Did you know that the first recorded reading groups were among women working in factories in the nineteenth century? And now, according to research undertaken a few years ago, there are tens of thousands of groups meeting regularly in the UK reading everything from literary classics to technical manuals! Of course, if you are in a book group, choosing what to read next can be a serious matter as not every book has subject matter that can really be discussed. So to help you LoveReading has decided to lend a hand by, each month, selecting a number of books we feel are perfect and will give your group a rewarding discussion as well as a rewarding read.
It is 1977 and seventeen-year-old Mona Manoliu has fallen in love with Mihai, a mysterious boy who lives in the romantic mountain city where she spends her summers. She can think of nothing and no one else. But life under Ceausescu's Romania is difficult. Hunger, paranoia and fear infect everyone. One day Mona sees Mihai wearing the black leather jacket favoured by the secret police. Is it possible he is one of them? As food shortages worsen and more of her loved ones disappear, Mona comes to understand that she must leave Romania. She escapes in secret - narrowly avoiding the police - through Yugoslavia to Italy, and finally to Chicago. But she leaves without saying a final goodbye to Mihai. And though she struggles to bury her longing for the past, many years later she finds herself compelled to return, determined to learn the truth.
It is 1498, and the whole of Venice is abuzz. Hidden somewhere in the labyrinthine city is an ancient book, rumoured to contain thorny heresies and secrets of immeasurable power. Luciano, a penniless orphan, has been plucked from the street and taken on as apprentice to the chef at the doge's palace. While learning the alchemy of cooking, he quickly finds himself entangled in the search for the ancient tome, even suspecting the chef, his maestro, may be concealing valuable information. But lurking in the wings are some of the most powerful, dangerous men in Venice, and Luciano's secret will lead him through a perilous maze to the centre of an intrigue that will test his deepest desires and loyalties.
Thomas Bradshaw and Tonie Swann are experiencing the classic symptoms of marriage in its middle years: comfortable house, happy-enough daughter and an eerie sense that life might be happening elsewhere. Then Tonie accepts a big promotion at work and Thomas agrees to become a stay-at-home dad. While Thomas is suddenly faced with the daily silence of an empty house, Tonie finds herself alive to previously unimagined possibilities. And at the head of the family, the ageing Bradshaw parents continue their marital dynamic of bickering and petty undermining.
Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize After a lifetime's struggle with alcohol, critical neglect and depression, in 1840 the nature poet John Clare is incarcerated. The asylum, in London's Epping Forest, is run on the reformist principles of occupational therapy. At the same time, the young Alfred Tennyson, moves nearby and became entangled in the life of the asylum. This historically accurate, intensely lyrical novel, describes the asylum's closed world and Nature's paradise outside the walls: Clare's dream of home, of redemption, of escape.
Winner of the Man Booker Prize Shortlisted for the the Orange Prize Shortlisted for the Costa Novel Award `Dizzyingly, dazzlingly good' Daily Mail 'Our most brilliant English writer' Guardian England, the 1520s. Henry VIII is on the throne, but has no heir. Cardinal Wolsey is his chief advisor, charged with securing the divorce the pope refuses to grant. Into this atmosphere of distrust and need comes Thomas Cromwell, first as Wolsey's clerk, and later his successor. Cromwell is a wholly original man: the son of a brutal blacksmith, a political genius, a briber, a charmer, a bully, a man with a delicate and deadly expertise in manipulating people and events. Ruthless in pursuit of his own interests, he is as ambitious in his wider politics as he is for himself. His reforming agenda is carried out in the grip of a self-interested parliament and a king who fluctuates between romantic passions and murderous rages. From one of our finest living writers, Wolf Hall is that very rare thing: a truly great English novel, one that explores the intersection of individual psychology and wider politics. With a vast array of characters, and richly overflowing with incident, it peels back history to show us Tudor England as a half-made society, moulding itself with great passion and suffering and courage.
9 iyunya 1865 goda CHarl'z Dikkens, samyj znamenityj pisatel' v mire, puteshestvuya na poezde so svoej tajnoj lyubovnicej, popadaet v zheleznodorozhnuyu katastrofu - i stanovitsya sovershenno drugim chelovekom. Vstretiv na meste avarii koshmarnogo neznakomca, predstavivshegosya EHdvinom Drudom, Dikkens nachinaet vesti dvojnuyu zhizn' - poseshchaet trushchoby, tajnye podzemel'ya i opiumnye pritony, interesuetsya rastvoreniem tel v negashenoj izvesti i zahoroneniyami v sklepah. CHto ehto - issledovatel'skaya rabota dlya ego novogo romana, Tajna EHdvina Druda (kotoryj, kak my znaem, okazhetsya poslednim i ne budet zakonchen), ili nechto bolee zloveshchee? Imenno ehtimi voprosami zadaetsya Uilki Kollinz, vystupayushchij u Simmonsa povestvovatelem, - sozdatel' ZHenshchiny v belom i Lunnogo kamnya, proslavlennyj soavtor i sopernik proslavlennogo Dikkensa, rasskazchik uvlekayushchijsya, no malonadezhnyj.
