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Awesome Books By Awesome People

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It's hard to pick just 5 favourites: that's like asking me to choose which vital organ I'd rather live without. But here's a short list of what I'd consider to be 5 of the best books I've ever read.

Jane Eyre

A gothic masterpiece of tempestuous passions and dark secrets, Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre is edited with an introduction and notes by Stevie Davis in Penguin Classics.Charlotte Bronte tells the story of orphaned Jane Eyre, who grows up in the home of her heartless aunt, enduring loneliness and cruelty. This troubled childhood strengthens Jane's natural independence and spirit - which prove necessary when she finds employment as a governess to the young ward of Byronic, brooding Mr Rochester. As her feelings for Rochester develop, Jane gradually uncovers Thornfield Hall's terrible secret, forcing her to make a choice. Should she stay with Rochester and live with the consequences, or follow her convictions - even if it means leaving the man she loves? A novel of intense power and intrigue, Jane Eyre dazzled readers with its passionate depiction of a woman's search for equality and freedom.

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Frankenstein

HarperCollins is proud to present its new range of best-loved, essential classics. 'It was already one in the morning; the rain pattered dismally against the panes, and my candle was nearly burnt out, when, by the glimmer of the half-extinguished light, I saw the dull yellow eye of the creature open...' Written when Mary Shelley was only nineteen-years old, this chilling tale of a young scientist's desire to create life still resonates today. Victor Frankenstein's monster is stitched together from the stolen limbs of the dead, and the result is a grotesque being who, rejected by his maker, sets out on a journey to reek his revenge. In the most famous gothic horror story ever told, Shelley confronts the limitations of science, the nature of human cruelty and the pathway to forgiveness with rich language and evocative imagery.

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Goldengrove

This is the US Bestseller. When 13-year-old Nico's happy family is shattered by the sudden death of her older sister, she faces a summer during which, in coming to terms with her profound grief, she embarks on a journey of emotional, intellectual and sexual discovery...When Nico's older sister dies, her innocently happy childhood life is shattered. Thirteen-year-old Nico is left alone to grope toward understanding and clarity, while her parents drift toward their own risky consolations. Over one haunted summer, Nico must find her own way to tackle the mystery of loss and recovery. With her lively mind, Nico looks for solace and security in books, art, and - recklessly - her sister's enigmatic boyfriend, with whom she falls into a seductive, dangerous relationship...Goldengrove follows Nico over one summer when a death changes her life for ever.

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What She Left Behind

Ten years ago, Izzy Stone's mother fatally shot her father while he slept. Devastated by her mother's apparent insanity, Izzy, now seventeen, refuses to visit her in prison. But her new foster parents, employees at the local museum, have enlisted Izzy's help in cataloguing items at a long-shuttered state asylum. There, amid piles of abandoned belongings, Izzy discovers a stack of unopened letters, a decades-old journal, and a window into her own past. Clara Cartwright, eighteen years old in 1929, is caught between her overbearing parents and her love for an Italian immigrant. Furious when she rejects an arranged marriage, Clara's father sends her to a genteel home for nervous invalids. But when his fortune is lost in the stock market crash, he can no longer afford her care - and Clara is committed to the public asylum. Even as Izzy deals with the challenges of yet another new beginning, Clara's story keeps drawing her into the past. If Clara was never really mentally ill, could something else explain her own mother's violent act? Piecing together Clara's fate compels Izzy to re-examine her own choices - with shocking and unexpected results.

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