All the Light We Cannot See

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From the highly acclaimed, multiple award-winning Anthony Doerr, the beautiful, stunningly ambitious instant New York Times bestseller about a blind French girl and a German boy whose paths collide in occupied France as both try to survive the devastation of World War II.

Marie-Laure lives with her father in Paris near the Museum of Natural History, where he works as the master of its thousands of locks. When she is six, Marie-Laure goes blind and her father builds a perfect miniature of their neighborhood so she can memorize it by touch and navigate her way home. When she is twelve, the Nazis occupy Paris and father and daughter flee to the walled citadel of Saint-Malo, where Marie-Laure’s reclusive great-uncle lives in a tall house by the sea. With them they carry what might be the museum’s most valuable and dangerous jewel.

In a mining town in Germany, the orphan Werner grows up with his younger sister, enchanted by a crude radio they find. Werner becomes an expert at building and fixing these crucial new instruments, a talent that wins him a place at a brutal academy for Hitler Youth, then a special assignment to track the resistance. More and more aware of the human cost of his intelligence, Werner travels through the heart of the war and, finally, into Saint-Malo, where his story and Marie-Laure’s converge.

 

Link to book on local Amazon

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry

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A middle aged man sets off to post a letter and ends up walking without money, proper shoes, map, or food, for nearly 90 days, towards a destination over 600 miles away whose exact location he doesn’t even know. His mission: to save a life.

After several of the early pages wondering where on earth this story was going, I found myself drawn towards Harold, his wife, and the terminally ill woman he has decided to visit. Curiosity got the better of me and before long I was turning pages avidly, needing to know the outcome. Would he make it in time? What damage had he done to his marriage? What was the mystery surrounding his estranged son?

And it gradually dawned on me that this story is about living an extraordinary life, about having the courage to live in the unknown, to commit, and to take action, no matter how ‘dull and ordinary’ one’s circumstances are.

Harold is joined and subsequently deserted by a motley crew of well-wishers and fame seekers. Even Dog, who had, as Harold said, ‘chosen to walk with Harold for a while, and then it had chosen to stop, and walk instead with the young girl. Life was like that.’

To quote Alfred Hickling in The Guardian, Rachel Joyce successfully conveys ‘profound emotions in simple, unaffected language’.

And for me, therein lies both its charm and its success.

 

Link to book on local Amazon

 

The Rosie Project

The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

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The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion is a story about love, life and lobster every Tuesday…

The Rosie Project was originally written as a screenplay, and won the Australian Writers Guild/Inception Award for Best Romantic Comedy Script in 2010. As a novel, it won the 2012 Victorian Premier’s award for an unpublished fiction manuscript. It is rightly widely acclaimed as a witty, amusing and sensitive story of life and love.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Rosie-Project-Don-Tillman-ebook/dp/B00B2FLDRQ

The Goldfinch

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
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It’s hard to articulate just how much–and why–The Goldfinch held such power for me as a reader. Always a sucker for a good boy-and-his-mom story, I probably was taken in at first by the cruelly beautiful passages in which 13-year-old Theo Decker tells of the accident that killed his beloved mother and set his fate. But even when the scene shifts–first Theo goes to live with his schoolmate’s picture-perfect (except it isn’t) family on Park Avenue, then to Las Vegas with his father and his trashy wife, then back to a New York antiques shop–I remained mesmerized. Along with Boris, Theo’s Ukrainian high school sidekick, and Hobie, one of the most wonderfully eccentric characters in modern literature, Theo–strange, grieving, effete, alcoholic and often not close to honorable Theo–had taken root in my heart. Still, The Goldfinch is more than a 700-plus page turner about a tragic loss: it’s also a globe-spanning mystery about a painting that has gone missing, an examination of friendship, and a rumination on the nature of art and appearances. Most of all, it is a sometimes operatic, often unnerving and always moving chronicle of a certain kind of life. “Things would have turned out better if she had lived,” Theo said of his mother, fourteen years after she died. An understatement if ever there was one, but one that makes the selfish reader cry out: Oh, but then we wouldn’t have had this brilliant book! –Sara Nelson

http://www.amazon.com/The-Goldfinch-Donna-Tartt/dp/0316055433/ref=zg_bs_books_1

A Tale for the Time Being

A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki

Printed Book

Intriguing, inspiring and touching, referencing the ideas of eminent physicists and Zen masters, this tale begins after the devastating 2011 tsunami when Ruth, a Canadian novelist, finds on the beach the washed up diary of Nao, a depressed and bewildered Japanese girl. A truly human, warm and tender story which weaves its way through two distinct cultures and time zones.

http://www.amazon.com/Tale-Time-Being-Ruth-Ozeki/dp/0670026638

The Letter of Marque

http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Letter-Marque-Maturin-ebook/dp/B006FH2X1Q/ref=tmm_kin_title_0

The Letter of Marque by Patrick O’Brian

Kindle

Patrick O’Brian’s Aubrey-Maturin tales are widely acknowledged to be the greatest series of historical novels ever written. Now, for the first time, they are available in electronic book format, so a whole new generation of readers can be swept away on the adventure of a lifetime. This is the twelfth book in the series.

Jack Aubrey is a naval officer, a post-captain of experience and capacity. When The Letter of Marque opens he has been struck off the Navy List for a crime he has not committed. With Aubrey is his friend and ship’s surgeon Stephen Maturin, who is also an unofficial British intelligence agent. Maturin has bought for Aubrey his old ship the Surprise, so that the misery of ejection from the service can be palliated by the command of what Aubrey calls a ‘private man-of-war’ – a letter of marque, a privateer. Together they sail on a voyage which, if successful, might restore Aubrey to the rank, and the raison d’etre, whose loss he so much regrets.

Around these simple, ostensibly familar elements Patrick O’Brian has written a novel of great narrative power, exploring his extraordinary world once more, in a tale full of human feeling and rarely matched in its drama.