How the Leopard Got His Claws

Chinua Achebe - 1973
    Their king, the leopard, was strong but gentle and wise. Only Dog had sharp teeth, and only he scoffed at the other animals’ plan to build a common shelter for resting out of the rain. But when Dog is ? ooded out of his own cave, he attacks the leopard and takes over as king. And it is then, after visiting the blacksmith’s forge and knocking on Thunder’s door, that the angry leopard returns to regain his throne by the menace of his own threatening new claws. In a riveting fable for young readers about the potency and dangers of power taken by force, Nigerian writer Chinua Achebe, author of THINGS FALL APART, evokes themes of liberation and justice that echo his seminal novels about post-colonial Africa. Glowing with vibrant color, Mary GrandPré’s expressive and action filled paintings bring this unforgettable tale to dramatic life. From Chinua Achebe, father of modern African literature, comes a vivid fable about power and freedom.

The Penguin Book of Mermaids

Cristina Bacchilega
    As far back as the eighth century B.C., sailors in Homer's Odyssey stuffed wax in their ears to resist the Sirens, who lured men to their watery deaths with song. More than two thousand years later, the gullible New York public lined up to witness a mummified 'mermaid' specimen that the enterprising showman P. T. Barnum swore was real.The Penguin Book of Mermaids is a treasury of such tales about merfolk and water spirits from different cultures, ranging from Scottish selkies to Hindu water-serpents to Chilean sea fairies. A third of the selections are published here in English for the first time, and all are accompanied by commentary that explores their undercurrents, showing us how public perceptions of this popular mythical hybrid - at once a human and a fish - illuminate issues of gender, spirituality, ecology and sexuality.

Ox Travels: Meetings with Remarkable Travel Writers (Ox Tales)

Mark Ellingham - 2011
    Introduced by Michael Palin, OxTravels features original stories from twenty-five top travel writers, including Michael Palin, Paul Theroux, Sara Wheeler, William Dalrymple, Patrick Leigh Fermor, Lloyd Jones, Rory Stewart, Jan Morris, Dervla Murphy, Rory MacLean, and others. Each of the stories takes as its theme a meeting - life-changing, affecting, amusing by turn - and together they transport readers into a brilliant, vivid atlas of encounters.This extraordinary collection is published in aid of Oxfam and all royalties from the book will support Oxfam's work.

The Pillars of Hercules

Paul Theroux - 1995
    Paul Theroux decided to travel from one to the other – but taking the long way round. His grand tour of the Mediterranean begins in Gibraltar and takes him through Spain, the French Riviera, Italy, Greece, Istanbul and beyond. He travels by any means necessary - including dilapidated taxi, smoke-filled bus, bicycle and even a cruise-liner. And he encounters bullfights, bazaars and British tourists, discovers pockets of humanity in war-torn Slovenia and Croatia, is astounded by the urban developments on the Costa del Sol and marvels at the ancient wonders of Delphi. Told with Theroux's inimitable wit and style, this lively and eventful tour evokes the essence of Mediterranean life.

