The Republic of Gilead offers Offred only one function: to breed . If she deviates, she will, like dissenters, be hanged at the wall or sent out to die slowly of radiation sickness. But even a repressive state cannot obliterate desire - neither Offred's nor that of the two men on which her future hangs....
"Great story, not sure about the choice of narrator"
Big Brother is watching you.... 1984 is the year in which it happens. The world is divided into three superstates. In Oceania, the Party’s power is absolute. Every action, word, gesture and thought is monitored under the watchful eye of Big Brother and the Thought Police. In the Ministry of Truth, the Party’s department for propaganda, Winston Smith’s job is to edit the past. Over time, the impulse to escape the machine and live independently takes hold of him and he embarks on a secret and forbidden love affair.
In northern Iceland, 1829, Agnes Magnúsdóttir is condemned to death for her part in the brutal murder of two men. Agnes is sent to wait out the months leading up to her execution on the farm of district officer Jón Jónsson, his wife, and their two daughters. Horrified to have a convicted murderess in their midst, the family avoid contact with Agnes. As the year progresses and the hardships of rural life force everyone to work side by side, the family’s attitude to Agnes starts to change - until one winter night.
"Well researched and very believable"
Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2015. A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara is an immensely powerful and heartbreaking novel of brotherly love and the limits of human endurance. When four graduates from a small Massachusetts college move to New York to make their way, they're broke, adrift and buoyed only by their friendship and ambition. Over the decades, their relationships deepen and darken, tinged by addiction, success and pride.
"Loved it at first, then hated it."
Born in Dickens, Los Angeles, the narrator of The Sellout spent his childhood as the subject in his father's racially charged psychological studies. He is told that his father's memoir will solve their financial woes. But when his father is killed, he discovers there never was a memoir. Fuelled by despair, he sets out to right this wrong with the most outrageous action conceivable: reinstating slavery and segregating the local high school, which lands him in the Supreme Court.
"First time I lol'd since Hitchhiker's Guide"
Dazzlingly energetic and deeply human, Swing Time is a story about friendship and music and true identity, how they shape us and how we can survive them. Moving from Northwest London to West Africa, it is an exuberant dance to the music of time. Two brown girls dream of being dancers - but only one, Tracey, has talent. The other has ideas: about rhythm and time, about black bodies and black music, what constitutes a tribe or makes a person truly free.
Cora is a slave on a cotton plantation in Georgia. All the slaves lead a hellish existence, but Cora has it worse than most; she is an outcast even among her fellow Africans, and she is approaching womanhood, where it is clear even greater pain awaits. When Caesar, a slave recently arrived from Virginia, tells her about the Underground Railroad, they take the perilous decision to escape to the North.
Animal Farm is George Orwell's great socio-political allegory set in a farmyard where the animals decide to seize the farmer's land and create a co-operative that reaps the benefits of their combined labours. However, as with all great political plans, some animals see a bigger share of the rewards than others and the animals start to question their supposed utopia.
Two rural families flee to the city and find themselves sharing a great, breathing, shuddering joint called Cloudstreet, where they begin their lives from scratch. For 20 years they roister and rankle, laugh and curse until the roof over their heads becomes a home for their hearts.
Nutshell is a classic story of murder and deceit, told by a narrator with a perspective and voice unlike any in recent literature. A bravura performance, it is the finest recent work from a true master. To be bound in a nutshell, see the world in two inches of ivory, in a grain of sand. Why not, when all of literature, all of art, of human endeavour, is just a speck in the universe of possible things?
"Very enjoyable Ian McEwan"
Unfolding in a graveyard over the course of a single night, narrated by a dazzling chorus of voices, Lincoln in the Bardo is a literary experience unlike any other, for no one but Saunders could conceive it. February 1862. The Civil War is less than one year old. The fighting has begun in earnest, and the nation has begun to realize it is in for a long, bloody struggle. Meanwhile, President Lincoln's beloved 11-year-old son, Willie, dies and is laid to rest in a Georgetown cemetery.
Why we think it’s a great listen: Never before has an author’s narration of his fiction been so important to fully grasping the book’s impact and global implications. Taking us from Afghanistan in the final days of its monarchy to the present, The Kite Runner is the unforgettable story of the friendship between two boys growing up in Kabul. Their intertwined lives, and their fates, reflect the eventual tragedy of the world around them.
It is 1964: Bert Cousins shows up at Franny Keating's christening uninvited, where he notices a heart-stoppingly beautiful woman. When Bert kisses Beverly Keating, his host's wife, he sets in motion the joining of two families. In 1988, Franny Keating, now 24, meets one of her idols, the famous author Leon Posen. After telling him about her family, she unwittingly relinquishes control over their story.
