This is one of those books that I read when I was young, maybe about 13 and it affected me in that deep, profound way that certain books do. Snippets of the stories within this book have stayed with me over the years. In particular, there are segments from within The Swan that still make my heart ache and I remember being so intrigued by the cleverness of The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar as a story within a story within a story. I’m pretty sure I also had a decent go at learning how to see through playing cards.
The Enchanted Wood
This is one of my all-time favourite books from my childhood. When I was first learning to read, I would read a page to one of my elder sisters and then she would reward me by reading the rest of the chapter out loud to me. I wanted so desperately to visit the faraway tree so I could meet Moonface and Silky. I wanted to eat pop cakes and I wanted to slide down the centre of the tree on a soft cushion. I wanted the real fairy wings and the live doll that Bessie and Fanny wished for when they went to the Land of Birthdays and I wanted to bring my mother a goat and some hens from the Land of Take-What-You-Want!
The Otherland series
A friend loaned me this series when I was in my early 20s and I loved how Tad Wiliams was able to create such an extraordinarily complicated, incredibly vivid and impossibly vast virtual world. It’s the story of an absolutely epic journey and I was completely drawn in from the first book to the last.
A heartbreaking yet frank story of a young man who loses his girlfriend to a tragic accident. One of things I most loved about this book was the matter-of-fact manner in which the supernatural aspect is incorporated. The writing is beautiful and touching and it made me cry but it’s also witty and charming and optimistic.
Feed by MT Anderson
I read this one while I was at university and the realisation that this dystopian future was a real possibility absolutely terrified me. It’s a clever and frightening story of consumerism and the loss of independent, critical thought in an advertising-dominated world and it’s probably all a little too close to home. Now, when re-targeting banners follow me around the internet, I find myself wondering just how far off this dystopian reality might actually be.
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Four friends. Five Letters. One Secret.
The scandalous breakthrough novel from Nicola Moriarty that will leave you asking, how well do I really know my friends?
Joni, Trina, Deb and Eden.
Best friends since the first day of school. Best friends, they liked to say, forever.
But now they are in their thirties and real life - husbands, children, work - has got in the way. So, resurrecting their annual trip away, Joni has an idea, something to help them reconnect.
Each woman will write an anonymous letter, sharing with their friends the things that are really going on in their lives.
But as the confessions come tumbling out, Joni starts to feel the certainty of their decades-long friendships slip from her fingers.
Anger. Accusations. Desires. Deceit.
And then she finds another letter. One that was never supposed to be read. A fifth letter. Containing a secret so big that its writer had tried to destroy it. And now Joni is starting to wonder, did she ever really know her friends at all?
'With secrets and intrigue, this is a compulsive read' Sun on Sunday
'Intrigue, hatred and accusations - phew, it kept me guessing to the end' The Sun
'Entertaining and easy to read' Sunday Mirror
'A darkly humorous story about friendship' Best