When She Was Queen

M.G. Vassanji - 2005
    Vassanji. That fateful evening in Kenya becomes “the obsessive and dark centre” of the young man’s existence and leads him, years later in Toronto, to unearth an even darker family secret.In “The Girl With The Bicycle,” a man witnesses a woman from his hometown of Dar es Salaam spit at a corpse as it lies in state at a Toronto mosque. As he struggles to fathom her strange behaviour, he finds himself prey to memories and images from the past–and to perilous yearnings that could jeopardize his comfortable, middle-aged life.Still reeling from the impact of his wife’s betrayal, a man decides to stop in on an old college friend in “Elvis, Raja.” But he soon realizes that it’s not always wise to visit the past as he finds himself trapped in a most curious household, where Elvis Presley has replaced the traditional Hindu gods. The other stories in the collection also feature exceptional lives transplanted. A young man returns to his roots in India, hoping to find his uncle and, perhaps, a bride. Instead, he becomes a reluctant guru to the residents of his ancestral village. A mukhi must choose between granting the final sacrilegious wish of a dying man and abiding by religious custom in a community that considers him a representative of God. A woman is torn between the voice of her dead husband–a cold and grim-natured atheist–and her new, kind and loving husband whose faith nevertheless places constraints on her as a woman. On Halloween night, a scientist lays bare his horrifying plan to seek vengeance on the man who thwarted his career. Set variously in Kenya, Canada, India, Pakistan, and the American Midwest, these poignant and evocative stories portray migrants negotiating the in-between worlds of east and west, past and present, secular and religious. Richly detailed and full of vivid characters, the stories are worlds unto themselves, just as a dusty African street full of bustling shops is a world, and so is the small matrix of lives enclosed by an intimate Toronto neighbourhood. It is the smells and sentiments and small gestures that constitute life, and of these Vassanji is a master.Vassanji’s seventh book and his second collection of short stories, When She Was Queen was shortlisted for the 2006 Toronto Book Award. The jury said: "Vassanji's Naipaulian language is like a sharp short knife that cuts through the superficial and gets to the heart and soul of the narrative.”From the Hardcover edition.

The Elephant's Child (Just So Stories)

Rudyard Kipling - 1900
    Because of his 'satiable curtiosity about what the crocodile has for dinner, the elephant's child and all elephants thereafter have long trunks.

The Fairy Tales Of Madame d'Aulnoy

Marie-Catherine d'Aulnoy - 1698
    CONTENTS Gracieuse and Percinet Fair Goldilocks The Blue Bird Prince Ariel Princess Mayblossom Princess Rosette The Golden Branch The Bee and the Orange Tree The Good Little Mouse The Ram Finette Cendron Fortun?e Babiole The Yellow Dwarf Green Serpent Princess Carpillon The Benevolent Frog The Hind in the Wood The White Cat Belle-Belle The Pigeon and the Dove Princess Belle-Etoile Prince Marcassin The Dolphin

Seven Houses in France

Bernardo Atxaga - 2009
    The captain is also a poet whose ambition is to amass a fortune and return to the literary cafés of Paris. His glamorous wife, Christine, has a further ambition: to own seven houses in France, a house for every year he has been abroad. At Lalande Biran's side are the ex-legionnaire van Thiegel, a brutal womanizer, and the servile, treacherous Donatien, who dreams of running a brothel. The officers spend their days guarding enslaved rubber-tappers and kidnapping young girls, and at their hands the jungle is transformed into a wild circus of human ambition and absurdity. But everything changes with the arrival of a new officer and brilliant marksman: the enigmatic Chrysostome Liege. An outstanding new novel from the critically acclaimed and prizewinning author Bernardo Atxaga, Seven Houses in France is a blackly comic tale which reveals the darkest sides of human desire.

The Matatu

Eric Walters - 2012
    But today, for his fifth birthday, he climbs aboard one with his grandfather. As the matatu pulls away from the market, the village dogs chase after them. When Kioko asks his grandfather why the dogs always bark and chase after matatus, his grandfather tells him an entertaining tale about a dog, a goat and a sheep. Set in East Africa, The Matatu is a colorful story filled with many unexpected turns and twists along the way.

Train to Nowhere

Kay Bratt - 2012
    Mao's revolution is sweeping across the country, leaving many competing to show their loyalty with actions that will leave scars for decades. Even more traumatic than the destruction of art, books, and historic architecture, families are torn apart as they struggle to find a way to survive the upheaval.Ling, a sheltered and devoted daughter, is forced to join the feared Red Guards, a strategy concocted by her mother to ensure her protection. But for this scheme to work, Ling must hold her secrets close and trust no one. Her journey has only just begun when she is faced with a moment of truth that will impact the future she has unwillingly chosen on the Train to Nowhere.

The Shady Tree

Demi - 2016
    Ping turns Tan Tan's greed into his own gain, but even with his new-found wealth, Ping is true to his generous nature—there is room for everyone. Simply told and beautifully illustrated, this story is sure to become a classic.

