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The Reader

The Reader Lowest used price: $15.98

Read by Campbell Scott
3 cassettes  / aprox. 4 1/2 hours

Hailed for its coiled eroticism and the moral claims it makes upon the reader, this mesmerizing novel is a story of love and secrets, horror and compassion, unfolding against the haunted landscape of postwar Germany.

When he falls ill on his way home from school, fifteen-year-old Michael Berg is rescued by Hanna, a woman twice his age. In time she becomes his lover. She enthralls him with her passion, but puzzles him with her odd silences. Then she inexplicably disappears.

When Michael next sees her, he is a young law student, and she is on trial for a hideous crime. But as he watches her refuse to defend herself, , Michael gradually realizes that his former lover may be guarding a secret she considers more shameful than murder.

Oprah Book Club® Selection, February 1999: Originally published in Switzerland, and gracefully translated into English by Carol Brown Janeway, The Reader is a brief tale about sex, love, reading, and shame in postwar Germany. Michael Berg is 15 when he begins a long, obsessive affair with Hanna, an enigmatic older woman. He never learns very much about her, and when she disappears one day, he expects never to see her again. But, to his horror, he does. Hanna is a defendant in a trial related to Germany's Nazi past, and it soon becomes clear that she is guilty of an unspeakable crime. As Michael follows the trial, he struggles with an overwhelming question: What should his generation do with its knowledge of the Holocaust? "We should not believe we can comprehend the incomprehensible, we may not compare the incomparable.... Should we only fall silent in revulsion, shame, and guilt? To what purpose?"

The Reader, which won the Boston Book Review's Fisk Fiction Prize, wrestles with many more demons in its few, remarkably lucid pages. What does it mean to love those people--parents, grandparents, even lovers--who committed the worst atrocities the world has ever known? And is any atonement possible through literature? Schlink's prose is clean and pared down, stripped of unnecessary imagery, dialogue, and excess in any form. What remains is an austerely beautiful narrative of the attempt to breach the gap between Germany's pre- and postwar generations, between the guilty and the innocent, and between words and silence. --R. Ellis

The Moving Finger: Unabridged

The Moving Finger: Unabridged Lowest used price: $19.33
Author: Agatha Christie

Lymstock was a town with more than its fair share of shameful secrets - a town where even a sudden outbreak of anonymous hate-mail caused only a minor stir. But all that changed when Mrs Symmington committed suicide.

Master and Commander

Master and Commander Lowest new price: $64.99
Lowest used price: $17.63
Author: Patrick Obrian

Tie-in edition to the major film coming next Spring from Fox. Starring Russell Crowe as Jack Aubrey and Paul Bettany (A Beautiful Mind) as Stephen Maturin. Directed by Peter Weir. Master and Commander is the first of Patrick O'Brian's now famous Aubrey/Maturin novels, regarded by many as the greatest series of historical novels ever written. It establishes the friendship between Captain Jack Aubrey RN and Stephen Maturin, who becomes his secretive ship's surgeon and an intelligence agent. It contains all the action and excitement which could possibly be hoped for in a historical novel, but it also displays the qualities which have put O'Brian far ahead of any of his competitors: his depiction of the detail of life aboard a Nelsonic man-of-war, of weapons, food, conversation and ambience, of the landscape and of the sea. O'Brian's portrayal of each of these is faultless and the sense of period throughout is acute. His power of characterisation is above all masterly. This brilliant historical novel marked the debut of a writer who grew into one of our greatest novelists ever.

The opening salvo of the Aubrey-Maturin epic, in which the surgeon introduces himself to the captain by driving an elbow into his ribs during a chamber-music recital. Fortunately for millions of readers, the two quickly make up. Then they commence one of the great literary voyages of our century, set against an immaculately-detailed backdrop of the Napoleonic wars. This is the place to start--and in all likelihood, you won't be able to stop.

