Search: Penelope Lively

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The Message from Lindisfarne

Salley Vickers (Author)

'A wonderful book. Salley Vickers spins a spellbinding account of a family in distress' Elizabeth Strout on 'Cousins'

Spring, 1918. Nine-year-old Charlotte Tye wakes up unusually early the night before her brother's wedding, and steals out down the familiar track leading from her house to the seashore. There, she meets a local man, standing alone amid the eider ducks, who carries a mysterious message for her...

Read more about three generations of the Tye family from the First World War to the present day in the first two chapters of Salley Vickers' powerful new novel, 'Cousins', included in this free e-book.

Dance of Heartbreak/The Diary for August (Storycuts)

Su Tong (Author)

In 'Dance of Heartbreak', something happened to a young boy in Grade 4, at Red Flag Elementary School; but even today the whole affair remains fresh in his mind. He'd never met another girl like her; she was a little child of glass, beautiful in her sorrow when she ran to centre stage. For him, she was an archetype.

In 'The Diary for August', the inspector looked at the suspect who had been brought in for the incident at the city wall. He was fourteen or fifteen, dripping wet from the swimming pool where they had found him, and both his legs were trembling. It looked like he knew he had caused a disaster.

Part of the Storycuts series, these two short stories were previously published in the collection Madwoman on the Bridge.

Pinpoint

George Brown (Author)

France 1961. Operation Ponctuelle: the name given to top level assassinations of Gaullist Ministers. Two men lie in wait in a basement garage underneath the Boulevard St. Germain for the Minister of Special Affairs, their aim to kidnap their target and use him as a bargaining chip in the internecine strife that is tearing France apart. All goes to plan until one of the men reveals his true nature. First the four bodyguards die, then the Minister, then his girlfriend, whose tip off made the operation possible. The other man looks on in horror as a monster is born, a killer more ruthless than all the other players in the deadly war. Soon the fragmented security services are on the look out for the assassin, codenamed Diderot. But in the boiler room paranoia all are fair game, as the police, the army and top secret Maurice Bureau rip each other apart in the search for Diderot. Only an Englishman holds the threads which will unravel the enigma that is Diderot. But for Harry Metcalfe, differing motives of love, friendship and revenge mean that the job in hand is a difficult one, and the chances of his survival in the balancing act even slimmer.; Gripping espionage thriller from the man hailed as the next Frederick Forsyth.

For Solo Voice

Susanna Tamaro (Author)

THE BOOK: The stories in For Solo Voice, Susanna Tamaro's first book, explore the historical and emotional traumas which lie beneath consciousness and threaten to erupt into everyday life. She exposes with analytical clarity, spectres of our past that abide in us as individuals and as a society, disfiguring our humanity.

Charlotte Sometimes

Penelope Farmer (Author)

It is Charlotte's first night at boarding school. But when she wakes up, the girl in the next bed is not the person who was sleeping there the evening before. And the new building outside her window seems to have metamorphosed into a huge, dark cedar tree! Somehow, Charlotte has slipped back forty years.

Byron

Leslie Marchand (Author)

It is his clear-sightedness, his candour, his steely strength of will, the immediacy of his writing, his insolence and cynicism, his love of liberty, his hatred of hypocrisy, his originality, his rational enlightened toughness which attached Byron to the present age as much as to his own. Leslie Marchand's profound knowledge of his subject is unrivalled. His superb biography gives us an engrossing and utterly convincing portrait of a genius - a man who more than any other, fulfilled in his brillance, passion and creativity, the ideal of the Romantic Hero. One cannot but be won over by the sensitive, infinitely complex which Leslie Marchand uncovers. . . he gives us the essential Byron. . The spell of this strange, unquiet, blazingly honest and infinitely endearing man, is powerful ' Selina Hastings. Daily Telegraph

Precious Lives

Margaret Forster (Author)

A brilliant follow-up to Hidden Lives, Margaret Forster's most personal book yet takes up the story of her gritty, northern father, Arthur, intertwined with that of her sister-in-law, Marion, who died of cancer at almost half the age of the 96 year-old Arthur.

Margaret Forster's father was not a man to answer questions - least of all questions about life and death, so she attempts to answer them for herself. As Forster looks back at Arthur's life and indomitable character, she evokes incidents from her childhood, his working life and stubborn old age, trying to make sense of their largely unspoken relationship, and of his tenacious hold on life, and on his family.

Arthur and Marion's lives were ordinary, and apparently unremarkable, but, when faced with death, lives like these become strangely precious.

Little Princesses: The Sea Princess

Katie Chase (Author)

Unlike her little brother, Luke, Rosie doesn't believe that mermaids actually exist. But that's before she finds the stone statue of a mermaid in the middle of the fountain in the grounds of her Great-aunt Rosamund's Scottish castle.