After The Carnage

Tara June Winch - 2016
    She is touring the east coast of Australia during August.Tara’s first novel, Swallow the Air, was published in 2006 and won the David Unaipon Prize as well as a plethora of other literary awards. Tara was hailed as one of Australia’s finest young writers and her book became part of the HSC syllabus.After the Carnage is another unforgettable work of fiction – this time a collection of stories about characters living all over the world, from New York to Istanbul and from Pakistan to Australia.Tara’s characters are living at a distance, displaced from their countries, marriages, families, friends and even identities. They are struggling with feelings of loss and of being adrift, trying to reconcile their dreams with reality.A single mother resorts to extreme measures to protect her young son. A Nigerian student undertakes a United Nations internship in the hope of a better future. A recently divorced man starts a running group with members of an online forum for recovering addicts.PRAISE FOR TARA JUNE WINCH‘Her writing is raw and sparky, her prose so charged with energy that it bursts, Melville-like, into occasional poetic firestorms.’ Age‘The quality of her writing, her eye for the miniature of life, fleshes out both place and persona, and ultimately guides the reader’s entry into her action. She is gifted.’ Wole Soyinka, Nobel Laureate (Literature)TARA JUNE WINCH is an Australian writer based in France. She has written essay, short fiction and memoir for Vogue, Vice, McSweeney’s, and various Australian publications and anthologies. Her first novel, Swallow the Air, was published in 2006 and won numerous literary awards, including the David Unaipon Award and a Victorian Premier’s Literary Award. It has been on the education and HSC syllabus for Standard and Advanced English in Australia since 2009. In the same year she was awarded the International Rolex Mentor and Protégé Award that saw her work under the guidance of Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka.

The Last Storytellers: Tales from the Heart of Morocco

Richard L. Hamilton - 2011
    For nearly a thousand years, storytellers have gathered in Jemaa el Fna, the legendary square of the city, to recount ancient folktales and fables to rapt audiences. But this unique chain of oral tradition that has passed seamlessly from generation to generation is teetering on the brink of extinction. The competing distractions of television, movies, and the Internet have drawn the crowds away from the storytellers and few have the desire to learn the stories and continue their legacy. Richard Hamilton has witnessed first-hand the death throes of this rich and captivating tradition and, in the labyrinth of the Marrakech medina, has tracked down the last few remaining storytellers, recording stories that are replete with the mysteries and beauty of the Maghreb.


Rolf Potts - 2018
    For as long as people have traveled to distant lands, they have brought home objects to certify the journey. More than mere merchandise, these travel souvenirs take on a personal and cultural meaning that goes beyond the object itself. Drawing on several millennia of examples-from the relic-driven quests of early Christians, to the mass-produced tchotchkes that line the shelves of a Disney gift shop-travel writer Rolf Potts delves into a complicated history that explores issues of authenticity, cultural obligation, market forces, human suffering, and self-presentation. Souvenirs are shown for what they really are: not just objects, but personalized forms of folk storytelling that enable people to make sense of the world and their place in it.'Object Lessons is published in partnership with an essay series in The Atlantic.Souvenir features illustrations by Cedar Van Tassel

Queer Africa

Karen MartinNatasha Distiller - 2013
    The collection includes exquisitely written work by some of the great African writers of this century – K. Sello Duiker, Monica Arac de Nyeko, Beatrice Lamwaka and Richard de Nooy – as well as new voices that map out a haunting, intricate, complex Africa. Phrases like Wamuwi Mbao’s ‘She looks like you, when nobody’s watching her’ and Sello Duiker’s narrator’s ‘gentle sadness that doesn’t take you all at once’ share with us not only the aftermath of sex, but moments where the world opens itself.In these unafraid stories of intimacy, sweat, betrayal and restless confidences, we accompany characters into cafes, tattoo salons, the barest of bedrooms, the coldly glinting spaces into which the rich withdraw, unlit streets, and their own deepest interiors. We learn much in these gloriously achieved stories about love and sex, but perhaps more about why we hurt and need one another.