Behind The Scenes At The Museum

Behind The Scenes At The Museum Lowest used price: $1.70

A family saga chronicles a century of life as four generations of Yorkshire women move through two World Wars, coronations, secrets, heartbreak, and happiness, all seen through the eyes of an inimitable narrator named Ruby Lennox. A first novel.

"I exist!" exclaims Ruby Lennox upon her conception in 1951, setting the tone for this humorous and poignant first novel in which Ruby at once celebrates and mercilessly skewers her middle-class English family. Peppered with tales of flawed family traits passed on from previous generations, Ruby's narrative examines the lives in her disjointed clan, which revolve around the family pet shop. But beneath the antics of her philandering father, her intensely irritable mother, her overly emotional sisters, and a gaggle of eccentric relatives are darker secrets--including an odd "feeling of something long forgotten"--that will haunt Ruby for the rest of her life. Kate Atkinson earned a Whitbread Prize in 1995 for this fine first effort.

Next Of kin

Next Of kin Lowest used price: $1.70
Author: Joanna Trollope

Joanna Trollope's style, her nuanced perception, and her sensitivity all have made her a bestselling favorite on both sides of the Atlantic. Now, in Next of Kin, she draws on what The New York Times Book Review praises as her ability "to capture far-flung perspectives with compassion" to portray a family grappling-together and individually-with the death of a loved one.

Caro Meredith, originally from California, led the life of an English farmer's wife for more than twenty years. Yet after her death, her grieving husband, Robin, wonders how well he really knew her. But Robin is not the only one left vulnerable; his brother, parents, and Judy, his daughter and Caro's step-daughter, are all thrown by the absence of the woman who had become a central figure in their lives. As they each struggle to cope with Caro's death, Judy's friend Zoe arrives from London and brings with her hope for a new beginning. All recognize that she is a catalyst for change.

Next of Kin is about outsiders and insiders, about travelers and settlers, about living on the land and living with yourself. It offers a perceptive, if unsettling, insight into the forces of change, resignation, and making your own luck. Above all, it is written with Trollope's superbly appealing blend of complexity and humanity.

Abridged. Two Cassettes, three hours.

Fans of Joanna Trollope's cozy, plot-driven novels like Marrying the Mistress and Other People's Children might find Next of Kin slightly forbidding. Set on a farm in the English Midlands, the book opens with a funeral. The deceased, Caro Meredith, is (or rather, was) a Californian, a lost soul who ended up on Tideswell Farm by chance, having married into the taciturn, proud Meredith clan. Her funeral finds her husband, Robin, depressed; her twentysomething daughter, Judy, furious at the world in general and at her father in particular; and her brother-in-law, Joe, hopelessly bereft. Meanwhile, Robin's father, Harry, looks on, thinking of his late daughter-in-law: "Strange woman. American. Never quite seemed able to involve herself with the farm and yet--Harry swallowed. He felt it might be an obscure and diverting comfort to mention to Robin that his new power harrow would cost over six thousand pounds, but thought he'd better not."

This gives some idea of the preoccupations and sensitivities of the Meredith mind. The farm comes first; everything else comes a distant second. Next of Kin traces how that rigid mindset is changed by a wholly unexpected agent: Judy's London roommate, Zoe. This disturbingly forthright character arrives for a weekend at Tideswell Farm bedecked in her signature purple hair, rows of silver earrings, and all-black boy's wardrobe. She declares that she likes farm life, and to Judy's horror, soon moves down from London to Tideswell, ultimately ending up in the paterfamilias's bed. As the Merediths find their old ways failing them, Zoe teaches the family how to live with her own odd mixture of honesty and lawlessness. Trollope's books usually move with a nice combination of introspection and action. Next of Kin, on the other hand, holds still--Zoe has to all but goad the Meredith family into the happy ending she has in mind. This stillness makes for a quietly and surprisingly satisfying read. --Claire Dederer

The Duchess of Malfi

The Duchess of Malfi Lowest new price: $288.71
Lowest used price: $39.93
Author: John Webster

Forbidden to remarry by her two brothers, the Duchess of Malfi finds herself attracted to her steward, Antonio. They go through a form of marriage and the Duchess bears three children. When her brothers uncover the truth, the fate of the Duchess and her family is sealed.

