Men without Women: Haruki Murakami

Translated from Japanese by Philip Gabriel and Ted Goosen “Here's what hurts the most," Kafuku said. "I didn't truly understand her—or at least some crucial part of her. And it may well end that way now that she's dead and gone. Like a small, locked safe lying at the bottom of the ocean. It hurts …

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The Shadow of the Wind: Carlos Ruiz Zafón

Translated from Spanish by Lucia Graves “This is a place of mystery, Daniel, a sanctuary. Every book, every volume you see here, has a soul. The soul of the person who wrote it and of those who read it and lived and dreamed with it. Every time a book changes hands, every time someone runs …

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Girl, Woman, Other: Bernadine Evaristo

A gay artist, an adopted child, a transgender woman, a successful lawyer, an old woman finding she has more in common with her transgender granddaughter than with her straight children…these are just some of the voices you hear in Bernadine Evaristo’s book, which in narrated in turn by 12 British women of colour. Amma is …

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Podcast: Reading for our times—Reading around the world

Some years ago, a friend and fellow bookworm, Kristine Goulding, suggested on this blog that we read a book from every country in the world. And so the reading challenge was born, with only one rule: the writer has to be from the country. We've taken our time over it, but we are now up …

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I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings: Maya Angelou

“The fact that the adult American Negro female emerges a formidable character is often met with amazement, distaste and even belligerence. It is seldom accepted as an inevitable outcome of the struggle won by survivors and deserves respect if not enthusiastic acceptance.” Three strong black women stand out in this first volume of Maya Angelou’s …

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The Bickford Fuse: Andrey Kurkov

Translated from Russian by Boris Dralyuk This is a strange, dreamlike book. Four men are on journeys across the Soviet Union that make no sense, in a landscape where the laws of physics don’t seem to exist anymore. The journeys start sometime around the end of the Second World War and last for decades. The …

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The World’s Wife: Carol Ann Duffy

History and myth have often focused on men: Sisyphus, Lazarus, Herod, Pilate, Midas, Faust, Freud… But what of their wives? Who were they and what did they think of their men? These women are brought to life in Carol Ann Duffy’s collection of poems. The wives of the men mentioned above, female figures like Salomé, …

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The Heart’s Invisible Furies: John Boyne

The book begins in Ireland in the 1940s: The Catholic Church is all-powerful, and anything outside the norm is not only frowned upon but punished. For example, having a child outside marriage, as Catherine Goggin, a pregnant teenager in an Irish village finds out. She is exposed by the priest and banished from the village. …

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Celestial Objects: Jokha Alharthi

Translated from Arabic by Marilyn Booth Celestial Objects is a novel by Omani writer Jokha Alharthi that won the Man Booker International Prize in 2019. This makes it unusual—there aren’t a lot of books by Omani writers translated into English, and this is the first novel written originally in Arabic to win the prize. The …

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