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Readers' group sets of books - authors A to C

These books are free to borrow from Medway Libraries. Select the title and it will open up in a new window on the books' page on the Amazon website, which gives a review of the book and often the first few pages.

Author Title Copies Notes

Ackroyd, Peter

The Clerkenwell Tales

12
(Also available in large print)

Set in London, it is the last year of the 14th century and there is talk of an apocalypse.

Adichie, Chimamanda Ngozi

Half of a Yellow Sun

12
(Also available on CD audio book)

This novel is set during the lead up to and the course of Nigeria's Biafra War in the 1960s.

Ahern, Cecilia

P.S. I Love You

12
(Also available in large print and on CD audio book)

This follows the engaging, witty and occasionally sappy reawakening of Holly, a young Irish widow who must put her life back together after she loses her husband Gerry to a brain tumour.

Alderman, Naomi

Disobedience

12
(Also available in large print, as an eBook and as a CD audio book)

This lesbian exploration of friendship and morality is set in the heart of London's orthodox Jewish community

Ali, Monica

Alentejo Blue

8
(Also available as a CD audio book)

The story of the Portuguese village of Mamarrosa told through the lives of those who live there and those who are passing through - men and women, children and old people, locals, tourists and expatriates

Ammaniti, Niccolo

I'm Not Scared

12
(Also available as an eBook and in large print)

When the gang find a dilapidated farmhouse, nine-year-old Michele Amitrano makes a discovery so momentous he dare not tell a soul.

Ammaniti, Niccolo

Steal You Away

12
(Also available as an eBook)

Set in Ischiano Scalo, a dusty corner of Tuscany, it tells the tale of a middle-aged Lothario, Graziano Biglia, who, after decades of seduction and alcoholism, decides to retire to married life with a young wannabe actress.

Asimov, Isaac

The Complete Stories

11
 

This is a collection 25 classic science fiction stories.

Atkinson, Kate

Emotionally Weird

12
(Also available in large print)

On a peat and heather island off the west coast of Scotland, Effie and her mother Nora take refuge in the large mouldering house of their ancestors and tell each other stories.

Atwood, Margaret

The Blind Assassin

9
(Also available in large print)

At the end of her life, Iris Griffen takes up her pen to record the secret history of her family, the romantic melodrama of its decline and fall between the two World Wars.

Austen, Jane

Emma

12
(Also available in large print and on CD audio book)

Beautiful, clever, rich - and single - Emma Woodhouse is perfectly content with her life and sees no need for either love or marriage. Nothing, however, delights her more than interfering in the romantic lives of others.

Austen, Jane

Persuasion

12
(Also available in large print and on CD audio book)

Eight years ago, Anne Elliot and Frederick Wentworth fell head over heels in love. But Anne’s snobbish family put a stop to their engagement, believing the young naval captain wasn’t good enough for her.

Austen, Jane

Pride and Prejudice

10
(Also available in large print and on CD audio book)

When Elizabeth Bennet first meets eligible bachelor Fitzwilliam Darcy, she thinks him arrogant and conceited; he is indifferent to her good looks and lively mind. When she later discovers that Darcy has involved himself in the troubled relationship between his friend Bingley and her beloved sister Jane, she is determined to dislike him more than ever.

Auster, Paul

Book of Illusions

12
(Also available in large print)

One man's obsession with the mysterious life of a silent film star takes him on a journey into a shadow-world of lies, illusions, and unexpected love.

Bailey, Jenna

Can any Mother Help me?

12

In 1935, a young woman wrote a letter to Nursery World magazine, expressing her feelings of isolation and loneliness. Women from all over the country experiencing similar frustrations wrote back. To create an outlet for their abundant ideas and opinions they started a private magazine, The Cooperative Correspondence Club.

Ballard, J G

The Unlimited Dream Company

8

When a light aircraft crashes into the Thames at Shepperton, the young pilot who struggles to the surface minutes later seems to have come back from the dead.

Barker, Pat

Border Crossing

12
(Also available as an eBook and in large print)

When Tom Seymour, a child psychologist, plunges into a river to save a young man from drowning, he unwittingly reopens a chapter from his past he'd hoped to forget.

Barnes, Julian

Arthur and George

12
(Also available as an eBook and as a CD audio book)

A novel about the author Sir Arthur Conan-Doyle and George Edjali, the son of an Indian vicar and a Scottish woman. When Edjali is found guilty on flimsy evidence of a series of livestock slashings and sentenced to seven years' hard labour, Conan-Doyle takes up his cause.

Barry, Sebastian

The Secret Scripture

7
(Also available in large print)

Roseanne McNulty may (or may not) be on the point of nearing her 100th birthday but there is little certainty about this fact. In her twilight years, her destiny is uncertain, as the Roscommon Mental Hospital is on the point of closing. As the fateful hour approaches, Roseanne spends her time of talking to her psychiatrist of many years, Dr Grene. The relationship between the two is strangely interdependent, and the doctor is also attempting to come to terms with the death of his wife.

Bayley, John

Iris

11
(Also available in large print)

This poignant memoir was written by John Bayley, former Professor of English at Oxford who was married to Iris Murdoch, philosopher and author. After 45 years of marriage, Iris began suffering from Alzheimer's.

Bear, Greg

Darwin's Radio

12
(Also available as an eBook)

Powerfully written, brilliantly inventive novels combine cutting-edge science and unforgettable characters, illuminating dazzling new technologies - and their dangers.

