Books

Books of the Month - Month of the Books #4

“Books are a uniquely portable magic.” - Stephen King, 'On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft"
Reading time 9 minutes

“The Testaments” by Margaret Atwood 

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER WINNER OF THE BOOKER PRIZE 2019

The Testaments is a modern masterpiece, a powerful novel that can be read on its own or as a companion to Margaret Atwood’s classic, The Handmaid’s Tale.

More than fifteen years after the events of The Handmaid’s Tale, the theocratic regime of the Republic of Gilead maintains its grip on power, but there are signs it is beginning to rot from within. At this crucial moment, the lives of three radically different women converge, with potentially explosive results.

Two have grown up as part of the first generation to come of age in the new order. The testimonies of these two young women are joined by a third: Aunt Lydia. Her complex past and uncertain future unfold in surprising and pivotal ways.

With The Testaments, Margaret Atwood opens up the innermost workings of Gilead, as each woman is forced to come to terms with who she is, and how far she will go for what she believes.

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“The Testaments” by Margaret Atwood 

About the Author

Margaret Atwood (1939), whose work has been published in more than fortyfive countries, is the author of more than fifty books of fiction, poetry, critical essays, and graphic novels. In addition to The Handmaid’s Tale, now an award-winning TV series, her novels include Cat’s Eye, short-listed for the 1989 Booker Prize; Alias Grace, which won the Giller Prize in Canada and the Premio Mondello in Italy; The Blind Assassin, winner of the 2000 Booker Prize; The MaddAddam TrilogyThe Heart Goes Last; and Hag-Seed. She is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade, the Franz Kafka International Literary Prize, the PEN Center USA Lifetime Achievement Award, and the Los Angeles Times Innovator’s Award. In 2019 she was made a member of the Order of the Companions of Honour for services to literature. She lives in Toronto.

“Girl, Woman, Other” by Bernardine Evaristo

WINNER OF THE BOOKER PRIZE 2019

This is Britain as you’ve never seen it. This is Britain as it has never been told. From Newcastle to Cornwall, from the birth of the twentieth century to the teens of the twenty-first, Girl, Woman, Other follows a cast of twelve characters on their personal journeys through this country and the last hundred years. They’re each looking for something - a shared past, an unexpected future, a place to call home, somewhere to fit in, a lover, a missed mother, a lost father, even just a touch of hope...

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“Girl, Woman, Other” by Bernardine Evaristo

About the Author

Bernardine Evaristo (1959) was born in London. She is the Anglo-Nigerian author of seven other books of fiction and verse that explore aspects of the African diaspora: past, present, real, imagined. Her writing also spans short fiction, reviews, essays, drama and writing for BBC radio. She is Professor of Creative Writing at Brunel University London and Vice Chair of the Royal Society of Literature. As a literary activist for inclusion she has founded several successful initiatives including Spread the Word writer development agency (1995 – ongoing); The Complete Works mentoring scheme for poets of color (2007-2017) and the Brunel International African Poetry Prize (2012 – ongoing).

She was awarded an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List in 2009. She lives in London. 

“Catherine The Great: Portrait of a Woman” by Robert K. Massie

“[A] tale of power, perseverance and passion . . . a great story in the hands of a master storyteller.” - The Wall Street Journal

The Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Peter the Great, Nicholas and Alexandra, and The Romanovs returns with another masterpiece of narrative biography, the extraordinary story of an obscure German princess who became one of the most remarkable, powerful, and captivating women in history. Born into a minor noble family, Catherine transformed herself into empress of Russia by sheer determination. For thirty-four years, the government, foreign policy, cultural development, and welfare of the Russian people were in her hands. She dealt with domestic rebellion, foreign wars, and the tidal wave of political change and violence churned up by the French Revolution. Catherine’s family, friends, ministers, generals, lovers, and enemies - all are here, vividly brought to life. History offers few stories richer than that of Catherine the Great. In this book, an eternally fascinating woman is returned to life.

