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Favourite Reads

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A collection of some of my favourite books. 

The Flamethrowers

This is the New York Times Top 10 Books of the Year. It is the Guardian Best Books of the Year. It is shortlisted for the National Book Awards. The year is 1977 and Reno - so called because of the place of her birth - has come to New York intent on turning her fascination with motorcycles and speed into art. Her arrival coincides with an explosion of activity in the art world - artists have colonised a deserted and industrial SoHo, are squatting in the East Village, and are blurring the line between life and art. Reno meets a group of dreamers and raconteurs who submit her to a sentimental education of sorts. She begins an affair with an artist named Sandro Valera, the semi-estranged heir of an Italian tyre and motorcycle empire. When they visit Sandro's family home in Italy, Reno falls in with members of the radical movement that overtook Italy in 1977. Betrayal sends her reeling into a clandestine undertow. The Flamethrowers is a fearless novel, an intensely engaging exploration of the mystique of the feminine, the fake the terrorist. In the centre of it all is Kushner's brilliantly realised protagonist, a young woman on the verge.

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In the Orchard, the Swallows

In the foothills of a mountain range in northern Pakistan is a beautiful orchard. Swallows wheel and dive silently over the branches, and the scent of jasmine threads through the air. Pomegranates hang heavy, their skins darkening to a deep crimson. Neglected now, the trees are beginning to grow wild, their fruit left to spoil on the branches. Many miles away, a frail young man is flung out of prison gates. Looking up, scanning the horizon for swallows in flight, he stumbles and collapses in the roadside dust. His ravaged body tells the story of fifteen years of brutality. Just one image has held and sustained him through the dark times - the thought of the young girl who had left him dumbstruck with wonder all those years ago, whose eyes were lit up with life. A tale of tenderness in the face of great and corrupt power, "In The Orchard, The Swallows" is a heartbreaking novel written in prose of exquisite stillness and beauty.

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2666

Written with burning intesity in the last years of Roberto Bolano's life, 2666 has been greeted across the world as the great writer's masterpiece, surpassing everything in imagination, beauty and scope. It is a novel on an astonishing scale from a passionate visionary. 'The best book of 2008 ...A masterpiece, the electrifying literary event of the year' Time 'Readers who have snacked on Haruki Murakami will feast on Roberto Bolano' Sunday Times 'Bolano makes you feel changed for having read him; he adjusts your angle of view on the world' Guardian

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A Fine Balance

Set in mid-1970s India, A Fine Balance is a subtle and compelling narrative about four unlikely characters who come together in circumstances no one could have foreseen soon after the government declares a 'State of Internal Emergency'. It is a breathtaking achievement: panoramic yet humane, intensely political yet rich with local delight; and, above all, compulsively readable.

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Hunting and Gathering

Camille is doing her best to disappear. She barely eats, works at night as a cleaner and lives in a tiny attic room. Downstairs in a beautiful, ornate apartment, lives Philibert Marquet de la Durbelliere, a shy, erudite, upper-class man with an unlikely flatmate in the shape of the foul-mouthed but talented chef, Franck. One freezing evening Philibert overcomes his excruciating reitcence to rescue Camille, unconscious, from her garret and bring her into his home. As she recovers Camille learns more about Philibert; about Franck and his guilt for his beloved but fragile grandmother Paulette, who is all he has left in the world; and about herself. And slowly, this curious quartet of misfits all discover the importance of food, friendship and love.

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The Girls

Rarely has the experience of being a sister been so poignantly and memorably captured as in Lori Lansens's triumphant novel. The Girls celebrates life's fundamental joys and trials as it presents Rose and Ruby, sisters destined to live inseparably but blessed with distinct sensibilities that enrich and complicate their shared experiences-of growing up, of finding their way in the world, of saying good-bye.Readers who encounter the girls will find it hard to resist falling under their spell.

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Late Nights on Air

The eagerly anticipated novel from the bestselling author of A Student of Weather and Garbo Laughs. Harry Boyd, a hard-bitten refugee from failure in Toronto television, has returned to a small radio station in the Canadian North. There, in Yellowknife, in the summer of 1975, he falls in love with a voice on air, though the real woman, Dido Paris, is both a surprise and even more than he imagined. Dido and Harry are part of the cast of eccentric, utterly loveable characters, all transplants from elsewhere, who form an unlikely group at the station. Their loves and longings, their rivalries and entanglements, the stories of their pasts and what brought each of them to the North, form the centre. One summer, on a canoe trip four of them make into the Arctic wilderness (following in the steps of the legendary Englishman John Hornby, who, along with his small party, starved to death in the barrens in 1927), they find the balance of love shifting, much as the balance of power in the North is being changed by the proposed Mackenzie Valley gas pipeline, which threatens to displace Native people from their land. Elizabeth Hay has been compared to Annie Proulx, Alice Hoffman, and Isabel Allende, yet she is uniquely herself. With unforgettable characters, vividly evoked settings, in this new novel, Hay brings to bear her skewering intelligence into the frailties of the human heart and her ability to tell a spellbinding story. Written in gorgeous prose, laced with dark humour, Late Nights on Air is Hay's most seductive and accomplished novel yet, and is already garnering interest abroad. On the shortest night of the year, a golden evening without end, Dido climbed the wooden stepsto Pilot's Monument on top of the great Rock that formed the heart of old Yellowknife. In the Netherlands the light was long and gradual too, but more meadowy, more watery, or else hazier, depending on where you were. . . . Here, it was subarctic desert, virtually unpopulated, and the light was uniformly clear. On the road below, a small man in a black beret was bending over his tripod just as her father used to bend over his tape recorder. Her father's voice had become the wallpaper inside her skull, he'd made a home for himself there as improvised and unexpected as these little houses on the side of the Rock -- houses with histories of instability, of changing from gambling den to barber shop to sheet metal shop to private home, and of being moved from one part of town to another since they had no foundations.--From Late Nights On Air From the Hardcover edition.

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Homegoing

Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for Best First BookEffia and Esi: two sisters with two very different destinies. One sold into slavery; one a slave trader's wife. The consequences of their fate reverberate through the generations that follow. Taking us from the Gold Coast of Africa to the cotton-picking plantations of Mississippi; from the missionary schools of Ghana to the dive bars of Harlem, spanning three continents and seven generations, Yaa Gyasi has written a miraculous novel - the intimate, gripping story of a brilliantly vivid cast of characters and through their lives the very story of America itself.Epic in its canvas and intimate in its portraits, Homegoing is a searing and profound debut from a masterly new writer.

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Bookish Social Media Person. INFJ. Reading. Writing. Music. Dogs. Tea. Literary Fiction. Nonfiction (Science, Health, Medicine, Biographies). Classics.

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