‘The Grapes of Wrath’ by John Steinbeck

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“‘I’ve done my damndest to rip a reader’s nerves to rag, I don’t want him satisfied.’ Shocking and controversial when it was first published in 1939, Steinbeck’s Pulitzer prize-winning epic, ‘The Grapes of Wrath’ remains his undisputed masterpiece. Set against the background of Dust Bowl Oklahoma and Californian migrant life, it tells of the Joad family, who, like thousands of others, are forced to travel west in search of the promised land. Their story is one of false hopes, thwarted desires and broken dreams, yet out of their suffering Steinbeck created a drama that is intensely human, yet majestic in its scale and moral vision; an eloquent tribute to the endurance and dignity of the human spirit.” Continue reading

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‘The Anti-Death League’ by Kingsley Amis

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‘In this surreal comedy of soldiers and spies, Lieutenant James Churchill and his colleagues find themselves questioning their purpose. Are they for death or against it? These men of action travel between the barracks, the lunatic asylum and the house of an aristocratic nymphomaniac in search of answers. Few know the awful truth about Operation Apollo, the mission they are being trained for, fewer still understand the motives of the powerful psychiatrist Dr Best, who thinks he is surrounded by repressed homosexuals, and none know the identity of the secret agent among them. When the Anti-Death League is founded they are at last offered the chance to rebel and perhaps escape…’ Continue reading

‘His Bloody Project’ by Graeme Macrae Burnet

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‘The year is 1869. A brutal triple murder in a remote community in the Scottish Highlands leads to the arrest of a young man by the name of Roderick Macrae.
A memoir written by the accused makes it clear that he is guilty, but it falls to the country’s finest legal and psychiatric minds to uncover what drove him to commit such merciless acts of violence.
Was he mad? Only the persuasive powers of his advocate stand between Macrae and the gallows.’
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‘The Good Immigrant’ edited by Nikesh Shukla

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‘How does it feel to be constantly regarded as a potential threat, strip-searched at every airport? Or to be told that, as an actress, the part you’re most fitted to play is ‘wife of the terrorist’? How does it feel to have words from your native language misused, misappropriated and used aggressively towards you? How does it feel to hear a child of colour say in a classroom that stories can only be about white people? How does it feel to go ‘home’ to India when your home is really London? What is it like to feel you always have to be an ambassador for your race? How does it feel to always tick ‘Other’?
Bringing together 21 exciting black, Asian and minority ethnic voices emerging in Britain today,
 The Good Immigrant explores why immigrants come to the UK, why they stay and what it means to be ‘other’ in a country that doesn’t seem to want you, doesn’t truly accept you- however many generations you’ve been here- but still needs you for its diversity monitoring forms.
Inspired by discussion around why society appears to deem people of colour as bad immigrants- job stealers, benefit scroungers, undeserving refugees- until, by winning Olympic races, or baking good cakes, or being conscientious doctors, they cross over and become good immigrants, editor Nikesh Shukla has compiled a collection of essays that are poignant, challenging, angry, humorous, heartbreaking, polemic, weary and- most importantly- real.’
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‘On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft’ by Stephen King

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‘There is a reason why Stephen King is one of the bestselling writers in the world, ever. Described in the Guardian as ‘the most remarkable storyteller in modern American literature’, Stephen King writes books that draw you in and are impossible to put down.
Part memoir, part master class by one of the bestselling authors of all time, this superb volume is a revealing and practical view of the writer’s craft, comprising the basic tools of the trade every writer must have. King’s advice is grounded in his vivid memories from childhood through his emergence as a writer, from his struggling early career to his widely reported, near fatal accident in 1999… and how the inextricable link between writing and living spurred his recovery.’

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‘It Can’t Happen Here’ by Sinclair Lewis

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”Vulgar, almost illiterate, a public liar easily detected… He was an actor of genius’
A vain, outlandish, anti-immigrant, fear-mongering demagogue runs for President of the United States- and wins. Sinclair Lewis’s chilling 1935 bestseller is the story of Buzz Windrip, who promises poor, angry voters that he will make America proud and prosperous once more, but takes the country down a far darker path. As the new regime slides into authoritarianism, newspaper editor Doremus Jessop can’t believe it will last- but is he right? This cautionary tale of liberal complacency in the face of populist tyranny shows it really can happen here.’
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‘The Psalm Killer’ by Chris Petit

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‘It was always the same nightmare. Cross saw them lined up in rows, in stretches of city wasteland- those derelict spaces once described to him by a child as the blank bits where things had been before they’d got blown up.
It is 1985 and a killer moves through Belfast’s blighted streets. In a time and place ruled and divided by politics and religion, his crimes cut all boundaries. Detective Inspector Cross, together with Westerby, a young policewoman, enters a maze of conspiracy and paranoia, and as the investigation draws closer to the truth, they find themselves in a nightmare world, with little hope of escape.’   Continue reading

‘Rockadoon Shore’ by Rory Gleeson

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‘Cath is worried about her friends. DanDan is struggling with the death of his ex, Lucy is drinking way too much and Steph has become closed off. A weekend away is just what they need, so they travel out to Rockadoon Lodge, in the wilds of the west of Ireland.
But the weekend doesn’t go to plan. JJ is more concerned with getting high than spending time with them, while Merc is humiliated and seeks revenge. And with long-ignored tensions now out in the open, their elderly neighbour Malachy arrives on their doorstep with a gun in his hands…’ 
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‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Original Screenplay’ by J.K. Rowling

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“J.K. Rowling invites you to explore a new era of the Wizarding World…
Explorer and Magizoologist Newt Scamander has just completed a round-the-globe trip in search of the most rare and unusual magical creatures. Arriving in New York, he intends his stay to be just a brief stopover. However, when Newt’s case is misplaced and some of his fantastic beasts escape into the city, it spells trouble for everyone…” 
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