Man Booker Prize Winner 2015
This year's winner of the coveted Man Booker prize for Fiction has gone to Marlon James for A Brief History of Seven Killings.
Interviewed on Radio 4, the author explained how his novel had been rejected by dozens of publishers and he himself had given up on it, thinking he had thrown it away until he came across it on his laptop. Set in 1976, seven gunmen storm Bob Marley's house, machine guns blazing. The reggae superstar survives, but the gunmen are never caught. Spanning three decades and crossing continents, A Brief History of Seven Killings chronicles the lives of a host of unforgettable characters - slum kids, one-night stands, drug lords, girlfriends, gunmen, journalists, and even the CIA.
Michael Wood, chair of the judges, described the novel as the "most exciting" book on the shortlist.The 680-page epic was "full of surprises" as well as being "very violent" and "full of swearing". Marlon is the first Jamaican author to win the Man Booker Prize. Receiving the award, he said a huge part of the novel had been inspired by reggae music.
Book of the Week
Living on Paper:Letters from Irish Murdoch 1934-1995
Here, for the first time, is Iris Murdoch's life in her own words, from her schoolgirl days to her last years. The letters show a great mind at work - we see the young Murdoch struggling with philosophical issues and witness her anguish when a novel won't come together. As well as her sharp sense of humour and irreverence, they also reveal her personal life, the subject of much speculation, in all its complexity: her emotional hunger and her tendency to live on the edge of what was socially acceptable. We see how this fed into her novels' plots and characters, despite her claims that her fiction was not drawn from reality. These letters bring us closer than ever before to Iris Murdoch as a person. They make for an extraordinary and intimate reading experience: she is wonderful company.
Book at Bedtime
The Truth is a Cave by Neil Gaiman
A haunting story of family, the otherworld, and a search for hidden treasure. The text of The Truth Is a Cave in the Black Mountains was first published in the collection Stories: All New Tales (Headline, 2010), but subsequently a gorgeous full-colour illustrated book version was born of a unique collaboration between writer Neil Gaiman and artist Eddie Campbell, who brought to vivid life the characters and landscape of Gaiman's story. In August 2010, The Truth is a Cave in the Black Mountains was performed in the concert hall of the Sydney Opera House to a sell-out crowd - Gaiman read his tale live as Campbell's magnificent artwork was presented, scene by scene, on large screens. Narrative and art were accompanied by live music composed and performed especially for the story by the FourPlay String Quartet.
Award-winning reporter Emily Dugan's Finding Home follows the tumultuous lives of a group of immigrants, all facing intense challenges in their quest to live in the UK. Syrian refugee Emad set up the Free Syrian League and worked illegally in the UK to pay for his mother to be smuggled across the Mediterranean on a perilous trip from Turkey. Even if she survives the journey, Emad knows it will be an uphill struggle to get her into Britain. Australian therapist Harley risks deportation despite serving the NHS for ten years and being told by the Home Office she could stay. Teaching assistant Klaudia is one of thousands of Polish people now living in Boston, Lincolnshire - a microcosm of poorly managed migration. Aderonke, a leading Manchester LGBT activist, lives in a tiny B&B room in Salford with her girlfriend, Happiness, and faces deportation and persecution. Dugan's timely and acutely observed book reveals the intense personal dramas of ordinary men and women as they struggle to find somewhere to call home. It shows that migration is not about numbers, votes or opinions: it is about people.
These are the books that were most popular with our customers last week......
1. Kew Gardens by Virginia Woolf
2. The Wren Boys by Carol Ann Duffy
3. Diary of a Wimpy Kid Old School
4. Simply Nigella by Nigella Lawson
5. The Road to Little Dribbling by Bill Bryson
6. 1606 by James Shapiro
7. SPQR by Mary Beard
8. Chance by The New Scientist
9. The Man who Built the Best Car in the World by Brian Sewell
10. The Ladybird Book of the Mid-Life Crisis
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.
Far from the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy
'I shall do one thing in this life - one thing for certain - that is, love you, and long for you, and keep wanting you till I die.' Gabriel Oak is only one of three suitors for the hand of the beautiful and spirited Bathsheba Everdene. He must compete with the dashing young soldier Sergeant Troy and respectable, middle-aged Farmer Boldwood. And while their fates depend upon the choice Bathsheba makes, she discovers the terrible consequences of an inconstant heart. Far from the Madding Crowd was the first of Hardy's novels to give the name of Wessex to the landscape of south-west England, and the first to gain him widespread popularity as a novelist. Set against the backdrop of the unchanging natural cycle of the year, the story both upholds and questions rural values with a startlingly modern sensibility.