Bennett, Vanora

Portrait of an Unknown Woman

12
(Also available in large print and on CD audio book)

This love story is set during the religious and political turmoil in Tudor England.

Binchy, Maeve

Scarlet Feather

12
(Also available in large print)

Cathy Scarlet and Tom Feather have decided to create the best catering company in Dublin. They have the perfect premises, heaps of talent, and even a few contacts - but not everyone seems as pleased by the idea of 'Scarlet Feather' as they are.

Boyd, William

Restless

12
(Also available in large print, as an eBook and as a CD audio book)

It is 1939. Eva Delectorskaya is a beautiful 28-year-old Russian emigrée living in Paris. As war breaks out she is recruited for the British Secret Service by Lucas Romer, a mysterious Englishman, and under his tutelage she learns to become the perfect spy, to mask her emotions and trust no one, including those she loves most.

Brodrick, William

The Sixth Lamentation

12
(Also available in large print)

What should you do if the world has turned against you? When Father Anselm is asked this question by an old man at Larkwood Priory, his response, to claim sanctuary, is to have greater resonance than he could ever have imagined.

Bronte, Charlotte

Shirley

12
(Also available as a CD audio book)

This novel is set in the early 19th century at the time of the Luddite riots and the Napoleonic wars.

Brooks, Geraldine

March

12
(Also available in large print)

This historical novel and love story is set during a time of catastrophe on the front lines of the American Civil War.

Bryson, Bill

Notes from a Small Island

12 (Also available as a CD audio book) 

Bryson, who moved to England from the USA, and settled in North Yorkshire with his family, turns an affectionate but ironic eye on his adopted country.

Buck, Pearl S

The Good Earth

12

Set in China, this is the story of the cyclical nature of life, of the passions and desires that motivate a human being, of good and evil, and of the desire to survive and thrive against great odds.

Bulgakov, Mikhail

The Master and Margarita

11
(Also available as an eBook)

The devil comes to Moscow wearing a fancy suit. With his disorderly band of accomplices - including a demonic, gun-toting tomcat - he immediately begins to create havoc.

Butler, Octavia

Kindred

9
(Also available as an eBook)

This is a story of Dana, a modern Afro-American writer married to a white writer, who is drawn back in time to live with Rufus, plantation and slave owner in the period of 1815 - 1830, and also her distant ancestor.

Carol, James Broken Dolls 10 The first in James Carol's thrilling Jefferson Winter series, Broken Dolls offers rapid-fire suspense and a chilling look into the mind of a criminal - and into the mind of the one man who might be able to catch him.

Ex-FBI star profiler Jefferson Winter is no ordinary investigator. An eccentric genius and self-described geek with a passion for Mozart, he is haunted by the legacy of his notorious serial killer father . . . and not likely to admit this may be why he has such a phenomenal insight into the psychology that drives the criminals he hunts.

The former G-man is now a sought after freelance consultant, jetting around the globe helping local law enforcement agencies with their toughest cases. When Detective Inspector Mark Hatcher calls from Scotland Yard about a particularly disturbing case, Winter leaves his native California for the chilly streets of London to help track down a sadistic serial kidnapper.

Four victims, all young women, all tortured and then lobotomised. None of them able to tell the police the name of their attacker. None of them able to live normal lives again. Just broken dolls, played with then discarded.

When another young woman goes missing, Winter has to race against the clock to identify the attacker and find the latest victim before it's too late.

Cartwright, Justin

The Promise of Happiness

12
(Also available in large print and as an eBook)

Charles Judd meanders round his local Cornish beach, contemplating the turns his life has taken. His wife Daphne struggles hopelessly with the latest fish recipe, trying to keep something in her life under control. Two of their children are keeping it all together - just. But they are all still recovering from the shock of the prodigal daughter, Juliet, being imprisoned in New York State for her part in an art theft.

Carver, Raymond

Where I'm Calling From

12

This collection of short stories, published during the author's life, traces his development over two decades

Cheek, Mavis

Patrick Parker's Progress

12
(Also available in large print and on CD audio book)

The year is 1940 and the city of Coventry is in flames. One child miraculously escapes the flames, and is sent to London.

Cobbold, Marika

Drowning Rose

10 (Also available on CD audio book)

Eliza Cummings is leaving work when she receives an unexpected phone call. On the other end is a voice which draws her back 25 years - to the tragic death of her best friend. But why does Rose's father want her to visit him? And why is he killing her with kindness when he blames her for what happened?

Cobbold, Marika

Guppies for Tea

12
(Also available as an eBook)

Amelia Lindsey is an exceptional young woman. She shares her days between a grandmother whom she loves, a mother whom she tolerates with patient fortitude, and Gerald.

Coelho, Paulo

The Alchemist

12
(Also available in large print)

This magical fable is about learning to listen to your heart, reading the omens strewn along life's path and, above, all following your dreams.

Coetzee, J M

Disgrace

9
(Also available in large print)

A 52-year-old English professor David Lurie's preoccupation with Romantic poetry-and romancing his students-threatens to turn him into a 'a moral dinosaur'.

Collins, Richard

The Land as Viewed From the Sea

12

Two friends work together on a smallholding: one allows the other to read the novel he is writing, The Land as Viewed from the Sea. As fiction begins to intrude upon reality, the friends' relationship is redefined, threatening to change their lives forever.

Cueco, Henri

Conversations With my Gardener

12

Two men, both advancing in years, converse in a garden deep in the French countryside. One is an artist, the other his gardener.