the weekly newsletter from Dr Ruth Weeks, Headmistress
Librarian's Christmas Gifts List
30 November 2018
As Christmas is fast approaching the next few weeks the Library Top Picks will bring you books that would make absolutely gorgeous gifts! This week will look at the prize worthy paperbacks. We do have most of these in the library ready to read as well but for now, see this as a mini-guide for giving the gift of reading this Christmas!
Miss Boston and Miss Hargreaves – by Rachel Malik
One day in 1940, Rene Hargreaves walks out on her family and the city to take a position as a Land Girl at the remote Starlight farm. There she will live with and help lonely farmer Elsie Boston.
Conversations with Friends – by Sally Rooney
Frances is twenty-one years old, cool-headed and observant. A student in Dublin and an aspiring writer, at night she performs spoken word with her best friend Bobbi, who used to be her girlfriend. When they are interviewed and then befriended by Melissa, a well-known journalist who is married to Nick, an actor, they enter a world of beautiful houses, raucous dinner parties and holidays in Provence, beginning a complex ménage-à-quatre. But when Frances and Nick get unexpectedly closer, the sharply witty and emotion-averse Frances is forced to honestly confront her own vulnerabilities for the first time.
Milkman – by Anna Burns
In this unnamed city, to be interesting is dangerous. Middle sister, our protagonist, is busy attempting to keep her mother from discovering her maybe-boyfriend and to keep everyone in the dark about her encounter with Milkman. But when first brother-in-law sniffs out her struggle, and rumours start to swell, middle sister becomes 'interesting'. The last thing she ever wanted to be. To be interesting is to be noticed and to be noticed is dangerous.
Manhattan Beach – by Jennifer Egan
The long-awaited novel from the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of A Visit from the Goon Squad, Manhattan Beach opens in Brooklyn during the Great Depression. Anna Kerrigan, nearly twelve years old, accompanies her father to the house of a man who, she gleans, is crucial to the survival of her father and her family. Anna observes the uniformed servants, the lavishing of toys on the children, and some secret pact between her father and Dexter Styles.
The Wardrobe Mistress – by Patrick McGrath
January 1947. London is in ruins, there’s nothing to eat, and it’s the coldest winter in living memory. To make matters worse, Charlie Grice, one of the great stage actors of the day, has suddenly died. His widow Joan, the wardrobe mistress, is beside herself with grief. Then one night she discovers Gricey’s secret. Plunged into a dark new world, Joan realises that though fascism might hide, it never dies. Her war isn’t over after all.
The Memory Shop – Ella Griffin
Nora's world has been turned upside-down. Escaping heart-break in London, she returns to her childhood home in Dublin where her grandmother's beloved house is being sold. Nora has been left with an inheritance of treasured belongings, but no home of her own in which to keep them.
Once Upon a Time in the East - by Xiaolu Guo
Xiaolu Guo meets her parents for the first time when she is almost seven. They are strangers to her. When she is born in 1973, her parents hand her over to a childless peasant couple in the mountains. Aged two, and suffering from malnutrition on a diet of yam leaves, they leave Xiaolu with her illiterate grandparents in a fishing village on the East China Sea.
The Golden Legend – by Nadeem Aslam
For weeks, someone has been broadcasting people's secrets from the minarets of the city's mosques, striking fear into the hearts of Christians and Muslims alike. Then when shots ring out on the Grand Trunk Road, and Nargis's husband, Massud, a fellow architect, is caught in the crossfire, she is unable to confess to him her greatest secret before he dies. But as the anonymous broadcasts continue, is it merely a matter of time before her past is exposed?
Homegoing – by Yaa Gyasi
Effia and Esi: two sisters with two very different destinies. One sold into slavery; one a slave trader's wife. The consequences of their fate reverberate through the generations that follow. Taking us from the Gold Coast of Africa to the cotton-picking plantations of Mississippi; from the missionary schools of Ghana to the dive bars of Harlem, spanning three continents and seven generations, Yaa Gyasi has written a miraculous novel - the intimate, gripping story of a brilliantly vivid cast of characters and through their lives the very story of America itself.
Sugar Money – by Jane Harris
Martinique, 1765, and brothers Emile and Lucien are charged by their French master, Father Cleophas, with a mission. They must return to Grenada, the island they once called home, and smuggle back the 42 slaves claimed by English invaders at the hospital plantation in Fort Royal. While Lucien, barely in his teens, sees the trip as a great adventure, the older and worldlier Emile has no illusions about the dangers they will face. But with no choice other than to obey Cleophas - and sensing the possibility, however remote, of finding his first love Celeste - he sets out with his brother on this 'reckless venture'.
White Tears – by Hari Kunzru
New Yorkers Carter and Seth chop up old music to make it new again, ripping off black culture to line white pockets. They are young, hungry and talented. But one day they stumble on an old blues song - an undiscovered gem just waiting to be found - and land themselves in a heap of trouble.
Atrrib – by Eley Williams
This debut collection from Eley Williams centres upon the difficulties of communication and the way in which one's thoughts - absurd, encompassing, oblique - may never be fully communicable and yet can overwhelm.
Tin Man – by Sarah Winman
It begins with a painting won in a raffle: fifteen sunflowers, hung on the wall by a woman who believes that men and boys are capable of beautiful things. And then there are two boys, Ellis and Michael, who are inseparable. And the boys become men, and then Annie walks into their lives, and it changes nothing and everything.
The Sunday Lunch Club – by Juliet Ashton
The first rule of Sunday Lunch Club is … don't make any afternoon plans.
Every few Sundays, Anna and her extended family and friends get together for lunch. They talk, they laugh, they bicker, they eat too much. Sometimes the important stuff is left unsaid, other times it's said in the wrong way.
Librarians' Christmas Gifts List
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