With the publication of 100 classics in Penguin’s new collection, there will be something new to be discovered among the big names among The Penguin English Library.
For Hardy, the creator of some of the most celebrated heroines, including Tess and Bathsheba, there are other hidden gems waiting to be explored in this series.
Two on a Tower is one of these gems and with a constellation motif against a dark blue jacket, this edition invites you to explore the galaxies with our two main characters, Lady Constantine and Swithin St Cleve. With her husband lost in Africa, Lady Constantine’s solitude leads her up the tower steps and there she finds comfort in the stars and planets that surround her, and the young man who holds the passion she craves.
Something of a ‘star crossed lovers’ story it isn’t long before the twists, Hardy is master of, turn up secrets with devastating consequences.
Not one to be overlooked.
The plot: Something of a coming of age story with a twist. Julia is a Californian teenager who goes through all the normal teenage issues of bullying, boys, bickering parents, and friendships gained and lost Yet all this is shadowed by disaster – the world is slowing down. As time shifts, and the days and nights get longer, society slowly fragments and communities divide, in this timeless thriller.
The good bits: The best bit of this book had to be the build up of tension of what was going to happen next. Julia narrates throughout the book and drops clues here and there of what was still to come. Little hints like the last grape she tasted and unaware of the illness that was causing her mother so much pain. As the birds are unable to fly and the mass beaching of whales spoils their beaches there is a sense that this nightmare played out in darkness will never end.
Great talking point: Julia’s dreams and hopes for the future aren’t explored as day to day survival takes priority. Realistically, life goes on as normal, however, at some point Julia must have thought about university, a career and whether she would have a family of her own. This will obviously be a great talking point for book groups.
Worth a mention: This is Karen Thompson Walker’s debut and has been chosen as part of Waterstone’s 11, a collection of debut’s worth adding to your ‘to read’ list.
When should you read it: The perfect holiday read, but take a few more as you’ll get through this one in a day if not hours.
You wouldn’t believe me; even if you stood with a match to my book shelves threatening to set the lot alight if I denounced my claim, but the truth is I’ve never read Harry Potter. I know, I can’t quite believe it too; yet I’m setting out to remedy this literary travesty with this beautiful box set I was given as a present.
Always one to shun the hype I turned away from Harry Potter’s initial outing and instead continued my reading list of classics. I also would have much preferred to follow the adventures of the slap dash wizards in Pratchett’s discworld than one who was just learning the ropes at Hogwarts.
However,as the recession continues to bite and the news is nothing but grim, reading habits the glimmer of Harry’s world provides us with the ideal escape, a good dose of sparkle and the good old favourite ‘age old tale’ of good overcoming evil. Well if that sounds something you are looking for (and are equally astonished you haven’t got round to it) then I suggest you join Harry and I in some Hogwarts adventures.
This beautiful box was well worth the wait for the publication of all seven titles. Each novel has their own distinguishing spine colour and artwork, making it a welcome addition to your personal library. Click on the picture to get your box of Magic
Oryx and Crake is a novel will bring a touch of darkness and mystery to your week. Some would say a good accompaniment to the British weather at the moment. Margaret Atwood presents a nightmarish vision of an apocalyptic world where Snowman, formally known as Jimmy, is the sole survivor. Left alone with his memory he trawls through events trying to work out what happened when unexpectedly two childhood friends, Oryx and Crake appear. As Snowman travels to the remains of the epicentre of the disaster, he has to pull together his fragmented mind and unfold the reasons behind this global catastrophe. A masterpiece of a novel which deserves a place on everyone’s personal library.
Click on the book cover to get your copy
Thank you to Holly who suggested the book. You can follow Holly on Twitter @hollycave
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This week Mary Mayfield suggested a novel due to be released 13th August 2010. Firebrand by Gillian Philip is a Gothic fantasy tale set in 16th Century Scotland where Seth, a member of the peaceful Sithe people, enters the mortal world of death and destruction desperate to gain his father’s approval. Philip is an award winning writer and this first installment of his Rebel Angels series is set to be a fantasy bestseller. Visit the Sithe Tribe and their world today by clicking on the book cover.
You can follow Mary on twitter @marymayf
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Looking for an out of this world experience? Pick up Child of the Hive and travel into the future where Britain is fighting a new war. Will and Sophie are not only battling their own personal demons but also against a deadly organisation, a secret they need to keep from the rest of society. New and upcoming author, Jessica Meats, explores a future where the advances in technology affects the meaning of humanity in a story with plenty of twists to keep you turning pages. Click on the cover to find out more.
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