Seattle Picks: Books for Anglophiles
Annotation:Packed with self-deprecating humor and charming witticisms, Ahmad's debut is a poignantly honest and intimate memoir recounting his early struggles with race, religion, and relationships. Having emigrated as an infant from Pakistan to England, Ahmad grew up consumed with conflicting desires to adapt to his Western surroundings while maintaining his family's Muslim beliefs... (from a Publishers Weekly review)
Annotation:A hellish hotel kitchen is the metaphor for Chef Lightfoot's struggle toward restaurant ownership -- complete with fire, screaming, chaos, misunderstandings and suspicions.
Annotation:The Queen pays an unexpected call to the local bookmobile in her neighborhood and learns what the common folk do with books.
Annotation:This memorable story of a boy’s coming-of-age in 19th-century London is filled with the characters whom Dickens made immortal and who still come to mind on a Thames Street stroll.
Annotation:Millionaire Damian Baxter is dying and wants to will his estate to the child he thinks he fathered in the 1970s, so asks a friend to query his past lovers in a humorous look at British classes and their milieu.
Annotation:Sir Edward Feathers, a widowed and retired barrister, struggles to overcome old animosities and personal issues left over from his career in Hong Kong at the end of British rule and to ameliorate his own guilt.
Annotation:Stranded and penniless in London after the death of her parents, Flora Poste takes refuge with her Starkadder relatives on the farm where she tries to improve their quality of life.
Annotation:Many areas of George Hall’s dysfunctional life are bothering him, but none so much as the spot on his hip. Is it cancer? Will he die? Will anyone notice?
Annotation:Social intrigue and drama ensue when Serena Carlow is orphaned and her new legal guardian is her former rejected suitor in this gentle comedy of manners set in the early 19th-century.
Annotation:Winston Churchill’s bête noire (“black dog”), Mr. Chartwell, rents a room in Esther Hammerhans’s London flat in a fantasy tale of psychological demons and their banishment.
Annotation:Harold Fry is convinced that he must deliver a letter to an old love in order to save her, meeting various characters along the way and reminiscing about the events of his past and people he has known, as he tries to find peace and acceptance. (Library catalog summary)
Annotation:London psychoanalyst Jamal Khan reviews his own issues – his ex, his son, his obsession with his first love and a huge shameful secret – and finds them much like everyone else’s, except he has no one to tell.
Annotation:A Jamaican couple moves in with their new friend, Queenie Bligh, at the end of World War II, which infuriates her husband whose view of Britain doesn’t include multi-racial immigrants.
Annotation:In a love story that symbolically pits literature against science by pairing a widowed writer with an artificial intelligence specialist, Lodge wittily exposes opposing philosophies.
Annotation:The separate lives of Dex and Em are glimpsed one day at a time, always on July 15, over twenty years as they mature and finally have a chance at love.
Annotation:Postwar and contemporary London collide in the lives of two young women coping with unusual circumstances in two time periods and the life changes that accompany motherhood.
Annotation:Three middle-aged friends with disappointing and difficult lives take a vacation in a London bed-and-breakfast inn, having fun together and rediscovering their dreams.
Annotation:Balancing humor with an undercurrent of tragedy, Pym provides readers with an entertaining view of matchmakers and meddlers in 20th-century middle-class London as two parish newcomers provide grist for the rumor mill.
Annotation:Constance Harding's comfortable corner of Surrey is her own little piece of heaven. She lives in a chocolate box house complete with an Aga and a parrot, her bell-ringing club is set to dominate the intercounty tournament, and she is sure she can get her son, Rupert, to settle down if she just writes the perfect personal ad for him. Naturally, things turn disastrous rather quickly. And she's about to learn that her perfect home conceals a scandal that would make the vicar blush. (publisher's summary)
Annotation:When his Pakistani neighbor, Mrs. Jasmina Ali, unexpectedly visits his house, widowed Major Pettigrew finds himself opening up to potential friendship, despite village social mores.
Annotation:Cassandra Mortmain’s coming-of-age occurs in a crumbling castle in the midst of a wacky family of misfits, with the hope of rescue by the handsome American men next door.
Annotation:Two mixed-race families, the Jones’s and the Iqbals, brought together by accident during World War II, remain friends through the generations in this picaresque satire of modern life in multi-cultural London.
Annotation:World War II émigré from Berlin Jack Rosenblum is determined to assimilate into British society but is stymied when his Jewishness prevents his membership in a golf club. So he decides to build his own golf course.
Annotation:A Yeoman Warder, Balthazar Jones, stocks the Tower of London with the Queen’s menagerie of misfit animals, living among them and the other strange denizens of Britain’s oldest prison.
Annotation:Matt Freeman, the narrator of this extremely funny, macabre book, may or may not be knocking off his girlfriends and might be selling arms to North Korea and Iran, and is probably a paranoid psychopath.
Annotation:Unscrupulous vixen Becky Sharp, much maligned for her lower class roots, manipulates everyone and every situation to her own advantage in this early 19th-century classic.
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A list of great books for Brit watchers! Anglophiles with different tastes in reading should find much to savor here; from serious to self-deprecating to truly hilarious, these books will make you want to hop a flight to the “small island.”