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Readers' group sets of books - authors H to L

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

Haddon, Mark

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

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

Christopher is 15 and has Asperger's, a form of autism. He knows a very great deal about maths and very little about human beings.

Hagen, George

The Laments

(Also available in large print)

When Howard and Julia Lament adopt Will, a baby secretly switched at birth in a bizarre hospital debacle, the Laments begin a journey which takes them from Northern Rhodesia to the Persian Gulf, England and suburban America, as they search for their place in the world.

Hardy, Thomas

The Woodlanders


This story is about a doctor called Katie, and her husband David who undergoes a spiritual conversion, and the affect this has on the lives of herself and her children.

Harrison, Sarah

The Grass Memorial


Stella Carlyle is a successful singer. Quirky, talented, abrasive, sexy, she has serial casual lovers until she falls in love with Robert - an equally successful eye surgeon. But Robert is married, and the strain of their long-standing affair is beginning to tell on both.

Hawthorne, Nathaniel

The Scarlet Letter


Set in the harsh Puritan community of 17th-century Boston, this tale of an adulterous entanglement that results in an illegitimate birth reveals Nathaniel Hawthorne's concerns with the tension between the public and the private selves.

Heinlein, Robert A

Stranger in a Strange Land


The story of Valentine Michael Smith, born during, and the only survivor of, the first manned mission to Mars. Michael is raised by Martians, and he arrives on Earth as a true innocent: He has never seen a woman and has no knowledge of Earth's cultures or religions.

Heller, Joseph

Catch 22

(Also available in large print)

A satirical indictment of military madness and stupidity, and the desire of the ordinary man to survive it. It is a tale of the dangerously sane Captain Yossarian, who spends his time in Italy plotting to survive.

Hemingway, Ernest

For Whom the Bell Tolls

(Also available in large print)

High in the pine forests of the Spanish Sierra, a guerrilla band prepares to blow up a vital bridge. Robert Jordan, a young American volunteer, has been sent to handle the dynamiting. There, in the mountains, he finds the dangers and the intense comradeship of war.

Hempel, Sandra

The Medical Detective


In 1831, an unknown, horrifying and deadly disease from Asia swept across Continental Europe, killing millions in its path, and throwing the medical profession into confusion. Cholera is a killer with little respect for class or wealth, and when it arrived in Britain, its repercussions rocked Victorian England. One man uncovered the truth behind the pandemic, and laid the foundations for the modern, scientific investigation of today's fatal plagues.

Henry, James

Washington Square

11 (Also available as a spoken word cassette0

At the age 22, Catherine Sloper is regarded as a rather mature blossom.  Yet although she is neither clever or beautiful, Morris Townsend finds Catherine exceedingly charming. Meanwhile her father, Dr Sloper, finds all this extremely entertaining.

Hensher, Philip

The Northern Clemency

(Also available on CD audio book)

Beginning in 1974 and ending with the fading of Thatcher's government in 1996, The Northern Clemency is Philip Hensher's epic portrait of an entire era, a novel concerned with the lives of ordinary people and history on the move. Set in Sheffield, it charts the relationship between two families.

Herbert, James



Private investigator Nick Dismas follows the trail of a missing baby to a sinister rest home

Heyman, Kathryn

The Accomplice


One of the most shocking events of the 17th century: the wreck of the Dutch ship Batavia off the coast of Western Australia, and the extraordinary events that befell its stranded survivors.

Highsmith, Patricia

Strangers on a Train


Almost against his conscious will, Guy Haines is trapped in a nightmare of shared guilt and an insidious merging of personalities.

Hisham, Matar

Anatomy of a Disappearance

12 (Also available as an eBook)

Nuri is a young boy when his mother dies. It seems that nothing will fill the emptiness that her strange death leaves behind in the Cairo apartment he shares with his father. Until Mona.

Hislop, Victoria

The Island

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

On the brink of a life-changing decision, Alexis Fielding longs to find out about her mother’s past. But Sofia has never spoken of it. All she admits to is growing up in a small Cretan village before moving to London. When Alexis decides to visit Crete, however, Sofia gives her daughter a letter to take to an old friend, and promises that through her she will learn more.

Homes, A M

May We Be Forgiven

10 (Also available on CD audio book)

Harry is a Richard Nixon scholar who leads a quiet, regular life; his brother George is a high-flying TV producer, with a murderous temper. They have been uneasy rivals since childhood. Then one day George loses control so extravagantly that he precipitates Harry into an entirely new life.

