Featured book: Amsterdam by Ian McEwan (fiction)
Two long-time friends meet at the cremation of the woman they shared, beautiful restaurant critic and photographer Molly Lane. Clive Linley, a celebrated composer, and Vernon Halliday, the editor of a financially troubled London tabloid, could never understand Molly's third liaison with conservative Foreign Secretary Julian Garmony, who is angling to be prime minister, or her marriage to dour but rich publisher George Lane.
Mourning the manner of Molly's agonizing death, which left her mad and helpless at the end, each man pledges to dispatch the other by euthanasia should he be similarly afflicted. Immediately afterwards, both Clive and Vernon are enmeshed in a crisis: Clive must finish his commissioned Millennium Symphony so it can premiere in Amsterdam, and Vernon must grapple with the moral issue of publishing compromising photos of Julian Garmony that George has discovered with Molly's effects.
The clash between whether the demands of pure art are more valid than political accountability and financial solvency soon assumes a larger dimension.
The friends have a bitter falling out, and the crux of the novel, whether their friendship will be strong enough to overcome their differences plays out like a Greek tragedy.
McEwan spins these plot developments with smooth alacrity and with acidulous with - an achievement that saw Amsterdam awarded the Booker Prize.
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman (fiction)
Nobody Owens, known to his friends as Bod, is a normal boy.
He would be completely normal if he didn't live in a sprawling graveyard, being raised and educated by ghosts, with a solitary guardian who belongs to neither the world of the living nor of the dead. There are dangers and adventures in the graveyard for a boy - an ancient Indigo Man beneath the hill, a gateway to a desert leading to an abandoned city of ghouls, the strange and terrible menace of the Sleer.
But if Bod leaves the graveyard, then he will come under attack from the man Jack - who has already killed Bod's family…
Beloved master storyteller Neil Gaiman returns with a luminous new novel for the audience that embraced his New York Times bestselling modern classic coraline. Magical, terrifying, and filled with breathtaking adventures, the graveyard book is sure to enthral readers of all ages. You can listen as Neil reads the entirety of The Graveyard Book for free at www.mousecircus.com
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson, translated by Reg Keeland (fiction)
The first in a trilogy from the late Stieg this is the story of Mikael Blomkvist, a once-respected financial journalist. Mikael is down and out, and can do nothing but watch as his professional life crumbles around him. Prospects appear bleak until an unexpected (and unsettling) offer to resurrect his name is extended by an old-school titan of Swedish industry. The catch – and there's always a catch –is that Blomkvist must first spend a year researching a mysterious disappearance that has remained unsolved for nearly four decades.
With few other options, he accepts and enlists the help of investigator Lisbeth Salander, a misunderstood genius with a cache of authority issues and some very serious tattoos. The duo gradually uncovers a festering morass of familial corruption-at the same time, Larsson skilfully bares some of the similar horrors that have left Salander such a marked woman.
The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life by Alice Schroeder (non-fiction)
Although the media track him constantly, Warren Buffett himself has never told his full life story. His reality is private, especially by celebrity standards. Indeed, while the homespun persona that the public sees is true as far as it goes, it goes only so far. He set out to prove that nice guys can finish first. Over the years he treated his investors as partners, acted as their steward, and championed honesty as an investor, CEO, board member, essayist, and speaker. At the same time he became the world's richest man, all from the modest Omaha headquarters of his company Berkshire Hathaway.
When Alice Schroeder met Warren Buffett she was an insurance industry analyst and a gifted writer known for her keen perception and business acumen. Never before has Warren Buffett spent countless hours responding to a writer's questions, talking, giving complete access to his wife, children, friends, and business associates-opening his files, recalling his childhood. It was an act of courage, as The Snowball makes immensely clear. Being human, his own life – like most lives – has been a mix of strengths and frailties. Yet notable though his wealth may be, Buffett's legacy will not be his ranking on the scorecard of wealth; it will be his principles and ideas that have enriched people's lives. This book tells you why Warren Buffett is the most fascinating American success story of our time.
All titles available at Vijitha Yapa Bookshop on request