1) Wild: A Journey from Lost to Found
Selected to be read on Radio Four's Book of the Week.
'One of the best books I've read in the last five or ten years... Wild is angry, brave, sad, self-knowing, redemptive, raw, compelling, and brilliantly written, and I think it's destined to be loved by a lot of people, men and women, for a very long time.' --Nick Hornby
At twenty-six, Cheryl Strayed thought she had lost everything. In the wake of her mother's rapid death from cancer, her family disbanded and her marriage crumbled. With nothing to lose, she made the most impulsive decision of her life: to walk eleven-hundred miles of the west coast of America - from the Mojave Desert, through California and Oregon, and into Washington state - and to do it alone. She had no experience of long-distance hiking and the journey was nothing more than a line on a map. But it held a promise - a promise of piecing together a life that lay in ruins at her feet.
Strayed's account captures the agonies - both mental and physical - of her incredible journey; how it maddened and terrified her, and how, ultimately, it healed her. Wild is a brutal memoir of survival, grief and redemption: a searing portrayal of life at its lowest ebb and at its highest tide.
2) We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves
Karen Joy Fowler
Rosemary's young, just at college, and she's decided not to tell anyone a thing about her family. So we're not going to tell you too much either: you'll have to find out for yourselves, round about page 77, what it is that makes her unhappy family unlike any other.
Rosemary is now an only child, but she used to have a sister the same age as her, and an older brother. Both are now gone - vanished from her life. There's something unique about Rosemary's sister, Fern. And it was this decision, made by her parents, to give Rosemary a sister like no other, that began all of Rosemary's trouble. So now she's telling her story: full of hilarious asides and brilliantly spiky lines, it's a looping narrative that begins towards the end, and then goes back to the beginning. Twice.
It's funny, clever, intimate, honest, analytical and swirling with ideas that will come back to bite you. We hope you enjoy it, and if, when you're telling a friend about it, you do decide to spill the beans about Fern - it's pretty hard to resist - don't worry. One of the few studies Rosemary doesn't quote says that spoilers actually enhance reading.
Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2014.
Daphne Du Maurier
The novel begins in Monte Carlo, where our heroine is swept off her feet by the dashing widower Maxim de Winter and his sudden proposal of marriage. Orphaned and working as a lady's maid, she can barely believe her luck. It is only when they arrive at his massive country estate that she realizes how large a shadow his late wife will cast over their lives--presenting her with a lingering evil that threatens to destroy their marriage from beyond the grave.
Excellent entertainment . . . du Maurier created a scale by which modern women can measure their feelings. (STEPHEN KING)
The two words most commonly used in descriptions of Du Maurier's all-time classic are 'haunting (and 'magical'. Both are accurate.')
GOOD BOOK GUIDE ('I am reminded of how profoundly du Maurier changed the way I felt about myself, how she engaged and excited me with her writing.')
The DAILY TELEGRAPH ('As a new generation of readers are introduced to the wicked housekeeper Mrs Danvers and learn Maxim de Winter's terrible secret, this chilling, suspenseful tale is as fresh and readable as it was when it was first written, more than 60 years ago.')