The many adventures of a picaresque waif before she reaches her twentieth birthday. Part thriller, part psychological novel, set in the western US and Chile and loaded with sociological observations, anthropology and political history derived from both - but mostly interesting.

In “Maya’s Notebook,” Isabel Allende creates a contemporary young woman who flees the dark underworld of Las Vegas to a refuge off the remote coast of Chile. Allende appears Wednesday, April at Town Hall Seattle.

A compassionate novel mocking the self-help manual genre, describing what it might take for the unnamed protagonists (in an unnamed country of the sub-continent) to drag themselves out of poverty, one of them from where the landless farmers can merely "exchange [his or her] allocation of time in this world for an allocation of time in this world." Brilliant and entertaining.

A compassionate novel mocking the self-help manual genre, describing what it might take for the unnamed protagonists (in an unnamed country of the sub-continent) to drag themselves out of poverty, one of them from where the landless farmers can merely "exchange [his or her] allocation of time in this world for an allocation of time in this world." Brilliant and entertaining.

First of series about genteel southern English extended family as WW 2 approaches and eventuates, children especially finely drawn. All sorts of trials from inability to get good servants to families torn apart. E.J. Howard, the thinking woman's Enid Blyton? More than that.

First of series about genteel southern English extended family as WW 2 approaches and eventuates, children especially finely drawn. All sorts of trials from inability to get good servants to families torn apart. E.J. Howard, the thinking woman's Enid Blyton? More than that.

Piqued by learning of an exquisite cheese exclusively from a small village in Spain, Paterniti, a feature writer for high quality glossies, tracks it back to its hilly windswept, vendetta-ridden region of origin. Over visits throughout a decade, he comes to question his basic assumptions about his own and his family's lives. No vine-draped, dream-fulfilling sojourn, this.

Piqued by learning of an exquisite cheese exclusively from a small village in Spain, Paterniti, a feature writer for high quality glossies, tracks it back to its hilly windswept, vendetta-ridden region of origin. Over visits throughout a decade, he comes to question his basic assumptions about his own and his family's lives. No vine-draped, dream-fulfilling sojourn, this.

Kehua Metafictional account of the tough predicaments of a family of women from the 1930s to the present day. The kehua (somewhat playful spirits of the dead that hang around trying to influence the living) are used as a metaphor to show how not so subtly the experiences of our forbears filter through to shape our lives. Entertaining in Weldon's usual cool, drop dead style.

Kehua Metafictional account of the tough predicaments of a family of women from the 1930s to the present day. The kehua (somewhat playful spirits of the dead that hang around trying to influence the living) are used as a metaphor to show how not so subtly the experiences of our forbears filter through to shape our lives. Entertaining in Weldon's usual cool, drop dead style.

James creates a good stand-alone sequel to Pride and Prejudice and adds further value by explaining the character of Mr Darcy in the light of his upbringing and forebears.

James creates a good stand-alone sequel to Pride and Prejudice and adds further value by explaining the character of Mr Darcy in the light of his upbringing and forebears.

Comic novel about a serious subject - the need we all have for comforting, companionship and community.

Comic novel about a serious subject - the need we all have for comforting, companionship and community.

Huge changes in Japanese society over 19th and 20th centuries described in a novel based on the experiences of Pilgrim's mother and her family. Interesting but the characters never come to life.

Huge changes in Japanese society over and centuries described in a novel based on the experiences of Pilgrim's mother and her family. Interesting but the characters never come to life.

Slight account of an epic journey, which really happened, by an elephant and its mahout from Lisbon to Vienna in 1551. Told from an eye of god perspective (a 21st century god), the Nobel Prize writer takes the opportunity to philosophise about the human and animal condition and drop nuggets of insight throughout - but with humour so very readable.

The Elephant's Journey. by The Great Jose Saramago - Nobel Prize winner

More of a short story. Another slice of tragedy. How can we not be eternally broken-hearted by slavery and its ongoing effects to this day?

More of a short story. Another slice of tragedy. How can we not be eternally broken-hearted by slavery and its ongoing effects to this day?

Russian doll of a novel. Story within stories. And if the reader is clever she can synthesise them with the help of quantum theory, which is also expounded on. I dunno.

Russian doll of a novel. Story within stories. And if the reader is clever she can synthesise them with the help of quantum theory, which is also expounded on. I dunno.

More than we need to know about Franzen's lifelong insecurities. Should save it for his excellent novels.

More than we need to know about Franzen's lifelong insecurities. Should save it for his excellent novels.

Yet another tale of a Malaysian, third generation, lost to the country of his birth - qualities of intelligence, dedication and sincerity being particularly disappreciated by the ruling class.

Yet another tale of a Malaysian, third generation, lost to the country of his birth - qualities of intelligence, dedication and sincerity being particularly disappreciated by the ruling class.

"-bad food, hard travel, slow buses, hot weather, jeering locals-" Paul Theroux asks himself why he has been travelling overland through some of the most miserable, hopeless places in the world.

"-bad food, hard travel, slow buses, hot weather, jeering locals-" Paul Theroux asks himself why he has been travelling overland through some of the most miserable, hopeless places in the world.

First World Problems : Snobbery, Adultery, Food-Faddery. Under a guise of wit.

First World Problems : Snobbery, Adultery, Food-Faddery. Under a guise of wit.

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