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American Notes

Author: Rudyard Kipling

Publisher: Brown and Company

Through Kiplings eyes, it's interesting to see the U.S. just getting back on its feet after the War to free the slaves. To see confirmations of Twain's own views in his book, The Gilded Age. Everyone hustling, out to make a deal. The rights of women in the west. Kipling's appreciation of their intelligence, and character.

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Author: Don Delillo

Part of a series: Penguin Modern Classics

Publisher: Penguin Classics (2006)

'Nearly every sentence of Americana rings true' Joyce Carol Oates Prosperous, good-looking and talented, 28-year-old television executive David Bell appears on the surface to have everything. But he is a man on the brink of losing his sanity. Trapped in a Manhattan office with soulless sycophants as his only company, he makes an abrupt decision to leave New York for America's mid-west. His plan: to film the small-town lives of ordinary people and make contact with the true heart of his homeland. But as Bell puts his films together in his hotel room, he grows increasingly convinced that there is no heart to find. Modern America has become a land that has reached the end of its reel…

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Author: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Publisher: Alfred A Knopf (2013)

As teenagers in Lagos, Ifemelu and Obinze fall in love. Their Nigeria is under military dictatorship, and people are fleeing the country if they can. The self-assured Ifemelu departs for America. There she suffers defeats and triumphs, finds and loses relationships, all the while feeling the weight of something she never thought of back home: race. Obinze had hoped to join her, but post-9/11 America will not let him in, and he plunges into a dangerous, undocumented life in London. Thirteen years later, Obinze is a wealthy man in a newly democratic Nigeria, while Ifemelu has achieved success as a blogger. But after so long apart and so many changes, will they find the courage to meet again, face to face? Fearless, gripping, spanning three continents and numerous lives, the National Book Critics Circle Award-winning ‘Americanah’ is a richly told story of love and expectation set in today’s globalized world.

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Among The Ten Thousand Things

Author: Julia Pierpont

Publisher: Oneworld PublicationsOneworld (2016)

An anonymous package arrives in the post: a cardboard box containing sheaves of printed emails chronicling New York-artist Jack’s secret life. The package is addressed to his wife Deb, but it’s delivered into the wrong hands: her children’s. With this vertiginous opening begins a heart-stopping debut about a family blown apart by an affair, yet still painfully tethered together.

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Amy Foster

Author: Joseph Conrad


"Amy Foster" is a short story by Joseph Conrad written in 1901. A poor emigrant from Central Europe sailing from Hamburg to America is shipwrecked off the coast of England. The residents of nearby villages, at first unaware of the sinking, and hence of the possibility of survivors, regard him as a dangerous tramp and madman. He speaks no English; his strange foreign language frightens them, and they offer him no assistance.

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An Apple From Eden

Author: Emma Blair

Publisher: Warner Books

The Seatons, affluent members of the Protestant gentry, own The Haven, a lush, opulent estate in the Scottish countryside. The Flynns, proud Catholics to the core, spend their working days in the factories and laundry houses of industrial Glasgow. Divided by class, wealth and religion, two families could not live more different lives. As the Great War fades from memory, however, both the Seatons and the Flynns grow restless. Pat Flynn abandons himself to the sins of the flesh, blind to the dangerous activities of his teenage son, Sean, while Georgina, second wife of William Seaton, is desperate for pleasures her society marriage cannot provide. Yet she never anticipated being attracted to the same man as her step-daughter Rose, or realises how tragically the affairs of the Flynns and the Seatons are about to become entangled...

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An Awfully Big Adventure

Author: Beryl Bainbridge

Publisher: Abacus (2003)

It is 1950 and the Liverpool reporatory theatre company is rehearsing its Christmas production of Peter Pan, a story of childhood innocence and loss. Stella has been taken on as assistant stage manager and quickly becomes obsessed with Meredith, the dissolute director. But it is only when the celebrated O'Hara arrives to take the lead, that a different drama unfolds. In it, he and Stella are bound together in a past that neither dares to interpret.

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An Enormously English Monsoon Wedding

Author: Christina Jones

Publisher: Piatkus (2013)

Life simply couldn't be better for Erin Boswell. At twenty-seven, she is engaged to the simply divine Jay Keskar - and every minute of her day currently revolves around planning the wedding of her dreams. Until, that is, Jay's parents announce that they want to 'discuss' things - and this is when Erin's wedding heaven turns into her wedding hell . . . Tavish and Deena are Indian and have very firm beliefs about the form of wedding their only son should have. Of course, they say, Erin will be wearing a sari. And of course all the Indian pre-wedding ritual ceremonies - including tilak, mehendi, sangeet - will be observed. As Bollywood comes to Berkshire, can East eventually meet West in perfect harmony? And if not, will Erin and Jay's dream wedding even take place?

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An International Episode

Author: Henry James


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An Occurrence At Owl Creek Bridge

Author: Ambrose Bierce

Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd (1995)

Six evocative stories of mystery and coincidence Ambrose Bierce was America’s foremost nineteenth-century satirist whose prolific, and sometimes vitriolic, writing was known to ruin the careers of new writers and challenged the notion of a free press. He fought with honour in an Indiana regiment in the Civil War and at twenty-four opted for a career in journalism. He published many stories and wrote several successful magazine columns. In 1913 he set off for Mexico and was never seen again. He is best known for The Devil’s Dictionary, published in Penguin.

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