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Launch of Love Tastes Like Strawberries by Rosamund Haden

Monday, June 30th 2014 at 5:30 PM

love tastes

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Soccer Story Time: Laduma!

Saturday, June 28th 2014 at 11:00 AM

Soccer-illustration-72dpi3-212x300The Football World Cup is on and everyone is talking about soccer and kicking around balls and cheering for their favourite country. Go Brazil!

Today Stuart will be the Reading Coach and tell you great soccer stories and then you will all make your own world cups to take home and run around screaming: ‘Laduuuuuuuuuuma!”

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Launch of 80 Gays Around the World by Brent Meersman

Thursday, June 26th 2014 at 5:30 PM

80 gays invite Book Lounge

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Holiday Crafternoon: The Weather

Wednesday, June 25th 2014 at 2:30 PM

Raincloud_SMALLWelcome to the first day of our Holiday Crafternoons! Can you believe it is nearly time for the June Holidays already?

This afternoon we will read stories about the weather, because when it starts to get this cold, everyone is talking about it!

And then we will make our own winter weather scene.

It would be lovely if you can join us.

Ages 3+.

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Launch of the War in Worcester Youth & the Apartheid State by Pamela Reynolds

Tuesday, June 24th 2014 at 5:30 PM

war in w

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June 2014

Sunday, June 22nd 2014 at 2:12 PM

Book of the Month

The Truth about the Harry Quebert Affair by Joël Dicker

 

The cleverest, creepiest book you’ll read this year … Twin Peaks meets Atonement meets In Cold Blood.”                             Daily Telegraph

August 30, 1975. The day of the disappearance. The day Somerset, New Hampshire, lost its innocence.

That summer, struggling author Harry Quebert fell in love with fifteen-year-old Nola Kellergan. Thirty-three years later, her body is dug up from his yard, along with a manuscript copy of the novel that made him a household name. Quebert is the only suspect.

Marcus Goldman – Quebert’s most gifted protégé – throws off his writer’s block to clear his mentor’s name. Solving the case and penning a new bestseller soon merge into one. As his book begins to take on a life of its own, the nation is gripped by the mystery of ‘The Girl Who Touched the Heart of America’.

But with Nola, in death as in life, nothing is ever as it seems.

 

Book Lounge pick – compelling and highly recommended!

 

Unimpeachably terrific.”                             New York Times Book Review

An intricate murder mystery that could be the read of the summer.”                      Sunday Times

A smart, immensely readable, impressively plotted page-turner … A tour de force, this seems set to be a huge success.”                                Metro

The tale is expertly told, as unreliable information dances with necessary plot shifts and unexpected moments of catastrophe. An accomplished thriller.”                 Independent.

A spellbinding literary thriller … It is maddeningly, deliciously impossible to guess the truth.”                      The Times

Dicker has the first-rate crime novelist’s ability to lead his readers up the garden path… An excellent story.”                       Sunday Express

A global phenomenon.”                              Le Monde

All the ingredients of a world bestseller.”                             Die Zeit

A great noir.”                   Corrieredella Sera

 

 

Fiction

The Three by Sarah Lotz

 

Lost meets The Passage in this incredible new thriller, for all fans of The Shining Girls and Stephen King.

 

Four simultaneous plane crashes. Three child survivors. A religious fanatic who insists the three are harbingers of the apocalypse. What if he’s right?

The world is stunned when four commuter planes crash within hours of each other on different continents. Facing global panic, officials are under pressure to find the causes. With terrorist attacks and environmental factors ruled out, there doesn’t appear to be a correlation between the crashes, except that in three of the four air disasters a child survivor is found in the wreckage.

Dubbed ‘The Three’ by the international press, the children all exhibit disturbing behavioural problems, presumably caused by the horror they lived through and the unrelenting press attention. This attention becomes more than just intrusive when a rapture cult led by a charismatic evangelical minister insists that the survivors are three of the four harbingers of the apocalypse. The Three are forced to go into hiding, but as the children’s behaviour becomes increasingly disturbing, even their guardians begin to question their miraculous survival…

Compulsive reading .”                  Marie-Claire

Sarah Lotz has just written the perfect horror story. This will be undoubtedly one of the best horror stories published in 2014.”                   Book Plank

It’s reminiscent of Stephen King’s Carrie and The Three comes preloaded with praise from the master of horror himself. It deserves it: this high-concept thriller is a blast. “                                Guardian

One of the finest, freakiest horror novels I’ve read.”                       Chuck Wendig

The author’s use of the oral-history format, with its shifting voices and points of view, is a stroke of genius: the reader is in a state of near-constant confusion at the beginning, which is slowly replaced by unease and then dread as the various commentators start to see the bigger picture. A very creepy, very effective novel. “                           Booklist

 

 

Sex Lives of Siamese Twins by Irving Welsh

 

When Lucy Brennan, a Miami Beach personal-fitness trainer, disarms a gunman chasing two frightened homeless men, the police and the breaking-news cameras are not far behind and, within hours, Lucy is a media hero. The solitary eye-witness is the depressed and overweight Lena Sorensen, who becomes obsessed with Lucy and signs up as her client – though she seems more interested in the trainer’s body than her own. When the two women find themselves more closely aligned, and can’t stop thinking about the sex lives of Siamese twins, the real problems start…

In the aggressive, foul-mouthed trainer, Lucy Brennan, and the needy, manipulative Lena Sorensen, Irvine Welsh has created two of his most memorable female protagonists, and one of the most bizarre, sado-masochistic folies à deux in contemporary fiction. Featuring murder, depravity and revenge – and enormous amounts of food and sex – The Sex Lives of Siamese Twins taps into two great obsessions of our time and tells a story so subversive and dark it blacks out the Florida sun.

 

“[Welsh] has never written with greater verve… This is a novel packed with energy.”                       Scotsman

“Not only cleverly conceived but genuinely, hauntingly, transgressive.”                  Guardian

Razor-sharp prose… Both Lucy and Lena dazzle in this hugely entertaining read.”                           List

Boisterous, exuberant.”                              Sunday Times

Proof [Welsh] can write convincingly about experiences suitably removed from his own.”                                           Independent

 

 

Glow by Ned Beauman

 

A hostage exchange outside a police station in Pakistan.