Homes, A M

This Book will Save your Life

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

An uplifting story set in Los Angeles about one man's effort to bring himself back to life. Richard is a modern day everyman; a middle-aged divorcee trading stocks out of his home.

Hornby, Nick

How to be Good

(Also available in large print and as an eBook)

According to her own complex moral calculations, Katie Carr has earned her affair. She's a doctor and her husband David is the self-styled Angriest Man in Holloway. But when David suddenly becomes good  - properly, maddeningly, give-away-all-his-money good - Katie's sums no longer add up, and she is forced to ask herself some very hard questions.

Horspool, David

Why Alfred Burned the Cakes


This brilliant book offers a memorable portrait of a great ruler and the myths that grew around him.

Hosseini, Khaled

A Thousand Splendid Suns

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

Mariam is only 15 when she is sent to Kabul to marry the troubled and bitter Rasheed, who is 30 years her senior. Nearly two decades later, in a climate of growing unrest, tragedy strikes 15-year-old Laila, who must leave her home and join Mariam's unhappy household.

Hosseini, Khaled

The Kite Runner

(Also available in large print and as an eBook)

Twelve-year-old Amir is desperate to win the local kite-fighting tournament and his loyal friend Hassan promises to help him. But neither of the boys can foresee what will happen to Hassan that afternoon, an event that is to shatter their lives.

Humphreys, John

Devil's Advocate


Humphreys, the presenter of Radio Four's Today programme, examines the changes in Britain over the last 40 years and rails against the loss of shame and innocence, the victim culture, the confusion between caring genuinely for something and wearing a ribbon, and consumer populism.

Hyde, Elizabeth

The Abortionist's Daughter

(Also available in large print)

Set in a small town in Colorado, this is a novel of family secrets, dark passion and, ultimately, catharsis for those whose lives have become so strangely entwined.

Irving, John

A Prayer for Owen Meaney


Owen Meany is a dwarfish boy with a strange voice who accidentally kills his best friend's mum with a baseball and believes that he is an instrument of God, to be redeemed by martyrdom.

Ishiguro, Kazuo


(Also available on CD audio book)

Gentle, intimate and witty, this quintet is marked by a haunting theme: the struggle to keep alive a sense of life’s romance, even as one gets older, relationships flounder and youthful hopes recede.

Jaffe, Rona

The Best of Everything


Rona Jaffe's frank, scandalous and thrilling 1958 novel, The Best of Everything, follows a group of young women as they negotiate office romances, workplace politics, broken engagements, tiny apartments, lecherous bosses, heartbreak and lasting friendship.

James, Henry

Washington Square


 When timid and plain Catherine Sloper acquires a dashing and determined suitor, her father, convinced that the young man is nothing more than a fortune-hunter, decides to put a stop to their romance.

Jones, Griff Rhys


(Also available in large print)

 Griff relives freezing bus journeys to school and the impulsive stealing of that half-a-crown from a money box; sitting outside Butlins at Clacton (longing to be inside and on the Waltzer instead of stranded on the pebbles with his dad); hazy summer afternoons spent with feral gangs in the woods, or storming the mud flats singing extracts from the Bonzo Dog Dooh Dah Band. The memories are like Mivvis, frozen and fuzzy at the edges, but a sweet jam of pure recollected goo at the centre.

Jones, Russell Celyn

Ten Seconds from the Sun

(Also available on CD audio book)

Ray Greenland is an exemplary family man and Thames River pilot who can navigate people safely in the here and now, while his wife Lily, in her capacity as a director of a dating agency, arranges their happy futures. But what none of those around him know, including Lily and their children, is that Ray's life is not his own.

Jooste, Pamela

Dance with a Poor Man's Daughter


Through the sharp yet loving eyes of 11-year-old Lily we see the whole exotic, vivid, vigorous culture of the Cape Coloured community at the time when apartheid threatened its destruction.

Joyce, James



The novel deals with the events of one day in Dublin, 16 June 1904, now known as 'Bloomsday'.

Kafka, Franz

The Complete Novels


The Trial is a fusion of nightmare and reality, and The Castle a religious allegory. In America the innocent Karl Rossman falls gradually but unerringly into a state of often comic degradation.

Kay, Jackie



Jackie Kay's first novel is a curious and haunting story about mixed-race jazz trumpeter Joss Moody (Irish mother, black father), who turns out, on his death, to have been a woman all along.

Keating, Barbara

Blood Sisters


Set in Kenya, 1957. During their childhood years in the Kenya Highlands, three girls from vastly different backgrounds become blood sisters, promising that nothing will ever destroy the bond between them. But the legacy of the Mau Mau rebellion, and the tensions and upheavals of newly independent Kenya, tear their childhood dreams apart.

