail for young-adult-oriented fiction long before YA was even a twinkle in publishers’ eyes. With his parents dead, Ponyboy Curtis is looked after by his big brothers; Sodapop, who “understands everything, almost”, and Darry, who treats Ponyboy “as if I was six instead of fourteen”. The way Ponyboy sees it, there are two sorts of people. There are greasers who “steal things and drive souped-up old cars and hold up gas stations and have a gang fight once in a while”. And then there are Socs, who live on the rich side of the tracks, “jump greasers…and get editorials in the paper for being a public disgrace one day and an asset to society the next”. Ponyboy knows which side he’s been born into and is desperate to prove himself to his older greaser peers, so much so that he and his friend Johnny get embroiled in a “rumble” that sets a succession of tragic events in motion.Published when the author was only eighteen, and now newly re-published as part of a series that showcases pioneering books for young adults, this is a truly seminal work that transcends the era in which it was written. The themes of class conflict and gang bravado are pertinent, and Ponyboy poignantly encapsulates that bolt-from-the-blue moment when the world is seen through adult eyes for the very first time. While their struggles and losses are deeply harrowing, the novel ends with a spark of hope that Ponyboy and his brothers will make it through, and make a future for themselves. ~ Joanne Owen It is one of The Originals from Penguin - iconic, outspoken, first.  The Originals are the pioneers of fiction for young adults. From political awakening, war and unrequited love to addiction, teenage pregnancy and nuclear holocaust, The Originals confront big issues and articulate difficult truths. The collection includes: The Outsiders - S.E. Hinton, I Capture the Castle - Dodie Smith, Postcards from No Man's Land - Aidan Chambers, After the First Death - Robert Cormier, Dear Nobody - Berlie Doherty, The Endless Steppe - Esther Hautzig, Buddy - Nigel Hinton, Across the Barricades - Joan Lingard, The Twelfth Day of July - Joan Lingard, No Turning Back - Beverley Naidoo, Z for Zachariah - Richard C. O'Brien, The Wave - Morton Rhue, The Red Pony - John Steinbeck, The Pearl - John Steinbeck, Stone Cold - Robert Swindells.

eBooks of the Month
Buddy

Buddy

Author: Nigel Hinton Format: Paperback Release Date: 04/08/2016

Buddy has a hopeless father who is an ageing rocker, interested only in Elvis and bikes, and living on the fringes of the under-world. The two manage to strike up some kind of relationship when Buddy's mum walks out - until Buddy realises that his dad is involved in something more serious than he suspected.

eBooks of the Month
Dear Nobody

Dear Nobody

Author: Berlie Doherty Format: Paperback Release Date: 04/08/2016

Dear Nobody by Berlie Doherty, winner of the Carnegie Medal, is a compelling story told from two points of view, evoking the feelings of both Helen, in a series of letters to the unborn baby, and of Chris as he reads the letters and relives the events of their relationship while Helen is in labour.

eBooks of the Month
The Endless Steppe

The Endless Steppe

Author: Esther Hautzig Format: Paperback Release Date: 04/08/2016

Esther Rudomin was ten years old when, in 1941, she and her family were arrested by the Russians for being 'capitalists' and transported to Siberia. The next five years spent were spent in exile where they went barefoot and hungry until the end of the Second World War. Despite the hardships endured, Esther's story radiates optimism and is a beautiful example of the resilience of the human spirit.

No Turning Back

No Turning Back

Author: Beverley Naidoo Format: Paperback Release Date: 04/08/2016

NO TURNING BACK by Carnegie-medal winning author Beverley Naidoo is the powerful and moving story of Sipho and his struggle to survive on the city streets of Johannesburg in the 1990s. South African society is on the brink of a huge change as apartheid comes to an end, but will it make any difference to the tough life of Sipho and the other street kids?

eBooks of the Month
The Pearl

The Pearl

Author: John Steinbeck Format: Paperback Release Date: 04/08/2016

Kino is a desperately poor Mexican pearl diver. But when he finds 'The Pearl of the World' he believes that his life will be magically transformed. Obsessed by his dreams, Kino is blind to the greed, fear and even violence the pearl arouses in his neighbours - and himself.

eBooks of the Month
Postcards from No Man's Land

Postcards from No Man's Land

Author: Aidan Chambers Format: Paperback Release Date: 04/08/2016

Aidan Chambers' Carnegie-medal winning novel is about love, discovery and betrayal. Jacob, aged 17, is abroad on his own for the time, visiting his grandfather's grave at the commemoration of the Second World War Battle of Arnhem in Holland. Jacob's life-changing experiences are interwoven with the extraordinary wartime story of passion and treachery that he learns from Geertrui, whose family is linked to Jacob's in a way he never suspected.

eBooks of the Month
Stone Cold

Stone Cold

Author: Robert Swindells Format: Paperback Release Date: 04/08/2016

Link, aged 17, is distrustful of people until he pairs up with Deb, another homeless youngster. But what Deb doesn't tell him is that she's an ambitious young journalist on a self-imposed assignment to track down the killer and she's prepared to use herself as bait ...

eBooks of the Month
The Twelfth Day of July A Kevin and Sadie Story

The Twelfth Day of July A Kevin and Sadie Story

Author: Joan Lingard Format: Paperback Release Date: 04/08/2016

Sadie is Protestant, Kevin is Catholic - and on the tense streets of Belfast their lives collide. It starts with a dare - kids fooling around - but soon becomes something dangerous. Getting to know Sadie Jackson will change Kevin's life forever. But will the world around them change too?