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    Too Much Happiness

    Brilliantly paced, lit with sparks of danger and underlying menace, these are dazzling, provocative stories about Svengali men, and radical women who outmanoeuvre them, about destructive marriages and curdled friendships, about mothers and sons, about moments which change or haunt a life. Alice Munro takes on complex, even harrowing emotions and events, and renders them into stories that surprise, amaze and shed light on the unpredictable ways we accommodate to what happens in our lives. A wife and mother, whose spirit has been crushed, finds release from her extraordinary pain in the most unlikely place. The young victim of a humiliating seduction (which involves reading Housman in the nude) finds an unusual way to get her own back and move on. An older woman, dying of cancer, weaves a poisonous story to save her life. Other stories uncover the 'deep holes' in marriage and their consequences, the dangerous intimacy of girls and the cruelty of children. The long title story follows Sophia Kovalevsky, a late nineteenth-century Russian emigree and mathematical genius, as she takes a fateful winter journey that begins with a visit to her lover on the Riviera, and ends in Sweden, where she is a professor at the only university willing to hire a woman to teach her subject. Munro's unsettling stories turn lives into art, expand our world and our understanding of the strange workings of the human heart.

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    The Robber Bride

    Margaret Atwood's The Robber Bride is inspired by "The Robber Bridegroom," a wonderfully grisly tale from the Brothers Grimm in which an evil groom lures three maidens into his lair and devours them, one by one. But in her version, Atwood brilliantly recasts the monster as Zenia, a villainess of demonic proportions, and sets her loose in the lives of three friends, Tony, Charis, and Roz. All three "have lost men, spirit, money, and time to their old college acquaintance, Zenia. At various times, and in various emotional disguises, Zenia has insinuated her way into their lives and practically demolished them. To Tony, who almost lost her husband and jeopardized her academic career, Zenia is 'a lurking enemy commando.' To Roz, who did lose her husband and almost her magazine, Zenia is 'a cold and treacherous bitch.' To Charis, who lost a boyfriend, quarts of vegetable juice and some pet chickens, Zenia is a kind of zombie, maybe 'soulless'" (Lorrie Moore, New York Times Book Review). In love and war, illusion and deceit, Zenia's subterranean malevolence takes us deep into her enemies' pasts.

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    Money

    "Super-charged, anarchic and full of narrative acrobatics, "Money" burst on to the Eighties literary scene leaving a trail of imitators and devotees in its wake". ("Observer"). This is the story of John Self, consumer extraordinaire. Rolling around New York and London, he makes deals, spends wildly and does reckless movie-world business, all the while grabbing everything he can to sate his massive appetites: alcohol, tobacco, pills, pornography, a mountain of junk food and more. Ceaselessly inventive and thrillingly savage, this is a tale of life lived without restraint; of money, the terrible things it can do and the disasters it can precipitate. "Terribly, terminally funny". ("Guardian").

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    Les Miserables

    WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY ADAM THIRLWELL. Sensational, dramatic, packed with rich excitement and filled with the sweep and violence of human passions, Les Miserables is one of the greatest adventure stories ever told. It is a novel peopled by colourful characters from the nineteenth-century Parisian underworld; the street children, the prostitutes and the criminals. In telling the story of escaped convict Jean Valjean, and his efforts to reform his ways and care for the little orphan girl he rescues from a life of cruelty, Victor Hugo drew attention to the plight of the poor and oppressed. Les Miserables is a masterful detective story, a comic and tragic story of romance and revolution and, ultimately, a tale of redemption and hope.

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    Slaughterhouse 5

    Slaughterhouse-Five, an American classic, is one of the world’s great antiwar books. Centering on the infamous firebombing of Dresden, Billy Pilgrim’s odyssey through time reflects the mythic journey of our own fractured lives as we search for meaning in what we fear most.

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    Anna Karenina (Oprah #5)

    A magnificent drama of vengeance, infidelity, and retribution, "Anna Karenina" is the moving story of people whose emotions conflict with the dominant social mores of their time. Tolstoy's masterful novel is one of the greatest works of world literature...it is a novel of social realism that perfectly bares the Russian soul, set against the fascinating panorama of life in nineteenth-century Russia. With a full-cast and stirring music, this compelling story of one woman's fate is brought to life in this powerful BBC production.

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    To Kill a Mockingbird

    THE ORIGINAL TEXT 'Shoot all the Bluejays you want, if you can hit 'em, but remember it's a sin to kill a Mockingbird.' Atticus Finch gives this advice to his children as he defends the real mockingbird of this classic novel - a black man charged with attacking a white girl. Through the eyes of Scout and Jem Finch, Lee explores the issues of race and class in the Deep South of the 1930s with compassion and humour. She also creates one of the great heroes of literature in their father, whose lone struggle for justice pricks the conscience of a town steeped in prejudice and hypocrisy.

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    Fear of Flying

    Compulsive daydreamer Isadora Wing doesn't want much - just to be free and to find the perfect, guiltless, zipless sexual encounter. Pursuing this ideal across two continents, she discovers just how hard it can be to make one's dreams come true. Though Isadora fears flying (in all possible senses), she forces herself to keep travelling, risking her marriage and even her life for her own special brand of liberation. This intensely witty and exuberant novel is about how she achieves her freedom and loses her fear.

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    The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet

    The Sunday Times Number One Bestseller, from the author of CLOUD ATLAS and THE BONE CLOCKS. Longlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2010 In your hands is a place like no other: a tiny, man-made island in the bay of Nagasaki, for two hundred years the sole gateway between Japan and the West. Here, in the dying days of the 18th century, a young Dutch clerk arrives to make his fortune. Instead he loses his heart. Step onto the streets of Dejima and mingle with scheming traders, spies, interpreters, servants and concubines as two cultures converge. In a tale of integrity and corruption, passion and power, the key is control - of riches and minds, and over death itself.

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    The House Of God

    As in all hospitals, the medical hierarchy of The House of God was a pyramid - a lot at the bottom and one at the top.Put another way it was like an ice-cream cone...you had to lick your way up! Roy Basch, the 'red-hot' Rhodes Scholar, thought differently - but then he hadn't met Hyper Hooper, out to win the most post-mortems of the year award, nor Molly, the nurse with the crash helmet.He hadn't even met any of the Gomers ('Get Out of My Emergency Room!'), the no-hopers who wanted to die but who were worth more alive!

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    Infinite Jest: A Novel

    A gargantuan, mind-altering comedy about the Pursuit of Happiness in America set in an addicts' halfway house and a tennis academy, and featuring the most endearingly screwed-up family to come along in recent fiction, Infinite Jest explores essential questions about what entertainment is and why it has come to so dominate our lives; about how our desire for entertainment affects our need to connect with other people; and about what the pleasures we choose say about who we are. Equal parts philosophical quest and screwball comedy, Infinite Jest bends every rule of fiction without sacrificing for a moment its own entertainment value. It is an exuberant, uniquely American exploration of the passions that make us human - and one of those rare books that renew the idea of what a novel can do.

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    Lauran
    There's some great entries on here! I've been meaning to read The Master and Margarita for a long time, I should really put it at the top of my list.

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