1984 – George Orwell

Winston Smith, a low-ranking worker, begins to doubt ‘the Party’. Hidden in his apartment, away from the glaring ‘telescreen’, he keeps a secret diary of his thoughts and frustration; he questions the power of the ominous ‘Big Brother’ and the manipulation and contortion of public opinion, history and truth. In his subtle rebellion, he finds Julia and together they fight against oppression from mass media control, government surveillance and totalitarianism.

In a world in which President Trump and his administration report falsehoods and lies, scrutinise research-led environmental data and place new research and development on hold, it is unsurprising that the novel’s notion of a terrifying and plausible dystopia speaks to so many. 1984 notably highlights despairing themes of a twisted, totalitarian world and the necessity to resist deceit and mass control. As one of the most influential works of fiction ever written, it is a powerful admonition.

 

 

 

 

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A Monster Calls – Patrick Ness/Siobhan Dowd

Just after midnight, a monster visits 13-year-old Conor. He isn’t scared, he’s had bigger things to worry about lately, his mother’s treatment being the biggest. He knows monsters are for babies and they aren’t real. But, this monster keeps coming back and he’s here for the truth.

At the heart of this novel are the bewildering parables of the monster – part yew tree, part giant – that only leave Conor with more questions and frustration. Interspersed with Conor’s heart-rending story, these tales evoke the dawning reality of his mother’s illness and living with his grandma. In this realistic and magical piece of work, the monster is a transcendent teacher, who illuminates the nature of loss and complexity of human emotion.

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Illustrations: Jim Kay

We Found a Hat – Jon Klassen

Two turtles come across a large white hat in the desert and in turn try it on. Agreeing that one hat is not enough for two of them, they decide to leave it behind and watch the sunset together.

Drawing on the shifting eyes, deadpan expressions and minimalist style of the earlier books in the ‘hat trilogy’ this three-part tale is the most stirring of all. Highlighting Klassen’s notable and charmingly wicked humour, in a deceptively simple story, We Found a Hat evokes sympathy, hilarity and questions of friendship. It is sure to please both children and adults.

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The Future Kept

Husband and wife team Jeska and Dean Hearne created The Future Kept as part of a new adventure to seek out beautiful and useful items that are functional in day-to-day life. They aim to inspire more people to think carefully about the items that they have in their lives, to step away from the throwaway nature of the modern world and to make more sustainable choices.

Nestled on the south coast of England, they design and carefully source items from independent designers, makers, artisans and entrepreneurs who create products with timeless qualities, functionality and beauty.

Fairlight, East Sussex, TN35 4BG

hello@thefuturekept.com | @thefuturekept | thefuturekept

Colours May Vary

Established by Becky and Andy in 2012, Colours May Vary was Leeds’ first design-focused magazine and bookshop. Focusing on quality and integrity in design and production, the shop stocks a range of books, journals, prints, cards, gifts, wrap and contemporary stationery. In support of independent designers and illustrators, they source their collection both locally and internationally from a mix of established and up-and-coming producers.

For beautiful, useful and inspirational wares with a focus on graphic art and design, typography, illustration, and product design, visit the shop and exhibition space.

Unit 1a, Munro House, Duke Street, LS9 8AG

0113 2442704 | @Colours_mayvary | coloursmayvary

Funny Girl – Nick Hornby

Winning the Miss Blackpool competition is not enough for Barbara Parker, who dreams of fame and holds Lucille Ball as an idol; she navigates her innocent life from her hometown to London, in search of stardom. As she meets and charms a host of diverse characters, they share their goals, fight over conflicting feelings, and together, create a TV series.

Funny Girl is an insightful account of the lives of a delightful bunch. In their personal lives, jealousies, secret longings and uncertainties, their endearing and flawed qualities are revealed. Historical facts and photographs firmly establish the novel in 1960’s London. Through real-life politicians and events, advertisements and a cartoon strip, Hornby recreates an era.