Book group collections

Borrow up to fifteen copies of a particular title for your book group to use for 4 weeks. It’s so easy, and even better, it’s all free!

  • Choose a person from your book group to join as a Library Book Group member.
  • Get a Book Group ticket at your nearest library.
  • Choose the book you’d like to read – take your pick from the titles listed below. You can download the list as a customisable spreadsheet or a downloadable PDF (22 pages). Some titles are also available in ebook or audiobook format.
  • Arrange a book group collection through your local library.
  • Pick up and return collections to your nearest library.

If you already have a library card you can still use it for your own personal reading. The book group ticket is an extra card for borrowing multiple copies of the same book.

Stay with me by Ayobami Adebayo
Yejide is hoping for a miracle, for a child. It is all her husband wants, all her mother-in-law wants, and she has tried everything. But when her relatives insist upon a new wife, it is too much for Yejide to bear. Unravelling against the social and political turbulence of 1980s Nigeria,Stay With Meis a story of the fragility of married love, the undoing of family, the power of grief, and the all-consuming bonds of motherhood. It is a tale about the desperate attempts we make to save ourselves, and those we love, from heartbreak.
Also available as eBook 

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
A powerful story of love, race and identity. As teenagers in Lagos, Ifemelu and Obinze fall in love. Their Nigeria is under military dictatorship, and people are fleeing the country if they can. The self-assured Ifemelu departs for America. There she suffers defeats and triumphs, finds and loses relationships, all the while feeling the weight of something she never thought of back home: race.
Also available as eBook and Audiobook

Things that fall from the sky by Selja Ahava
Three lives changed forever by a series of random events: a young girl loses her mother; a woman wins the jackpot twice; and a man is struck by lightning. Selja Ahava weaves four unique stories about just how far people will go to force life into a logical pattern they can make sense of.
Also available as eBook

Second-hand time by Svetlana Alexievich
In this magnificent requiem to a civilization in ruins, the winner of the 2015 Nobel Prize in Literature reinvents a singular, polyphonic literary form, bringing together the voices of dozens of witnesses to the collapse of the USSR in a formidable attempt to chart the disappearance of a culture and to surmise what new kind of man may emerge from the rubble.
Also available as eBook

Celestial bodies by Jokha Alharthi
In the village of al-Awafi in Oman live three sisters who must each balance the demands of tradition with the opportunities of modernisation. Celestial Bodies tells the story of modern Oman through one family’s loves and losses.
Also available as an eBook and Audiobook

The crime at Black Dudley by Margery Allingham
When George Abbershaw is invited to Black Dudley Manor for the weekend, he has only one thing on his mind – proposing to Maggie Oliphant. Unfortunately for George, things don’t quite go according to plan. A harmless game turns decidedly deadly and suspicions of murder take precedence over matrimony.
Also available as eBook and Audiobook

Anna by Niccolo Ammaniti
It is four years since the virus came, killing every adult in its path. Now Anna cares for her brother alone in a house hidden in the woods, keeping him safe from ‘the Outside’, scavenging for food amid the packs of wild dogs that roam their ruined, blackened world. Their mother told them that, when they reach adulthood, the sickness will claim them too. But she also told them that someone, somewhere, will have a cure. When the time comes, Anna knows, they must leave their world and find another. By turns luminous and tender, gripping and horrifying, Anna is a haunting parable of love and loneliness; of the stories we tell to sustain us, and the lengths we will go to in order to stay alive.
Also available as eBook and Audiobook

I know why the caged bird sings by Maya Angelou
In this first volume of her six books of autobiography, Maya Angelou beautifully evokes her childhood with her grandmother in the American south of the 1930s. She learns the power of the white folks at the other end of town and suffers the terrible trauma of rape by her mother’s lover. ‘I write about being a Black American woman, however, I am always talking about what it’s like to be a human being. This is how we are, what makes us laugh, and this is how we fall and how we somehow, amazingly, stand up again’ Maya Angelou.
Also available as Audiobook

Only time will tell by Jeffrey Archer
The epic tale of Harry Clifton’s life begins in 1919, in the backstreets of Bristol. His father was a war hero, but it will be twenty-one tumultuous years before Harry discovers the truth about how his father really died and if, in fact, he even was his father.
Also available as eBook and Audiobook

Seeing stars by Simon Armitage
Simon Armitage’s ‘Seeing Stars’, a funny and thought-provoking collection of ‘flash fiction’, is sure to intrigue, featuring such oddities as a speech from a sperm whale (The Christening) to a miracle in the dishwasher (Upon unloading the dishwasher).

Life after life by Kate Atkinson
During a snowstorm in England in 1910, a baby is born and dies before she can take her first breath.During a snowstorm in England in 1910, the same baby is born and lives to tell the tale.What if thereweresecond chances? In fact, an infinite number of chances to live your life? Would you eventually be able to save the world from its own inevitable destiny? Follow Ursula Todd as she lives through the turbulent events of the last century again and again. With wit and compassion, Kate Atkinson finds warmth even in life’s bleakest moments, and shows an extraordinary ability to evoke the past.
Also available as eBook and Audiobook

A god in ruins by Kate Atkinson
A God in Ruins relates the life of Teddy Todd – would-be poet, heroic World War II bomber pilot, husband, father, and grandfather – as he navigates the perils and progress of the 20th century. For all Teddy endures in battle, his greatest challenge will be to face living in a future he never expected to have.
Also available as eBook and Audiobook

Started early, took my dog by Kate Atkinson
Started Early, Took My Dog’ is the fourth novel in the bestselling sequence that started with ‘Case Histories’. It again features the beguiling former detective Jackson Brodie, who was also seen in ‘One Good Turn’ and ‘When Will There Be Good News?’
Also available as eBook and Audiobook

Hag-seed by Margaret Atwood
Felix is at the top of his game as Artistic Director of the Makeshiweg Theatre Festival. His productions have amazed and confounded. Now he’s staging a Tempest like no other. It will boost his reputation. It will heal emotional wounds. Or that was the plan. Instead, after an act of unforeseen treachery, Felix is living in exile in a backwoods hovel, haunted by memories of his beloved lost daughter, Miranda. Also brewing revenge. After twelve years, revenge finally arrives in the shape of a theatre course at a nearby prison. Here, Felix and his inmate actors will put on his Tempest and snare the traitors who destroyed him. It’s magic! But will it remake Felix as his enemies fall?
Also available as eBook and Audiobook

The handmaid’s tale by Margaret Atwood
The Republic of Gilead offers Offred only one function – to breed. If she deviates, she will be killed. But even an oppressive state cannot obliterate desire – neither Offred’s nor that of the two men on which her future hangs. 
Also available as eBook and Audiobook

The heart goes last by Margaret Atwood
Stan and Charmaine are a married couple trying to stay afloat in the midst of economic and social collapse. Living in their car, surviving on tips from Charmaine’s job at a dive bar, they’re increasingly vulnerable to roving gangs and in a rather desperate state. So when they see an advertisement for the Positron Project in the town of Consilience – a ‘social experiment’ offering stable jobs and a home of their own – they sign up immediately. All they have to do in return for this suburban paradise is give up their freedom every second month, swapping their home for a prison cell.
Also available as eBook and Audiobook

Pride and predjudice by Jane Austen
Pride and Prejudice is one of the best-loved and most intimately known of Jane Austen’s novels. Her sense of comedy and satire makes this an enduring classic.  A love story between one of the wealthiest men in England and Elizabeth Bennett.
Also available as eBook and eAudiobook

A man called Ove by Frederik Backman
At first sight, Ove is almost certainly the grumpiest man you will ever meet. He thinks himself surrounded by idiots – neighbours who can’t reverse a trailer properly, joggers, shop assistants who talk in code, and the perpetrators of the vicious coup d’etat that ousted him as Chairman of the Residents’ Association. But, in the end, you will see, there is something about Ove that is quite irresistible…

Girl in the polka dot dress by Beryl Bainbridge
This Beryl Bainbridge novel is a double murder mystery and a bittersweet masterpiece of the kind with which she has made her reputation.

Transition by Iain Banks
A world that hangs suspended between triumph & catastrophe, between the dismantling of the Wall & the fall of the Twin Towers, frozen in the shadow of suicide terrorism & global financial collapse, such a world requires a firm hand & a guiding light. But does it need the Concern? 
The elegance of the hedgehog by Muriel Barbery
Renée is the concierge of a grand Parisian apartment building, home to members of the great and the good. But beneath this façade lies the real Renée: passionate about culture and the arts, and more knowledgeable in many ways than her employers with their outwardly successful but emotionally void lives. 
Also available as eBook

The noise of time by Julian Barnes
In May 1937 a man in his early thirties waits by the lift of a Leningrad apartment block. He waits all through the night, expecting to be taken away to the Big House. Any celebrity he has known in the previous decade is no use to him now. And few who are taken to the Big House ever return.
Also available as eBook and Audiobook

The versions of us by Laura Barnett
Eva and Jim are nineteen, and students at Cambridge, when their paths first cross in 1958. Jim is walking along a lane when a woman approaching him on a bicycle swerves to avoid a dog. What happens next will determine the rest of their lives. We follow three different versions of their future – together, and apart – as their love story takes on different incarnations and twists and turns to the conclusion in the present day.
Also available as Audiobook

Maggie and me by Damian Barr
It is 12 October 1984. An IRA bomb blows apart the Grand Hotel in Brighton. Miraculously, Maggie Thatcher survives. In small-town Scotland, eight-year-old Damian Barr watches in horror as his mum rips her wedding ring off and packs their bags. He knows he, too, must survive. Damian, his sister and his Catholic mum move in with her sinister new boyfriend while his Protestant dad shacks up with the glamorous Mary the Canary. Divided by sectarian suspicion, the community is held together by the sprawling Ravenscraig Steelworks.
Also available as eBook

Beatlebone by Kevin Barry
A novel of family, ghosts, love, music and the quest for truth, Beatlebone recounts a wild journey through the west of Ireland in 1978. At its helm is John, a maddened genius fleeing fame and seeking peace. With his deadpan Irish driver, Cornelius, at his side, John is hellbent on reaching the Island of Dorinish, an assignment he arranged ten years before. Lyrical, freewheeling, quixotic and fun, Beatlebone is a sad and beautiful comedy.
Also available as eBook

The secret scripture by Sebastian Barry
Nearing her 100th birthday, Roseanne faces an uncertain future, as the mental hospital where she’s spent the best part of her adult life prepares for closure. Over the weeks leading up to this upheaval, she talks often with her psychiatrist Dr Grene. This relationship intensifies as he mourns the death of his wife.

The invisible life of Euridice Gusmao by Martha Batalha
Euridice is bright and ambitious. But this is Brazil in the 1940s, and society expects her to be a loving wife and mother. While Antenor, her husband, is busy congratulating himself on his excellent catch, Euridice spends her spends her humdrum days ironing his shirts and dreaming of the success she could have made of herself. A darkly comic debut, bursting with vibrant Brazilian spirit and unforgettable characters – a jubilant novel about the emancipation of women.
Also available as eBook

Are you my mother? by Alison Bechdel
A memoir about her mother – a voracious reader, a music lover, a passionate amateur actor. A woman, unhappily married to a gay man, whose artistic aspirations simmered under the surface of Bechdel’s childhood… and who stopped kissing her daughter goodnight, for ever, when she was seven. Poignantly, hilariously, Bechdel embarks on a quest for answers concerning the mother-daughter gulf, in graphic novel form.

