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With A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, Dave Eggers scored himself a place as a finalist for a Pulitzer, as well as topping many a ‘book of the year’ list. A fictionalised memoir about having to raise his eight-year-old brother as a 20-year-old following the deaths of both their parents, it was much as its title suggested. The archetypal ‘great American novel’, Gatsby, like so many works of literary genius, went underappreciated while Fitzgerald was alive. Only after his death did its resonance become deafening. The decline of the American Dream and a withering social commentary of moral decline and social decay typify this defining moment in literary history. I sleep a lot, almost all the time now. I want to stay awake in my head. I know I must, or else I'll die. Got to keep my mind awake. Got to keep living. But the trouble is that sleep is warm and gentle and inviting, and when it takes me by the hand I just want to go…." A contemporary of Brett Easton Ellis, Donna Tartt’s The Secret History is a murder mystery presented in reverse, a modern Greek tragedy involving a group of students studying classics at an upscale Vermont college who stage a wild ‘bacchanal’ which ends in the death of a local farmer. The murder soon exposes the fault lines in the tight-knit group’s relationship. Mum and dad hardly say a word any more. I think they might be giving up on me. They just sit and wait, their silence and their sadness filling the air around me.

OK, if you want to be pedantic, Howl isn’t really a book, it’s a poem. However, in terms of provocative prose and scandalous storytelling, Howl can’t be bettered. From its oft-quoted opening line (‘I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness’) to its portrayal of radical jazz loving, drug-taking, homosexual communists running counter to the vows of the American Dream, Howl has long been a key beat generation text. Wolfe’s damning social and moral critique originally ran as a serial in Rolling Stone, before Wolfe revised it and released it as a novel. Working on the premise that your life can spiral out of control no matter how much money or influence you have, it finds millionaire trader Sherman McCoy unable to control events after a hit and run incident in the Bronx. Ignore the film, it’s awful. And if you now feel ready to start building your story now? Great 👍 Happy writing. We’d be delighted if you dropped us the success story at [email protected]! Probably the most well-thumbed text in the Beat writers’ canon, Kerouac’s On The Road has been credited with much influence in creating the counter-culture that would blossom in the 60s and 70s. Written in spontaneous prose, it is the ultimate literary road trip, a patchwork of Americana, jazz, booze and drugs.This book is about a boy called Robbie who was chasing his dog aross the road because a car was coming and his dog was running after a cat.He ran out into the road and a car hit him.He was raced to hospital and thats all he could remember. Morpurgo is able to touch on issues such as separated parents, blame and grief in a very delicate way. This book is similar to David Almond's book 'Skellig' in the fact that it is hard to put down!

Consistently cited as one of the most influential graphic novels ever written, Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ ground-breaking story of an alternate USA in which it won the Vietnam war and welcomed (and later shunned) a generation of masked vigilantes resonates as much today as it did in 1986. As, indeed, does the recurring anti-Reaganist mantra ‘who watches the watchmen?’. Comic fan or not, everyone needs to own this. If you're bored of reading the same old books over and over, you've landed in the right place. Allow us to inject your reading list with a dose of cool with our list of the coolest books of all time. You could say they're the type of books that should come with a pair of sunglasses. I feel that the best age group for this book would be the upper Key Stage 2 and lower Key Stage 3 due to the sensitive areas touched upon in the book. The book should be used for individual reading as some children may find it hard to engage with, especially if they have similar situations at home, for example, their parents splitting up.This is a novel of such stunning prose that it demands to be read by all. Set in Scotland, it's about people's lives that mirror the erratic nature of the sea. It's the type of novel that sweeps you away with its words and themes and makes you think about why we all exist, all crafted in the most beautiful of ways. Mind-bending and thoroughly post-modern, Calvino’s masterpiece of self-reference (‘you’ are part of the plot), its dizzyingly clever, labyrinthine construction has made it a classic. If there was ever a novel to make you look like an urbane Poindexter on the train/bus, then this is it. When Movern Callar wakes up to find her boyfriend dead in the kitchen, having taken his own life, she decides to steal and sell his unpublished novel, passing it off as her own work. Warner won the prestigious Somerset Maugham prize for his debut novel, and it was also made into a film by Lynne Ramsay. Have you ever read a book and still think about it weeks and even months later? That's how we felt after we finished Nagamatsu's How High We Go in the Dark. It's a series of interconnected short stories set in a dystopian – and at times fantastical – future. Although it's very much science-fiction, you'll find deeply human and emotional stories here.

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