"Maupassant's style is strikingly modern and unfussy. He can tell a life story in the space of a few pages." - Antoine Laurain
A master of the short story, Maupassant wrote stories that are increadibly varied in theme and styles alike. His portraits of humanity are characterised by a focus on unflinchingly realistic descriptions of material desire as a driving force in the lives of both rich and poor. In this unforgiving world, his characters are victims of a cruel fate against which they struggle in vain.


Swann In Love

By Marcel Proust

"The shortest and most accessible volume of 'In Search of Lost Time'." - Antoine Laurain
A narrative section of Swann's Way, the first volume in Proust's monumental novel In Search of Lost Time, Swann in Love is essentially self-contained and has for this reason often been published independently as a novella. In it, the narrator tells the story of the love affair between Charles Swann and Odette.


Missing Person

By Patrick Modiano

"Modiano has a way of creating a sense of mystery without filling his reader with unease. Reading him is like heading out for a pleasant stroll." - Antoine Laurain
Paris, 1965. Guy Roland, a private detective who lost his memory ten years before, sets off to uncover the truth about his past. As he seeks to find out who he is, he gathers clues which will lead him to his name, his friends, and their dangerous attempt to flee Paris after the Germans occupied the city.


Wind, Sand And Stars

By Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

"Saint-Exupéry draws on his experiences as an Aéropostale mail delivery pilot in these deeply human autobiographical tales. He goes beyond religion and philosophy to reach something almost mystical." - Antoine Laurain
Drawing from his own experience as a pilot, this memoir recounts de Saint-Exupery's adventures flying the first mail routes across the Sahara and the Andes for the pioneering airline Latecoere, including his crash in the Libyan desert in 1936.


Comic Books

By Jean-Jacques Sempé

"Sempé is tender, melancholy and deeply human. You can spend several minutes looking at a Sempé illustration, as you would a painting in a gallery." - Antoine Laurain
Sempé's cartoons blend humour and poetry in whimsical portraits of countrysides and cityscapes, often seen from a high viewpoint, in which tiny figures move around in their neat moustaches and berets. Quintessentially French, his illustrations are timeless and exquisite.



By Charles M. Schulz

"Because Schulz said more with a group of kids, a dog and a bird than many great philosophers." - Antoine Laurain
The Peanuts comic strip, originally titled Li'l Folks, first appeared in 1950, in seven newspapers across the United States. The strips feature a group of precocious small children and Snoopy the beagle, who interact with each other exchanging lines characterised by a wry and dry sense of humour. The collected body of work of the Peanuts amounts to over 18,000 strips.


Wuthering Heights

By Emily Brontë

"For its landscape, the winds, the moors and the love it depicts. One of the masterworks of European Romanticism." - Antoine Laurain
A tale of passion, torment, and revenge, Wuthering Heights is set in the Yorkshire Moors, where a supernatural occurrence will prompt Heathcliff to tell the tragic story of his love for Catherine, her marriage to the well-meaning Edgar, and his return to exact revenge and be reunited with his beloved, albeit in death.



By David Lodge

"For its British humour. And the remarkable portrait it paints of a man lost within his own life." - Antoine Laurain
Laurence 'Tubby' Passmore, a successful sitcom writer, wealthy, married, with a platonic mistress, is suddenly struck by a mid-life crisis, and no amount of cognitive therapy, physiotherapy, aromatherapy, and acupuncture seem to alleviate his angst nor his inexplicable knee pain. As he becomes obsessed with the philosophy of Kierkegaard, he sets off on a quest for happiness.


The Uncommon Reader

By Alan Bennett

"For its excellent premise and its love of literature." - Antoine Laurain
When the Queen fortuitously finds out about the Westminster travelling library's weekly visits to the palace, she begins withdrawing books, one after another, and her public duties begin to be affected as a result. Her entourage will be forced to conspire to draw this obsession to a close.


Fairy Tales

By Charles Perrault

Children's book. A seminal figure, Charles Perrault is credited with giving classic status to the humble fairy tale. Our favourites, including Little Red Riding-Hood, Sleeping Beauty, and Cinderella, have been passed down from the seventeenth century in Perrault's version, and have continued to be enjoyed the same way they were at the court of Louis XIV.


Fairy Tales

By Ivan Bilibin

Children's book. Russian folklore and folktales were collected by Alexander Afanasyev between 1855 and 1863 in a volume of nearly 600 fairy tales. Beautifully illustrated by Ivan Bilibin, the collection is modelled after Grimm's Fairy Tales and is an enchanting work.


No Kiss For Mother

By Tomi Ungerer

Children's book. Piper Paw hates, hates, hates being kissed by his mother, Mrs Velvet Paw. One day, she does something unforgivable: she kisses Piper in front of his friends! Outraged and upset, he tells Mrs Paw he doesn't want any more kisses. In turn, Mrs Paw will have a surprise for her son which he couldn't expect...


Small Pig

By Arnold Lobel

Children's book. After the farmer's wife cleans up all the mud, Small Pig runs away to find a better pigpen in the city, with soft mud for him to play. But what he thought was mud, turns out not to be mud at all...