A botched defection in an airport hotel in New Jersey.

A test of loyalty at an abandoned resort in the Burmese jungle.

A boy and a girl locking eyes at a rave in a South London laundrette…

 

A conspiracy with global repercussions converges on one small flat above a dentist’s office in Camberwell.

 

Beauman’s writing is dazzlingly inventive.”                        The Times

 

I love Ned Beauman’s novels.”                 Philip Hensher

 

A singular and almost recklessly gifted, young writer.”                 Time

 

Seriously intelligent and seriously funny at the same time.”                        Daily Telegraph

 

Gobsmackingly clever.”                               Vanity Fair

 

Undoubtedly a writer of prodigious talent.”                      Financial Times

 

A promising voice for the future of the written word and a force to be acknowledged in the here and now.”                       Dazed & Confused

 

The Axeman’s Jazz by Ray Celestin

 

 

Based on a true story. New Orleans, 1919. As a dark serial killer – The Axeman – stalks the city, three individuals set out to unmask him…

 

Though every citizen of the ‘Big Easy’ thinks they know who could be behind the terrifying murders, Detective Lieutenant Michael Talbot, heading up the official investigation, is struggling to find leads. But Michael has a grave secret, and if he doesn’t get himself on the right track fast, it could be exposed…

 

Former detective Luca d’Andrea has spent the last six years in Angola state penitentiary, after Michael, his protégée, blew the whistle on his corrupt behaviour. Now a newly freed man, Luca is back working with the mafia, whose need to solve the mystery of the Axeman is every bit as urgent as that of the authorities.

Meanwhile, Ida is a secretary at the Pinkerton Detective Agency. Obsessed with Sherlock Holmes and dreaming of a better life, Ida stumbles across a clue which lures her and her musician friend, Louis Armstrong, to the case – and into terrible danger…

As Michael, Luca and Ida each draw closer to discovering the killer’s identity, the Axeman himself will issue a challenge to the people of New Orleans: play jazz or risk becoming the next victim. And as the case builds to its crescendo, the sky will darken and a great storm will loom over the city . . .

Inspired by a true story, The Axeman’s Jazz, set against the heady backdrop of jazz-filled, mob-ruled New Orleans, is an ambitious, gripping thriller announcing a major new talent in historical crime fiction.

 

Debut novelist Ray Celestin has based his beguiling crime thriller on the true story of a serial killer who terrorised New Orleans for more than a year after the First World War. Beautifully written, the evocative prose brings the jazz-filled, mob-ruled ‘Big Easy’ of pre-prohibition America to life in glorious effect with a story full of suspense and intrigue. Stunning.”                 Sunday Express

A rewarding crime novel, swinging its way to a terrifying denouement with all the panache of a New Orleans marching band. This is an excellent debut, with a promise of more good mysteries to come.”                         The Times

Celestin smartly evokes the atmosphere of 1919 New Orleans, and a city dominated by music and the mob. Gripping.”                 Sunday Times

During a stormy summer in 1919 New Orleans, a serial killer is hacking seemingly random victims to death. This thriller, which blends voodoo, gangsters and jazz into an intoxicating mix, is based on a true story.”                       Sunday Mirror

 

 

A God in Every Stone by Kamila Shamsie

 

July 1914. Young Englishwoman Vivian Rose Spencer is running up a mountainside in an ancient land, surrounded by figs and cypresses. Soon she will discover the Temple of Zeus, the call of adventure, and the ecstasy of love. Thousands of miles away a twenty-year old Pathan, Qayyum Gul, is learning about brotherhood and loyalty in the British Indian army.

July, 1915. Qayyum Gul is returning home after losing an eye at Ypres, his allegiances in tatters. Viv is following the mysterious trail of her beloved. They meet on a train to Peshawar, unaware that a connection is about to be forged between their lives – one that will reveal itself fifteen years later, on the Street of Storytellers, when a brutal fight for freedom, an ancient artefact and a mysterious green-eyed woman will bring them together again.

A powerful story of friendship, injustice, love and betrayal, A God in Every Stone carries you across the globe, into the heart of empires fallen and conquered, reminding us that we all have our place in the chaos of history and that so much of what is lost will not be forgotten.

 

Into the ranks of international voices steps Kamila Shamsie, who seems as if she has heard, and listened to, the music of what surrounds us.”                       Colum McCann

 

 

 

Blood Drenched Beard by Daniel Galera

 

Blood-Drenched Beard is the gripping, visceral English-language debut from Daniel Galera.

His father shoots himself, and all he’s left with is the old cattle dog and a vague desire for explanation. He loves swimming so he drifts south to Garopaba, a quiet little town on the Brazilian coast, where his grandfather disappeared in mysterious, possibly brutal, circumstances decades before.

There, in the midst of romantic flings and occasional trips, he comes to discover more than he could ever have imagined – not just about his grandfather, but also about himself.

 

“ [A] dark, twisting thriller…one of the year’s best offerings .”                     Grazia

“Succeeds in creating an unsettling contrast between the beauty of this sleepy paradise and its sinister underbelly . . . an honest, disturbing portrait of a town that is, we discover, a predatory place at its heart.”                              Financial Times

Interesting, original, moving.’                  Observer

Utterly brilliant. I loved every single page. Galera is an extraordinary writer and this is a beautiful book. He sees the essential truths in his characters, and through them he sees those truths in us.”                 Nadeem Aslam

Make sure you buy this book before the summer is over. A page turner which pulls it punches in all the right places, it is witty, modern and deceptively emotional – with lots of flirting and swimming to add to the mix.”                              Deborah Levy

 

 

Lost for Words by Edward St Aubyn

 

From the bestselling author of the Patrick Melrose novels, this is a thought-provoking and entertaining insight into a sniping world of literature, celebrity culture and ambition.