Lady of Hay

Lady of Hay Lowest used price: $25.00
Author: Barbara Erskine

Jo Clifford, a successful journalist, is all set to debunk hypnosis and nonsense of past-life regression in her next magazine series, until she submits to a simple hypnotic session and finds herself reliving the experiences of Matilda, Lady of Hay, the wife of a baron at the time of King John.

X-files: Ground Zero (The X-files)

X-files: Ground Zero (The X-files) Lowest used price: $11.50
Author: Kevin J. Anderson

Dr Gregory, a renowned nuclear weapons researcher is not only dead - he's been charred to a radioactive cinder. Mulder and Scully are hastily called in to investigate.

Apocalypse Watch

Apocalypse Watch Lowest used price: $1.70
Author: Robert Ludlum

American agent Harry Latham has penetrated the fortresslike mountain hideaway of the Brotherhood of the Watch, a neo-Nazi organization that was born in the days after the fall of the Third Reich. But on the eve of his most spectacular success, after three years in deep cover, Harry disappears.
Drew Latham, Special Officer for Consular Operations in Paris, is frantic to discover his older brother’s fate. But when Drew receives the good news that Harry has surfaced, gut-twisting doubts arise. For Harry has emerged with an explosive document: a list of secret supporters of the Brotherhood, among them high-ranking officials of the United States and its allies. But is it legitimate? The search for the truth about Harry and the growing Nazi threat will plunge Drew into a labyrinth of deceit and death. And whoever makes it out alive will hold the fate of the free world in his hands.
Praise for Robert Ludlum and The Apocalypse Watch
“A powerful, exploding novel . . . vintage Ludlum in fine form.”Booklist
“If a Pulitzer Prize were awarded for escapist fiction, Robert Ludlum undoubtedly would have won it. Ten times over.”Mobile Register
“Bloody great fun.”Kirkus Reviews

American agent Harry Latham has prenetrated the fortresslike mountain hideaway of the Brotherhood of the Watch, a neo-Nazi organization that was born in the days after the fall of the Third Reich. After three years in deep cover, Latham has suddenly disappeared. His brother Drew, Special Officer for Consular Operations in Paris, is frantic to discover Harry's fate. But when Harry resurfaces, he's carrying dangerous cargo: an explosive list of the secret supports of the Brotherhood, including high-ranking US officials. Why has the Brotherhood let him live? Can Drew Latham still trust his own brother? Drew's search for the truth about Harry and the growing Nazi threat to the free world will plunge him into a labyrinth of deceit and death.

Perfect Love

Perfect Love Lowest used price: $5.04
Author: Elizabeth Buchan

Twenty years of marriage to older Max has seen a busy, contented Prue through the stresses of a resentful stepdaughter and motherhood. Now, Violet has returned with her new husband from New York and, suddenly, Prue is precipitated into a secret life. The small village of Hampshire and the city are very different places and, as Prue moves between the two, she traces the boundaries between innocence and difficult knowledge, between the gluttony and surrender of desire and the stark realities that result. Pinpointing the battleground of the modern - and second - marriage, the author offers a blisteringly truthful and tenderly observed picture of the extraordinary bargains and accommodations that are struck between people who love one another. "Modern marriage and its compromises ...a terrific, compassionate, compelling novel" - "Daily Mail". "Adultery ...handled with care and moral intelligence. What a good writer Buchan is" - "Daily Telegraph". "A powerful story; wise, observant, deeply felt, with elements all women will recognise with a smile - or a shudder. Very highly recommended" - "Good Book Guide".

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