Can't bear another evening listening to Adrian Chiles and Gary Lineker? Tired of your other half bolting his dinner and then refusing to have a conversation until half time during Belgium vs. Algeria? Use each 90 minutes to escape reality with these awesome reads!
1. GAME OF THRONES by GEORGE R.R. MARTIN: If the hit HBO series has managed to pass you by, this might be the opportunity you need to enter the epic world created by George R. R. Martin. Three colossal story lines weave through the five books, charting the civil war for control of the Seven Kingdoms; the defense of the towering Wall of ice in the uttermost north against the unearthly threat of the Others; and across the Narrow Sea the rise to power of Daenerys Targaryen and the last live dragons in the world. Add lashings of sexism, buckets of brutality, gore by the shed load, sex, swearing -- and you have an unapologetic, unsanitized, surprisingly modern world which both refreshes and exhilarates.
2. NIGHTS AT THE CIRCUS by ANGELA CARTER: Is Sophie Fevvers, toast of Europe's capitals, part swan...or all fake? Courted by the Prince of Wales and painted by Toulouse-Lautrec, Carter's protagonist is an aerialiste extraordinaire and star of Colonel Kearney's circus. She is also part woman, part swan. Jack Walser, an American journalist, is on a quest to discover the truth behind Fevvers identity. Dazzled by his love for her, and desperate for the scoop of a lifetime, Walser has no choice but to join the circus on its magical tour through turn-of-the-nineteenth-century London, St Petersburg and Siberia. Winner of the James Tait Black award, feminist and provocateur, Angela Carter "nudges readers to look upon the world, however fantastical or frightening it may be, and let it teach us courage, and common sense. And laughter."
3. SOUL MEANING by A.D STARRLING: Disappear into a world where two immortal races, the Crovirs and the Bastians, live side by side with humans. "My name is Lucas Soul. Today, I died again. This is my fifteenth death in the last four hundred and fifty years." Soul's fifteenth death triggers a chain of events that sends him on the run with Reid Hasley, his human business partner of 10 years and a former U.S. Marine. From Paris to Prague, their search for answers leads them deep in to immortal societies and brings them face-to-face with someone from Soul's past. Shocking secrets are uncovered and fresh allies come to the fore as they attempt to put a stop to a new and terrifying threat to both immortals and humans."James Bond meets Highlander."
4. BRAVE NEW WORLD by ALDOUS HUXLEY: Far in the future, the World Controllers have created the ideal society. Through clever use of genetic engineering, brainwashing and recreational sex and drugs, all its members are happy consumers. Bernard Marx seems alone harboring an ill-defined longing to break free. A visit to one of the few remaining Savage Reservations where the old, imperfect life still continues, may be the cure for his distress... Huxley's ingenious fantasy of the future sheds a blazing light on the present. Stem cell research anyone? Truly terrifying.
5. FORGOTTON GARDEN by KATE MORTON: A lost child, a terrible family secret, a mysterious inheritance. In Forgotten Garden, on the eve of her twenty-first birthday Nell Andrews learns a secret that will change her life forever. Decades later, she embarks upon a search for the truth that leads her to the windswept Cornish coast and the strange and beautiful Blackhurst Manor, once owned by the aristocratic Mountrachet family. On Nell's death, her granddaughter, Cassandra, comes into an unexpected inheritance, a cottage at Blackhurst Manor. It is here that Cassandra will finally uncover the truth about the family, and solve the century-old mystery of a little girl lost. Magical story telling.
6. ORYX & CRAKE BY MARGARET ATWOOD: "In the beginning, there was chaos..." Margaret Atwood's chilling novel moves beyond the futuristic fantasy of her 1985 bestseller The Handmaid's Tale to an even more dystopian world, a world where language--and with it anything beyond the merest semblance of humanity--has almost entirely vanished. Snowman may be the last man on earth, the only survivor of an unnamed apocalypse. Once he was Jimmy, a member of a scientific elite; now he lives in bitter isolation and loneliness, his only pleasure the watching of old films on DVD. His mind moves backwards and forwards through time, from an agonizing trawl through memory to relive the events that led up to sudden catastrophe (most significantly the disappearance of his mother and the arrival of his mysterious childhood companions Oryx and Crake), to the horrifying present of genetic engineering run amok.
7. NAME OF THE WIND by PATRICK ROTHFUSS "I have stolen princesses back from sleeping barrow kings. I burned down the town of Trebon. I tread paths by moonlight that others fear to speak of during day. I have talked to Gods, loved women, and written songs that make the minstrels weep. My name is Kvothe.You may have heard of me." So begins the utterly compelling tale of unassuming innkeeper Kvothe -- from his childhood in a troupe of traveling players, through his years spent as a near-feral orphan in a crime-riddled city, to his daringly brazen yet successful bid to enter a difficult and dangerous school of magic. "Unputdownable."
8. SHANGHAI GIRLS by LISA SEE Shanghai, 1937. Pearl and May are two sisters sold as wives to two Americans, "Gold Mountain" men, when their bourgeois family falls into debt. As Japanese bombs fall on their beloved city, the two sisters set out on the journey of a lifetime, one that will take them through the villages of southern China, in and out of the clutches of brutal soldiers, and even across the ocean, through the humiliation of an anti-Chinese detention center to a new, married life in Los Angeles's Chinatown. Here they begin a fresh chapter, despite the racial discrimination and anti-Communist paranoia, because now they have something to strive for: a young, American-born daughter, Joy. Along the way there are terrible sacrifices, impossible choices and one devastating, life-changing secret.
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