"Book Club selection"
Set against a background of political turbulence in Kerala, Southern India, The God of Small Things tells the story of twins Esthappen and Rahel. Amongst the vats of banana jam and heaps of peppercorns in their grandmother's factory, they try to craft a childhood for themselves amidst what constitutes their family - their lonely, lovely mother; their beloved uncle Chacko (pickle baron, radical Marxist and bottom pincher); and their avowed enemy, Baby Kochamma (ex-nun and incumbent grand-aunt).
In a scrap heap within an abandoned factory, the greatest invention in history lies dormant and unused. By what fatal error of judgment has its value gone unrecognized, its brilliant inventor punished rather than rewarded for his efforts? In defense of those greatest of human qualities that have made civilization possible, one man sets out to show what would happen to the world if all the heroes of innovation and industry went on strike.
"Interesting philosophy "
Perth, 1954. Thirteen-year-old Frank, a refugee from wartime Hungary, is learning to walk again after contracting polio. At The Golden Age Children's Convalescent Home, he meets Elsa, and the two patients form a forbidden, passionate bond. The Golden Age becomes the little world that reflects the larger one, where everything occurs: love, desire, music, death and poetry.
"Terrible Book for School"
The story of a mother, her son, a locked room, and the outside world. It’s Jack’s birthday, and he’s excited about turning five. Jack lives with his Ma in Room, which has a locked door and a skylight, and measures 11 feet by 11 feet. He loves watching TV, and the cartoon characters he calls friends, but he knows that nothing he sees on screen is truly real – only him, Ma and the things in Room. Until the day Ma admits that there's a world outside....
"I laughed and I cried! Artfully told by author and narrator."
When Barry Fairbrother dies in his early 40s, the town of Pagford is left in shock. Pagford is, seemingly, an English idyll, with a cobbled market square and an ancient abbey, but what lies behind the pretty facade is a town at war. Rich at war with poor, teenagers at war with their parents, wives at war with their husbands, teachers at war with their pupils.... Pagford is not what it first seems. And the empty seat left by Barry on the parish council soon becomes the catalyst for the biggest war the town has yet seen.
It is 1866 and Walter Moody has come to make his fortune upon the New Zealand goldfields. On arrival, he stumbles across a tense gathering of 12 local men, who have met in secret to discuss a series of unsolved crimes. A wealthy man has vanished, a whore has tried to end her life, and an enormous fortune has been discovered in the home of a luckless drunk. Moody is soon drawn into the mystery: a network of fates and fortunes that is as complex and exquisitely patterned as the night sky.
"Best audiobook in ages"
Three sisters. Three childhoods ruined. One chance to heal the scars of the past. After their death of their cruel and abusive mother, estranged sisters Alex, Catherine and Beth reunite once again.
"Child abuse in detail"
It is 1908, and Max Brod is the rising star of Prague's literary world. But when a rival appears on the scene, Max discovers how quickly he can lose everything he has worked so hard to attain. The Lost Pages is a richly reimagined story of Max Brod's life filtered through his relationship with Franz Kafka. In this inspired novel of friendship, fraud, madness and betrayal, Marija Pericic writes vividly and compellingly of an extraordinary literary rivalry.
A woman finds a head in her mother's garden. Things get weirder when the head talks to her....
Following his expulsion from school, 17-year-old dreamer Ellis Dau is sent to work with his father. His father is editor of The Chronicle, the last bastion of free speech in their strange, strange land. And it is under threat: from heavy-handed policemen, mysterious revolutionaries, and the resident Russian billionaire. As Ellis navigates his collapsing, blacked-out city - and his feelings for the oligarch's beautiful daughter - he realises that some things are worth fighting for.
Running away from the mainland was supposed to make their lives better. But for Isla and her brother, their mother's sadness and the cold, damp greyness of Hobart's stone streets seeps into everything. Then, one morning, Isla sees a red ship. That colour lights her day. And when a sailor from the ship befriends her mother, he shares his stories with them all - of Antarctica, his home in Denmark and life onboard.
What would you do if all you held to be familiar was lost? Conjuring a dark future for Australia, Closing Down gives us a glimpse into a world fractured by a financial crisis and the effects of global climate change. The inaugural winner of The Richell Prize for Emerging Writers.
Ireland's gone bust and with it Aisling Finn's life. She flees austerity for adventure in the desert. But the Arabia she finds is not that of her dreams. Everyone is chasing a fast buck, a fast woman and another G&T. Expats and locals alike prickle with paranoia. Debonair fixer Brian Rothmann charms Aisling with champagne brunches and nights at Bedouin camps. But is Brian a hero or a desperate expat prepared to go to any lengths to get what he wants? Is this Aisling? Or is he using her as bait?
The Beech Tree introduces you to the lives of those who visited the tree and shared their lives, their loves, their hopes and dreams, beneath the tree's dark green canopy...and their curious, inexplicable connection to one another. The listeners are introduced to Johnny and Margo, the first characters to visit the tree, just before Johnny ships off to fight in The Great War in 1918.
iDEATH is a place where the sun shines a different color every day and where people travel to the length of their dreams. Rejecting the violence and hate of the old gang at the Forgotten Works, they lead gentle lives in watermelon sugar. In this book, Richard Brautigan discovers and expresses the mood of the counterculture generation.
