The Man Booker International Prize 2016
The Man Booker International Prize was established in 2005, biennially rewarding an author for a body of work originally written in any language as long as it was widely available in English.
From 2016 the Man Booker International Prize has evolved to encourage more publishing and reading of quality fiction in translation. From this date the prize is to be awarded annually on the basis of a single book.
This year's prize has been awarded to Han Kang for 'The Vegetarian'.
Yeong-hye and her husband are ordinary people. He is an office worker with moderate ambitions and mild manners; she is an uninspired but dutiful wife. The acceptable flatline of their marriage is interrupted when Yeong-hye, seeking a more 'plant-like' existence, decides to become a vegetarian, prompted by grotesque recurring nightmares. In South Korea, where vegetarianism is almost unheard-of and societal mores are strictly obeyed, Yeong-hye's decision is a shocking act of subversion. Her passive rebellion manifests in ever more bizarre and frightening forms, leading her bland husband to self-justified acts of sexual sadism. His cruelties drive her towards attempted suicide and hospitalisation. She unknowingly captivates her sister's husband, a video artist. She becomes the focus of his increasingly erotic and unhinged artworks, while spiralling further and further into her fantasies of abandoning her fleshly prison and becoming - impossibly, ecstatically - a tree. Fraught, disturbing and beautiful, The Vegetarian is a novel about modern day South Korea, but also a novel about shame, desire and our faltering attempts to understand others, from one imprisoned body to another.
Book of the Week
White Sands: Experiences from the Outside World by Geoff Dyer
From one of Britain's most original writers, White Sands is a creative exploration of why we travel. Episodic, wide-ranging, funny and smart, the linked journeys recall the themes of Dyer's Yoga for People Who Can't Be Bothered to Do It - albeit with the wisdom of (middle) age. From a trip to the Lightning Field in New Mexico, to chasing Gauguin's ghost in French Polynesia, from falling for someone who may or may not be a tour guide in Beijing's Forbidden City, to tracking down the house of an intellectual hero in Los Angeles, Dyer pursues all permutations of the peak experience including the trough experience. In his trademark style he blends travel writing, essay, criticism and fiction with a smart and cantankerous wit that is unmatched. This is a book for armchair travellers and procrastinating philosophers everywhere.
Book at Bedtime
The Third Man by Graham Greene
The Third Man is Graham Greene's brilliant recreation of post-war Vienna, a 'smashed dreary city' occupied by the four Allied powers. Rollo Martins, a second-rate novelist, arrives penniless to visit his friend and hero, Harry Lime. But Harry has died in suspicious circumstances, and the police are closing in on his associates...The Fallen Idol is the chilling story of a small boy caught up in the games that adults play. Left in the care of the butler and his wife whilst his parents go on a fortnight's holiday, Philip realises too late the danger of lies and deceit. But the truth is even deadlier.
The Global Minotaur by Yanis Varoufakis
If the outcome of the EU Referendum has left you wondering about the economic future, you might be interested in this recently published paperback by the former finance minister of Greece.
In this remarkable and provocative book, Yanis Varoufakis, explodes the myth that financialisation, ineffectual regulation of banks, greed and globalisation were the root causes of both the Eurozone crisis and the global economic crisis. Rather, they are symptoms of a much deeper malaise which can be traced all the way back to the Great Crash of 1929, then on through to the 1970s: the time when a Global Minotaur was born. Today's deepening crisis in Europe is just one of the inevitable symptoms of the weakening Minotaur; of a global system which is now as unsustainable as it is imbalanced. Going beyond this, Varoufakis reveals how we might reintroduce a modicum of reason into what has become a perniciously irrational economic order. An essential account of the socio-economic events and hidden histories that have shaped the world as we now know it.
These are the books that were most popular with our customers last week......
1. Sweet Caress by William Boyd (now in paperback)
2. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying by Marie Kondo
3. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
4. And the Weak Suffer what they Must? by Yanis Varoufakis
5. Tom Gates: Super Good Skills (Almost) by Liz Pichon
6. The World's Worst Children by David Walliams
7. Trigger Mortis by Anthony Horowitz
8. Rogue Lawyer by John Grisham
9. Slade House by David Mitchell
10. The Little Red Chairs by Edna O'Brien
If you would like to read any of these books, please send us a message from our contacts page, and we will reserve a copy for you.
Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
Lou Clark knows lots of things. She knows how many footsteps there are between the bus stop and home. She knows she likes working in The Buttered Bun tea shop and she knows she might not love her boyfriend Patrick. What Lou doesn't know is she's about to lose her job or that knowing what's coming is what keeps her sane. Will Traynor knows his motorcycle accident took away his desire to live. He knows everything feels very small and rather joyless now and he knows exactly how he's going to put a stop to that. What Will doesn't know is that Lou is about to burst into his world in a riot of colour. And neither of them knows they're going to change the other for all time.