Here I Am by Jonathan Safran Foer

A family in Brooklyn unravels while the nation of Israel, shaken by a monumental earthquake, comes under attack. Only a writer of Safran Foer’s immense talent can balance a towering story about the breakup of a marriage with a political crisis of global importance. His vibrant characters’ thoughts on the loss of innocence, identity and faith are at once hilarious and profound. Be awed and inspired by this contemporary take on Jewish life.

Imagine Me Gone by Adam Haslett

Haslett’s beautifully atmospheric and emotional novel begins with two brothers at crisis point in a remote cabin in Maine. Alec has been struggling to save his older brother Michael from mental health issues which similarly plagued their late father. This story artfully captures the inner lives of a family dealing with the long term repercussions of prescription drug addiction and mental illness. Its resounding message about love’s ability to overcome personal adversity will leave you breathless. 

The Museum of You by Carys Bray

It’s the start of the summer holidays for twelve-year-old Clover, but her secret project of  collecting memorabilia from around the family home has a more serious purpose. She’s never known her mother, who died when she was a small child, so she’s building a museum to memorialise her. Bray’s novel asks: how can a girl truly come to know the mother that her grieving father would prefer to forget? This heart-warming and uplifting tale shows how painful truths about the past can ultimately bring us closer together.

The Well of Loneliness by Radclyffe Hall

A sweeping tale of lost love in the face of oppressive social norms. Heiress Stephen (who was given a man's name at birth because her parents expected a boy) pushes her lover Mary into a marriage that will give her a respectable life. This groundbreaking early-twentieth-century book was considered scandalous at the time of its 1928 publication because of its portrayal of same-sex romance as totally normal. Radclyffe Hall's most enduring novel stands as a testament to how many same-sex relationships were ended because of narrow-minded societal conventions held by past generations.

The Housekeeper and the Professor by Yoko Ogawa

The ageing mathematician at the centre of this slim but stunning Japanese novel lives with chronic short-term memory loss after suffering brain damage in a car accident. Over the years, a string of carers has failed to deal with this cantankerous fellow, but one housekeeper and her son form a very special connection with this troubled genius. Ogawa's book questions the nature of love and friendship when the person you care for most strongly can't remember who you are for more than eighty minutes. 

H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald

After the death of her father in 2007, the author spent an entire year training a goshawk while living as an almost total recluse. Macdonald balances fascinating details about this process and her growing bond with the hawk alongside refreshingly honest thoughts about grief. The relationship between this woman and her predatory bird is at times adversarial and at other times playful. This brilliant multi-award-winning memoir will be sure to move you with its startlingly original perspective on losing a loved one and finding the strength to rejoin society.

The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

The ultimate parable about lost youth. This classic gothic novel about a man who sells his soul for eternal beauty and hedonistic pleasure is packed with its author's trademark wit, humour and taste for scandal. Dorian engages in wild orgies, visits opium dens and is involved in murder, but his famously handsome face remains unmarked while his portrait hidden in an attic ages monstrously. Wilde's only novel is a perfect gem that delights and horrifies. 

Madness by Roald Dahl

Home becomes a very dangerous place when the person you love loses all logic. The characters in renowned author Roald Dahl's children's fiction often verge on the brink of madness. Here his darker themes find fuller expression in these ten enthralling tales of people in the throes of insanity, ranging from a vengeful widow to a landlady with a disturbing interest in taxidermy. You'll be charmed, entertained and disturbed by these surprising stories from one of the nation's most beloved authors. 

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