When Rosie curtseys and says hello she finds herself on a deserted beach at nighttime. She can hear beautiful singing coming from some rocks. It's Princess Marissa, the daughter of the king and queen of the mer-people. Rosie finds she can swim underwater and she explores the kingdom of Acquatica with her new friend, Carla and Carlos the dolphins and Octavius the Octopus.

Then Marissa discovers that she's lost her crown, which contains the Pearl of Wisdom and she and Rosie must go and get it back from the old and frightening Sea Hag . . .!

The Siege

James Lasdun (Author)

This collection combines stories from his previous books THE SILVER AGE and THREE EVENINGS. In these stories James Lasdun views greed and excess from illuminating angles and the impulse of those who own too much to dispossess themselves. He examines the callousness by which adults lose influence over children and the instinctive tactics devised by children for gaining power over adults. He calls corruption, in its ingenious guises, to account while acknowledging the perverse fascination of human foibles. Each story casts a curious spell, in which objects and the natural world are tinged with an aura of the magical. A sensuous lyricism of prose governed by a witty and subtle intelligence brings these stories their very special flavour.

Three Bags Full

Leonie Swann (Author)

On a hillside near the cosy Irish village of Glennkill, a flock of sheep gather around their beloved shepherd George, who lies murdered, his body pinned to the pasture with a spade.

Fortunately, George has left behind an unusually intelligent group of sheep. Every night since they were lambs, he has read aloud to them - fairy tales, factual books about ovine disease, even detective stories - in order to help them sleep.

Faced with a real-life investigation, the flock spring into action.

They are led with fortitude by Miss Maple, the cleverest sheep in Glennkill and possibly the world, She is aided by Cordelia, who loves long words; and Othello, a ram with a dark past. Together they uncover the truth behind the life and death of their shepherd. Why did George tie little packets under their bellies before they crossed the meadow? And whose blood does Ham the butcher have on his hands?

While some of the detectives insist on chewing the evidence, or even forgetting it, together they succeed in shedding the revelatory light on the inexplicable world of human beings, and even on themselves.

Spooky Teachers

Tony Bradman (Author)

Class Three are the worst class ever. They do lots of crashing and bashing, nose-picking and flicking, fighting and fidgeting. Their teacher, Miss Nicely, is very fed up. But then Miss Shade - the Ghost Teacher - pays them a visit . . .

Class Three are waiting to meet their new teacher. Thud! Thud! Somebody is heading towards the classroom. Somebody who's very, very big . . . it's the Frankenstein Teacher!

Acquainted With The Night

Allegra Taylor (Author)

Death is the most predictable thing that will happen to any of us and one of the few experiences we share with every other human being, yet we hardly give it a thought. Most of us behave as if pretending it didn't exist gives is a measure of control over it. The traditional supports that used to cradle us in times of need are no longer there.

Acquainted with the Night is the story of Allegra Taylor's year spent working in a hospice and training to become part of London Lighthouse, the support network for people with AIDS.

Accessible, anecdotal and warmly personal, this is an important book. For it shows us that death is not the enemy; that it is possible to 'be there' for someone who is dying or bereaved, to grieve well in the face of death and, when the time comes, to die well ourselves.

The Modern Pagan

Brian Day (Author)

Paganism means living in harmony with nature and respecting all that nature has to offer. It is a sustainable way of life that has existed in the British Isles for thousands of years and that has survived secretly among scattered households throughout the UK. Although it is not a religious path (true pagans do not worship deities), paganism will appeal to anyone who cares about the environment, who is interested in maintaining an organic lifestyle or who believes in respecting their roots whilst catering for the future. Paganism may be thousands of years old, but it is particularly suited to meeting our twenty-first century concerns.

In The Modern Pagan, Brian Day explains how to live in a way that honours the land and its inhabitants. There is advice on celebrating seasonal festivals, on cultivating a true pagan garden, on creating delicious food and drink from hedgerow fare, on herbal medicine, on the importance of pagan parenting and family values, on living in harmony without prejudice and discrimination and much more. The core principles of Modern Paganism will make sense to anyone who is tired of the hustle and bustle of our polluted lifestyles, and who is looking for a way to live that is in balance with our fellow human beings and the natural world.

University Challenged

Rohan Candappa (Author)

Going to college or university can be a daunting experience. There are so many new experiences to try, so many new responsibilities to handle. What you really need is a best friend who'll show you the ropes, hold your hand and make sure you get to your lectures on time...This book, unfortunately, isn't that friend.

This book, even more unfortunately, is more akin to the kind of mate who doesn't get up till half past two, nicks your food from the fridge and when you're both well wasted at some awful party you've gate crashed convinces you that Malibu, cider and Worcestershire sauce is a real cocktail. Frankly, if you have even the slightest ambition to emerge from your time in 'higher' education with any kind of qualification whatsoever, it's best that you stop reading now.