Each of the judges of the Elysian Prize for literature has a reason for accepting the job. For the chairman, MP Malcolm Craig, it is backbench boredom, media personality Jo Cross is on the hunt for a ‘relevant’ novel, and Oxbridge academic Vanessa Shaw is determined to discover good writing. But for Penny Feathers of the Foreign Office, it’s all just getting in the way of writing her own thriller. Over the next few weeks they must read hundreds of submissions to find the best book of the year, and so the judges spar, cajole and bargain in order that their chosen title gets the recognition it deserves.

Meanwhile, a host of authors are desperate for Elysian glory, including brilliant writer and serial heart-breaker Katherine Burns, lovelorn debut novelist Sam Black, and Sonny, convinced that his magnum opus, The Mulberry Elephant, will take the literary world by storm.

Lost for Words is razor-sharp and fabulously entertaining. It cuts to the quick of some of the deepest questions about the place of art in our celebrity-obsessed culture, and asks how we can ever hope to recognize real talent when everyone has an agenda.

 

Edward St Aubyn is among the handful of the current giants of English fiction. He has always had an eye for the sort of satire that does not exclude compassion and understanding; now that eye is trained on the absurd world of awarding literary prizes. The results are hilarious!”                               Edmund White

The book is a riot, complete with belly-achingly hilarious pastiches of the bonkers novels that are sent in for the prize to consider.”                            Sunday Times

“Lost for Words is a long-overdue, laugh-out-loud satire on the whole business of literary prizes.”                            Evening Standard

“[An] intricate satire, written with restless wit. A gorgeous viciousness is present…St Aubyn’s ear for fakery never falters . . . This novel is a pleasure to read. “                              Observer

Everything St. Aubyn writes is worth reading for the cleansing rancor of his intelligence and the fierce elegance of his prose.”                 Anne Enright, New York Times Book Review

A fizzing satire that neatly skewers all the contradictions and absurdities of literary prize-giving, and the awkward fit between literature and ‘celebrity‘.”                          Daily Telegraph

“Lost for Words is a witty, often excoriating, riposte to the phenomenon and workings of major book awards.”                                                Independent

The weakest link among the judges of his fictional Elysian Prize is a brilliant comic creation called Penny Feathers…Fun, black and brilliant stuff. Lost for Words – puckish, bitchy and shamelessly silly …Very clever and extremely funny.”                            The Times

St Aubyn’s latest novel is an entertaining satire on the literary-prize industry, full of splendid jokes.”                      Tatler

 

 

 

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doer

 

The epic new novel, set during WW2, from Sunday Times Short Story Prize-winner Anthony Doerr.

Marie-Laure has been blind since the age of six. Her father builds a perfect miniature of their Paris neighbourhood so she can memorise it by touch and navigate her way home. But when the Nazis invade, father and daughter flee with a dangerous secret.

Werner is a German orphan, destined to labour in the same mine that claimed his father’s life, until he discovers a knack for engineering. His talent wins him a place at a brutal military academy, but his way out of obscurity is built on suffering.

At the same time, far away in a walled city by the sea, an old man discovers new worlds without ever setting foot outside his home. But all around him, impending danger closes in.

Doerr’s combination of soaring imagination and meticulous observation is electric. As Europe is engulfed by war and lives collide unpredictably, All The Light We Cannot See is a captivating and devastating elegy for innocence.

 

This novel will be a piece of luck for anyone with a long plane journey or beach holiday ahead. It is such a page-turner, entirely absorbing… [Doerr’s] attention to detail is magnificent.”                               Carmen Callil, Guardian

 

Delicate and moving … the novel takes hold and will not easily let go.”                  The Times

 

Boy meets girl in Anthony Doerr’s hauntingly beautiful new book, but the circumstances are as elegantly circuitous as they can be.”                               New York Times

 

I’m not sure I will read a better novel this year than Anthony Doerr’s All the Light We Cannot See. Enthrallingly told, beautifully written and so emotionally plangent that some passages bring tears, it is completely unsentimental — no mean trick when you consider that Doerr’s two protagonists are children who have been engulfed in the horror of World War II …. Enthrallingly told, beautifully written.”                   Washington Post

 

This jewel of a story is put together like a vintage timepiece … Doerr’s writing and imagery are stunning. It’s been a while since a novel had me under its spell in this fashion.”                         Abraham Verghese, author of ‘Cutting for Stone’

 

 

The Steady Running of the Hour by Justin Go

 

In this compelling debut, a young American discovers he may be heir to the unclaimed estate of an English World War I officer, which launches him on a quest across Europe to uncover the elusive truth.

Just after graduating college, Tristan Campbell receives a letter delivered by special courier to his apartment in San Francisco. It contains the phone number of a Mr. J.F. Prichard of Twyning& Hooper, Solicitors, in London – and news that could change Tristan’s life forever.

In 1924, Prichard explains, an English alpinist named Ashley Walsingham died attempting to summit Mt. Everest, leaving his fortune to his former lover, Imogen Soames-Andersson. But the estate was never claimed. Information has recently surfaced suggesting Tristan may be the rightful heir, but unless he can find documented evidence, the fortune will be divided among charitable beneficiaries in less than two months.

In a breathless race from London archives to Somme battlefields to the Eastfjords of Iceland, Tristan pieces together the story of a forbidden affair set against the tumult of the First World War and the pioneer British expeditions to Mt. Everest. Following his instincts through a maze of frenzied research, Tristan soon becomes obsessed with the tragic lovers, and he crosses paths with a mysterious French girl named Mireille who suggests there is more to his quest than he realizes. Tristan must prove that he is related to Imogen to inherit Ashley’s fortune – but the more he learns about the couple, the stranger his journey becomes.