Fuminori Nakamura's Akutagawa Prize-winner plunges us into the depths of a young man's winding, troubled psyche. An unnamed taxi driver in Tokyo has experienced a rupture in his everyday life. He cannot stop daydreaming of suicide, envisioning himself returning to the earth in what soon become terrifying blackout episodes. His live-in girlfriend, Sayuko, is in a similarly bad phase, surrendering to alcoholism to escape the memory of her miscarriage.
Gemini Berry is looking forward to spending a lazy summer in her small hometown of Meadow Lake, Pennsylvania, with her best friend, Sunny. The teens' main goal is to get their hands on the Ring of Atlantis, a supposedly enchanted object that brings the bearer wealth and luck. Along with their new friend, Ivy, they plan to try the ring for themselves. But their carefree caper is soon halted by a crime that outrages and divides the town.
While serving in the USO during WWII, Mumma meets Pops. She's got many suitors, but it's Pops who wins her heart. Their road is rocky, though: His family sees his marriage to an orphan as beneath him, and her own dreams of being more than just a wife and mother are jeopardized. But while Mumma never counted on there being challenges at every turn, those turns also never anticipated a force of nature like Mumma.
Like all 20-year-olds, Ryan Cusack is trying to get his head around who he is. This is not a good time for his boss to exploit his dual heritage by opening a new black market route from Italy to Ireland. It is certainly not a good time for his adored girlfriend to decide he's irreparably corrupted. And he really wishes he hadn't accidentally caught the eye of an ornery grandmother who fancies herself his saviour.
In a small town where everyone knows everyone, Emma O'Donovan is different. She is the special one - beautiful, popular, powerful. And she works hard to keep it that way. Until that night.... Now she's an embarrassment. Now she's just a slut. Now she is nothing. And those pictures - those pictures that everyone has seen - mean she can never forget. For fans of Caitlin Moran, Marian Keyes and Jodi Picoult. The award-winning, best-selling novel about the life-shattering impact of sexual assault, rape and how victims are treated.
Tragedy strikes the New York-based Cardinal family when their car is involved in a terrible accident. Twelve-year-old Lou and seven-year-old Oz survive, but the crash leaves their father dead and their mother in a coma. It would seem their world has been shattered forever until their great-grandmother, Louisa Mae, agrees to raise the children on her Virginia mountain farm. But before long their rural idyll is threatened by the discovery of natural gas on the mountain.
When Will - soon to be known as 'Posh Lad' - starts as an apprentice for Stanley Lampitt, he expects horses, fresh air and a solid training in forge-work and horses. What he gets is Stanley, 'six-foot-six of tattooed muscle, with a gleaming shaven head', and Ewan, raised at the bad end of the Cribbs Estate. It's a baptism of fire. After a rocky start - Will doesn't drink Yorkshire tea - the three settle into a rhythm, barrelling around Yorkshire in a series of dodgy vans, forging iron and shoeing horses.
Oola is a very different kind of love story. Oola and Leif meet at a party in East London, two Americans at a loose end. The insouciant music school dropout and aimless young writer fix on one another, grab hands and fall headfirst down love's rabbit hole. Leif's summer plans soon become Oola's, too, and the pair find themselves mansion-sitting their way across the States, drinking the liquor cabinets dry and emptying the walk-in wardrobes to play dress-up.
One Hundred Years of Solitude meets The Kite-Runner in Saddam Hussein's Iraq. On the third day of Ramadan, the village wakes to find the severed heads of nine of its sons stacked in banana crates by the bus stop. One of them belonged to one of the most wanted men in Iraq, known to his friends as Ibrahim the Fated. How did this good and humble man earn the enmity of so many? What did he do to deserve such a death?
Lord Dunsany was Edward Plunkett's pen name, and he was a very successful author of numerous books, plays, and short stories. He possessed a remarkable imagination and created fantastical landscapes peopled with unique characters. To listen to his short stories is to be transported to another time and to another place and, in the midst of it all, to be enthralled by the marvel of it all.
An idyllic childhood takes a sinister turn. Rumors of a serial killer haunt the neighborhood, families pack up and leave town without a word of warning, and the country begins to unravel. Policemen stand by as protesters overtake the streets, knowing that the once awe-inspiring symbols of power they wear on their helmets have become devoid of meaning.
India, 1986: Mukta, a 10-year-old village girl from the lower-caste Yellama cult, has come of age and must fulfill her destiny of becoming a temple prostitute, as her mother and grandmother did before her. In an attempt to escape her fate, Mukta is sent to be a house girl for an upper-middle class family in Mumbai. There she discovers a friend in the daughter of the family, high-spirited eight-year-old Tara, who helps her recover from the wounds of her past.