Avid Staff Top 10 Series: Sarah

Chloe

Welcome to the next installment of our staff top 10 series. 

This week we are featuring the top picks of Sarah Deasy. Sarah is the book buyer here at Avid Reader and has designed several award winning window displays (she has a particular talent for writing backwards on the inside of windows!). Sarah also loves to make things and she designs jewellery, furniture, and objects under the label AskForOompaFor our top ten series, Sarah has chosen a mix of contemporary and classic titles, many of which have ominous undertones - The perfect reads for our current climate!

THE WIND-UP BIRD CHRONICLE by Haruki Murakami

In a Tokyo suburb, a young man named Toru Okado searches for his wife's missing cat. Soon he finds himself looking for his wife as well in a netherworld that lies beneath the placid surface of tokyo. As these searches intersect, Okada encounters a bizarre group of allies and antagonists: a psychic prostitute, a malevolent yet mediagenic politician, a cheerfully morbid sixteen-year-old-girl, and an aging war veteran who has been permanently changed by the hideous things he witnessed during Japan's forgotten campaign in Manchuria. [Fiction]

JONATHAN STRANGE & MR NORRELL by Susanna Clarke

At the dawn of the nineteenth century, two very different magicians emerge to change England's history. In the year 1806, with the Napoleonic Wars raging on land and sea, most people believe magic to be long dead in England. When the reclusive Mr Norrell reveals his powers, he becomes a celebrity overnight. Soon, another practicing magician comes forth: the young, handsome, and daring Jonathan Strange. He becomes Norrell's student and they join forces in the war against France. [Fantasy]

BRAVE NEW WORLD by Aldous Huxley

Far in the future, the World Controllers have created the ideal society. Through clever use of genetic engineering, brainwashing, and recreational sex and drugs, all its members are happy consumers. Bernard Marx seems alone in harbouring an ill-defined longing to break free. A visit to one of the few remaining Savage Reservations, where the old, imperfect life still continues, may be the cure for his distress. [Classic/ Sci-Fi]

PERFUME by Patrick Suskind

In the slums of eighteenth-century France, the infant Jean-Baptiste is born with one sublime gift - an absolute sense of smell. As a boy, he apprentices himself to a prominent perfumer who teaches him the ancient art of mixing precious oils and herbs. But his genius is such that he is not satisfied to stop there. One day he catches a hint of a scent that will drive him on an ever-more terrifying quest to create the 'ultimate perfume' - the scent of a beautiful young virgin. [Classic/ Fiction]

THE HOBBIT by J.R.R. Tolkien

Bilbo Baggins enjoys a quiet and contented life, with no desire to travel far from the comforts of home. Then one day the wizard Gandalf and a band of dwarves arrive unexpectedly and enlist his services - as a burglar- on a dangerous expedition to raid the treasure-hoard of Smaug the dragon. Bilbo's life is never to be the same again. [Classic/ Fantasy]

THE DAY OF THE TRIFFIDS by John Wyndham

Bill Masen misses the most spectacular meteorite shower England has ever seen. The next morning, he finds masses of sightless people wandering the city. He soon meets Josella, another lucky person who has retained her sight, and together they leave the city, aware that the safe, familiar world they knew a mere twenty-four hours before is gone forever. But to survive in this post-apocalyptic world, one must survive the Triffids. [Classic/ Sci-Fi]

THE HANDMAID'S TALE by Margaret Atwood

Offred is a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead. She may leave the home of the Commander and his wife once a day to walk to the food markets, whose signs are now pictures instead of words as women are no longer permitted to read. She must lie on her back once a month and pray that the Commander makes her pregnant, because in an age of declining births, Offred and the other Handmaids are valued only if their ovaries are viable. [Fiction]

OBERNEWTYN by Isobelle Carmody

For Elspeth Gordie freedom is, like so much else after the Great White, a memory. It was a time known as the Age of Chaos. In a final explosive flash, everything was destroyed. The few who survived banded together and formed a Council for protection. But people like Elspeth, mysteriously born with powerful mental abilities, are feared by the Council and hunted down like animals... to be destroyed. [Fantasy]

JUST KIDS by Patti Smith

In Just Kids, Patti Smith's first book of prose, the legendary artist, musician, and poet offers a never-before-seen glimpse of her remarkable relationship with the photographer Robert Mapplethorpe in the epochal days of New York City and the Chelsea Hotel in the late sixties and seventies. Smith brings the same unique, lyrical quality to this honest and moving story of youth and friendship as she has to the rest of her formidable body of work. [Memoir]

THE MIDWICH CUCKOOS by John Wyndham

In the sleepy English village of Midwich, a mysterious silver object appears and all of the inhabitants fall unconscious. A day later, the object is gone and everyone awakens unharmed. However, all the women in the village are discovered to be pregnant. The resultant children of Midwich do not belong to their parents: all are blonde, all are golden eyed. They grow up too fast and their minds exhibit frightening abilities that give them control over others and brings them into conflict with the villagers just as a chilling realisation dawns on the world outside. [Classic/ Sci-Fi]