Book of the Week
Mad Enchantment by Ross King
Claude Monet's water lily paintings are among the most iconic and beloved works of art of the past century. Yet these entrancing images were created at a time of terrible private turmoil and sadness for the artist. The dramatic history behind these paintings is little known; Ross King's Mad Enchantment tells the full story for the first time and, in the process, presents a compelling and original portrait of one of our most popular and cherished artists. By the outbreak of war in 1914, Monet, then in his mid-seventies, was one of the world's most famous and successful painters, with a large house in the country, a fleet of automobiles and a colossal reputation. However, he had virtually given up painting following the death of his wife Alice in 1911 and the onset of blindness a year later. Nonetheless, it was during this period of sorrow, ill health and creative uncertainty that - as the guns roared on the Western Front - he began the most demanding and innovative paintings he had ever attempted. Encouraged by close friends such as Georges Clemenceau, France's dauntless prime minister, Monet would work on these magnificent paintings throughout the war years and then for the rest of his life. So obsessed with his monumental task that the village barber was summoned to clip his hair as he worked beside his pond, he covered hundreds of yards of canvas with shimmering layers of pigment. As his ambitions expanded with his paintings, he began planning what he intended to be his legacy to the world: the 'Musee Claude Monet' in the Orangerie in Paris. Drawing on letters and memoirs and focusing on this remarkable period in the artist's life, Mad Enchantment gives an intimate portrayal of Claude Monet in all his tumultuous complexity, and firmly places his water lily paintings among the greatest achievements in the history of art.
Book at Bedtime
Nutshell by Ian McEwan
The Number One Sunday Times bestseller. Trudy has betrayed her husband, John. She's still in the marital home - a dilapidated, priceless London townhouse - but not with John. Instead, she's with his brother, the profoundly banal Claude, and the two of them have a plan. But there is a witness to their plot: the inquisitive, nine-month-old resident of Trudy's womb. Told from a perspective unlike any other, Nutshell is a classic tale of murder and deceit from one of the world's master storytellers.
2016 Man Booker Winner
This year's Man Booker Winner, announced on October 25th, is The Sellout by Paul Beatty, the first American writer to win the Prize.
Amanda Foreman, Chair of the Judges, said “Fiction should not be comfortable,” Foreman said. “The truth is rarely pretty and this is a book that nails the reader to the cross with cheerful abandon … that is why the novel works. “While you’re being nailed, you’re being tickled. It is highwire act which he pulls off with tremendous verve and energy and confidence. He never once lets up or pulls his punches. This is somebody writing at the top of their game.
A biting satire about a young man's isolated upbringing and the race trial that sends him to the Supreme Court, The Sellout showcases a comic genius at the top of his game. Born in Dickens on the southern outskirts of Los Angeles, the narrator of The Sellout spent his childhood as the subject in his father's racially charged psychological studies. He is told that his father's work will lead to a memoir that will solve their financial woes. But when his father is killed in a drive-by shooting, he discovers there never was a memoir. All that's left is a bill for a drive-through funeral. What's more, Dickens has literally been wiped off the map to save California from further embarrassment. Fuelled by despair, the narrator sets out to right this wrong with the most outrageous action conceivable: reinstating slavery and segregating the local high school, which lands him in the Supreme Court. In his trademark absurdist style, which has the uncanny ability to make readers want to both laugh and cry, The Sellout is an outrageous and outrageously entertaining indictment of our time.
These are the books that were most popular with our customers last week......
1 Five on Brexit Island
2. Ladybird Book of the Meeting
3. The Sellout by Paul Beatty
4. The Mistletoe Murder and Other Stories by P D James
5. Keeping On Keeping On by Alan Bennett
6. A Florence Diary by Diana Athill
7. Five go on a Strategy Awayday
8. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by J K Rowling
9. The Midnight Gang by David Walliams
10. A History of Britain in 21 Women by Jenni Murray
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.
Nocturnal Animals by Austin Wright
Originally published as 'Tony and Susan', this novel inspired the new film Nocturnal Animals, starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Amy Adams. It's a dazzling, eerie, riveting thriller of fear and regret, blood and revenge. Many years after their divorce, Susan Morrow receives a strange gift from her ex-husband. A manuscript that tells the story of a terrible crime: an ambush on the highway, a secluded cabin in the woods; a thrilling chiller of death and corruption. How could such a harrowing story be told by the man she once loved? And why, after so long, has he sent her such a disturbing and personal message...?