Kendall, Felicity

White Cargo


Felicity Kendal was brought up in India, touring the country as part of a troupe of actors managed by her father. Aged 17, she came to England for the first time. This book describes that exotic upbringing in India and explains what an unusual effect it has had on the rest of her life.

King, Stephen

Bag of Bones

(Also available in large print)

When bestselling crime writer Mike Noonan’s wife dies, he suffers from writer’s block. Until he is drawn from Derry to his lakeside retreat, Sara Laughs - a house once inhabited by a famous singer. It’s a community run by rich, tyrannical, wheelchair-bound Devore and his terrifying, skeletal female bookkeeper.

Kingsolver, Barbara

The Poisonwood Bible


This is a story told by the wife and four daughters of Nathan Price, a fierce evangelical Baptist who takes his family and mission to the Belgian Congo in 1959.

Koomson, Dorothy

My Best Friend's Girl

(Also available on CD audio book)

Best friends Kamryn Matika and Adele Brannon thought nothing could come between them - until Adele did the unthinkable and slept with Kamryn's fiancé. Worse still, she got pregnant and had his child.

Kraus, Nicole

The History of Love

(Also available in large print)

Sixty years ago in the Polish village where he was born Leo fell in love with a young girl called Alma and wrote a book in honour of his love. These days he assumes that the book, and his dreams, are irretrievably lost, until one day they return to him in the form of a brown envelope.

Kundera, Milan

The Unbearable Lightness of Being


A story of irreconcilable love and infidelities in which Milan Kundera addresses himself to the nature of 20th-century 'Being', offering a wide range of brilliant and amusing philosophical speculations.

Lahiri, Jumpha

Interpreter of Maladies


This collection of nine short stories from the Indian-American author won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the Hemingway Foundation / Pen Award.

Learner, T S The Stolen 10 Widowed physicist Matthias von Holindt has been lost in his own world for far too long. But when his estranged father is implicated in the murder, Matthias is forced on a desperate hunt for the truth. Fighting against a secret, sinister cabal, he must race to save the artefact from their evil grasp. But the quest will have profound and devastating consequences for Matthias himself - and threaten those he loves the most.
Heart-stopping adventure, rich history and a deep, hidden mystery - The Stolen is a compelling and hugely satisfying thriller from the bestselling author of Sphinx

Lamb, Wally

I Know This Much is True


This story is about identical twins: a paranoid schizophrenic and his brother whose life is dominated by his resentment of and love for his damaged twin. Dominick Birdsey's whole existence is coloured by the knowledge that his twin brother can never be fully responsible for his frightening behaviour, while he himself has beaten the biochemical odds to remain sane.

Lansens, Lori

The Girls

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

In 29 years, Rose Darlen has never spent a moment apart from her twin sister, Ruby. Yet, in all that time, she has never once looked into Ruby's eyes. Joined at the head, 'The Girls' (as they are known in their small town) attempt to lead a normal life, but can't help being extraordinary.

Lawson, Mary

Crow Lake


Orphaned young, Kate Morrison was her older brother Matt's protégé, her curious fascination for pond life fed by his passionate interest in the natural world. Now a zoologist, she can identify organisms under a microscope, but seems blind to the tragedy of her own emotional life.

Lee, Laurie

As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning


This simple coming-of-age autobiography is that of a young man leaving home to walk around Spain.

Le Guin, Ursula

A Wizard of Earthsea


This tale of wizards and dragons features the character of Sparrowhawk. Tempted by pride to try spells beyond his powers, Sparrowhawk lets loose an evil shadow-beast. Only he can destroy it and so he begins a quest which leads him to all corners of Earthsea. This is the first book in a quartet.

Leon, Donna

Death at La Fenice

(Also available in large print)

The celebrated opera house, La Fenice, has seen its share of death, but none so horrific and violent as that of world-famous conductor, Maestro Helmut Wellauer, poisoned during a performance of La Traviata.

Lively, Penelope

The Photograph

(Also available in large print and as an eBook)

Searching through a little-used cupboard at home, Glyn Peters chances upon a photograph he has never seen before. Taken in high summer, many years earlier, it shows his wife, Kath, holding hands with another man.

Lodge, David


(Also available on CD audio book)

Ralph Messenger is an international academic star in the highly trendy field of language and thought research. Novelist Helen Reed arrives at the university to teach creative writing and to recover from the unexpected death of her husband. Despite huge differences in belief and temperament, they begin a secret affair, with complicated consequences, comic and tragic, for those around them.