"This was the first novel I read at the age of seventeen. Here was a world I knew, but so transformed by language that I felt, for the first time, the astonishment and primacy of literature." - Edna O’Brien
A fictionalised self-portrait of Joyce himself, the novel narrates Stephen Dedalus's life from his childhood in Dublin through his search for identity and emancipation from family, religion, and country. A seminal work of modernist fiction, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man anticipates the narrative techniques and characters later found in Ulysses.



By Sylvia Plath

"Sylvia Plath is one of the most original poets of the last 50 years. With Ariel, her themes are many, her words audacious, chiselled and heartbreaking." - Edna O’Brien
A collection of Sylvia Plath's later poems, written between 1960 and 1963, Ariel was published posthumously in London. The book features some of her most celebrated poems, including 'Daddy' and 'Lady Lazarus'.


Heart Of Darkness

By Joseph Conrad

"I often reread Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness. His depiction of the African continent is eerie, capturing the stillness, the mute spell of the forest, and the pervading horror in the person of Mr Kurtz, the personification of the colonial subjugation." - Edna O’Brien
Drawing from Conrad's own experience in the Congo, this powerful and enigmatic novella tells the story of Charlie Marlow, captain of a river steamer setting out for the heart of the African continent in search of the mysterious Kurtz, an almost legendary colonial agent who has fallen ill and descended into madness. It is a journey into the darkest side of human nature, illustrated by the horrors of Western colonialism.


The Rings Of Saturn

By W. G. Sebald

"W. G. Sebald brought a new and thrilling radiance to contemporary fiction. The Rings of Saturn has both magic realism and the hallucinatory power of dream. Although told in the first person, its author is blessedly and uncannily absent." - Edna O’Brien
An account of the author's journey on foot across coastal East Anglia, the book turns into a series of meditations on people, cultures, and nature prompted by elements of the journey itself which illustrates the transient status of humans on Earth.


The Sea Around Us

By Rachel Carson

"Rachel Carson lives on as both scientist and poet. The Sea Around Us, first published in 1952, foretold the harm that mankind would wreak on its oceans. She delved into its depths, to study its riches, its powers and its vengeful potentialities." - Edna O’Brien
In this influential book, Rachel Carson uses accurate data collected from her years researching the formation of the oceans and how they shaped life on Earth, as well as from submarine war-fare of World War II, to tell a poetic and prophetic story. Combining scientific insight and a sense of wonder, this seminal book contributed to spread public awareness about environmental issues.


Children's book. When the four adventurous siblings Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy Pevensie venture through a wardrobe, they find an enchanted land frozen in perpetual winter by the White Witch. But the return of the Great Lion, Aslan, will herald a new era for Narnia and all its inhabitants. The second book in C S Lewis' Chronicles of Narnia, The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe is an unforgettable journey for readers of all ages.


Children's book. This compelling story is told from the perspective of Private Tommo Peaceful, and follows twenty-four hours at the front during the First World War. As he recalls memories of his family and his village, he takes the reader on a deeply moving journey, with a dramatic conclusion.



By A A Milne

Children's book. Winnie-the-Pooh is one of the most beloved characters from children's literature of all time. Pooh's adventures, alongside Piglet, Tigger, and Eeyore, remain warm and funny after all these year, and continue to enchant young readers to this day.



By Katherine Rundell

Children's book. Sophie was orphaned in a shipwreck, found floating in a cello case on the English Channel. Or was she? Convinced that her mother survived the shipwreck, she embarks on an adventure to find her, starting with her only clue: the address of a cello-maker in Paris. With the help of Matteo and his network of rooftoppers, will she find her mother before it's too late?