Six poets: Hardy to Larkin by Alan Bennett
Poetry collection. Alan Bennett’s selection of English verse by his favourite poets, accompanied by his own enlivening commentary.

All that remains by Sue Black
Sue Black confronts death every day, as a professor of anatomy and forensic anthropology. In All That Remains she reveals the many faces of death she has come to know, using key cases to explore how forensic science has developed, and examining what her life and work have taught her.
Also available as eBook and Audiobook

The aftermath by Rhidian Brook
In the bitter winter of 1946, Rachael Morgan arrives with her only remaining son Edmund in the ruins of Hamburg. Here she is reunited with her husband Lewis, a British colonel charged with rebuilding the shattered city. But as they set off for their new home, Rachael is stunned to discover that Lewis has made an extraordinary decision: they will be sharing the grand house with its previous owners, a German widower and his troubled daughter. In this charged atmosphere, enmity and grief give way to passion and betrayal.
Also available as  Audiobook

A tale etched in blood and hard black pencil by Christopher Brookmyre
Does knowing someone since childhood enable one to know who is capable of killing in adulthood? Or is there some nugget in their shared experience which explains the murder scene in the hills outside Glasgow?

We need new names by NoViolet Bulawayo
Whenever foreigners visit Paradise they always ask Darling and her friends to smile for the camera. Here are some of the things Darling and her friends have to smile about: stealing guavas, gifts from NGOs, singing Lady Gaga at the tops of their voices. But they all want to go to the real paradise in America or Britain.
Also available as Audiobook

His bloody project by Graeme Macrae Burnet
The year is 1869. A brutal triple murder in a remote community in the Scottish Highlands leads to the arrest of Roderick Macrae. A memoir written by the accused makes it clear that he is guilty, but it falls to the country s finest legal and psychiatric minds to uncover what drove him to commit such merciless acts of violence. Only the persuasive powers of his advocate stand between Macrae and the gallows.
Also available as eBook and Audiobook

The secret garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
After the death of her parents, 9-year-old Mary is brought back from India to live in Misselthwaite Manor. Wandering in the grounds, she finds a buried key & unlocks a door in the garden wall to find a garden that has been hidden away for many years. 
Also available as eBook and Audiobook

Moonglow by Michael Chabon
Moonglow unfolds as a deathbed confession. An old man, his tongue loosened by powerful painkillers, his memory stirred by the imminence of death, tells stories to his grandson, uncovering bits and pieces of a history long buried. From the Jewish slums of pre-war Philadelphia to the invasion of Germany, from a Florida retirement village to the penal utopia of a New York prison, from the heyday of the space programme to the twilight of ‘the American Century’, Moonglow collapses an era into a single life and a lifetime into a single week.
Also available as eBook and Audiobook

The waiting by Regi Claire
How far can you go to get what you want?  It is a few weeks before Christmas and Rachel, a messed-up young student from Switzerland doing a PhD on Calvinism, doesn’t baulk at drugging Lizzie Fairbairn, the elderly widow whose Edinburgh home she invades, then stealing what she thinks belongs to her by rights.

The sky’s dark labyrinth by Stuart Clark
At the dawn of the 17th century everyone believed that the sun revolved around the Earth. Yet some men knew that the heavens did not move as they should. This is the story of Kepler and Galileo, two men whose struggle with themselves, with the evidence and with the forces of reaction changed not simply themselves but our world.
Also available as eBook

Mr Two-Bomb by William Coles
Set amidst the apocalyptic background of post A-bomb Japan, Mr Two-Bomb guides the reader through age-old arguments of love and luck and depicts the recovery of Japan and its people following the 1945 atrocity. Inspired by a true story. 
Also available as eBook

Tea at the Midland and other stories by David Constantine
To the woman watching they looked like grace itself, the heart and soul of which is freedom. It pleased her particularly that they were attached by invisible strings to colourful curves of rapidly moving air. How clean and clever that was!  Like the kite-surfers in this opening scene, the characters in David Constantine’s book are often delicately caught in moments of defiance. Disregarding their age, their family, or the prevailing political winds, they show us a way of marking out a space for resistance and taking an honest delight in it.

Bitter almonds by Laurence Cossé
Edith can hardly believe it when she learns that Fadila, her 60-year-old housemaid, is completely illiterate. So she decides to become Fadila’s French teacher. But teaching something as complex as reading and writing to an adult is rather more challenging than she thought. Yet during these lessons, the oh-so-Parisian Edith and Fadila, an immigrant from Morocco, begin to understand one another as never before and from this understanding blossoms a surprising friendship. Edith will enter contact with a way of life that is unforgiving at times, but joyful and dignified.
Also available as eBook

Academy Street by Mary Costello
Growing up in the west of Ireland in the 1940s Tess is a shy introverted child. But beneath her quiet exterior lies a heart of fire. A fire that will later drive her to make her home among the hurly burly of 1960s New York. Over four decades and a life lived with quiet intensity on Academy Street in upper Manhattan, Tess encounters ferocious love and calamitous loss. But what endures is her bravery and fortitude, and her striking insights even as she is ‘floating close to hazard.’
Also available as eBook and Audiobook

Harvest by Jim Crace
As late summer steals in and the final pearls of barley are gleaned, a village comes under threat. A trio of outsiders – two men and a dangerously magnetic woman – arrives on the woodland borders triggering a series of events that will see Walter Thirsk’s village unmade in just seven days: the harvest blackened by smoke and fear, cruel punishment meted out to the innocent, and allegations of witchcraft. But something even darker is at the heart of Walter’s story, and he will be the only man left to tell it…
Also available as eBook 

Acts of allegiance by Peter Cunningham
Paris: May, 1969. Scents of spring blossom, coffee and high-octane petrol. Irish diplomat Marty Ransom has been summoned to meet Charles J. Haughey, the Irish Minister for Finance what’s decided between them will change the course of Irish history. The Minister wants a go-between with the new IRA faction in the North: he knows a key player is Marty’s cousin Ignatius. He has no idea Marty is reporting to MI5 in Dublin. As the deadly endgame draws near, Marty must choose between the past and all he holds dear.
Also available as eBook 

Turning the stones by Debra Daley
1750s, Georgian England. As a young foundling, Emily Smith is brought to Sedge Court, seat of the ambitious Waterlands, to be raised alongside their daughter Eliza. But at the age of fourteen, as her beauty and wit outshine the heiress’s, she is made Eliza’s lady’s maid. And in Eliza’s pursuit of a fortune and a husband, Emily becomes caught up in a pernicious plot amongst the opulent assemblies of London. When she suddenly finds herself implicated in a horrific crime, she runs for her life. Her frantic escape casts her across the country, on board a ship, and upon the mercy of its enigmatic Captain McDonagh. But there is a more potent force drawing Emily on: a spirit whose presence she has felt all her life, and whose irresistible design – be it malicious or benevolent – will force her onwards to a distant shore

Status anxiety by Alain de Botton
We all worry about what others think of us. We all long to succeed and fear failure. We all suffer – to a greater or lesser degree, usually privately and with embarrassment – from status anxiety. For the first time, Alain de Botton gives a name to this universal condition and sets out to investigate both its origins and possible solutions. He looks at history, philosophy, economics, art and politics – and reveals the many ingenious ways that great minds have overcome their worries. This book is not only entertaining and thought-provoking, but genuinely wise and helpful as well. 
Also available as eBook  
and Audiobook

The office of gardens and ponds by Didier Decoin
When master carp-catcher Katsuro drowns, his village is thrown into turmoil. It has to be Miyuki, Katsuro’s grief-stricken widow. But when she reaches the Offices of Gardens and Ponds, Miyuki discovers that the trials of her journey as far from over. For in the Imperial City, peril lurks in every corner of the Emperor’s Court.

The inheritance of loss by Kiran Desai
High in the Himalayas sits a dilapidated mansion, home to three people, each dreaming of another time. The judge, broken by a world too messy for justice, is haunted by his past. His orphan granddaughter has fallen in love with her handsome tutor. The cook’s heart is with his son, who is working in a New York restaurant. Around the house swirl the forces of revolution and change, stirring up inner conflicts as powerful as those dividing the community, pitting the past against the present, nationalism against love, a small place against the troubles of a big world.
Also available as eBook 

The hare with amber eyes: a hidden inheritance by Edmund de Waal
This globe spanning memoir tells the turbulent story of De Wahl’s Jewish ancestors, triggered by his inheritance of some surprisingly sturdy family heirlooms.
Also available as eBook and Audiobook

The red tent by Anita Diamant
An epic celebration of womanhood, written for women everywhere. Dinah, like the majority of women in the Old Testament, merits only a passing mention. It’s the men in Dinah’s life that history has remembered: her famous father Jacob, his dozen sons and her brother, Joseph, and his technicolour dreamcoat. A meticulously researched and hugely fascinating picture of everyday life as an early Jewish woman, this novel is compelling for its female take on the grand themes that transcend time – birth, death, love, hate, betrayal and forgiveness.
Also available as  Audiobook

Great expectations by Charles Dickens
Dickens’ story of Pip’s progress from rags to riches deals with the pervasive themes of greed, desire, money and the nature of capitalism. 
Also available as eBook and Audiobook

A tale of two cities by Charles Dickens
Dickens takes us to the year 1775, where England and France are undergoing a period of social upheaval and turmoil. The forces that are leading to revolution in France are colliding with a circle of people in England, causing their destinies to be irrevocably intertwined.
Also available as eBook and  Audiobook

House of cards by Michael Dobbs
An entertaining tale of skulduggery and intrigue within the Palace of Westminster. Its scheming hero, Chief Whip Francis Urquhart, who uses fair means and foul to become Prime Minister, is the politician we all love to hate. Acclaimed for its authenticity and insights into a secret world – the result of many years working behind the scenes for the Conservative Party.
Also available as Audiobook

All the light we cannot see by Anthony Doerr
A beautiful, stunningly ambitious novel 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. For Marie-Laure, blind since the age of six, the world is full of mazes. The miniature of a Paris neighbourhood, to teach her the way home. The layers within the diamond that her father guards in the Museum. The walled city, where father and daughter take refuge when the Nazis invade Paris. And a future which draws her ever closer to Werner, a German orphan, destined to labour in the mines until a broken radio brings him to the notice of the Hitler Youth. In this magnificent, deeply moving novel, the stories of Marie-Laure and Werner illuminate the ways that people try to be good to one another.
Also available as eBook and Audiobook

Room by Emma Donoghue
Shortlisted for the 2010 Man Booker Prize, ‘Room’ is the story of five year old Jack, whose world is confined to one room which he shares with his mother. Innovatively written from his perspective, ‘Room’ is sinister and challenging, but ultimately compelling

The sea detective by Mark Douglas-Home
Cal McGill, a part-time PhD oceanography student with a macabre interest in floating corpses, comes across a young woman in dirty clothes with scabs and cracked lips. She explains how her friend died three years ago and was fished out of the sea. This isn’t the only unexplained death haunting McGill however.
Also available as eBook

The dark flood rises by Margaret Drabble
Fran may be old but she’s not going without a fight. So she dyes her hair, enjoys every glass of red wine, drives restlessly around the country and lives in an insalubrious tower block that her loved ones disapprove of. By turns joyous and profound, darkly sardonic and moving, The Dark Flood Rises questions what makes a good life, and a good death.
Also available as eBook and Audiobook

The seamstress by Maria Duenas
Aged 12, Sira Quiroga was apprenticed to a Madrid dressmaker. As she masters the seamstress’ art, her life seems clearly mapped out – until she falls passionately in love and flees with her seductive lover. But betrayed in Morocco and left penniless, Sira finds that she cannot return to Civil war Spain and so turns to her one true skill.

Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier
Du Maurier’s famous tale of suspense, mystery and love concerns Maxim de Winter’s shy new bride and the house she is to inhabit, but that still reverberates to the haunting presence of his previous wife’s influence.

In the name of the family by Sarah Dunant
It is 1502 and Rodrigo Borgia, a self-confessed womaniser and master of political corruption is now on the Papal throne. His daughter Lucrezia, aged twenty-two, already thrice married and a pawn in her father’s plans, is discovering her own power. And then there is his son, Cesare Borgia: brilliant, ruthless and increasingly unstable. But while the pope rails against old age and his son’s increasing maverick behaviour it is Lucrezia who will become the Borgia survivor: taking on her enemies and creating her own place in history.

The siege by Helen Dunmore
Leningrad, September 1941. German tanks surround the city, imprisoning those who live there. The besieged people of Leningrad face shells, starvation, and the Russian winter. Interweaving two love affairs in two generations, ‘The Siege’ draws us deep into the Levin’s family struggle to stay alive during this terrible winter. It is a story about war and the wounds it inflicts on people’s lives. It is also a lyrical and deeply moving celebration of love, life and survival. 
Also available as eBook
and Audiobook

Birdcage Walk by Helen Dunmore
It is 1792 and Europe is seized by political turmoil. Lizzie has grown up in radical circles, but she has married John Diner Tredevant, a property developer, who is heavily invested in Bristol’s housing boom, and has everything to lose from social upheaval and the prospect of war.  Diner believes that Lizzie’s independent spirit must be subdued. She belongs to him: and she must live as he wants. But as Diner’s passion for Lizzie darkens, she soon finds herself dangerously alone.
Also available as eBook and Audiobook

A visit from the Goon Squad  by Jennifer Egan
This novel circles the lives of Bennie Salazar, an aging former punk rocker and record executive, and Sasha, the passionate, troubled young woman he employs. Although Bennie and Sasha never discover each other’s pasts, the reader does, in intimate detail, along with the secret lives of a host of other characters. 
Also available as eBook

Manhattan beach by Jennifer Egan
Anna Kerrigan accompanies her father to visit Dexter Styles, a man who is crucial to the survival of her father and her family. Years later, her father has disappeared and the country is at war. One evening at a nightclub Anna meets Dexter styles again, and begins to understand the complexity of her father’s life and the reasons he might have vanished.

The circle by Dave Eggers
When Mae Holland is hired to work for the Circle, the world’s most powerful internet company, she feels she’s been given the opportunity of a lifetime. The Circle, run out of a sprawling California campus, links users’ personal emails, social media, banking, and purchasing with their universal operating system, resulting in one online identity and a new age of civility and transparency. Mae can’t believe her luck, her great fortune to work for the most influential company in the world – even as life beyond the campus grows distant, even as a strange encounter with a colleague leaves her shaken, even as her role at the Circle becomes increasingly public
Also available as eBook and Audiobook

The forgotten waltz by Anne Enright
It’s snowing in Terenure, a pleasant suburb of Dublin in the winter of 2009. Gina Moynihan, girl about town, recalls the trail of lust and happenstance that brought her to fall for the love of her life.
Also available as eBook and Audiobook

Visitation by Jenny Erpenbeck
Its physical slightness belies this novel’s weighty themes, revolving around a grandiose Brandenburg lake house whose history and occupants weave through the 20th century’s turbulent history.

Belgravia by Julian Fellowes
This is the story of a secret. A secret that unravels behind the porticoed doors of London’s grandest postcode. Set in the 1840s when the upper echelons of society began to rub shoulders with the emerging industrial nouveau riche, Belgravia is peopled by a rich cast of characters. But the story begins on the eve of the Battle of Waterloo in 1815. At the Duchess of Richmond’s now legendary ball, one family’s life will change for ever…

Aren’t we sisters? by Patricia Ferguson
Lettie teaches married women about contraception. Her job is technically legal, but the things that the typed, unsigned letters that arrive at Lettie’s office ask her to do certainly aren’t.
Also available as Audiobook

My brilliant friend by Eimar Ferrante
The first in the ‘Neopolitan Novels’ series, this is the story of a friendship between two young girls that will last a lifetime.
Also available as eBook and Audiobook

To rise again at a decent hour by Joshua Ferris
Paul O’Rourke, 40-year-old slightly curmudgeonly dentist, runs a thriving practice in New York. Yet he is discovering he needs more in his life than a steady income and the perfect mochaccino. But what? As Paul tries to work out the meaning of life, a Facebook page and Twitter account appear in his name. What’s at first an outrageous violation of privacy soon becomes something more frightening: the possibility that the online ‘Paul’ might be a better version of the man in the flesh. Who is doing this and will it cost Paul his sanity?
Also available as Audiobook

The shock of the fall by Nathan Filer
An extraordinary portrait of one man’s journey through the spinning vortex that is mental illness. It is a brave and groundbreaking novel from one of the most exciting new voices in fiction

The narrow road to the deep north by Richard Flanagan
In the despair of a Japanese POW camp on the Burma Death Railway, surgeon Dorrigo Evans is haunted by his love affair with his uncle’s young wife two years earlier. Struggling to save the men under his command from starvation, from cholera, from beatings, he receives a letter that will change his life forever.
Also available as Audiobook

Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
Finding herself stifled by marriage, Emma Bovary throws herself into a desperate love affair and by doing so, sows the seeds of her own downfall.
Also available as eBook and Audiobook

Casino Royale by Ian Fleming
At the casino in Deauville Bond’s game is baccarat, for stakes that run into millions of francs. But away from the discreet salons, it’s 007 versus one of Russia’s most powerful and ruthless agents.

Fall of giants by Ken Follett
Fall of giants is a huge novel that follows five families through the world-shaking dramas of the First World War, the Russian Revolution, and the struggle for votes for women. In a plot of unfolding drama and intriguing complexity, it moves seamlessly from Washington to St Petersburg, from the dirt and danger of a coal mine to the glittering chandeliers of a palace, from the corridors of power to the bedrooms of the mighty.
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Ghost moth by Michele Forbes
Northern Ireland, 1949. Katherine must choose between George Bedford – solid, reliable, devoted George – and Tom McKinley, who makes her feel alive. The reverberations of that summer – of the passions that were spilled, the lies that were told and the bargains that were made – still clamour to be heard in 1969. Northern Ireland has become a tinderbox but tragedy also lurks closer to home. As Katherine and George struggle to save their marriage and silence the ghosts of the past, their family and city stand on the brink of collapse.

Where angels fear to tread by E.M Forster
E.M. Forster’s first novel is a witty comedy of manners that is tinged with tragedy. It tells the story of Lilia who proves to be an embarrassment to her late husband’s family as she begins a relationship with a much younger Italian man – classless, uncouth and highly unsuitable. A subtle attack on decorous Edwardian values and a humanely sympathetic portrayal of the clash of two cultures,Where Angels Fear to Tread is also a profound exploration of character and virtue.
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Keeping the world away by Margaret Forster   
Lost, found, stolen, strayed, sold, fought over… This engrossing, beautifully crafted novel follows the fictional adventures, over a hundred years, of an early 20th-century painting and the women whose lives it touches. It opens with bold, passionate Gwen, struggling to be an artist, leaving for Paris where she becomes Rodin’s lover and paints a small, intimate picture of a quiet corner of her attic room. Then there’s Charlotte, a dreamy intellectual Edwardian girl, and Stella, Lucasta, Ailsa and finally young Gillian, who share an unspoken desire to have for themselves a tranquil golden place like that in the painting.

We are all completely beside ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler
Rosemary’s young, just at college, and she’s decided not to tell anyone a thing about her family. So we’re not going to tell you too much either: you’ll have to find out for yourselves. Rosemary is now an only child, but she used to have a sister the same age as her, and an older brother. Both are now gone – vanished from her life. There’s something unique about Rosemary’s sister, Fern. So now she’s telling her story: full of hilarious asides and brilliantly spiky lines, it’s a looping narrative that begins towards the end, and then goes back to the beginning. Twice.
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Freedom by Jonathan Franzen
Freedom invites us to question perfection and whether it really exists, in the form of Patty and Walter, a successful American couple.
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Skios by Michael Frayn
On the Greek island of Skios, the Fred Toppler Foundation’s annual lecture is to be given by the young and charming Dr Norman Wilfred, an authority on science. The Foundation’s guests are soon eating out of his hand. Meanwhile, in a remote villa at the other end of the island is a balding old gent called Dr Norman Wilfred… Find out what happens in one of the funniest novels of 2012.

Spies of the Balkans by Alan Furst
Follow Costa Zannis as he navigates Nazi occupied Salonika, holding down a government intelligence position whilst becoming a fully fledged member of the resistance movement.

All made up by Janice Galloway
In the second volume of her memoirs, the prize-winning author Janice Galloway reveals how the child introduced in ‘This Is Not About Me’ evolved during her teenage years.  Winner of the Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust Book of the Year non-fiction section, and overall prize in 2012.
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River of smoke by Amitav Ghosh
In September 1838 a storm blows up on the Indian Ocean and the Ibis, a ship carrying a consignment of convicts and indentured laborers from Calcutta to Mauritius, is caught up in the whirlwind. When the seas settle, five men have disappeared. On the grand scale of an historical epic, River of Smoke follows its storm-tossed characters to the crowded harbours of China. All struggle to cope with their losses – and for some, unimaginable freedoms – in the alleys and crowded waterways of 19th century Canton.

