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You can also click on best Summer Books for a particular year. At top of both lists: Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey. We asked U. Learn what they had to say. And follow her on Facebook. A good gift list for new parents and their kids. YA is an age group, not a genre. The group operates democratically with books chosen by majority vote. Great choices. Jane Eyre The Handmaid's Tale. The Joy of Sex. Olive Kitteridge. The "Outlander Series.

The Years of Lyndon Johnson Caro's four multi-volume biographies. All the mysteries and thrillers you haven't acquainted yourself with yet. Selections of must-reads from a few of the Strand's most beloved authors and artists. And if you want to, you can read the plays and the poems online. Over the next few weeks, "Creepy School Bus" became so popular that Snopes. It makes sense that a generation that grew up online would gravitate toward text- and chat-based horror tales.

After all, they came of age in the era of 'creepypastas'—the catch-all term for web-based share-and-scare stories that have long been part of internet culture, but have grown especially popular in the past decade. Download Top Quick Reference Guide here. Provocative parables of the Jewish faith. A year-old girl goes to Detroit to care for her pregnant mother. Hilarious tale of a salesman who takes in his paroled brother. Topping the list, tying for first place: The Great Gatsby by F.

Tied for third: Catcher in the Rye by J. Here's the list in printable form. See original: James M. The Academy of Achievement asked its awardees, "What book did you read when you were young that most influenced your life?

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Creative Nonfiction: best titles for teens curated by Leslie Whidden, Scoop. The delightful Tom Bedell's list of golf books he'd want on hand if stranded on a desert island. Could be subtitled "gifts for golfers. Will Schwalbe talks about the joys associated with the book club he started with his mother, who at the time was dying of cancer. Wonderful site. Get book recommendations from people you know, keep track of what you've read and liked, share frank opinions. Greco-Roman works some Chinese and Persian , all in English translation.

Science fiction blog, featuring discussions with authors. See collective lists of weekly picks of fiction scroll down for picks of nonfiction. See some past programs along left side. Let's Talk About It , the Idaho Libraries reading and discussion program, provides similar material on various themes: Reading and Discussion Themes theme essays, book descriptions, author information, discussion questions and lists for further reading are available for download.

Delany and A. A guide for others! Here's the that list on Wikipedia easier to print and see all at once -- and it also puts the club in perspective, writing ABOUT it and about Oprah's market power. For example, it quotes Scott Stossel, an editor at The Atlantic, writing, "There is something so relentlessly therapeutic, so consciously self-improving about the book club that it seems antithetical to discussions of serious literature.

Literature should disturb the mind and derange the senses; it can be palliative, but it is not meant to be the easy, soothing one that Oprah would make it. Oprah's Book Club 2.

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Patrick's story , as captured by Cynthia Leitich Smith Cynsations. Rejected by one "snooty" bookclub, she started a MUCH bigger one. The List. Ditch Netflix for a novel. And not just because a novelist is telling you to. It will be continually updated through the end of this year to give you a comprehensive resource. Very thorough. The 1. In Cold Blood by Truman Capote, 2. The Journalist and the Murderer by Janet Malcolm, 3.

Columbine by Dave Cullen, 4. Shot in the Heart by Mikhal Gilmore, 5. Son of a Gun by Justin St. Germain, 6. Under the Banner of Heaven by Jon Krakauer, 7. Killings by Calvin Trillin, and The Other Side by Lacy Johnson. Watch videos about various developing countries. Want to Read Currently Reading Read. Other editions.

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Enlarge cover. Error rating book. Refresh and try again. Open Preview See a Problem? Details if other :. Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Preview — The Cactus by Sarah Haywood. In this charming and poignant debut, one woman's unconventional journey to finding love means learning to embrace the unexpected. For Susan Green, messy emotions don't fit into the equation of her perfectly ordered life. She has a flat that is ideal for one, a job that suits her passion for logic, and an "interpersonal arrangement" that provides cultural and other, more int In this charming and poignant debut, one woman's unconventional journey to finding love means learning to embrace the unexpected.

She has a flat that is ideal for one, a job that suits her passion for logic, and an "interpersonal arrangement" that provides cultural and other, more intimate, benefits. But suddenly confronted with the loss of her mother and the news that she is about to become a mother herself, Susan's greatest fear is realized. She is losing control. Enter Rob, the dubious but well-meaning friend of her indolent brother.

