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Showing 1-16 of top 21 Results.

The Lore and Language of Schoolchildren
(Paperback)
Iona Opie; Peter Opie; Marina Warner
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Harry Potter and the Prisoner of...
(Paperback)
J. K. Rowling
For me, this is the book where the Harry Potter series really took flight. There’s a confidence at work here that lifts the story, which is far darker and more ambitious than in the first two books in the series. The characters are familiar by now, and Rowling puts them through the emotional ringer as she deftly deals with time travel, escaped prisoners and the history of the terrible events at the heart of her story. It’s a beautiful novel that stands alone while also setting up the rest of the series, and a huge achievement.

Will Hill - 15/03/2012
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Butcher's Moon
(Paperback)
Lawrence Block
Perhaps the greatest of all the Parker books by this great crime writer.

John Banville - 18/06/2012
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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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In the Footsteps of Mr. Kurtz: Living...
(Paperback)
Michela Wrong
Of all the works inspired by Heart of Darkness, this one offers the most absorbing and astonishing chronicle of “the horror” of Congo after Conrad, under the grotesque dictatorship of Mobutu Sese Seko.

Maya Jasanoff - 29/05/2012
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The Alienist
(Paperback)
Caleb Carr
 
Oh, the suspense! The Alienest by Caleb Carr is set in steamy and corrupt 1890s New York at a time when police investigations were beginning to make use of psychological research and new technologies. The nature of tackling crime is changing, and some proper analysis is required of the team on the case. This book is clever and absolutely compelling.

Sara Sheridan - 19/11/2014
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The Flashman: from the Flashman...
(Paperback)
George MacDonald Fraser
 
I think I read the first of these when I was about fourteen, reading the rest over the next decade or so. Compiling this list has made me concentrate on the elements that go to make up really good, memorable historical fiction. The absolute best of the genre – and ladies and gentlemen, this is that rare bird – combines a riotous adventure with a well-crafted period setting and most importantly of all, an unforgettable character. Flashman is the last, without a doubt: a Victorian coward, a rogue, a womaniser. Fraser’s genius is to have the reader wanting such an awful man to triumph against the odds, despite all his vices.

Conn Iggulden - 11/09/2013
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Rat Pack Confidential: Frank, Dean,...
(Paperback)
Shawn Levy
As zippy and as zingy as one of Sammy Davies Jr's stage routines, full of extraordinary anecdotes. What great fun!

Dylan Jones - 24/07/2012
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Ringolevio: A Life Played for Keeps
(Paperback)
Emmett Grogan; Peter Coyote
Not technically a music book, but includes wonderfully evocative passages about the Diggers and the original Haight Asbury scene. By some distance the best book about the original hippie "vibe".

Dylan Jones - 24/07/2012
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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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The Painted Word
(Paperback)
Tom Wolfe
 
I read this when I was a student and it gave me permission to not take the art too seriously. Because of this book I don’t stand around in front of artworks waiting for it to happen.

Grayson Perry - 12/06/2014
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The Towers of Trebizond
(Paperback)
Rose Macaulay
This is a humorous classic that is largely ignored today but which is still as amusing as it was when it was first published. It has a classic first line, never since equalled.

Alexander McCall Smith - 28/07/2011
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An Anthology of Graphic Fiction,...
(Hardback)
Ivan Brunetti
 
Volume Two of the above

Chris Ware - 02/10/2012
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The Frightened Man
(Paperback)
Kenneth Cameron
 
Deepest, darkest, turn of the century London is the setting for Kenneth Cameron’s The Frightened Man and American Civil War veteran Denton finds himself deep in the middle of a Jack the Ripper style mystery. This novel is in the mould of a classic thriller with a twist and I couldn’t put it down.

Sara Sheridan - 19/11/2014
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The Dark Stuff: Selected Writings on...
(Paperback)
Nick Kent; Iggy Pop
 
Collected writings of the provocative rock journo. Great on Brian Wilson and Iggy Pop. Read Sid Vicious – The Exploding Dim-Wit…venomous and brilliant.

Tom Doyle - 17/09/2014
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Random Family: Love, Drugs, Trouble...
(Paperback)
Adrian Nicole LeBlanc
 
I've been meaning to read this one for a decade. It’s described in a blurb as "A non-fiction Middlemarch of the underclass" – I don’t think I can do much better than that. Concerning a large, chaotic family in the Bronx during the 1990s, it’s an honest account of street life – from drug dealing to child-rearing. Ms LeBlanc spent ten years embedded, interviewing, living with her subjects, listening to them. An extraordinary feat of research and patience. Reading it you are realize that class is a cocoon and you have absolutely zero idea how anybody else is living. I think this book is a masterpiece.

Zadie Smith - 10/08/2012
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