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“Catherine The Great: Portrait of a Woman” by Robert K. Massie

About the Author

Robert K. Massie (1929) was born in Lexington, Kentucky, and studied American history at Yale and European history at Oxford, which he attended as a Rhodes Scholar. He was president of the Authors Guild from 1987 to 1991. His books include Nicholas and Alexandra; Peter the Great: His Life and World (for which he won a Pulitzer Prize for biography); The Romanovs: The Final Chapter; Dreadnought: Britain, Germany, and the Coming of the Great War; Castles of Steel: Britain, Germany, and the Winning of the Great War at Sea; and Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman.

“Mademoiselle Chanel ” by C.W. Gortner

This vivid novel full of drama, passion, tragedy, and beauty stunningly imagines the life of iconic fashion designer Coco Chanel - the ambitious, gifted laundrywoman’s daughter who revolutionized fashion, built an international empire, and become one of the most influential and controversial figures of the twentieth century.

Born into rural poverty, Gabrielle Chanel and her siblings are sent to orphanage after their mother’s death. The sisters nurture Gabrielle’s exceptional sewing skills, a talent that will propel the willful young woman into a life far removed from the drudgery of her childhood.

Transforming herself into Coco - a seamstress and sometime torch singer - the petite brunette burns with ambition, an incandescence that draws a wealthy gentleman who will become the love of her life. She immerses herself in his world of money and luxury, discovering a freedom that sparks her creativity. But it is only when her lover takes her to Paris that Coco discovers her destiny.

Rejecting the frilly, corseted silhouette of the past, her sleek, minimalist styles reflect the youthful ease and confidence of the 1920s modern woman. As Coco’s reputation spreads, her couturier business explodes, taking her into rarefied society circles and bohemian salons. But her fame and fortune cannot save her from heartbreak as the years pass. And when Paris falls to the Nazis, Coco is forced to make choices that will haunt her.

An enthralling novel of an extraordinary woman who created the life she desired, Mademoiselle Chanel explores the inner world of a woman of staggering ambition whose strength, passion and artistic vision would become her trademark.

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“Mademoiselle Chanel ” by C.W. Gortner

About the Author

C.W. Gortner, half-Spanish by birth, holds an MFA in Writing with an emphasis on Renaissance Studies from the New College of California and a degree in fashion marketing. His novels are translated in more than 20 languages, with over 400,000 copies sold. The Queen’s Vow was an international bestseller in Poland. Mademoiselle Chanel was a USA Today bestseller, an American Booksellers Association bestseller, and both The Last Queen and Marlene were Marin Independent Journal bestsellers. Gortner was named one of the top ten historical novelists by The Washington Independent Review of Books and has delivered keynote speeches as a Guest of Honor at the Historical Novel Society Conferences in the United States and the United Kingdom.

In his extensive travels to research his books, he has experienced life in a Spanish castle and danced in a Tudor great hall.

Gorner was raised in Málaga, Spain, and now lives in California.

“Great Women Artists”, published by Phaidon 

Five centuries of fascinating female creativity presented in more than 400 compelling artworks and one comprehensive volume.

The most extensive fully illustrated book of women artists ever published, Great Women Artists reflects an era where art made by women is more prominent than ever. In museums, galleries, and the art market, previously overlooked female artists, past and present, are now gaining recognition and value. Featuring more than 400 artists from more than 50 countries and spanning 500 years of creativity, each artist is represented here by a key artwork and short text. This essential volume reveals a parallel yet equally engaging history of art for an age that champions a greater diversity of voices.

“Real changes are upon us, and today one can reel off the names of a number of first-rate women artists. Nevertheless, women are just getting started.”— The New Yorker

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“Great Women Artists” | Phaidon 

About the Authors

Introductory essay by Rebecca Morrill

Artist texts by James Cahill, Louisa Elderton, Elizabeth Fullerton, Orit Gat, Ferren Gipson, PL Henderson, Katy Hessel, Catalina Imizcoz, Louisa Lee, Henry Little, Helen Luckett, Kathleen Madden, Henry Martin, Tom Melick, Rebecca Morrill, Yates Norton, Cleo Roberts, Matthew Price, Gabrielle Schwartz, Robert Shane, Mitch Speed, David Trigg, Ellen Mara De Wachter

Assambled by Tanja Beljanski

 

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