 

A wonderful time-slip story, beautifully written and with a superb sense of place. Go captures the spirit of early twentieth century England perfectly, both in the past and the present, in a novel that is exciting, emotionally engaging and ambitious. I loved it!”                           Kate Mosse

Justin Go’s impressive and ambitious debut is meticulously plottedand researched, and combines the narrative drive of Dan Brown with the literary sensibility of Alan Hollinghurst’s The Stranger’s Child.” Financial Times

Packed with wonderful, deep and fascinating characters, Justin Go’s novel is a whirlwind of emotion and history, poignant and breathtaking in its scope and execution .the story is terrific, with brilliant, realistic dialogue and fantastic characters.”                                Books Monthly

Destined to join the long list of wartime romances that have been turned into Hollywood movies (think The English Patient and Atonement), US author Justin Go’s first novel is what they might’ve called in the Fifties a “rip-roaring adventure”. An engaging detective story.The Steady Running Of The Hour will leave you feeling emotionally drained and historically enlightened.”                     History of War magazine

 

 

The Bird Skinner by Alice Greenaway

 

From the award-winning author of White Ghost Girls comes an evocative tale of memory, loss – and the redemptive power of friendship.

It is 1973. Jim Kennoway, a distinguished ornithologist and Second World War veteran, has just left his work at the Natural History Museum in New York, turned his back on his family and retreated to an island boathouse off the coast of Maine. His desires are simple: to be left alone with his cigarettes, gin and battered copy of Treasure Island, and to forget.

Jim’s solitude is shattered when Cadillac Baketi, a tall, ebullient and dazzlingly bright young woman from the Solomon Islands arrives on her way to study medicine at Yale University. Cadillac is the daughter of Tosca, an island scout Jim befriended during the war when they collected and skinned birds while spying on the Japanese. Jim curses the intrusion as he finds his thoughts catapulting back to his youth and a dark truth about his time in the Solomons. Yet it may be that Cadillac, from the Pacific islands Jim thought he’d left behind, can teach him to be human again.

 

Alice Greenway creates intensely believable characters who come from other places and other times. The Solomon Islands become characters as rich and three-dimensional as any other. She captures so well the unsleeping tragedies of the past, and how these bear in upon the present.”                            Helen Dunmore

 

 

Garden of Dreams by Melissa Siebert

 

In this epic, cross-cultural and cinematic novel, a boy’s coming-of-age saga collides with the sordid underworlds of child trafficking in India and Nepal. When he starts his journey in the fantastical desert city of Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, India, thirteen year old Eli de Villiers is bound by his parents’ estrangement, and by the otherwise ordinary life he leads in Cape Town.

 

He longs for his parents to reunite, for a whole family. But when he finds himself inside a brothel on Delhi’s infamous GB Road, at the mercy of the diabolical madam and child trafficker Auntie Lakshmi, his world expands exponentially. Eventually escaping with other children, Eli leads them – with Lakshmi’s henchmen on their heels – north towards Nepal, to deliver them to safety and to find his father, an international mediatorm posted in Kathmandu.

 

The children travel through the surreal landscapes of India and the jungles of southern Nepal. Also in pursuit are the irrepressible Inspector VJ Gupta, head of the Child Crimes Unit in Delhi and Lakshmi’s nemesis; and Anton de Villiers, Eli’s father, who seeks out Maoist rebels in the jungle to help find his son.Eli’s mother, Margo, has abdicated and run off to the drugged-out beaches of Kerala in a haze of self-destruction. Evocative, thoughtprovoking and compassionate, Garden of Dreams explores theinevitable tension between loving ‘one’s own’ and loving strangers desperately needing love.

 

 

 

Em and the Big Hoom by Jerry Pinto

 

She was always Em to us. There may have been a time when we called her something ordinary like Mummy, or Ma, but I don’t remember. She was Em, and our father, sometimes, was the Big Hoom.”

 

In a tiny flat in Bombay Imelda Mendes – Em to her children – holds her family in thrall with her flamboyance, her manic affection and her cruel candour. Her husband – to whom she was once ‘Buttercup’ – and her two children must bear her ‘microweathers’, her swings from laugh-out-loud joy to dark malevolence.

 

In Em and the Big Hoom, the son begins to unravel the story of his parents: the mother he loves and hates in the same moment and the unusual man who courted, married and protected her – as much from herself as from the world.
It is utterly persuasive and deeply affecting: stylistically adventurous it is never self-indulgent; although suffused with pain it shows no trace of self-pity. Parts of it are extremely funny, and its pages are filled with endearing and eccentric characters.”                       Amitav Ghosh
Pinto chases the elusive portrait of a mother who simply said of herself that she was mad. As I read this novel, that also portrays a very tender marriage and the life of a Goan family in Bombay, it drowned me. I mean that in the best way. It plunged me into a world so vivid and capricious, that when I finished, I found something had shifted and changed within myself. This is a world of magnified and dark emotion. The anger is a primal force, the sadness wild and raw. Against this, the jokes are hilarious, reckless, free falling…This is a rare, brilliant book, one that is wonderfully different from any other that I have read coming out of India.”                    Kiran Desai
A child’s-eye view of madness and sorrow, full of love, pain, and, unaccountably, much wild comedy. ne of the very best books to come out of India in a long, long time.”                               Salman Rushdie

 

 

Non-Fitcion

 

 

The Trigger: Hunting the Assassin Who Brought the World to War by Tim Butcher

 

On a summer morning in Sarajevo a hundred years ago, a teenage assassin named GavriloPrincip fired not just the opening shots of the First World War but the starting gun for modern history, when he killed Archduke Franz Ferdinand. Yet the events Princip triggered were so monumental that his own story has been largely overlooked, his role garbled and motivations misrepresented. The Trigger puts this right, filling out a figure who changed our world and whose legacy still has an impact on all of us today.

Born a penniless backwoodsman, Princip’s life changed when he trekked through Bosnia and Serbia to attend school. As he ventured across fault lines of faith, nationalism and empire, so tightly clustered in the Balkans, radicalisation slowly transformed him from a frail farm boy into history’s most influential assassin.

By retracing Princip’s journey from his highland birthplace, through the mythical valleys of Bosnia to the fortress city of Belgrade and ultimately Sarajevo, Tim Butcher illuminates our understanding both of Princip and the places that shaped him. Tim uncovers details about Princip that have eluded historians for a century and draws on his own experience, as a war reporter in the Balkans in the 1990s, to face down ghosts of conflicts past and present.

