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Embellished: New Vintage
(Hardback)
Karen Nicol
 
This is a very new book, but already one of my favourites. Karen’s distinguished career has included working with designers, exhibiting her own textile art and teaching students. In this very modern and stylish book, she explains how thrifted finds and ancient sewing and embroidery techniques inform her work. It’s a stylish guide to the power and possibilities of textiles and has made me excited about sewing all over again.

Katie Allen - 04/10/2012
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Field Grey: A Bernie Gunther Novel
(Paperback)
Philip Kerr
 
I've been a fan of Bernie Gunther ever since the Berlin Trilogy. After a long gap, I caught up with him again in The One from the Other in 2006, and now I’m moving at a leisurely pace with, I think, still two more books in hand before the next one is published. Field Grey is set in a number of locations before and after the Second World War, but mostly it concerns events during the fall of France and the beginnings of the German occupation in 1940. In this, it mirrors the era of Suite Française, though it’s a completely different kind of story. Bernie Gunther is an ex-cop turned private eye, and his capacity for surviving tyrannical regimes whilst retaining most of his integrity is awe-inspiring! He's also a witty, wise-cracking PI, likely to make exactly the kind of remark that will earn him another twist of the thumbscrews. Philip Marlow takes on the Nazis.

Peter Robinson - 14/08/2013
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Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: A...
(Paperback)
Hunter S. Thompson; Ralph Steadman
This is pure adrenaline- (and other substances) fuelled literary chaos – the pinnacle of Thompson’s gonzo style that he developed as a journalist for Rolling Stone. It’s theoretically an account of he and his lawyer attending a motorcycle race in Las Vegas, but in reality it’s nothing less than an anarchic, mind-bending peek inside the carnage that Thompson caused wherever he went, full of bad people and worse drugs, hallucinations and violence and destruction, described in some of the most distinctive prose ever committed to a page by a true literary genius. Completely indispensable.

Will Hill - 15/03/2012
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The Great Gatsby
(Paperback)
F. Scott Fitzgerald
I love the lyrical quality of the writing against the tightly constructed narrative.

Lauren Kate - 15/06/2012
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The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry
(Paperback)
Rachel Joyce
 
One of the sweetest, most delicately-written stories I've read in a long time. One man's walk along the length of England to save the life of a dying woman. Each chapter describes a different encounter along the way, with a definite nod to Chaucer's Canterbury Tales. Philosophical, intriguing, and profoundly moving.

Richard Madeley - 07/06/2013
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The Shipping News
(Paperback)
Annie Proulx
 
I love this book. It's relatively well-known, but it came out a while ago and people forget terrifyingly quickly. A man rediscovering himself in a small, strange, hilarious community. Compassionate, uplifting, elegant.

Nick Harkaway - 25/01/2013
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Looking for Alaska
(Paperback)
John Green
Humour and heart in the same breath, on every page.

Lauren Kate - 15/06/2012
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Music from Big Pink
(Paperback)
John Niven
 
Kill Your Friends author blurs fact and fiction, beaming drug dealing central character Greg Keltner into Woodstock, 1968, as The Band create their masterpiece.

Tom Doyle - 17/09/2014
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From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs Basil...
(Paperback)
E. L. Konigsburg
 
A modern classic in the States, something of a cult title in the UK, this is a lovely tale of Claudia, who runs away from home, taking her little brother with her. And where do they end up? The Metropolitan Museum of Art, of course…

Marcus Sedgwick - 26/09/2013
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Beauty: A Very Short Introduction
(Paperback)
Roger Scruton
Roger Scruton is a philosopher who writes on a wide range of subjects within aesthetics. His observations on art and music are profound and stated with great clarity.

Alexander McCall Smith - 28/07/2011
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The Woman in the Dunes
(Paperback)
Kobo Abe; David Mitchell
David Mitchell writes - A self-absorbed entymologist finds himself imprisoned in a deep hollow in a sand-dune by lawless villagers in a remote stretch of Japan. He is given a wife as a consolation. I daren't begin to consider the feminist ramifications, but it's a compelling and haunting narrative. If bonkers.

David Mitchell - 11/03/2011
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Mary
(Hardback)
Vladimir Nabokov
Get it in the recently issued Penguin Classics hardback series.

John Banville - 18/06/2012
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A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
(Paperback)
James Joyce; Hans Walter Gabler
 
I have a memory bright as sunned silver from my first days reading Joyce. I am 18 and new to Dublin and I am atop a double-decker bus on a winding journey through the city. In my hands is A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man and I am in swoon. Perhaps I saw a little of myself in Joyce’s Stephen Daedalus, the wannabe writer who must slough off all that was Ireland before he could write. But it was how my mind lit-up and hummed at Joyce’s language that changed all that I knew of novels, and showed me that language could be as much about music for its own sake as anything else.

Paul Lynch - 09/05/2013
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England's Dreaming Tapes
(Paperback)
Jon Savage
Simply the transcripts of the interviews Savage conducted for the England's Dreaming book. What could have been a silly cash-in underscores Savage's enormous knowledge of and sensitivity to his subject.

Dylan Jones - 24/07/2012
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The Ingmar Bergman Archives
(Books & other media combined)
Paul Duncan; Bengt Wanselius; Erland...
 
Second in line from the better-selling Stanley Kubrick Archives, I actually prefer this volume because the filmmaker's life's work is so much messier, complicated, unstrung and confusing -- while his art is just as precise and masterful. Why Taschen decided to stick with the Kubrickian cover lettering is a little confusing, though easily overlooked for the treasure trove of material within, which

Chris Ware - 02/10/2012
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The Commodore
(Paperback)
C. S. Forester
 
Forester's Hornblower series inspired a slew of imitators, Sharpe is one and so, surprisingly, is Star Trek! Hornblower is an impressively intricate character and his adventures are told masterfully.

Bernard Cornwell - 26/09/2013
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