It’s a hard place this world can be. No wonder a baby cries coming into it. Tears from the very start.

Serena

Ron Rash

Somewhere in the world there is a magical book. What does this book do? It simply changes itself to become the book you most need at this point in your life

The Seed Collectors

Scarlett Thomas

There was hardly a door, barely a wall: only a flap of bark, a screen of sticks and mud. There was no need of lock, of door, of wall: this was a prison whose bars were ten thousand miles of water

The Secret River

Kate Grenville

What is the fascination of an island? Why do we experience such a thrill at being surrounded by water, cut off from the rest of mankind, imprisoned on a miniature world

The Scottish Islands

Hamish Haswell-Smith

I thought about flying, stood sometimes on the edge of the rock and wondered. But much as I’d of liked to, and young as I was, I had the sense to know I’d have to wait for some other way to fly

Sarah Thornhill

Kate Grenville

Ungraspable Loki flamed amazement and pleased himself. He was the god of endings. He provided resolutions for stories – if he chose to. The endings he made often led to more problems

Ragnarok

A.S. Byatt

Friendship is smoothing a ruffled feather

The Peanuts Guide to Friendship

Charles M. Schulz

David Eagleman at the School of Life

Legally, a big sister can throw out a younger brother because she’s bigger than he is, and he bugs her all the time and she can do it, and I did it!!! (And if you’re smart, you won’t get involved)

The Peanuts Guide to Brothers and Sisters

Charles M. Schulz

'It’s very hard to live in a studio apartment in San Jose with a man who’s learning to play the violin.’ That’s what she told the police when she handed them the empty revolver

Revenge of the Lawn

Richard Brautigan

The bullets came fast, too fast to feel. That’s how it should be done, each shot coming quick after the last so you can’t even try to recover, which is when it hurts

Redeployment

Phil Klay

RECIPE FOR MURDER: Throw all the ingredients into a big pot and simmer slowly, stirring with a wooden spoon for a few years. Add the ducks, chillies and brandy towards the end and turn up the heat

Recipes for Love and Murder

Sally Andrew

17 Orchard Lane is the home of the Radleys and, despite their very best efforts, they are anything but normal

The Radleys

Matt Haig

Was this the beginning, was this the true moment of conception? Was this the distant early meeting place that had engendered the pure gold baby?

The Pure Gold Baby

Margaret Drabble

She was like those girls who learned to dance with other girls, taking turns to be the man. They never got the hang of following, once they knew what it was like to lead

One Life

Kate Grenville

Hello and welcome to the new, handy, easy-to-wield Pocket Book of Boosh

The Pocket Book of Boosh

Julian Barratt & Noel Fielding

Simon’s Cat in ‘cat man do’

Simon Tofield walks us through how to draw the famous cat

having been born into this strange life we must accept the wasted gamble of our days and take some satisfaction in the pleasure of leaving it all behind

The Pleasures of the Damned

Charles Bukowski

Everything was beautiful. The merchandise was moving like crazy. I was sure that when I got back home for the summer I would have enough scratch to turn everybody green with envy

Pimp: The Story Of My Life

Iceberg Slim

It was the twenty-fifth of July Nineteenth Hundred and Thirty-Eight, and Lisbon was glittering in the azure purity of an Atlantic breeze, Pereira maintains

Pereira Maintains

Antonio Tabucchi

If you have a hundred cats, you’ll live ten times longer than if you have ten. Someday this will be discovered, and people will have a thousand cats and live forever

On Cats

Charles Bukowski