The Trigger is a rich and timely work that brings to life both the moment the world first went to war and an extraordinary region with a potent hold over history.

 

A fascinating study of one of those rare individuals whose act of violence changed the history of the world. An incisive, shrewd, wholly compelling investigation of an assassin’s life and times.”                               William Boyd

A fabulous book that all First World War historians will now have to take account of. Superb.”                                 Saul David

A splendid book. It takes its place among classics of Balkan history.”                     Norman Stone

Tim Butcher goes from strength to strength. I enjoyed every paragraph.”                           Dervla Murphy

Lucid, passionate, urgent.”                        Rory MacLean

This is first class history and in a year swamped with First World War centenary books, it’s the one you should read first.”                                 Andrew Roberts

A compelling and fascinating read…a shadowy assassin brought to life by an writer who gets to grips with a century of Balkan intrigue.”                              Kate Adie

A marvellously absorbing book… A triumph of research, it will appeal to the layman and historian alike.”                             Financial Times

Extremely well written, taut and evocative… Despite its complex subject, Butcher makes this an easy and engaging read with his breezy style and fascinating encounters.”                            Misha Glenny, Daily Telegraph

 

 

Far from the Tree: Parents, Children and the Search for Identity by Andrew Solomon

 

*Winner Of The Wellcome Book Prize 2014, and a New York Times Bestseller*

 

Sometimes your child – the most familiar person of all – is radically different from you. The saying goes that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. But what happens when it does?

Drawing on interviews with over three hundred families, covering subjects including deafness, dwarfism, Down’s Syndrome, Autism, Schizophrenia, disability, prodigies, children born of rape, children convicted of crime and transgender people, Andrew Solomon documents ordinary people making courageous choices. Difference is potentially isolating, but Far from the Tree celebrates repeated triumphs of human love and compassion to show that the shared experience of difference is what unites us.

 

Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for General Non-fiction and eleven other national awards.Winner of the Green Carnation Prize.

 

The tales Solomon returns with, of profound disability and extreme differences overcome, make it a bible of empathy and inclusion.”                           Spectator

Andrew Solomon’s Far From the Tree is a prodigious, illuminating book about the challenge of being a parent – especially when children are out of the ordinary.”                                 Observer

Life-affirming, thought provoking and highly readable, the book was compiled over 10 years of interviews and I found it deeply moving.”                               Observer

“[A] magnificent study of disability and identity differences.”                      New York Times

This wise book is a careful and surprising study of difference between parent and child and how it shapes our lives.”                     Stephen Grosz, Sunday Telegraph

Parents – especially mothers – are the heroes of this book, many of them describing with extraordinary absence of self-pity how they have coped with almost unimaginable adversity.”                               Dominic Lawson, Sunday Times

Solomon really makes you think… Uniquely brilliant.”                   William Leith, Evening Standard
Beautiful.”                        The Times

 

 

The Crazy Life of Larry Joe: a Journey on the Streets and Stage by Joanne Jowell

 

Meet Larry Joe. Larry is an ex-gangster and an ex-convict. His is also a singer, song-writer, performer and motivational speaker. And he has an extraordinary story to tell.
In this inspiring biography, Larry Joe relives his youth spent between abusive parents, rival gangs and brazen addiction. He stole his first loaf of bread at age five and his descent into a life of crime was virtually guaranteed. Eventually, Larry found himself on the run from the law, living on the streets of Cape Town and busking to earn money.
Just as things seemed hopeless, Larry chose to rewrite his destiny. He turned himself in to the police to face the music.
As a prisoner, Larry continued his metamorphosis by channelling his anger, hopes and dreams into music. Then fate lent a hand in the form of Aron Turest-Swartz – founder of South African music sensation Freshlyground. Aron saw Larry perform at a prison concert, co-produced an album with him at the Douglas Correctional Facility, and ultimately helped him to walk out of jail and onto stage.
This is the story of one man’s journey away from certain self-destruction towards personal freedom. It is the story of South Africa and the challenges of transition from old to new. Larry’s openness about the ravages of his past, his collaboration with Aron, and his new life as a musician and educator, make for a riveting read, and are an inspiration for anyone who wants to believe in second chances.

 

 

Words Will Break Cement: The Passion of Pussy Riot by Masha Gessen

 

On February 21st 2012, five members of an obscure feminist post-punk collective called Pussy Riot staged a performance in Moscow’s Cathedral of Christ the Saviour. Dressed in their trademark brightly coloured dresses and balaclavas, the women performed their song ‘Punk Prayer – Mother of God, Chase Putin Away!’ in front of the altar. The performance lasted only 40 seconds but it resulted in two-year prison sentences for three of the performers – and has turned Pussy Riot into one of the most well-known and important protest movements of the last five years. This timely book is an account of the Pussy Riot protest, the ensuing global support movement, and the tangled and controversial trial of the band members. It explores the status of dissent in Russia, the roots of the group and their adoption – or appropriation – by wider collectives, feminist groups and music icons. Masha Gessen has unique access to the band and those closest to them. Her unrivalled understanding of the Russian protest movement makes her the ideal writer to document and explain the rage, the beauty and the phenomenon that is Pussy Riot.

 

Brought forward due to the amnesty and release, this is the story of the feminist post-punk collective told by the author of a much-admired book on Putin.”                              ,Guardian, Books of 2014

“Words Will Break Cement is valuable for its insights into the modern cultural history of Russia, with all its idealistic muddles, dead-ends and false starts. Gessen’s sharp pen draws a caustic picture of Pussy Riot’s trial while prison correspondence provides a vivid picture of the continuing awfulness of the Russian penal system. Her book is ideal for those curious about the country behind the games.”                   Economist

Much here will be new to the reader. All of it is infuriating.”                        New York Times

“Words Will Break Cement is written in a dry, raised-eyebrow deadpan, which allows post-Soviet repression to indict itself and adeptly captures the bluster and headiness of activist idealism… Pussy Riot’s story is a moving object lesson in the power of art to rise above repression and have the last, cement-breaking word.”                              LA Times

