Out now in paperback, Kate Atkinson’s – Transcription. Think of it as an adventure, Perry had said right at the beginning of all this. And it had seemed like one. A bit of a lark, she had thought. A Girl’s Own adventure.’ In 1940, 18 year old Juliet Armstrong is reluctantly recruited into the world of espionage. Sent to an obscure department of MI5 tasked with monitoring the comings & goings of British Fascist sympathizers, she discovers the work to be by turns both tedious & terrifying. But after the war has ended, she presumes the events of those years have been relegated to the past for ever. Ten years later, now a producer at the BBC, Juliet is unexpectedly confronted by figures from her past.

A different war is being fought now, on a different battleground, but Juliet finds herself once more under threat. A … More

Born OTD in 1922, American novelist, Jack Kerouac. Considered a literary iconoclast and, alongside William S. Burroughs and Allen Ginsberg, a pioneer of the Beat Generation. Kerouac is recognized for his method of spontaneous prose. Thematically, his work covers topics such as Catholic spirituality, jazz, promiscuity, Buddhism, drugs, poverty, and travel.

Sal Paradise, a young innocent, joins his hero Dean Moriarty, a traveller and mystic, the living epitome of Beat, on … More

Born OTD in 1952, Scottish novelist, short story writer & screenwriter, William Boyd. ‘Any Human Heart’ is written as a lifelong series of journals kept by Mountstuart, a writer whose life (1906–1991) spanned the defining episodes of the 20th century, crossed several continents and included a convoluted sequence of relationships and literary endeavours.

  Boyd plays ironically on the theme of literary celebrity, introducing his protagonist to several real writers who are included … More

Not far from London, there is a village. This village belongs to the people who live in it and to those who lived in it hundreds of years ago. It belongs to England’s mysterious past and its confounding present. It belongs to Mad Pete, the grizzled artist. To ancient Peggy, gossiping at her gate. To families dead for generations, and to those who have only recently moved here…

But it also belongs to Dead Papa Toothwort who has woken from his slumber in the woods. Dead Papa Toothwort, … More

Born OTD in 1927, Columbian novelist, short-story writer, screenwriter & journalist, Gabriel García Márquez. Since it was first published in May 1967, One Hundred Years of Solitude has been translated into 37 languages & has sold more than 30 million copies. The novel, considered García Márquez’s magnum opus, remains widely acclaimed & is recognized as one of the most significant works in the Spanish literary canon.

Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s great masterpiece is the story of seven generations of the Buendia family and of Macondo, the town … More

Born OTD in 1946, English writer and novelist, Jim Crace. Harvest tells the story of a remote English village as economic progress disrupts pastoral idyll following the Enclosure Act. The protagonist, Walter Thirsk, tells the story from his perspective, but in fact is rarely present when the events of the novel take place due to his injury that he sustains at the beginning of the novel. The story begins with the arrival of some strangers to the bounds of the village. Following the burning of the stables, a scapegoat is required as no-one wants to admit that one of their own was responsible. Hence a mob sets out in order to find evidence to blame these new arrivals. After a brief altercation with the three strangers, they are arrested by Master Kent and chained to the pillory for the week.

Throughout the novel the certainty of the land, the “busy, kindly, scented universe of crops and the unerring traces of … More

The Emigrants is divided into four sections, each one documenting the life of a man no longer living in the country of his birth, men who in the twilight of their lives can find no peace with the past, no happiness in the present. While the book is categorized as fiction, each story reads like a personal narrative, an intimate encounter between the narrator and his subjects.

To enhance the illusion that these stories are true, Sebald had embedded black and white photos throughout the narrative. This … More

Born OTD in 1902, American author known for his realistic & imaginative writings, combining as they do sympathetic humour & keen social perception, John Steinbeck. He has been called “a giant of American letters,” & many of his works are considered classics of Western literature. Ethan Allen Hawley has lost the acquisitive spirit of his wealthy & enterprising forebears, a long line of proud New England sea captains & Pilgrims. Scarred by failure, Ethan works as a grocery clerk in a store his family once owned. But his wife is restless & his teenage children troubled & hungry for the material comforts he cannot provide.

Then a series of unusual events reignites Ethan’s ambition, and he is pitched on to a bold course, where all … More