If however, you insist on perusing the wisdom contained within this thoroughly disreputable tome, then please note that the author accepts no responsibility for the fact that you'll get a crap qualification, your parents will disown you and your subsequent career will go nowhere. But all that lies way off in the future. So let's talk about Freshers Week...'

At Home In The World

Joyce Maynard (Author)

In 1972, Joyce Maynard, an undergraduate at Yale, wrote an article for the New York Times Magazine called 'An Eighteen Year Old Looks Back on Life'. Among the hundreds of letters she received as a result, one expressed deep affection for her writing, and concern at the exploitation that she might be subjected to. The writer was J.D. Salinger, author of Catcher in the Rye and famous recluse.

Their correspondence led first to friendship, and then to love, and after a few months she dropped out of college to live with him. In spite of the thirty-five year difference in their ages, she believed they would be together always - but after a year, he sent her away.

Courageous, beautifully written and affecting, this book is destined to become a classic memoir of a modern woman's life.

The Way We Were

Marie Joseph (Author)

This is a collection of Marie Joseph's most outstanding short stories, previously published in magazines in the 1960s and 1970s. There is the young mother who eventually discovers nothing can compare with Christmas at home with her husband and children; a couple who are brought together again with unexpected help from a feline source; and a younger sister's wedding which brings faint misgivings and memories from the past. With compassion, insight and humour these stories explore the themes of love - its hopes, joys, disappointments and reconciliations. All are told through the sepia of nostalgia and tinged with the irony that is Marie Joseph's Hallmarks.

Rattlesnakes (Storycuts)

Irvine Welsh (Author)

Madeline, Eugene and Scott are three young, beautiful Americans, engaged in a love triangle and enjoying their free and drug-fuelled youth. When they have a car crash in the desert they are forced to wait for assistance. But events spin out of control when they are found instead by a young Mexican who, charged up on the memory of the violent death of his mother and the numerous indignities he has suffered at the hands of his American employers, is ready to make the world pay.

Part of the Storycuts series, this short story was previously published in the collection If You Liked School, You'll Love Work.

How to Drive Your Man Wild in Bed

Elizabeth Coldwell (Author), Graham Masterton (Author)

ARE YOU REALLY GOOD IN BED?

Women are capable of getting more fun out of sex than men. Even if you're not the world's most confident lover, the pleasure potential is within you. Read this book and find out how you can:

·realise your erotic potential

·discover what a man wants from you in bed - and how to give it to him

·find out how to get - and keep - the man you want

This book is a course in sexual self-improvement. It tells you how erotic technique, diet, psychology and understanding can build the sex life you already have into something even more satisfying and successful. So, stimulate your sexual imagination, fling off your inhibitions and set in motion all the passion, sensuality and fun at your command.

SURPRISE YOURSELF - AND DRIVE HIM WILD!

How to drive Your Man Wild in Bed has sold over 100,000 copies. This completely updated edition has been rewritten and edited by Liz Coldwell, editor of Forum - Britain's best-known magazine about sex.

'Superb. A godsend. Spells out all the techniques of being a good lover.' Kate Taylor, GQ

The Elegant Art of Falling Apart

Jessica Jones (Author)

Jessica Jones had a complicated life – booze, cocaine, bad boyfriends, a rollercoaster ride of what self-help writers call 'opportunities for growth' – but she got away from all that. She rebuilt her career, became prosperous and, at last, found happiness in a wonderful new relationship.

Just when things were almost perfect, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. So Jessica did what she’s always done: she got through it. With the help of doctors, nurses, friends, family and the ever-supportive Nick, she not only got through it, but survived with her trademark good humour and style. After seven months of gruelling treatments, she travelled from London to Sydney to begin a three-month holiday of a lifetime with the man who had loved her through it all – only to discover that he had been seeing someone else and didn't love her at all. For Jessica, it was to turn out that surviving love was harder than surviving cancer.

The Elegant Art of Falling Apart is a book about learning to ask for and to accept help. About living in, and enjoying, every moment. About freeing yourself from our culture’s obsession with romantic love, and about how looking good really can help you feel good. Above all, it is about how, when you are staggering about in the darkness, it will be the power of friendship that saves your sanity.

Ending Up

Kingsley Amis (Author)

At Tuppenny-hapenny Cottage in the English countryside, five elderly people live together in rancorous disharmony. Adela Bastable bosses the house, as her brother Bernard passes his days thinking up malicious schemes against the baby-talking Marigold and secret drinker Shorty, while kindly George lies bedridden upstairs. The mismatched quintet keep their spirits alive by bickering and waiting for grandchildren to visit at Christmas. But the festive season does not herald goodwill to all at Tuppenny-hapenny Cottage. Disaster and chaos, it seems, are just around the corner ...

Told with Amis's piercing wit and humanity, Ending Up (1974) is a wickedly funny black comedy of the indignities of old age.

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