David and Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell
Why do underdogs succeed so much more than we expect? How do the weak outsmart the strong? In ‘David and Goliath’ Malcolm Gladwell takes us on a scintillating and surprising journey through the hidden dynamics that shape the balance of power between the small and the mighty. From the conflicts in Northern Ireland and Vietnam, through the tactics of civil rights leaders and the problem of privilege, Gladwell demonstrates how we misunderstand the true meaning of advantage and disadvantage.
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My last duchess by Daisy Goodwin
Beautiful Cora Cash, the wealthiest debutante in America, is spirited away from the glamour & comfort of her Park Avenue mansion & suddenly finds herself Duchess of Wareham, mistress of Lulworth Castle, married to Ivo, the most eligible bachelor in England. As Cora is soon to discover, nothing in this strange new world is quite as it seems.
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The last Tudor by Philippa Gregory
Jane Grey was Queen of England for nine days. Using her position as cousin to the deceased king, her father and his conspirators put her on the throne ahead of the king’s half-sister Mary, who quickly mustered an army, claimed her crown and locked Jane in the Tower. When Jane refused to betray her Protestant faith, Mary sent her to the executioner’s block. There Jane turned her father’s greedy, failed grab for power into her own brave and tragic martyrdom.
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Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi
Effia 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.
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The curious incident of the dog in the night-time by Mark Haddon
A murder mystery like no other, this novel features Christopher Boone, a 15 year-old who suffers from Asperger’s syndrome. When he finds a neighbour’s dog murdered, he sets out on a journey which will turn his whole world upside down.
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Bad dreams and other stories by Tessa Hadley
Two sisters quarrel over an inheritance and a new baby. A housekeeper caring for a helpless old man uncovers secrets from his past. A young girl accepts a lift in a car with a group of strangers. An old friend brings bad news to a dinner party. In these gripping and unsettling stories, the ordinary is made extraordinary and the real things that happen to people turn out to be every bit as mysterious as their dreams.
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How to stop time by Matt Haig
Tom Hazard has a dangerous secret. He may look like an ordinary 41-year-old history teacher, but he’s been alive for centuries. From Elizabethan England to Jazz-Age Paris, from New York to the South Seas, Tom has seen it all. As long as he keeps changing his identity he can keep one step ahead of his past – and stay alive. The only thing he must not do is fall in love…
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Exit west by Mohsin Hamid
This is Nadia. She is fiercely independent with an excellent sense of humour and a love of smoking alone on her balcony late at night.This is Saeed. He is sweet and shy and kind to strangers. He also has a balcony but he uses his for star-gazing. This is their story: a love story, but also a story about how we live now and how we might live tomorrow. Saeed and Nadia are falling in love, and their city is falling apart.
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Hanns and Rudolf by Thomas Harding
Hanns Alexander was the son of a prosperous German family who fled Berlin for London in the 1930s. Rudolf Hoss was a farmer and soldier who became the Kommandant of Auschwitz Concentration Camp and oversaw the deaths of over a million men, women and children. In the aftermath of the Second World War, the first British War Crimes Investigation Team is assembled to hunt down senior Nazi officials. Lieutenant Hanns Alexander is one of the lead investigators, Rudolf Hoss his most elusive target. Thomas Harding reveals for the very first time the full, exhilarating account of Hoss’ capture.
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Conclave by Robert Harris
The Pope is dead. Behind the locked doors of the Sistine Chapel, one hundred and eighteen cardinals from all over the globe will cast their votes in the world’s most secretive election. They are holy men. But they have ambition. And they have rivals.  Over the next seventy-two hours one of them will become the most powerful spiritual figure on earth.
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Damage by Josephine Hart
A successful doctor and politician arrives at middle age and the high point of his career, having pursued a dutiful and passionless life. Then he becomes obsessed by his son’s lover, the strange and secretive Anna.
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Elizabeth is missing by Emma Healey
Meet Maud. Maud is forgetful. She makes a cup of tea and doesn’t remember to drink it. She goes to the shops and forgets why she went. Sometimes her home is unrecognizable – or her daughter Helen seems a total stranger.
But there’s one thing Maud is sure of: her friend Elizabeth is missing. The note in her pocket tells her so. And no matter who tells her to stop going on about it, to leave it alone, to shut up, Maud will get to the bottom of it. Because somewhere in Maud’s damaged mind lies the answer to an unsolved seventy-year-old mystery. One everyone has forgotten about. Everyone, except Maud…
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Grace Williams says it loud by Emma Henderson
Briar Mental Institute seems an unlikely setting for a heartwarming tale of love against the odds but Grace and Daniel’s bittersweet relationship offers inspiration in the face of sadness.

The junior officers reading club by Patrick Hennessey
Written in spare and lucid prose, this title describes with alarming vividness not only the frenetic violence of a soldier’s life, but the periods of stifling and (sometimes) comic boredom, living inside an institution in a state of flux, an Army caught between a world that needs it and a society that no longer understands it. 
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The thread
by Victoria Hislop
Thessaloniki, 1917. As Dimitri Komninos is born, a devastating fire sweeps through the Greek city where Christians, Jews and Muslims live side by side. 5 years later, Katerina Sarafoglou’s home in Asia Minoris destroyed by the Turkish army. Losing her mother in the chaos, she flees across the sea to an unknown destination in Greece.

The devil in the Marshalsea by Antonia Hodgson
London, 1727 – and Tom Hawkins is about to fall from his heaven of card games, brothels and coffee-houses into a hell of a debtor’s prison. The Marshalsea is a savage world of its own, with simple rules: those with family or friends who can lend them a little money may survive in relative comfort. Those with none will starve in squalor and disease. And those who try to escape will suffer a gruesome fate at the hands of the gaol’s ruthless governor and his cronies. The trouble is, Tom Hawkins has never been good at following rules – even simple ones. And the recent grisly murder of a debtor, Captain Roberts, as brought further terror to the gaol.

Stranger’s child by Alan Hollinghurst
In the late summer of 1913 aristocratic young poet Cecil Valance comes to stay at ‘Two Acres’, the home of his close Cambridge friend George Sawle. A weekend of many excitements and confusions for all the Sawles, it is on George’s 16-year-old sister, Daphne, that it will have the most lasting impact

May we be forgiven by A.M. Homes
Harry is a Richard Nixon scholar who leads a quiet, regular life; his brother George is a high-flying TV producer, with a murderous temper. They have been uneasy rivals since childhood. Then one day George loses control so extravagantly that he precipitates Harry into an entirely new life.

Monster’s wife by Kate Horsley
To a tiny island in Orkney, peopled by a devout community of thirty, comes Victor Frankenstein, driven there by a Devil’s bargain: to make a wife for the Creature who is stalking him across Europe. In this darkly-wrought answer to Frankenstein, we hear the untold tale of the monster’s wife through the perspective of the doctor’s housemaid. Oona works below stairs with her best friend May, washing the doctor’s linens and keeping the fires lit at the big house. An orphan whose only legacy is the illness that killed her mother, Oona knows she is doomed. But she is also thirsty for knowledge, determined to know life fully before it slips away. As tensions heighten between Victor and the islanders, Oona becomes the doctor’s trusted accomplice, aiding in secret experiments and seeing horrors she sometimes wishes to forget. When May disappears, Oona must face up to growing suspicions about the enigmatic employer to whom she has grown close – but the truth is darker than anything she could imagine.
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I served the King of England by Bohumil Hrabal
Sparkling with comic genius and narrative exuberance, this is the story of how the unbelievable came true. Its hero, Ditie, is a hotel waiter who rises to become a millionaire and then loses it all again against the backdrop of events in Prague from German invasion to the victory of Communism.

Cold sea stories by Pawel Huelle
In this collection of short stories, Paweł Huelle tackles the big themes of life, politics, loss and love. The stories are unified by a common theme: each features a book, from works of major religious significance to the catalogue issued by a toy shop.

No I don’t need reading glasses by Virginia Ironside
Marie may be ‘getting on a bit’ but it’s certainly not getting her down. She’s working part time so there are more hours each day to enjoy life. She has her friends. She has Pouncer, the cat, as well as a darling grandson. And she has Archie to share her bed. All this, plus the Daily Rant’s screaming headlines to wake her up in the morning. Life’s good. But nothing stays the same for long. A roller-coaster of a year beckons – a year that contains love and death, laughter and tears and the bizarre decision to take up temporary residence in a tree.
Also available as an Audiobook

We have always lived in the castle by Shirley Jackson
Featuring a memorable murder plot (arsenic in the sugar bowl!) this story follows Constance as she returns to the family estate, acquitted of the crime. A chilling and sinister tale, sure to shock as it becomes clear that Constance is not the character to fear. 
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Travelling Light by Tove Jansson
A professor arrives in a beautiful Spanish village only to find that her host has left and she must cope with fractious neighbours alone; a holiday on a Finnish island is thrown into disarray by an awkward and critical child; an artist returns from abroad to discover that her past has been appropriated by a former friend.
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This boy by Alan Johnson
This is the story of two incredible women: Alan Johnson’s mother, Lily, who battled against poor health, poverty, domestic violence and loneliness to try to ensure a better future for her children; and his sister, Linda, who had to assume an enormous amount of responsibility to protect her family.
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Hand me down world by Lloyd Jones
A multi-voiced approach to the often unheard story of the illegal immigrant, Hand Me Down World follows Ines, who, whilst searching for her stolen child, encounters a wide range of individuals, both good and bad, who share their experiences with the reader.
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The fall of the stone city by Ismail Kadare
1943. German soldiers advance on Gjirokastër, Albania, the first step in a carefully planned invasion. But the troops are taken aback by an act of rebellion that leaves the citizens fearful of a bloody counter-attack. Soon rumours circulate that the Nazi Colonel was a school acquaintance of a local dignitary – then he and his army disappear.

The vegetarian by Han Kang
Yeong-hye and her husband are ordinary people. He is an office worker with moderate ambitions and mild manners; she is an uninspired but dutiful wife. The acceptable flatline of their marriage is interrupted when Yeong-hye, seeking a more ‘plant-like’ existence, decides to become a vegetarian, prompted by grotesque recurring nightmares. Fraught, disturbing and beautiful, The Vegetarian is a novel about modern day South Korea, but also a novel about shame, desire and our faltering attempts to understand others, from one imprisoned body to another.
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The adoption papers by Jackie Kay
A collection of personal, brave and often funny poems. 
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Red dust road by Jackie Kay
In this revelatory and redemptive book Jackie Kay tells the story of her own life. It is a book about belonging and beliefs, strangers and family, biology and destiny and what makes us who we are.
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The sound of laughter by Peter Kay
Born in Bolton in 1973, Peter Kay left behind a string of menial jobs when he won the 1997 So You Think You’re Funny contest at the Edinburgh festival. This is the autobiography of the star and creator of ‘Phoenix Nights’ and ‘Max and Paddy’s Road to Nowhere’. 
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What becomes by AL Kennedy
Always attuned to the moment of epiphany, these 12 stories are profound, intimate observations of men and women whose lives ache with possibility. Each story is a dramatisation of the instant in a life that exposes it all: love and the lack of love, hope and the lack of hope.
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Burial rites by Hannah Kent
In northern Iceland, 1829, Agnes Magnúsdøttir is condemned to death for her part in the brutal murder of her lover. Agnes is sent to wait out her final months on the farm of district office Jøn Jønsson, his wife and their two daughters. Horrified to have a convicted murderer in their midst, the family avoid contact with Agnes. Only Tøti, the young assistant priest appointed Agnes’s spiritual guardian, is compelled to try to understand her. As the year progresses and the hardships of rural life force the household to work side by side, Agnes’s story begins to emerge and with it the family’s terrible realization that all is not as they had assumed.
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The hoarder by Jess Kidd
Unintentional psychic Maud Drennan arrived to look after Cathal Flood, a belligerent man hiding in his filthy, cat-filled home. Her job is simple: clear the rubbish, take care of the patient. But the once-grand house has more to reveal than simply its rooms. There is a secret here, and whether she likes it or not, Maud may be the one to finally uncover what has previously been kept hidden….
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The invention of wings by Sue Monk Kidd
Sarah Grimké is the middle daughter. The one her mother calls difficult and her father calls remarkable. On Sarah’s 11th birthday, Hetty ‘Handful’ Grimké is taken from the slave quarters she shares with her mother, wrapped in lavender ribbons, and presented to Sarah as a gift. Sarah knows what she does next will unleash a world of trouble. She also knows that she cannot accept. And so, indeed, the trouble begins.

