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I Am, I Am, I Am: seventeen brushes with death

I Am, I Am, I Am, by Maggie O'Farrell

A childhood illness she was not expected to survive. A teenage yearning to escape that nearly ended in disaster. A terrifying encounter on a remote path. A mismanaged labour in an understaffed hospital. This is a memoir with a difference: seventeen encounters with Maggie at different ages, in different locations, reveal to us a whole life in a series of tense, visceral snapshots. It is a book to make you question yourself: what would you do if your life was in danger? How would you react? And what would you stand to lose?

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The Graveyard Book

The Graveyard Book, by Neil Gaiman & Chris Riddell

Nobody Owens, known to his friends as Bod, is a perfectly normal boy. Apart from the fact that he lives in a graveyard and is being raised and educated by ghosts. There are dangers and adventures for Bod in the graveyard. But it is in the land of the living that the real dangers lurk.

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The Great Level

The Great Level, by Stella Tillyard

In 1649 Dutch engineer Jan Brunt arrives in Ely to begin the great endeavour of levelling and draining the Fens. His life and work are bound by order, measurement and science. One day, lost on the level, he spies a Fenswoman and everything he thought he knew starts to unravel.

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Persepolis

Persepolis, by Marjane Satrapi

The story of Marjane Satrapi's life in Tehran from six to 14, years that saw the overthrow of the Shah's regime, the triumph of the Islamic Revolution & the devastating effects of war with Iraq. Satrapi paints a portrait of daily life in Iran & of the bewildering contradictions between home life & public life.

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The Shepherd's Hut

The Shepherd's Hut, by Tim Winton

For years Jaxie Clackton has dreaded going home. His beloved mum is dead, and he wishes his dad was too, until one terrible moment leaves his life stripped to nothing.

And so Jaxie runs. There's just one person in the world who understands him, but to reach her he'll have to cross the vast saltlands of Western Australia. It is a place that harbours criminals and threatens to kill those who haven't reckoned with its hot, waterless vastness.

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The Sisters Brothers

The Sisters Brothers, by Patrick DeWitt

The Sisters Brothers is an offbeat Western about a reluctant assassin and his murderous brother who are on the trail of a man named Hermann Kermit Warm. On the way, the brothers have a series of unsettling and violent experiences in the Darwinian landscape of Gold Rush America.

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