As Susan's due date draws near and her dismantled world falls further into a tailspin, Susan finds an unlikely ally in Rob. She might have a chance at finding real love and learning to love herself, if only she can figure out how to let go. Get A Copy. Paperback , pages. Published May 7th by Park Row first published January 25th More Details Original Title. Other Editions Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

To ask other readers questions about The Cactus , please sign up. I nearly stopped reading because it annoyed me so much. The good reviews it has on here have persuaded me to try and ignore this offensive Americanisation of British literature, but really is this necessary?! Can the Americans not accept the use of British culturally appropriate words in British books!!?! Sarah Haywood Hello Emma. I'm from Birmingham and my mother says 'Mom'. Funnily enough, in the American edition of the book 'Mum' is used throughout.

Is it really credible that a mother, who had given up a child for adoption, would keep that secret all her life right up to her death, then leave the adopted child to reflect that her whole life and upbringing had been a sham? No, she should have taken it to the grave. Kara This answer contains spoilers… view spoiler [ I agree, not credible. It was only a plot necessity, it was more likely that if after 45 years she felt guilty for not loving the child more, then …more I agree, not credible.

It was only a plot necessity, it was more likely that if after 45 years she felt guilty for not loving the child more, then attempting to repair the relationship would have made more sense rather than disclosing to a vicar who she only knew briefly. But of course, then there would be no crisis. See all 3 questions about The Cactus…. Lists with This Book. Community Reviews.

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Showing Rating details. More filters. Sort order. I also adore the cover tagline that adds further embellishment to this already spectacular cover. Self acceptance and life changes at a mature age are the central themes that dominate The Cactus, the debut novel from Sarah Haywood. I tend to shy away from book comparisons, but this is a novel that echoes the work of the great Graeme Simsion of The Rosie Project he endorsed the front cover. But, The Cactus is a novel that easily makes its own mark and it will worm its way into your heart.

It could also be seen as a metaphor for the bristly nature of the heroine of the story. Susan Green is the peculiar protagonist who sits at the helm of The Cactus. When the novel opens, Susan is forty five years old, she is a fiercely independent woman, who is set in her ways.

Until one day, her world comes tumbling down. The death of her mother follows the news that Susan is also in the family way. The Cactus follows Susan as she grapples with getting her head around the prospect that she is to become a mother, which introduces her to whole new set of testing experiences. Life for Susan Green suddenly becomes very complicated. It was an immense pleasure to be introduced to the writing of debut novelist Sarah Haywood.

The Cactus is a novel that I can easily attest to enjoying from cover to cover. Much of my adoration for this novel comes from the lead, Susan Green. I will make it clear that some will not warm to Susan straight away, or not at all. Her spiky, feminist, forthright and often odd nature may get under the skin of some readers, but for me, I loved her from the start.

Some reviewers have remarked on their inability to connect to such a cutting character, but persisting with Susan really does pay off. I enjoyed the metamorphosis of Susan very much. I liked the mystery that surrounded Susan, which hits you smack bang in the face in the first pages of the novel. I liked how Susan was represented by Haywood as a puzzle or enigma. My money was on some kind of trauma from an accident I was somewhat close in my estimations and then I gravitated towards Susan sitting on the autism spectrum.

Either way, I enjoyed the chance to get to know Susan. It becomes apparent that Susan is a very quirky woman set in her ways, but at times, her reasoning did make sense and even seemed rational. I admired her for sticking to the routines that made her feel safe. All the same, it was thrilling to see her break free from her restrictions and live in the moment in the latter stages of the book. Supporting Susan is a fine cast of individuals who are all fully fleshed out characters.

As the book is solely narrated by Susan in first person, we get an excellent feel for these characters in the eyes of Susan. Her observations of the people in her life are sharp, nuanced and even a crack up at times! The Cactus is a book that I would definitely say is a character dominated novel. In terms of themes, The Cactus works well to draw our attention to a number of issues. Within the novel, Haywood examines memories, upbringing, sibling rivalry, alcoholism, serious illness, grief, lost love, inheritance disputes, marital problems, single parenthood, adoption and mature age pregnancy.

Each of these themes are coloured in perfectly by Haywood. I appreciated the lens in which Haywood puts on these topics, through the unusual guise of Susan Green, the lead. On the whole I loved this novel, very much. There was only one small drawback. The book beats slowly. It took me much longer than usual to get through The Cactus but I did seem to savour every word. However, as a fast reader, this aspect of the book perplexed me!

It really was a touching experience to watch her grow into her own and embrace all facets of her life. The final message I took from this book is that it is never too late to bloom, do not let life pass you by! The Cactus is a simply wonderful debut. Sarah Haywood definitely has a new fan!


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View all 8 comments. I really loved this one! View all 4 comments. British, in this case. View all 3 comments. Ah well, somewhere between 2. And please, please, never ever spell "bin" instead of "been", it does not add any quirkiness to the speech, it just looks stupid. I have to say this book did not live up to my expectations. From the blurb I expected some quirky, humorous, emotional story, very cleverly written, but it turned out to be pretty average on the enjoyment scale.