Gessen’s book is vividly told. Overall this is an angry book, which makes it shockingly clear what an injustice was done in a ludicrous trial – and what the treatment of these women says about the system in Putin’s Russia.”                           Sunday Herald

Gessen’s clinical and thorough depiction of Pussy Riot is as personal as it is political; thanks to the rather remarkable access she is afforded to the individuals, their families and allies.”                             Irish Times

Gessen makes a forceful case for Pussy Riot. With extensive access to the friends, relatives and prison correspondence of the jailed activists, she delves deep into their lives. As a Russian-American steeped in the same ideas that inspired Pussy Riot, Gessen is a useful guide.”                  New Statesman

Russian Roulette – A Deadly Game: How British Spies Thwarted Lenin’s Global Plot by Giles Milton

 

It reads like fiction, but it is, astonishingly, history.”                       The Times

 

In 1917, an eccentric band of British spies is smuggled into newly-Soviet Russia. Their goal? To defeat Lenin’s plan to destroy British India and bring down the democracies of the West.

These extraordinary spies, led by Mansfield Cumming, proved brilliantly successful. They found a wholly new way to deal with enemies, one that relied on espionage and dirty tricks rather than warfare. They were the unsung founders of today’s modern, highly professional secret services. They were also the inspiration for fictional heroes to follow, from James Bond to Jason Bourne.

1917, post-Russian Revolution, an unlikely and eccentric band of British spies are smuggled into newly Soviet Russia to thwart Lenin’s plan to destroy British rule in India, as a precursor to toppling the democracies of the West. The spies, under Mansfield Cumming, were the unsung founders of the present-day MI6.

 

Giles Milton’s fast-packed account of Britain’s attempts to sabotage Lenin’s revolution reads like a madcap thriller… Milton has synthesised and filleted a mass of material – old memoirs, official archives and newly released intelligence files – to produce a rollicking tale… which explains the long war against Russia with verve, wit and colour.”                      The Times

This gripping history of derring-do and invisible ink brings to life the exploits of the British spies who waged war against Russia during the Cold War … Full of novelistic flourishes … [readers] will find themselves as gripped as they would be by the very best of Fleming or le Carré.”                       Sunday Times

A terrific story, told with Milton’s customary fluency and eye for detail.”                              Mail on Sunday

Milton is a compulsive storyteller whose rattling style ensures this is the antithesis of a dry treatise on espionage. And unlike 007, it’s all true.”                  Daily Express

With this marvelous, meticulously researched and truly ground-breaking account of British spies working in Lenin’s stripling Soviet Union, Giles Milton – with his best book so far – reminds us of a time when the spying game was dangerous, fun and even, dare one say it cool.”                         Simon Winchester

 

 

 

Code Name Caesar: The Secret Hunt for U-Boat 864 during World War II by Jerome Preisler and Kenneth Sewell

 

As World War II was drawing to a close Hitler made one last attempt to survive. He prepared to send off plans and parts for Germany’s weapons technology,  jet aircraft, rockets and mini-submarines – along with scientists to develop the technology – to his Japanese allies. U-Boat U-864 was ordered to transport the technology that could prolong the war but codebreakers at Bletchley Park intercepted the plan and the British Navy had one chance to destroy the U-Boat. Off the Norwegian coast the British submarine HMS Venturer lay in wait for the U-Boat, and the two would engage in a cat-and-mouse battle that would change the course of the war. It is the only recorded instance of a submarine being sunk by another submarine while both were submerged. Jerome Preisler and Kenneth Sewell recreate one of the least-known, but most crucial, victories of World War II. Drawing on military and naval archives, interviews with those involved and archive photographs Code Name Caesar brings the tense, action-packed underwater battle alive with all the suspense of a thriller.

 

A darned good read… a huge amount of research some rediscovered, some new underpins this story… A good story compellingly told.”                          All Round Look

The full history, for the first time, of an extraordinary event… Very readable.”                   In Depth

The only submarine in history to sink another submarine in underwater combat.”                           Britain At War

 

 

Struck by Genius: How a Brain Injury Made Me a Mathematical Marvel by Jason Padgett and Maureen Seaberg

 

Jason Padgett was an ordinary, not terribly bright, 41-year-old working in his father’s furniture shop when he was the victim of a brutal mugging outside a karaoke bar in 2002.

That same night his stepfather died of cancer, and two weeks later his only brother went missing (his body was discovered three year later). The combined traumas of these three events proofed, unsurprisingly, too much for Jason and he withdraws from life completely, living as a hermit for four years suffering with agrophobia and the onset of OCD. During this time he developed a fascination with the principles of the physical universe, devouring mathematics and physics journals. He also started to see intricate webs of shapes in his head and discovered that he could draw these by hand.

A chance encounter in a mall pointed him in the direction of college. Here his extraordinary mind was recognised, and he was set on a path in which his drawings were identified as mathematical fractals and neuroscientists were able to diagnose a unique individual.

Jason is a miraculous everyman with an inspiring ‘what if’ story that pushes beyond the boundaries of what scientists thought possible.

 

Beautiful, inspiring and intimate . . . An exquisite insider’s look into the mysteries of consciousness.”                      Kirkus Reviews

 

Deeply absorbing . . . It’s that contagious enthusiasm, bursting off the page, that makes this tale of a man trying to understand himself so fascinating. ”                       Entertainment Weekly

 

How extraordinary it is to contemplate the bizarre gifts that might lie within all of us.”
People Magazine

 

Padgett’s heartfelt story of learning to cope with his new faculties, the onset of OCD that accompanied them, the intensive clinical testing and research that continue today, and how his experience changed his life, will appeal to fans of the films Rain Man  andA Beautiful Mind, as well as the works of Oliver Sacks.”                    Library Journal

 

A tale worthy of Ripley’s Believe It or Not!..This memoir sends a hopeful message to families touched by brain injury, autism, or neurological damage from strokes.”                 Booklist

 

A remarkable and wonderfully personal medical tale. It reminds us in equal measure about our possible capacities and our impoverished understanding about how to tap into them.”         David Eagleman, neuroscientist and author of Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain

 

“Jason Padgett’s story is an extraordinary example of the human capacity for adaptation and the immense importance of exploring the individual strengths hidden inside every person’s brain.”                   Temple Grandin, author of The Autistic Brain and Thinking in Pictures

 

Modern neuroscience, in spite of its tremendous progress, tends to ignore folk wisdom about the brain’s remarkable potential for change and growth. Struck by Genius restores the balance and marshals evidence that there are astonishing abilities in all of us, presently unfathomable, waiting to be unleashed.”                                  V. S. Ramachandran, neuroscientist and author of The Tell-Tale Brain: A Neuroscientist’s Quest for What Makes Us Human

 

 

Africa!