The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver
‘The Lacuna’ is the story of a man’s search for safety in the grinding jaws of two nations, at a moment when the entire world seemed bent on reinventing itself at any cost. 
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Flight behaviour by Barbara Kingsolver
Attempting to escape her empty marriage and the drudgery of life on a rundown Appalachian farm, Dellarobia Turnbow heads for an assignation that accidentally transforms her life. En route to a tryst with a lover, she stumbles on a hillside covered with swathes of orange monarch butterflies that appear like fire on the landscape, a beautiful and terrible marvel of nature.  A calamity of contemporary climate change?
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Tigers in red weather by Liza Klaussman
An immensely gripping and well-told tale of two generations of a family spanning the period from 1945 to 1969, beginning with two cousins – beautiful and demanding Nick, who wants more from life than a woman in post-war America is likely to get, and insecure Helena, who doesn’t ask for much and receives even less.  Read on with the growing conviction that a nasty surprise lies around the corner. 
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Diary of the Fall by Michel Laub
A schoolboy prank goes horribly wrong, and a thirteen-year-old boy is left injured. Years later, one of the classmates relives the episode as he tries to come to terms with his demons. Diary of the Fall is the story of three generations: a man examining the mistakes of his past, and his struggle for forgiveness; a father with Alzheimer’s, for whom recording every memory has become an obsession; and a grandfather who survived Auschwitz, filling notebook after notebook with the false memories of someone desperate to forget.

The President’s hat by Antoine Laurain
Dining alone in an elegant Parisian brasserie, accountant Daniel Mercier can hardly believe his eyes when President François Mitterrand sits down to eat at the table next to him. Daniel’s thrill at being in such close proximity to the most powerful man in the land persists even after the presidential party has gone, which is when he discovers that Mitterrand’s black felt hat has been left behind. After a few moments’ soul-searching, Daniel decides to keep the hat as a souvenir of an extraordinary evening. It’s a perfect fit, and as he leaves the restaurant Daniel begins to feel somehow … different.
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A delicate truth by John Le Carre
A counter-terror operation, codenamed Wildlife, is being mounted in Britain’s most precious colony, Gibraltar. So delicate is the operation that even the Minister’s Private Secretary, Toby Bell, is not cleared for it. Three years later, when the horrifying truth behind Operation Wildlife is uncovered, Toby will be forced to choose between his conscience and his duty to the Service. If the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing, how can he keep silent?
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Leaving the Atocha Station by Ben Lerner
Adam Gordon is a brilliant, if highly unreliable young American poet on a prestigious fellowship in Madrid, struggling to establish his sense of self and his attitude towards art. It’s not just his imperfect grasp of Spanish, but the underlying suspicion that his entire personality is just as fraudulent as his poetry.
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The long song by Andrea Levy
Set in Jamaica during the last turbulent years of slavery and the early years of freedom that followed, this novel follows the life of July, a slave girl, who lives upon a sugar plantation named Amity. 

A short history of tractors in Ukrainian by Marina Lewycka
“Two years after my mother died, my father fell in love with a glamorous blonde Ukranian divorcee. He was eighty-four and she was thirty-six. She exploded into our lives like a fluffy pink grenade, churning up the murky water, bringing to the surface sludge of sloughed-off memories, giving the family ghosts a kick up the backside.”
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The Three-Body Problem by Cixin Liu
Nanotech engineer Wang Miao is led into a mysterious virtual world in his investigation into a series of secretive deaths.
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Little white lies by Lesley Lokko
In a beachfront mansion in Martha’s Vineyard, Annick and Rebecca have left their children in the carer of their lifelong friend Tash. Tash has made her millions from the fashion business and treating her friends to a holiday makes all the hard work worthwhile. But by the end of the afternoon one of the children will have vanished.

A girl is a half-formed thing by Eimear McBride
Eimear McBride’s debut novel tells the story of a young woman’s relationship with her brother after a tumour leaves him severely brain-damaged. Not so much a stream of consciousness, as an unconscious railing against a life that makes little sense, and a shocking and intimate insight into the thoughts, feelings and sensual urges of a vulnerable and isolated protagonist, to read ‘A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing’ is to plunge inside its narrator’s head, experiencing her world first-hand. This isn’t always comfortable – but it is always a revelation.
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H is for hawk by Helen McDonald
As a child Helen Macdonald was determined to become a falconer. She learned the arcane terminology and read all the classic books, including T.H. White’s tortured masterpiece, ‘The Goshawk’, which describes White’s struggle to train a hawk as a spiritual contest. When her father dies and she is knocked sideways by grief, she becomes obsessed with the idea of training her own goshawk.  This book is a record of a spiritual journey – an unflinchingly honest account of Macdonald’s struggle with grief during the difficult process of the hawk’s taming and her own untaming.
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Nutshell by Ian McEwan
Trudy has betrayed her husband, John. She’s still in the marital home – a dilapidated, priceless London townhouse – but not with John. Instead, she’s with his brother, the profoundly banal Claude, and the two of them have a plan. But there is a witness to their plot: the inquisitive, nine-month-old resident of Trudy’s womb.
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Right to die by Hazel McHaffie
Successful writer and journalist, Adam O’Neill, discovers he has Motor Neurone Disease. Keeping a computer diary to help him track his loss of control and choose the time and manner of his death, he writes of his inner struggle and changing priorities. When is the time right for his exit? Who will help him? Trapped in a body that increasingly refuses to obey him, his mind remains alert. Devising an exit plan for himself, he doesn’t reckon on his wife’s haunting secret that could jeopardize what little time they have left together.
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SAS: Rogue heroes – the authorised wartime history by Ben Macintyre
In the summer of 1941, a bored and eccentric young officer, David Stirling, came up with a radical plan: a small undercover unit that would inflict mayhem behind enemy lines. Despite intense opposition, Winston Churchill gave Stirling permission to recruit the toughest, brightest and most ruthless soldiers he could find. So began the most mysterious military organisation in the world: the SAS. Now, 75 years later, the SAS has finally decided to open its secret archives for the first time, to historian Ben Macintyre. The result is an exhilarating tale of fearlessness and heroism; of extraordinary men who were willing to take monumental risks. It is a story about the meaning of courage.
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Midwinter break by Bernard MacLaverty
A retired couple, Gerry and Stella Gilmore, fly to Amsterdam for a midwinter break. A holiday to refresh the senses, to see the sights and to generally take stock of what remains of their lives. But amongst the wintry streets and icy canals we see their relationship fracturing beneath the surface. And when memories re-emerge of a troubled time in their native Ireland things begin to fall apart. As their midwinter break comes to an end, we understand how far apart they are – and can only watch as they struggle to save themselves.
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Ed’s dead by Russell D. MacLean
Meet Jen Carter, who works in a bookshop and…oh, and she’s about to be branded The Most Dangerous Woman in Scotland. Jen is a failed writer with a rubbish boyfriend, Ed. That is, until she accidentally kills him one night. Now that Ed s dead, she has to decide what to do with his body, his drugs and a big pile of cash. Soon Jens on the run from criminals, corrupt police officers and the prying eyes of the media. Who can she trust? And how can she convince them that the trail of corpses left in her wake are just accidental deaths?

The undertaking by Audrey Magee
An immensely powerful first novel set in Germany and the Soviet Union during World War II, its ambition and achievement reminiscent of Rachel Seiffert’s ‘The Dark Room’, Hans Fallada’s ‘Alone in Berlin’, and Helen Dunmore’s ‘The Siege’.
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Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel
Winner of the Booker Prize 2009, this historical novel explores the complex character of Thomas Cromwell, Henry VIII’s right hand man, within the wider context of the politics of Tudor England. 
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Matterhorn: a novel of the Vietnam War by Karl Marlantes
Loosely based on the author’s own experiences during the Vietnam War, this novel follows Second Lieutenant Mellas and his platoon’s experiences around Matterhorn. With rich description of the environment and the mens’ camaraderie, the novel ultimately highlights the futility of the war. 
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Beatrice and Virgil by Yann Martel
Fate takes many forms. When Henry receives a letter from an elderly taxidermist, it poses a puzzle that he cannot resist. As he is pulled further into the world of this strange and calculating man, Henry becomes increasingly involved with the lives of a donkey and a howler monkey named Beatrice and Virgil. 
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Death in Bordeaux by Allan Massie
In the spring of 1940, the mutilated body of a homosexual is discovered in a street near the Bordeaux railway station. It looks like a straight-forward sex crime, but when Superintendent Lannes is warned off the investigation, his suspicion that there is a political motive for the murder seems justified. In defiance of authority, he continues working on the case. And then another body is found… Common sense should make Lannes abandon the investigation, but honour and a natural obstinacy lead him to pursue it. However, as events turn increasingly bleak, Lannes begins to doubt it can ever be solved…

The girl who fell from the sky by Simon Mawer
Marian Sutro is an outsider: the daughter of a diplomat, brought up on the shores of Lake Geneva and in England. But when she is recruited from her desk job by SOE to go undercover in wartime France, it seems her hybrid status will be of service to a greater, more dangerous cause. 
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The woman upstairs by Claire Messud
A teacher (and artist) tells the story of her relationship with a family. In the beginning Reza Shahid is a new and outstandingly lovely child in class but as our narrator’s involvement with first the mother and then the father grows, we begin to feel that something, somewhere is very wrong.

Pure by Andrew Miller
Deep in the heart of 1785 Paris, its oldest cemetery is overflowing, tainting the very breath of those who live nearby. Into their midst comes Jean-Baptiste Baratte, a young engineer charged by the king with demolishing it. But before long, he begins to suspect that the destruction of the cemetery might be a prelude to his own.

Snowdrops by Andrew Miller
A chilling story of love and moral freefall – of the corruption, by a corrupt society, of a corruptible young man. It is taut, intense and has a momentum as irresistible to the reader as the moral danger that first enchants, then threatens to overwhelm, its narrator. Discuss this book online.
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Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
This is a breathtakingly original rendering of the Trojan War – a devastating love story and a tale of gods and kings, immortal fame and the human heart. Winner of the 2012 Orange prize for fiction. 
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Churchill’s ministry of ungentlemanly warfare by Giles Milton
Six gentlemen, one goal – the destruction of Hitler’s war machine. In the spring of 1939, a top-secret organisation was founded in London: its purpose was to plot the destruction of Hitler’s war machine through spectacular acts of sabotage. The guerrilla campaign that followed was to prove every bit as extraordinary as the six gentlemen who directed it. The book is based on hitherto unknown archival material and is also, perhaps, the last great untold story of the Second World War.

