Good Omens: Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett

This delightfully subversive look at the Apocalypse and everything that went before is one of my favourite books. Aziraphale, an angel, and Crowley, a demon, have been living on Earth since the beginning. Crowley, who starts out as the serpent in the Garden of Eden but has taken on human form, has “dark hair and …

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Three Ways to Capsize a Boat: An Optimist Afloat—Chris Stewart

It all began when Chris Stewart, 29 and out of work, bumps into a friend. “My great-aunt Jane has been on at me for weeks to find her a skipper [for her yacht], and I thought of you straightaway.” Which was a little odd because Stewart had never been on a boat before, never mind …

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The Rosie Project: Graeme Simsion

Don Tillman, a geneticist at an Australian university, is not only intelligent and good-looking but a decent cook to boot. He decides that he needs a wife, which you would think shouldn’t be hard. But Don’s manner tends to put women off. He tends to take everything literally and is not good at picking up …

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A Parrot in the Pepper Tree: Chris Stewart

Many of us dream of giving up the rat-race and living the simple life in a community far removed from the hustle of cities. These remain dreams for most of us, but not for Chris Stewart and his wife Ana. In 1988, they moved to Alpujarras in Andalucia, Spain, and bought a farm called El …

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Tales of the Tikongs: Epeli Hau’ofa

If this book were to be summed up in one sentence, it would be: “‘Development’ comes to a small Pacific island”. Tales of the Tikongs is a collection of vignettes of what happens when foreign development experts try to impose development on a happy-go-lucky people. And “impose” is the word—the so-called experts have very little …

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The Case of the Deadly Butter Chicken: Tarquin Hall

How can anyone resist this title? I would have bought this book even if I hadn’t already known this series of detective novels set in Delhi. The book’s main character is Vish Puri, India’s Most Private Investigator, who is often helped—against his wishes—by his mother (the formidable Mummy-ji) and his wife. All three characters are …

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