Susan is She lives alone and lives her life whichever way suits her best. She is smart, in full of control of her Ah well, somewhere between 2. She is smart, in full of control of her life. She is a real "adult". No fooling around, no being silly. Straight to the point. Her mother dies leaving behind Susan's immature brother Edward and a will for the estate to sort, which, in Susan's opinion, unfairly favours Edward.

Needless to say, the siblings aren't close. Emotional knots to untangle, serious matters to consider. I did not feel connected to Susan. Despite her business-like seriousness in every aspect of her life, she came across as terribly immature herself. Emotionally immature. All she does hides her feelings, she is afraid of opening up to life.

And it is quite boring. And annoying. Other characters left me rather indifferent as well. The book felt lacking sharp, perky humour, some blazing, something that would spark a reader's interest and have it burning till the very last sentence in the story. This was just ok. I wonder though, is it an upcoming trend after Eleanor Oliphant to create a main character as a middle aged emotionally unavailable with childhood traumas?

View all 15 comments. So, let's talk about that cover. It's absolutely sublime, and I have to admit that as soon as I opened up the envelope when it dropped through my letterbox, I bumped this one to the very top of the 'to be read' pile. See, I'm a cover tart, I have to admit it. There is nothing more likely to get me interested in a book than a beautifully produced cover, and especially a hardback cover.

I was truly besotted. The contents of the book certainly do not disappoint either. Yes, we can certainly judge th So, let's talk about that cover. Yes, we can certainly judge this book by its cover. It is just as beautiful on the inside as it is on the out; perfectly written and paced, with a lead character who will bring out every emotion and feeling for the reader.

The Cactus is the story of Susan Green. At first, she doesn't seem particularly likeable and to be honest, I'd hate to sit next to her in the office, but gradually and slowly, this very talented and gifted author brings her to life. The reader is allowed glimpses from Susan's childhood, and early adulthood and these make it very clear that Susan really is a product of her upbringing.

One early reviewer likened Susan to the offspring of Don from the Rosie Project and Bridget Jones, and that really is the perfect description. However, I like Susan much more than I like either of those characters, scarily enough I found myself identifying with some of her thoughts and behaviours; I think we all have our little quirks and Susan and I have quite a few in common. At the heart of the story is the fact that single Susan is forty-five and pregnant with her first child.


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Her mother has recently died and Susan is outraged to find that, according to the will, her brother Edward has the right to stay in the family home until he chooses to move. Susan deals with both of these matters in her organised and military fashion. A baby is just a small person who won't take up much room at all, and once she's prepared her case for the Court, she's bound to get her half of the money immediately, isn't she?

After all, Susan has gone through life so far in her own tenacious fashion so there's no reason that this won't work out perfectly for her. What Susan doesn't consider is that huge changes that both pregnancy and bereavement will bring to her. Suddenly, she is experiencing emotions and feelings that are alien to her, and her journey to realisation about relationships is wondrous to experience.

Sarah Haywood has created one of the most wonderful characters that I've ever come across.

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She is perfectly formed, both interesting and irritating at times, but by the end of the story, I was totally and utterly in love with her. The Cactus is a joyful, funny and very insightful story. Incredibly well written and wonderfully imagined. Effortlessly entertaining with captivating observations.

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This really was a joy to read. Oh my word, this book is bloody brilliantl!!!! It starts off a bit like Bridget Jones, and ends a bit like Four weddings - someone please adapt it into a film!!! View 2 comments.


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  8. Jun 13, Laura Peden rated it it was amazing Shelves: kobo , hello-sunshine-book-club , audiobooks. Which is what she prefers. At least she thinks she does. Jun 10, Amy Foxy Blogs rated it liked it Shelves: books , hoopla , hello-sunshine-book-club , june , headphones , blog , new-to-me-author , buddy-reads. The Cactus didn't hit the spot for me.

    I picked this book up because it was Reese Witherspoon's June book club read and I had watched her IG stories about how funny this book is and how much she loved it. My reaction wasn't quite the same. Unfortunately, I didn't find it funny. I suppose what one person finds funny another person doesn't. I had a hard time wrapping my head around a woman who was so unwilling to accept help because she's afraid it'll make her look weak. Susan finds herself pregna The Cactus didn't hit the spot for me.

    Susan finds herself pregnant at the age of 45 from a guy who she has an agreed upon relationship that's solely based around no strings attached. It was more like a business transaction. Plus, his involvement with the upcoming baby will be one of scheduled visits. Susan wasn't a likable character for me.

    Her fiercely independent attitude became annoying to read.