Good Morning Mr Mandela by Zelda de la Grange

 

Zelda la Grange grew up in South Africa as a white Afrikaner who supported the rules of segregation. Yet just a few years after the end of Apartheid she would become a most trusted assistant to Nelson Mandela, growing to respect and cherish the man she had been taught was the enemy.

Good Morning, Mr Mandela tells the extraordinary story of how a young woman had her life, beliefs, prejudices and everything she once believed in utterly transformed by the greatest man of her time. It is the incredible journey of an awkward, terrified young typist in her twenties later chosen to become the President’s most loyal and devoted servants, spending most of her adult working life travelling with, supporting and caring for the man she would come to call ‘Khulu’, or ‘grandfather’.

Here Zelda pays tribute to Nelson Mandela as she knew him – a teacher who gave her the most valuable lessons of her life. A man who refused to be defined by his past, who forgave and respected all, but who was also frank, teasing and direct. As he renewed his country, he also freed Zelda from a closed world of fear and mistrust, giving her life true meaning. Now she shares his lasting and inspiring gifts with the world.

This is a book about love and second chances. It will touch your life and make you believe that every one of us, no matter who we are or what we have done, has the power to change.

 

 

Congo: The Epic History of a People by David van Reybrouck

 

Epic, yet eminently readable and profoundly moving, the winner of the Prix Médicisessai 2012 and the AKO Literature Prize traces the fate of one of the world’s most devastated countries: the Democratic Republic of Congo.

With a span of several hundred years and an enormous cast of characters, Congo chronicles the most dramatic episodes of the nation’s history, the people and events that have determined Congo’s development – from the slave trade to the ivory and rubber booms; from the arrival of Henry Morton Stanley and his meeting with Dr Livingstone to the brutal regime of Belgium’s King Leopold II; from the struggle for independence to Mobutu’s exploitative rule; and from Muhammad Ali and George Foreman’s world famous ‘Rumble in the Jungle’ to the civil war over natural resources that began in 1996 and still rages today.

David Van Reybrouck interweaves his own family’s history with the voices of a diverse range of individuals – charismatic dictators, feuding warlords, child-soldiers, elderly, female smugglers, and many in the African diaspora of Europe and China – to offer a deeply humane approach to political history, focusing squarely on the Congolese perspective in an attempt to return a nation’s history to its people.

 

The English-speaking world has been impatiently awaiting this translation. Congo is a remarkable piece of work. Van Reybrouck pulls off the tricky feat of keeping a panoramic history of a vast and complex nation accessible, intimate and particular. He does this by talking to the Congolese, who know their history better than anyone else.”                    Michela Wrong, author of In the Footsteps of Mr. Kurtz

 

 

Africa is Open for Business by Victor Kgomoeswana

 

Victor Kgomoeswana, well known as an African business expert with a profile on radio and television, shares 50 stories of innovation and opportunity behind the business headlines of the last ten years on the African continent. From the introduction of M-pesa in Kenya to changing the image of Nigeria as Africa’s fraud capital, and from Rwandan coffee farmers to Ethiopian Airlines, and other remarkable stories in between, Kgomoeswana criss-crosses the continent to highlight the most fascinating business stories and their impact on the future of Africa.
Africa is Open for Business contains a dynamic and different view of the opportunities available in Africa from those usually portrayed in the news and in other media. Kgomoeswana focuses on the stories behind the headlines as well as sharing his personal experiences of Africa while travelling and doing business in a way that is as entertaining as it is informative.

 

 

The Somme Chronicles: South Africans on the Western Front by Chris Schoeman

 

The heavy smell of blood filled the air, and every moment you had this intense fear that the next bullet was meant for you.”
So remembered William Thorne, a South African volunteer soldier who fought in the muddy trenches along the River Somme in France on Europe’s Western Front. A boy of nineteen at the time, he was one of thousands of South Africans who took part in the 1916 Somme Offensive between the Allied forces and the Germans. It was one of the bloodiest and costliest conflicts of the First World War, resulting in over a million deaths.
The men of the 1st South African Infantry Brigade were involved on a large scale and distinguished themselves in all major engagements during the campaign. But their bravery came at a price. In the first month alone, after six days of fighting to recapture the village of Longueval and clear Delville Wood of enemy soldiers, of the brigade’s 3 433 soldiers, only 750 were left standing. The rest were dead or wounded. By the armistice, the South Africans had suffered some 15 000 casualties in France, of which one third had died.

 

On the 100th anniversary of the start of the Great War, The Somme Chronicles tells the gripping stories of the men of the 1st South African Infantry Brigade via their letters and diaries, providing an invaluable, human account of one of history’s most devastating conflicts.

 

 

Earth Matters: Land as Material and Metaphor in the Arts of Africa by Karen Milbourne

 

Featuring more than 100 extraordinary works of art from 1800 to the present, Earth Matters reveals how African individuals and communities have visually mediated their most poignant relationships with the land—whether it be to earth as a sacred or medicinal material, as something uncovered by mining or claimed by burial, as a surface to be interpreted and turned to for inspiration, or as an environment to be protected.

Both internationally recognised and emerging contemporary artists are represented, from the continent and diaspora, including El Anatsui, GhadaAmer, Sammy Baloji, Ingrid Mwangi and William Kentridge. Highlights include a pair of rare Yoruba onilefigures, a one-of-a-kind Punu reliquary from Gabon, and 3 bociofigures from the personal collection of legendary French dealer Jacques Kerchache. The text includes statements by contemporary African artists including WangechiMutu, Clive van den Berg, Allan de Souza, and George Osodi. National Museum of African Art curator Karen E. Milbourne explores how diverse African concepts of healing, the sacred, identity, memory, history, and environmental sustainability have all been formed in relation to the land in this pioneering scholarly study.