THE MORE YOU IGNORE ME IS NOW A MAJOR NEW FILM STARRING SHERIDAN SMITH, SHEILA HANCOCK, RICKY TOMLINSON AND ELLA HUNT. Jo Brand's life-affirming novel The More You Ignore Me addresses mental health issues and their impact on a family in an honest, hilarious and heartwarming way. This film tie-in edition contains a new foreword by Jo Brand about the film and an exclusive extract of the film script. For Alice, the big bad monster wasn't green and hiding under the bed, it sat in the kitchen saying 'bollocks' a lot. Prone to psychotic episodes, or 'on the road to bonkersville' as Alice's dad would say, Alice's mum Gina isn't easy to live with. Her unpredictable outbursts make life in their Hereford cottage eventful. As 'family' means a mentally ill mother, a hippy father and grandparents who enjoy a drink or five, Alice needs someone to help her through. Unfortunately, Alice's special someone is Morrissey of The Smiths, and the closest she's got to him so far is watching him on Top of the Pops. Now that could all be about to change . . . Praise for Jo Brand's The More You Ignore Me: 'A sweet, touching, tender novel' Independent 'The book is littered with endearing characters . . . The last line moved me to tears' Daily Express 'The most enjoyable piece of fiction I have had the pleasure of reading this year . . . Superb stuff' Now
Opening dramatically with the horrors of the 2005 London bombings, this is the profoundly moving story of a country on the brink of civil war and a child's struggle to come to terms with loss.London. On a bright July morning a series of bombs bring the capital to a halt. Simon Swann, a medic from one of the large teaching hospitals, is searching frantically amongst the chaos and the rubble. All around police sirens and ambulances are screaming but Simon does not hear. He is out of breath because he has been running, and he is distraught. But who is he looking for?To find out we have first to go back thirty years to a small island in the Indian Ocean where a little girl named Alice Fonseka is learning to ride a bicycle on the beach. The island is Sri Lanka, with its community on the brink of civil war. Alice's life is about to change forever. Soon she will have to leave for England, abandoning her beloved grandfather, and accompanied by her mother Sita, a woman broken by a series of terrible events.In London, Alice grows into womanhood. Trapped in a loveless marriage, she has a son. Slowly she fulfils her grandfather's prophecy and becomes an artist. Eventually she finds true love. But London in the twenty first century is a mass of migration and suspicion. The war on terror has begun and everyone, even Simon Swann, middle class, rational, medic that he is, will be caught up in this war in the most unexpected and terrible way.
'If I vanished he wouldn't notice, if I died he wouldn't care. I think of him all the time, and he thinks of me not at all. I love him, and my love torments me. There are times when I feel like a ghost beside him; as if he alone is real, and I'm just a daydream.' This is the story of two brothers. One is impassioned and one reserved. One is destined to go down in history and the other to be forgotten. In Pullman's hands, this sacred tale is reborn as one of the most enchanting, thrilling and visionary stories of recent years. The Myths series brings together some of the world's finest writers, each of whom has retold a myth in a contemporary and memorable way. Authors in the series include Karen Armstrong, Margaret Atwood, A.S. Byatt, David Grossman, Natsuo Kirino, Alexander McCall Smith, Philip Pullman, Ali Smith and Jeanette Winterson.
'Essential reading for Jodi Picoult fans' Daily Mail A past that won't stay buried... What if you did something so devastating, you regretted it for the rest of your life? Nineteen-year-old Maggie Lockwood spent a year in prison for her part in a fire that cost three lives. The scars carried by the surviving victims - inside and out - are still raw and Maggie's release from jail does nothing to free her from the guilt. Returning home, Maggie hides herself away, too afraid to see Keith, the boy she grew up with, played with as a child - and recently learnt is her half-brother. Keith nearly lost his life in the fire and the emotional and physical wounds he carries have changed him forever. With childhood innocence gone, Maggie and Keith must learn to come to terms with their new lives, but trying to move forward will have deadly consequences...
Vanessa and Gerald first fall in love in the sixties when she is an art student and he a sculptor. As her tutor, he is a charismatic figure in the young Vanessa's eyes. Their relationship is passionate, thrilling, sexy. They marry and Vanessa pictures them as the glamorous couple of the art world. Reality is different. They have children and Gerald's personality and artistic talent soon eclipse Vanessa's. He belittles her early attempts at fashion design. Eventually he leaves. Suppressing her heartbreak, Vanessa makes a new life for herself with Andrew and her children. Her design business thrives. However, Gerald can't stay away, and Vanessa finds herself captivated by his magic all over again. He insists she belongs with him and must leave Andrew, so triggering a tragic chain of events that comes to dominate their lives. Haunted by grief and remorse, Vanessa rejects Gerald, but she never stops loving him. When they are finally reunited, years later, and find the chemistry between them is as strong as ever, they have to come to terms with their past and accept the power of their enduring love. Unravelling explores the complexity and contradictions of love and sexual attraction: their power to generate both passion and heartbreak; to cause delight and despair; to drive us to betrayal and lead us to redemption. Unravelling is a story that engages both the heart and the mind.
CHto takoe svoboda? I kto svobodnee - chelovek, ni razu v zhizni ne pokidavshij chetyrekh sten, v kotoryh rodilsya, i cherpayushchij znaniya ob okruzhayushchem mire iz knig i cherez ehkran televizora? Ili tot, kto zhivet snaruzhi? Dlya malen'kogo Dzheka takih voprosov ne sushchestvuet. On schastliv, s nim ego mama, on ne znaet, chto po ch'emu-to zlobnomu umyslu vynuzhden zhit' ne tak, kak zhivut drugie. No illyuziya ne byvaet vechnoj, malen'kij chelovek vzrosleet, i odnazhdy nastupaet prozrenie. Togda komnata stanovitsya tesnoj i nuzhno srochno otyskat' sposob, kak vybrat'sya za ee predely.