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Building Stories
(Hardback)
Chris Ware
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The Hunger Games
(Paperback)
Suzanne Collins
The idea of putting children in an enclosed space and having them fight for survival has long been a familiar trope in human entertainment, featured in works from Lord of the Flies to the movie Battle Royale. Suzanne Collins' series The Hunger Games subverts the format by promoting this juvenile blood-fest from a fringe pursuit, to an annual ritual central to the society in which it is held. Being the most recent work on this list, The Hunger Games embodies particularly modern concerns: the rise of reality television, the lust for fame, and the necessity for humans to be heavily armed when embarking on camping trips.

AKH48 . - 30/07/2013
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The Girl Who Circumnavigated ...
(Paperback)
Catherynne M. Valente
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This Is How You Lose Her
(Paperback)
Junot Diaz
 
I’ve been obsessed with Junot Diaz ever since I picked up The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao. I think he is the most original voice to have appeared in the last decade. As it happens, I was initially wary of this collection of short stories just because it was so slim. It seemed cheeky to charge so much for so few words. But it totally blew my mind. Funny and moving and incredibly modern – the last story was so good that, as soon as I finished, I read it again.

Sathnam Sanghera - 26/09/2013
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The Complete Poems of Philip Larkin
(Hardback)
Archie Burnett; Philip Larkin
We already knew Larkin was - is! - a great poet, but this huge volume shows us that he was also far more productive than we thought. Indispensable.

John Banville - 18/06/2012
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The Complaints
(Paperback)
Ian Rankin
'The Complaints' is the second Ian Rankin novel since John Rebus, his police hero, retired in 'Exit Music', and Inspector Malcolm Fox, the hero of "The Complaints", shares Rebus's integrity and a dogged determination to get the job done. 'The Complaints' is the colloquial name for the section dedicated to detecting the most serious police offences and this Fox does with honesty and persistence, accepting that to work in The Complaints can make you a pariah to your colleagues. Rankin is a master at the integration of setting, plot, characters and the theme, which, for Rankin, is the moral dimension never far from his writing.

P D James - 16/06/2014
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Pulphead: Notes from the Other Side ...
(Paperback)
John Jeremiah Sullivan
 
I was totally blown away by this collection of the new new new journalism, or however many "news" we’re up to these days. I think I like it as much – at times, even more – than Foster Wallace’s A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never do Again. And that, for me, is saying a lot.

Zadie Smith - 10/08/2012
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MetaMAUS
(Hardback)
Art Spiegelman
 
I thought that my generation was doing pretty well following Art's example of how to make serious comic books for adults, but this book demonstrates just how pale and paltry our efforts have been; via interviews, documents, photographs and preparatory sketches (and an interactive DVD) it's clear that Art not only created the graphic novel, but that graphic novel may also never be bettered.

Chris Ware - 02/10/2012
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A Foreign Country
(Paperback)
Charles Cumming
 
This is an espionage thriller that grips right from the start. Charles Cumming, author of five previous novels, has a keen sense of character and pacing, and he always brings something interesting and new to the genre. His 2011 novel, The Trinity Six, was an absorbing look at the Cambridge spy ring, and in this new novel the first female head of MI6 has disappeared six weeks before she is to take on the job, and a disgraced MI6 officer is given the chance to redeem himself by finding her. In the meantime, it is imperative that her disappearance remains a secret. Thrilling stuff.

Peter Robinson - 14/08/2013
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The Orphan Master's Son
(Hardback)
Adam Johnson
 
I’ve just started this and it’s one of those books where you know you’ve found yourself in the hands of someone who can really tell a story, and is yet not naïve about the artificiality of stories. The conceit is fantastic: a narration partly told through the loud speakers of the North Korean regime.

Zadie Smith - 10/08/2012
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The Times Concise Atlas of the World:...
(Hardback)
Times Atlases
 
The reference book to which I always return, an Atlas proves indispensable during preparations for my global travels. Regardless of form of travel, it helps to ground me at my destination, to know something of the geography and topography of the area I am visiting.

David Levene - 02/09/2014
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Future Perfect: The Case for Progress...
(Paperback)
Steven Johnson
 
Besides mapping the ways our connected society will be both different and better, 'Future Perfect' makes a timely and aspirational case that progress is still possible.

Biz Stone - 16/06/2014
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A World on Fire: An Epic History of...
(Paperback)
Amanda Foreman
 
A hefty book about Anglo-American diplomacy during the American civil war. It sounds daunting, but is a brilliant piece of exposition and story-telling.

Bernard Cornwell - 26/09/2013
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Tom-All-Alone's
(Paperback)
Lynn Shepherd
 
Reading The Solitary House will make you grateful for contemporary plumbing. In between these pages you’ll be right in the thick of all the grime and gristle of 1850s London with sleuth Charles Maddox. It isn’t often a pretty sight, but it is a captivating one. Referencing Dickens and Wilkie Collins, this novel a special treat for book nerds like me.

Sara Sheridan - 19/11/2014
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Where'd You Go, Bernadette?
(Paperback)
Maria Semple
 
This is a very funny, clever, modern epistolary novel. The majority of it is told via emails, newspaper articles, school reports, letters, notes and so on. I loved this book, the twisting story and the addictive eccentric characters. Reading it feels like watching the most fantastic film. You are totally engrossed.

Nina Stibbe - 29/11/2013
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Five on a Treasure Island
(Paperback)
Enid Blyton
 
Detectives doesn’t get jollier than the Famous Five. They’re not always the best crime solvers, but they can always be relied on to stumble over a dastardly smuggling plot at exactly the right moment. And they are excellent at picnics. Ginger beer and macaroons all round!

Robin Stevens - 05/06/2014
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