 

 

 

Stringer: A Reporter’s Journey into the Congo by Anjam Sundaram

 

Written with beauty and acuity, Stringer is an account of a year and a half that Anjan Sundaram spent in the Congo working on the bottom rung of the Associated Press. It was an intense period that would take him deep into the shadowy city of Kinshasa, to the dense rainforests that still evoke Conrad’s vision, and to the heart of Africa’s Great War, culminating in the historic and violent multiparty elections of 2006. Along the way he would go on a joyride with Kinshasa’s feral children, fend off its women desperate for an escape route, and travel with an Indian businessman hunting for his fortune.

 

You have found a rare talent in AnjanSundaram. I loved his coming of age, not just professionally but intimately and privately, set against the Congo morass. It takes a brave writer to admit to utter bewilderment, so I salute not just his honesty but his spirit.”                   Tim Butcher

Anjan Sundaram’s prose is so luscious, whether he’s writing about mathematics or colonial architecture or getting mugged, that the words come alive and practically dance on the page. Stringer is first book, about a year-long journey to Congo; reading it made me feel like I’d follow him anywhere in the world. “                          Barbara Demick, winner of the Samuel Johnson Prize for Nothing to Envy

With an incisive intellect and senses peeled raw, Sundaram takes us on a mesmerising journey through the vibrant shambles of modern Congo. This is that rare work of reportage that achieves true literary greatness, and it can stand proudly next to V.S. Naipaul or RyzardKapuscinski.”                        Richard Grant

What a debut! It’s not often one reads a book of reportage from a difficult foreign country with such fever-dream immediacy, such tense intelligence, and such an artful gift for story-telling. Here is a commanding new writer who comes to us with the honesty, the intensity, and the discerning curiosity of the young Naipaul.”                    Pico Iyer

 

Art

Propaganda: Truth and Lies in Times of Conflict edited by Tony Husband

 

”If you tell a big enough lie and keep repeating it, people will come to see it as the truth.”

Joseph Goebbels

 

Propaganda comes into its own in times of conflict. It is powerful stuff – it can make you love, it can make you hate. It can work for good or evil. Appealing to the emotions rather than the intellect, it feeds on prejudice and regiments the thinking of the crowd. Propaganda takes many forms – this book collects together some of the most powerful images, including many for both the First and Second World Wars.

 

This is a highly illustrated, full-colour collection of the greatest propaganda images ever. From Napoleonic war paintings via anti-Hitler posters to brutal cutting-edge material of today, this book could make you re-examine everything you hold dear.

 

 

Art 101: From Vincent van Gogh to Andy Warhol – Key People, Ideas and Moments in the History of Art by Eric Grzymkowski

 

Too often, textbooks obscure the beauty and wonder of fine art with tedious discourse that even Leonardo da Vinci would oppose. Art 101 cuts out the boring details and lengthy explanations, and instead, gives you a lesson in artistic expression that keeps you engaged as you discover the world’s greatest artists and their masterpieces.

From color theory and Claude Monet to Jackson Pollock and Cubism, this primer is packed with hundreds of entertaining tidbits and works of art that you won’t be able to get anywhere else.

So whether you’re looking to master classic painting techniques, or just want to learn more about popular styles of art, Art 101 has all the answers – even the ones you didn’t know you were looking for.

 

 

Finally for Foodies…

The Edible Atlas: Around the World in 39 Cuisines by Mina Holland

 

The Edible Atlas is a book for intrepid cooks. Mina Holland explores what and why people eat as they do across the world, demystifying the flavours, ingredients, techniques and dishes at the heart of thirty-nine different cuisines. With fully adaptable recipes to suit beginners and confident cooks alike, learn to recreate dishes from different global cuisines – from a South Indian Coconut Fish Curry to a zingy Ceviche, from a yoghurty Jordanian Mansaf to a Danish Dream Cake, from an unbeatable Spanish Tortilla de Patatas to the ultimate Caribbean Jerk Chicken. Weaving snippets of anecdote, history and literature in with recipes and words of wisdom from some of the world’s most seasoned food experts – such as YotamOttolenghi, Jacob Kenedy, José Pizarro and Giorgio Locatelli – The Edible Atlas is as comfortable in the kitchen as it is at your bedside.

 

A fascinating project, telling some fantastic stories about a broad range of cuisines. Mina’s style is engaging and illuminating and the food cries to be cooked.”                    Yotam Ottolenghi

“The Edible Atlas is not only a delight to read but also peppered with delicious recipes, facts and flavours from around the world.”                 Rachel Khoo author of The Little Paris Kitchen)

Here is a nice idea for a cookery book, amiably executed and attractively plated up . . . Holland is a resoundingly enthusiastic guide…Where she’s visited, or even lived in, the places she’s writing about, Holland puts in welcome splashes of autobiographical colour … Intriguing little facts are scattered hither and yon…the most appealing aspect of the book is its practical emphasis on cooking these cuisines at home …Most importantly, The Edible Atlas makes you hungry.”                               Sam Leith , Guardian

Glorious . . . evocative . . . funny . . . engaging.”                               Observer

Happy Reading!

 

Jojo’s Wire Car Launch at Story Time

Saturday, June 21st 2014 at 11:00 AM

Jojo's Wire Car at the Book Lounge

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Launch of Garden of Dreams by Melissa Siebert

Thursday, June 19th 2014 at 5:30 PM

Garden of Evening Dreams

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Launch of The Thunder that Roars by Imran Garda

Wednesday, June 18th 2014 at 6:30 PM

The Thunder that Roars at The Book Lounge

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Launch of South Africa’s 50 Most Famous Rugby Photos at the Springbok Experience Rugby Museum

Wednesday, June 18th 2014 at 6:00 PM

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