Widely hailed as the fiction debut of 2017, Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine is a triumph of deft observation of everyday life. By turns laugh-aloud funny and deeply poignant, it is a book that champions everyday courage and the importance of friendship in a world where people are increasingly isolated. Challenging the stigmas that exist around loneliness in contemporary society, it is a gentle reminder of those we too easily overlook and how a life can be changed by small acts of kindness
The Republic of Gilead offers Offred only one function: to breed. If she deviates, she will, like dissenters, be hanged at the wall or sent out to die slowly of radiation sickness. But even a repressive state cannot obliterate desire – neither Offred’s nor that of the two men on which her future hangs.
Brilliantly conceived and executed, this powerful evocation of twenty-first century America gives full rein to Margaret Atwood’s devastating irony, wit and astute perception.
My son and I had a whirlwind trip to Berlin back in March.
The weekend was primarily so that he could practice his German (GCSEs are just
around the corner now) and to learn a little history too, but it is nice to get
away as well, and I certainly wasn’t going to say no.
Berlin is an hour and a half flight from Gatwick, there are
two airports both within easy reach of the city centre, so is perfect for a
weekend. Don’t expect to cover it all in a weekend though, there is so much to do.
We did a lot, and I mean a LOT but hurrah there is still enough left to warrant
a second visit.
Berlin is easy to get around. My tip is to stay as close as you can to the U-Bahn (underground) or S-Bahn (rapid transit city train) and you’ll get everywhere easily. Our hotel was called the Titanic Comfort, despite a few minor housekeeping hiccups it was comfortable, functional and best of all it was two mins from Spittlemart U-Bahn and a short 15 walk from Checkpoint Charlie which was where our two and a half day adventure and history download began!
I always count my blessing that we live only twenty minutes away from my happy place, the glorious Ashdown Forest in Sussex. Ashdown was one of the reasons we moved to East Grinstead many moons ago and since then I have always enjoyed our rambles through its wooded copses and over its rolling hills with my family.
On a beautifully restored barge on the Seine, Jean Perdu runs a bookshop; or rather a ‘literary apothecary’, for this bookseller possesses a rare gift for sensing which books will soothe the troubled souls of his customers.
The only person he is unable to cure, it seems, is himself. He has nursed a broken heart ever since the night, twenty-one years ago, when the love of his life fled Paris, leaving behind a handwritten letter that he has never dared read. His memories and his love have been gathering dust – until now. The arrival of an enigmatic new neighbour in his eccentric apartment building on Rue Montagnard inspires Jean to unlock his heart, unmoor the floating bookshop and set off for Provence, in search of the past and his beloved.