Long Drop by Denise Mina
Glasgow, 1957. It is a December night and William Watt is desperate. His family has been murdered and he needs to find out who killed them. He arrives at a bar to meet Peter Manuel, who claims he can get hold of the gun that was used. But Watt soon realises that this infamous criminal will not give up information easily. Inspired by true events, The Long Drop follows Watt and Manuel along back streets and into smoky pubs, and on to the courtroom where the murder trial takes place. Can Manuel really be trusted to tell the truth? And how far will Watt go to get what he wants?
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The pursuit of love by Nancy Mitford
Longing for love, obsessed with weddings and let’s not even mention the mysteries of sex, Linda and her sisters and cousin Fanny are on the hunt for the ideal lover. But finding the perfect match is much harder than any of the sisters had ever dreamed. Linda is first courted by a Tory MP and then becomes embroiled with a handsome but humourless communist, before she risks everything on a chance at real, head-over-heels love in war-torn Paris…
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Tulip fever by Deborah Moggach
Seventeenth-century Amsterdam – a city in the grip of tulip fever.Sophia’s husband Cornelis is one of the lucky ones grown rich from this exotic new flower.To celebrate, he commissions a talented young artist to paint him with his beautiful young bride.But as the portrait grows, so does the passion between Sophia and the painter; and ambitions, desires and dreams breed an intricate deception and a reckless gamble.
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How to be a woman by Caitlin Moran
Part memoir, part rant, ‘How To Be A Woman’ follows Caitlin Moran from her terrible 13th birthday, through adolescence, the workplace, strip-clubs, love, fat, abortion, TopShop, motherhood and beyond.
Also available as eBook and Audiobook

The husband’s secret by Liane Moriarty
Imagine your husband wrote you a letter, to be opened after his death. Imagine, too, that the letter contains his deepest, darkest secret – something with the potential to destroy not just the life you built together, but the lives of others too. Imagine, then, that you stumble across that letter while your husband is still very much alive!
Also available as eBook and Audiobook

The tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris
In 1942, Lale Sokolov arrived in Auschwitz-Birkenau. He was given the job of tattooing the prisoners marked for survival. Waiting in line to be tattooed, terrified and shaking was a young girl. It was love at first sight. Lale was determined not only to survive himself, but to ensure this woman, Gita, did too.
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The sixteen trees of the somme by Lars Mytting
Edvard grows up on a remote mountain farmstead in Norway with his taciturn grandfather. The death of his parents has always been shrouded in mystery. Edvard’s quest to unlock the family’s secrets takes him on a long journey – from Norway to the Shetlands, and to the battlefields of France – to the discovery of a very unusual inheritance.

Her fearful symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger
Julia and Valentina Poole are identical twins who have no interest in college, jobs or anything outside their cosy suburban home. But everything changes when they receive notice that an aunt whom they didn’t know existed has died and left them her flat in an apartment block overlooking Highgate Cemetery in London. 
Also available as eBook 
and Audiobook

The first fifteen lives of Harry August by Claire North
Harry August is on his deathbed, again. Every time he dies, he is reborn in exactly the same time and place, a child with all the knowledge of a life he has already lived a dozen times before. No matter what he does or the decisions he makes, when death comes, he always returns to where he began, and nothing ever changes. He only knows that there are others like him, living with but apart from the rest of us. This is the story of what he does next – what he did before – and how he tries to save a past he cannot change and a future he cannot allow.

The tiger’s wife by Tea Obreht
The prize-winning debut novel from this young writer, The Tiger’s Wife paints a fascinating tale of family and folk-lore set in the war-torn Balkan region. The author tackles huge questions of life, death, faith and religion in a richly imaginative way.

The death of bees by Lisa O’Donnell
Glasgow, Christmas Eve 2006, and 15-year-old Marnie and her little sister Nelly have just finished burying their parents in the back garden. Only Marnie and Nelly know how they got there. As the year ends and another one begins, the sisters’ friends, their neighbours and the authorities gradually start to ask questions.

The man who forgot his wife by  John O’Farrell
When forty-something Vaughan suffers total memory loss, he is told that his breakdown has probably been triggered by his marital problems. But then he comes face to face with the stranger he’s supposed to be divorcing – and promptly falls head over heels in love with her. 
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The vanishing act of Esme Lennox by Maggie O’Farrell
Set between the 1930s and the present, Maggie O’Farrell’s novel is the story of Esme, a woman edited out of her family’s history, and of the secrets that come to light when, 60 years later, she is released from care, and a young woman, Iris, discovers the great aunt she never knew she had.

This must be the place by Maggie O’Farrell
A reclusive ex-film star living in the wilds of Ireland, Claudette Wells is a woman whose first instinct, when a stranger approaches her home, is to reach for her shotgun. Why is she so fiercely protective of her family, and what made her walk out of her cinematic career when she had the whole world at her feet? Her husband Daniel, reeling from a discovery about a woman he last saw twenty years ago, is about to make an exit of his own. It is a journey that will send him off-course, far away from the life he and Claudette have made together. Will their love for one another be enough to bring Daniel back home?
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Dr Jekyll and Mr Seed by Anthony O’Neill
Seven years after the death of Edward Hyde, a stylish gentleman shows up in foggy London claiming to be Dr Henry Jekyll. Only Mr Utterson, Jekyll’s faithful lawyer and confidant, knows that he must be an impostor because Jekyll was Hyde. But as the man goes about charming Jekylls friends and reclaiming his estate, and as the bodies of potential challengers start piling up, Utterson is left fearing for his life … and questioning his own sanity.

This glorious thing by Christine Orr
Set in Edinburgh in 1916, this funny, sometimes tragic, beautifully written novel centres on a group of young people trying to find their place in society.  Edinburgh writer Christine Orr examines the changing role of women, politics and religion against the backdrop of the First World War. Recently republished by Napier Students/Merchiston Press.

The forgiven by Lawrence Osborne
David and Jo Henniger, a couple in search of an escape from their less-than-happy lives in London, accept the invitation of their old friends Richard and Dally to attend their annual bacchanal at their luxurious home deep in the Moroccan desert. On the road, darkness has descended and the directions are vague. Suddenly, two young men spring from the roadside, apparently attempting to interest passing drivers in the fossils they have for sale. Panicked, David swerves toward the two, leaving one dead and the other running into the hills

Bloody January by Alan Parks
When a teenage boy shoots a young woman dead in the middle of a busy Glasgow street and then commits suicide, Detective Harry McCoy is sure of one thing. It wasn’t a random act of violence. With his new partner in tow, McCoy uses his underworld network to lead the investigation but soon runs up against a secret society led by Glasgow’s wealthiest family, the Dunlops. McCoy’s boss doesn’t want him to investigate. The Dunlops seem untouchable. But McCoy has other ideas. In a helter-skelter tale – winding from moneyed elite to the brutal gangs of the urban wasteland – itbrings to life the dark underbelly of 1970s Glasgow.
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The year of the hare by Arto Paasilinna
Vatanen the journalist is sick of his job and fed up with city life. One evening when he is out in his car he hits a young hare on a country road. Vatanen goes in search of the injured creature, and this small incident becomes a life-changing experience as he decides to break free from the world’s contraints.

State of wonder by Ann Patchett
There were people on the banks of the river. Among the tangled waterways and giant anacondas of the Brazilian Rio Negro, an enigmatic scientist is developing a drug that could alter the lives of women for ever. Dr Annick Swenson’s work is shrouded in mystery; she refuses to report on her progress, especially to her investors. 
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Tales from the back green by Bill Paterson
Tales full of wit and warmth, carefully sculpted but told in a conversational style. An unusual gem from a much-loved Scottish acting treasure, Bill Paterson details his Glasgow childhood in various episodes first read on radio.

The other Mrs Walker by Mary Paulson-Ellis
An old lady dies alone and unheeded in a cold Edinburgh flat on a snowy Christmas night. A faded emerald dress hangs in her wardrobe; a spilt glass of whisky pools on the floor. A few days later a middle-aged woman arrives back in the city she thought she’d left behind, her future uncertain, her past in tatters. She soon finds herself a job at the Office for Lost People, tracking down the families of those who have died neglected and alone. But what Margaret Penny cannot yet know, is just how entangled her own life will become in the death of one lonely stranger…
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The tenderness of wolves by Stef Penney
As winter tightens its grip on the isolated settlement of Dove River, a woman steers herself for the journey of a lifetime. A man has been brutally murdered and her 17-year old son has disappeared. To clear her son’s name, she has no choice but to follow the tracks leaving the dead man’s cabin.

The Essex serpent by Sarah Perry
London, 1893. When Cora’s controlling husband dies, she feels as much relief as sadness. With her son Francis, she leaves for Essex, in the hope that fresh air and open space will provide refuge. On arrival, rumours reach them that the mythical Essex Serpent, once said to roam the marshes claiming lives, has returned to the coastal parish of Aldwinter. Cora, a keen amateur naturalist is enthralled, convinced that the beast may be a yet-undiscovered species. As she sets out on its trail, she meets vicar William Ransome, who is also deeply suspicious of the rumours, but thinks they are a distraction from true faith. Will and Cora strike up an intense relationship and find themselves at once drawn together and torn apart, affecting each other in ways that surprise them both.
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Mercy by Jodi Picoult
Cameron MacDonald has spent his life guided by duty. As the police chief of a small Massachusetts town that has been home to generations of his Scottish clan, he is bound to the town’s residents by blood & honour. Yet when his cousin arrives at the police station with the body of his wife, Cam immediately places him under arrest.
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Climbing days by Dan Richards
InClimbing Days, Dan Richards is on the trail of his great-great-aunt, Dorothy Pilley, a prominent and pioneering mountaineer of the early twentieth century. For years, Dorothy and her husband, I. A. Richards, remained a mystery to Dan, but the chance discovery of her 1935 memoir leads him on a journey. Perhaps, in the mountains, he can meet them halfway?Climbing Daysis a beautiful portrait of a trailblazing woman, previously lost to history, but also a book about that eternal question: why do people climb mountains?
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The girl on the cliff by Lucinda Riley
After a chance meeting on the cliff, Grania and Aurora discover that their lives are intertwined by a secret one hundred years old. It falls to Grania’s mother to explain the compelling and tragic family history which connects the two girls today. 
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The lifeboat by Charlotte Rogan
Charlotte Rogan’s terrific debut novel opens with a bang, when the ship carrying newlyweds Grace and Henry back to New York after the outbreak of war in Europe suffers an explosion and sinks. Somehow, Grace is squeezed into a departing lifeboat, captained by ship’s officer Mr Hardie, and along with a motley crew of passengers, mostly female, they push away from the wreckage, beating off drowning men and beseeching infants as they go.

Conversations with friends by Sally Rooney
Frances is twenty-one years old, cool-headed and observant. A student in Dublin and an aspiring writer, at night she performs spoken word with her best friend Bobbi, who used to be her girlfriend. When they are interviewed and then befriended by Melissa, a well-known journalist who is married to Nick, an actor, they enter a world of beautiful houses, raucous dinner parties and holidays in Provence, beginning a complex ménage-à-quatre. But when Frances and Nick get unexpectedly closer, the sharply witty and emotion-averse Frances is forced to honestly confront her own vulnerabilities for the first time.
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The Chilbury ladies’ choir by Jennifer Ryan
Kent, 1940. In the idyllic village of Chilbury change is afoot. Hearts are breaking as sons and husbands leave to fight, and when the Vicar decides to close the choir until the men return, all seems lost. But coming together in song is just what the women of Chilbury need in these dark hours, and they are ready to sing. With a little fighting spirit and the arrival of a new musical resident, the charismatic Miss Primrose Trent, the choir is reborn. Though for one villager, the choir is the perfect cover to destroy Chilbury’s new-found harmony…
Also available as eBook  and Audiobook

Frankenstein in baghdad by Ahmed Saadawi
From the rubble-strewn streets of Baghdad, Hadi collects body parts from the dead, which he stitches together to form a corpse. When the corpse goes missing, a wave of eerie murders sweeps across the city, and reports stream in of a horrendous-looking, flesh-eating monster that cannot be killed.

