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Whether you need a 500-page novel that’s going to jolt your brain back into gear before lectures begin, or some short stories for the beach: this list of old and new works will keep you entertained over the holidays.

 

1. The Art Of Fielding by Chad Harbach

Although a book about baseball sounds like it might be more suited to a very niche audience, the characters at Westish College during their best season in its history is beautifully written and completely addictive.

2. This Boy by Alan Johnson

Former Home Secretary Alan Johnson writes a surprisingly moving portrayal of his life growing up in the slums of post-war Britain.

3. The Bad Girl by Mario Vargas Llosa

This exquisitely told story tells of a man’s decade-long obsession with a Peruvian expatriate: the woman he first fell in love with when they were teenagers.

4. The Line of Beauty by Alan Hollinghurst

Set in Britain in the 1980s, the story surrounds protagonist Nick Guest’s relationship with the Fedden family, and explores themes of hypocrisy, homosexuality, madness and wealth.

5. A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing by Eimear McBride

Irish author Eimear McBride won the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction with her debut novel, after spending nine years trying to get it published.

6. The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid

Tension runs throughout this gripping novel set around the course of a single evening in an outdoor café in Lahore, where a Pakistani man called Changez tells a nervous American stranger about his love affair and eventual abandonment of everything to do with America.

7. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer

Nine-year-old boy Oskar Schell discovers a key in a vase belonging to his father – who died during the 9/11 terrorist attacks – that inspires him to search all around New York for information to its meaning.

8. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

The ultimate portrayal of the Roaring Twenties: Nick Carraway, a Yale graduate and World War I veteran, rents a house next door to the young and mysterious millionaire Jay Gatsby and finds himself pulled into Gatsby’s intoxicating world.

 

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