The boy next door by Irene Sabatini
Vividly evoking the traumatic history of a nation once brimming with promise, ‘The Boy Next Door’ tells an engrossing, unpredictable story of love against the odds, and of the shadows cast by the past.

Perfect lives by Polly Samson
A beautiful collection of short stories, the so-called ‘perfect lives’ never quite as they seem. Set in an idyllic English seaside town, its community struggles to keep its sinister undertones from brimming over. 

The history of the siege of Lisbon by Jose Saramago
What happens when the facts of history are replaced by the mysteries of love? When Raimundo Silva, a lowly proof-reader for a Lisbon publishing house, inserts a negative into a sentence of a historical text, he alters the whole course of the 1147 Siege of Lisbon. Fearing censure he is met instead with admiration: Dr Maria Sara, his voluptuous new editor, encourages him to pen his own alternative history. As his retelling draws on all his imaginative powers, Silva finds – to his nervous delight – that if the facts of the past can be rewritten as a romance then so can the details of his own dusty bachelor present.

Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders
The American Civil War rages while President Lincoln’s beloved eleven-year-old son lies gravely ill. In a matter of days, Willie dies and is laid to rest in a Georgetown cemetery. Grief-stricken Lincoln returns to the crypt several times alone to hold his boy’s body. From this seed of historical truth, George Saunders spins an unforgettable story of familial love and loss that breaks free of realism, entering a thrilling, supernatural domain both hilarious and terrifying. Willie finds himself trapped in a transitional realm – called, in Tibetan tradition, the Bardo – and as ghosts mingle, squabble, gripe and commiserate, and stony tendrils creep towards the boy, a monumental struggle erupts over young Willie’s soul.
Also available as eBook  and Audiobook

The reader by Bernhard Schlink
Schlink explores questions of guilt, deceit, betrayal and memory in this novel which traces the relationship between a German lawyer, Michael, and an older woman, Hanna, who was formerly a guard at a satellite camp attached to Auschwitz.
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The comet seekers by Helen Sedgewick
Róisín and François first meet in the snowy white expanse of Antarctica, searching for a comet overhead.While Róisín grew up in a tiny village in Ireland, ablaze with a passion for science and the skies, François was raised by his restless young mother, who dreamt of new worlds but was unable to turn her back on her past.As we loop back through their lives we see their paths cross as they come closer and closer to this moment, brought together by the infinite possibilities of the night sky.
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The bookseller of Kabul by Asne Seierstad
Sultan Khan is the head of a prosperous Kabul family. A bookseller by trade, he has seen his books burnt by one regime, defaced by another, then burnt again. As the Taliban regime falls in 2001, he meets Norwegian war correspondent, Seierstad. They agree that Seierstad should live with his family for several months. Her description of family life exposes life under the Taliban regime.

The tobacconist by Robert Seethaler
When seventeen-year-old Franz exchanges his home in the Austrian lake district for the bustle of Vienna, his homesickness quickly dissolves amidst the thrum of the city. In his role as apprentice to the elderly tobacconist Otto Trsnyek, he will soon be supplying the great and good of Vienna with their newspapers and cigarettes. Among the regulars is a Professor Freud, whose predilection for cigars and occasional willingness to dispense romantic advice will forge a bond between him and young Franz. It is 1937. In a matter of months Germany will annex Austria and the storm that has been threatening to engulf the little tobacconist will descend, leaving the lives of Franz, Otto and Professor Freud irredeemably changed

The Guernsey literary and potato peel pie society by Mary Ann Shaffer
Set in 1946, in the form of letters mainly to and from Juliet Ashton, a successful writer, this book highlights her coincidental involvement with some Guernsey people who live through wartime German Occupation. The resilience of the islanders in desperate circumstances, makes for a really interesting and beautifully evoked story, with acute observations, and characters that you really care about. 
Also available as eBook and Audiobook

Home fire by Kamila Shamsie
For as long as they can remember, siblings Isma, Aneeka and Parvaiz have had nothing but each other. But darker, stronger forces will divide Parvaiz from his sisters and drive him to the other side of the world, as he sets out to fulfil the dark legacy of the jihadist father he never knew.
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Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
Since it was first published in 1818, Mary Shelley’s seminal novel has generated countless print, stage and screen adaptations, but none has ever matched the power and philosophical resonance of the original. Frankenstein narrates the chilling tale of a being created by a bright young scientist and the catastrophic consequences that ensue. Considered by many to be the first science-fiction novel, the tragic tale of Victor Frankenstein and the tortured creation he rejects is a classic fable about the pursuit of knowledge, the nature of beauty and the monstrosity inherent to man.
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Daughter by Jane Shemilt
Naomi has vanished, leaving her family broken and her mother Jenny desperately searching for answers. But the traces fifteen-year-old Naomi’s left behind reveal a very different girl to the one Jenny thought she’d raised. And the more she looks the more she learns that everyone she trusted has been keeping secrets. But will discovering the real Naomi help to find her?
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The secret mandarin by Sara Sheridan
An unforgettable tale set in Victorian London and 1840s China. Shielding her from scandal, Mary’s brother-in-law, the ambitious botanist Robert Fortune, forces her to accompany him on a mission to China to steal tea plants for the East India Company. But Robert conceals his secret motives – to spy for the British forces, newly victorious in the recent Opium War. Disguising themselves as a mandarin and man-servant, Mary revels in her new freedom and the Chinese way of life, finding unexpected reserves of courage when danger strikes.
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New republic by Lionel Shriver
Fat and ostracized as a kid, Edgar Kellogg has always yearned to be popular. Bored rigid by his pedestrian life as a solicitor, Edgar decides to risk everything on trying to make it as a journalist. When he’s offered the post of foreign correspondent in Barba, Edgar leaps at the chance.
Also available as Audiobook

The Rosie project by Graeme C. Simsion
Meet Don Tillman. Don is getting married. He just doesn’t know who to yet. But he has designed a very detailed questionnaire to help him find the perfect woman. One thing he already knows, though, is that it’s not Rosie. Absolutely, completely, definitely not.
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The immortal life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
Though buried in a shoddy grave in 1951, Henrietta Lacks lives on due to her unwitting contribution to medical science. Many advancements in cancer research would have been impossible without the HeLa cells, but Henrietta’s family knew nothing of their mother’s legacy. Skloot tells Henrietta, and HeLa’s story in this emotive and interesting read.
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Lullaby by Leila Slimani
As a couple and a the nanny they hired become increasingly dependent on each other, jealousy, resentment and suspicions start to breed.
Also available as eBook and Audiobook

Monsieur le Commandant by Romain Slocombe
French Academician and Nazi sympathizer Paul-Jean Husson writes a letter to his local SS officer in the autumn of 1942. Tormented by an illicit passion for Ilse, his German daughter-in-law, Husson has made a decision that will devastate several lives, including his own.
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Memento mori by Muriel Spark
In late 1950s London, something uncanny besets a group of elderly friends: an insinuating voice on the telephone informs each, “Remember you must die.” Their geriatric feathers are soon thoroughly ruffled by these seemingly supernatural phone calls, and in the resulting flurry many old secrets are dusted off. Beneath the once decorous surface of their lives, unsavories like blackmail and adultery are now to be glimpsed. As spooky as it is witty, Memento Mori may ostensibly concern death, but it is a book which leaves one relishing life all the more.
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The ballad of Peckham Rye by Muriel Spark
A man of devilish charm and enterprising spirit, Dougal Douglas is employed to revitalize the ailing firm of Meadows, Meade & Grindley. He succeeds, but not quite in the way his employer intended. Strange things begin to happen as Dougal exerts an uncanny influence on the inhabitants of Peckham Rye and brings lies, tears, blackmail and even murder into the lives of all he meets.

The strange case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
A London lawyer, Gabriel John Utterson, investigates strange occurrences between his old friend, Dr. Henry Jekyll,[ and the evil Edward Hyde. This story is commonly associated with the rare mental condition often spuriously called ‘split personality’ where within the same body there exists more than one distinct personality. In this case, there are two personalities within Dr Jekyll, one apparently good and the other evil; completely opposite levels of morality.
Also available as an eBook and Audiobook

The help by Kathryn Stockett
Aibileen is a black maid, raising her 17th white child, but with a bitter heart after the death of her son. Minny is the sassiest woman in Mississippi. Skeeter is a white woman with a degree but no ring on her finger. Seemingly as different as can be, these women will come together for a clandestine project that will put them all at risk. 
Also available as eBook 
and Audiobook

Empire games by Charles Stross
A time of ambition, treachery and dangerous secrets… Rita Douglas is plucked from her dead-end job and trained as a reluctant US spy. All because she has the latent genetic talent to hop between alternate timelines – and infiltrate them. Her United States is waging a high-tech war, targeting assassins who can move between worlds to deliver death on a mass scale, and Rita will be their secret weapon. Miriam Beckstein has her own mission, as a politician in an industrial revolution North America. She must accelerate her world’s technology before their paranoid American twin finds them. It would blow them to hell. After all, they’ve done it before. Each timeline also battles internal conspiracies, as a cold war threatens to turn white hot. But which world is the aggressor – and will Rita have to choose a side?
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Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout
Olive Kitteridge: indomitable, compassionate and often unpredictable. A retired schoolteacher in a small coastal town in Maine, as she grows older she struggles to make sense of the changes in her life. We meet her stoic husband, bound to her in a marriage both broken and strong, and a young man who aches for the mother he lost – and whom Olive comforts by her mere presence, while her own son feels overwhelmed by her complex sensitivities. A penetrating, vibrant exploration of the human soul, this story will make you laugh, nod in recognition, wince in pain, and shed a tear or two.
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The house of hidden mothers by Meera Syal  
Shyama, aged forty-eight, has fallen for a younger man. They want a child together. Meanwhile, in a rural village in India, young Mala, trapped in an oppressive marriage, dreams of escape. When Shyama and Mala meet, they help each other realise their dreams. But will fate guarantee them both happiness?
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The door by Magda Szabo
A story of the relationship between two women over a period of 20 years, this novel deals with a busy young writer, struggling to cope with domestic chores, who employs an elderly woman called Emerance recommended by a friend, to be her housekeeper.  From their first encounter, it’s clear that Emerance, with a reputation built on dependable efficiency, is no ordinary maid.  Translated from the Hungarian.
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Pereira maintains by Antonio Tabucchi
In the sweltering summer of 1938, with Lisbon in the grip of Portugal’s fascist dictatorship, out of nowhere a young man arrives on an elderly widower’s doorstep. Dr Pereira lives a quiet monotonous existence. When charismatic Monteiro Rossi bursts into his life, Pereira strikes up an unlikely alliance that will result in his political awakening and a devastating act of rebellion.
Also available as an eBook and Audiobook

A cat, a man, and two women by Junichiro Tanizaki
After her husband takes up with his new younger lover, Shinako desperately tries to claim back her beloved cat, but her husband seems unwilling to let go in this story of a most intriguing love triangle.
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The great railway bazaar by Paul Theroux
Paul Theroux’s account of his epic journey by rail through Asia is filled with evocative names of legendary train routes such as the Orient Express and the Trans-Siberian Express. It describes the many places, cultures, sights and sounds he experienced and the fascinating people he met. This wonderfully entertaining travelogue pays loving tribute to the romantic joys of railways and train travel.
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The tin-kin by Eleanor Thom
When her aunt Shirley dies, Dawn finds herself back in her claustrophobic hometown of Elgin in Scotland. In an attempt to avoid contact with anyone from her former life, Dawn busies herself cleaning Shirley’s flat, until one day she comes across the key to a cupboard that she was never allowed to open as a child. 
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The book collector by Alice Thompson
In Edwardian England, Violet has a loving husband, beautiful baby son and luxurious home. But soon after the birth of her baby the idyll begins to disintegrate. She becomes obsessed by a book of fairy tales her husband has locked away in a safe. Paranoid hallucinations begin to haunt her and she starts to question her sanity. Violet is interned in an asylum for treatment only to discover, on coming out, that her husband has hired a nanny while she has been away, the beautiful, enigmatic Clara. The brutality of the asylum is nothing compared to the horrors that now lie in wait.
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Take six girls by Laura Thompson
The eldest was a razor-sharp novelist; the second was loved by John Betjeman; the third was a fascist who married Oswald Mosley; the fourth idolised Hitler; the fifth was a member of the American Communist Party; the sixth became Duchess of Devonshire. They were the Mitford sisters: Nancy, Pamela, Diana, Unity, Jessica and Deborah. Born into country-house privilege, they became prominent in the high society of interwar London. The intertwined stories of their lives – recounted in masterly fashion by Laura Thompson – hold up a revelatory mirror to upper-class English life before and after World War II.
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All my puny sorrows by Miriam Toews
Yoli is conflicted. Her sister Elf has battled depression for her whole adult life, and is in a psychiatric ward under permanent observation after attempting suicide – again. She has always looked up to her as her talented and beautiful older sister. She loves her with a fierce passion and wants to believe in the possibility of a future together, one in which Elf gets better. But it’s looking unlikely and Yoli has to decide if the person you love is tired of living, is it kinder just to let them go?
Also available as  Audiobook

Flights by Olga Tokarczuk  
The 2018 Man Booker Prize winner, Flights is a novel interweaving stories of travel, humanity, life and death across several centuries.
Also available as eBook

Swing hammer swing by Jeff Torrington
Tam Clay, 1960s slum-dweller, father-in-waiting and wordsmith manqué, stumbles through the drink-sodden world of the Gorbals underclass on a mini-odyssey of self-discovery.  A rediscovered classic, from ‘Scotland’s Bookshelf’
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The shoemaker’s wife byby Adriana Trigiani
Nestled high in the Alps lies Vilminore, home to Ciro. Close by lives Enza, who longs only for a happy life for her family. When the two meet, it seems it could be the start of a life together. Then Ciro catches the local priest in a scandal and is sent to America as an apprentice to a shoemaker in Little Italy, leaving Enza behind. 

A spool of blue thread by Anne Tyler  
This is the way Abby Whitshank always begins the story of how she and Red fell in love that summer’s day in 1959. The whole family on the porch, half-listening as their mother tells the same tale they have heard so many times before. From that porch we spool back through the generations, witnessing the events that have come to define the family. From Red’s father and mother, newly arrived in Baltimore in the 1920s, to Abby and Red’s grandchildren carrying the family legacy boisterously into the twenty-first century – their lives unfolding in and around the sprawling, lovingly worn Baltimore house that has always been their home…
Also available as eBook and Audiobook

The forgotten highlander by Alastair Urquhart
This is the extraordinary and moving tale by an ex-POW and last surviving member of the Gordon Highlanders regiment that was captured by the Japanese in Singapore.

The sound of things falling by Juan Gabriel Vasquez
No sooner does he get to know Ricardo Laverde in a seedy billiard hall in Bogotá than Antonio Yammara realises that the ex-pilot has a secret. Antonio’s fascination with his new friend’s life grows until the day Ricardo receives a mysterious, unmarked cassette. Shortly afterwards, he is shot dead on a street corner. Yammara’s investigation into what happened leads back to the early 1960s, marijuana smuggling and a time before the cocaine trade trapped Colombia in a living nightmare.
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Look who’s back by Timor Vermes
Summer 2011. Berlin. Adolf Hitler wakes up on a patch of ground, alive and well. Things have changed – no Eva Braun, no Nazi party, no war. Hitler barely recognises his beloved Fatherland, filled with immigrants and run by a woman. People certainly recognise him, though – as a brilliant, satirical impersonator who refuses to break character. The unthinkable, the inevitable, happens, and the ranting Hitler takes off, goes viral, becomes a YouTube star, gets his own TV show, becomes someone who people listen to.
Also available as Audiobook

The color purple by Alice Walker
This compelling and cherished classic tells the story of Celie. Raped by the man she calls father, her two children taken from her and forced into an ugly marriage, she has no one to talk to but God, until she meets a woman who offers love and support.

The lemon grove by Helen Walsh
Jenn and her husband Greg holiday each year in Deia, enjoying languorous afternoons by the pool. But this year the equilibrium is upset by the arrival of Emma, Jenn’s stepdaughter, and her boyfriend Nathan. Beautiful and reckless, Nathan stirs something unexpected in Jenn. As she is increasingly seduced by the notion of Nathan’s youth and the promise of passion, the line between desire and obsession begins to blur. What follows is a highly-charged liaison that put lives and relationships in jeopardy

The deadman’s pedal by Alan Warner
It is the early 1970s and for 16-year-old Simon Crimmons there’s really not much to do in the Highlands of Scotland. The only local drama and romance is the West Highland Line, so Simon joins up as a train driver. But that summer he is introduced to a world far more glamorous and strange than the railways can provide.  Discuss this book online.

Beyond the blossoming fields by Junichi Watanabe
Ginko Ogino seems set for a conventional life in male-dominated society of 19th century Japan. After contracting gonorrhoea from her husband, she suffers the ignominy of divorce. Forced to bear the humiliation of being treated by male doctors, she resolves to become a doctor herself to treat fellow female sufferers and spare them some of the shame she had to endure. As more and more obstacles are placed before her, will she give in to social pressure or continue to fight against her world and her times?

The paying guests by Sarah Waters
It is 1922, and London is tense. Ex-servicemen are disillusioned, the out-of-work and the hungry are demanding change. And in South London, in a genteel Camberwell villa, a large silent house now bereft of brothers, husband and even servants, life is about to be transformed, as impoverished widow Mrs Wray and her spinster daughter, Frances, are obliged to take in lodgers. For with the arrival of Lilian and Leonard Barber, a modern young couple of the ‘clerk class’, the routines of the house will be shaken up in unexpected ways. And as passions mount and frustration gathers, no one can foresee just how far-reaching, and how devastating, the disturbances will be.

“We cultivate literature on a little oatmeal”
Edinburgh is truly a city built on books – and in this special ‘City Of Literature Trust’ title you can read about our literary past, find out about City of Literature’s vision for a literary future, and explore the historical and contemporary wealth of words and ideas on offer in Scotland.

A lovely way to burn by Louise Welsh
A pandemic called ‘The Sweats’ is sweeping the globe. London is a city in crisis. Hospitals begin to fill with the dead and dying, but Stevie Flint is convinced that the sudden death of her boyfriend Dr Simon Sharkey was not from natural causes. As roads out of London become gridlocked with people fleeing infection, Stevie’s search for Simon’s killers takes her in the opposite direction, into the depths of the dying city and a race with death

In the rosary garden by Nicola White
Inspired by a notorious true case from the 1980s of infanticide in Ireland, Nicola White’s debut novel begins with the shocking discovery of a dead baby in the grounds of a convent school in 1980s Ireland. From there we follow the stories of Ali Hogan, the young woman who finds the baby and is promptly brought to national attention by a vampiric media, and Detective Swan, who is assigned the task of discovering the infant’s fate. This crime thriller novel won the 2013 Dundee International Book prize.
Also available as eBook

Stoner by John Williams
The son of a midwestern farmer, William Stoner comes to the University of Missouri in 1910 to study agriculture. Stoner tells of love and conflict, passion and responsibility against the backdrop of academic life in the early 20th century.
Also available as Audiobook

When God was a rabbit by Sarah Winman
The story of Elly Portman, who narrates from 1968 in Cornwall and 1995 in New York. A tale of family and relationships, its pages are packed full of all life’s eventualities, good and bad. A highly recommended first novel.

Why be happy when you can be normal? by Jeanette Winterson
This book is the story of a life’s work to find happiness. It is the story of how the painful past Jeanette Winterson thought she had written over and repainted returned to haunt her later life, and sent her on a journey into madness and out again, in search of her real mother.
Also available as eBook and Audiobook

The hidden life of trees by Peter Wollheben
Are trees social beings? How do trees live? Do they feel pain or have awareness of their surroundings? Peter Wohlleben makes the case that the forest is a social network. He draws on ground breaking scientific discoveries to describe how trees are like human families: tree parents live together with their children, communicate with them, support them as they grow, share nutrients with those who are sick or struggling, and even warn each other of impending dangers. Wohlleben also shares his deep love of woods and forests, explaining the amazing processes of life, death and regeneration he has observed in his woodland. A walk in the woods will never be the same again.
Also available as eBook  and Audiobook

Diving belles by Lucy Wood
In these stories, Cornish folklore slips into everyday life. Hopes, regrets and memories are entangled with catfish, wrecker’s lamps, standing stones and baying hounds, and relationships wax and wane in the glow of a moonlit sea.
Also available as eBook

All the birds singing by Evie Wyld
Jake Whyte is the sole resident of an old farmhouse on an unnamed British island, a place of ceaseless rains and battering winds. It’s just her, her untamed companion, Dog, and a flock of sheep. Which is how she wanted it to be. But something is coming for the sheep – every few nights it picks one off, leaves it in rags. It could be anything. There are foxes in the woods, a strange boy and a strange man, rumours of an obscure, formidable beast. And there is Jake’s unknown past, perhaps breaking into the present, a story hidden thousands of miles away and years ago, in a landscape of different colours and sounds
Also available as Audiobook

Khirbet Khizeh by S. Yizhar
This 1949 novella about the violent expulsion of Palestinian villagers by the Israeli army has long been considered a modern Hebrew masterpiece, and it has also given rise to fierce controversy over the years.

The storied life of A.J Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin
A.J. Fikry, the grumpy owner of Island Books, is going through a hard time: his bookshop is failing, he has lost his beloved wife, and a prized rare first edition has been stolen. But one day A.J. finds two-year-old Maya sitting on the bookshop floor, with a note attached to her asking the owner to look after her. His life – and Maya’s – is changed forever.

8 thoughts on “Book group collections

  1. Pingback: Book Group – Latest update | Sunday Brunch Club Blog

  2. Pingback: Manic Mondays | Granny Green's Big Night out

  3. Hello,
    Love this initiative, love the book titles. It would be very helpful if the list was available in a spreadsheet-type format for downloading. Thus, it would be easier to sort, read, print, etc 🙂
    Thank you!


    • Great idea! We’ve done exactly as you suggested – there’s a link to a spreadsheet of the available titles near the top of the page. Thanks again for your suggestion.


  4. I am told that our crime book group – organised by Wester Hailes Library cannot request multiple copies of books as crime isn’t covered the same way that the fiction book groups are. Is this the case?


  5. Pingback: Zoe Ball Book Club | Tales of One City

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