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October 2017

Monday, October 30th 2017

Fiction

Munich by Robert Harris

 

Image result for Munich by Robert HarrisSeptember 1938. Hitler is determined to start a war. Chamberlain is desperate to preserve the peace.

The issue is to be decided in a city that will forever afterwards be notorious for what takes place there.

Munich.

As Chamberlain’s plane judders over the Channel and the Führer’s train steams relentlessly south from Berlin, two young men travel with secrets of their own.

Hugh Legat is one of Chamberlain’s private secretaries; Paul Hartmann a German diplomat and member of the anti-Hitler resistance. Great friends at Oxford before Hitler came to power, they haven’t seen one another since they were last in Munich six years earlier. Now, as the future of Europe hangs in the balance, their paths are destined to cross again.

When the stakes are this high, who are you willing to betray? Your friends, your family, your country or your conscience?

 

A brilliantly constructed spy novel set amid the politicking of Chamberlain’s last-ditch negotiations with Hitler.”                         Observer

Harris’s cleverness, judgment and eye for detail are second to none . . . his research is so impeccable that he could have cut all the spy stuff and published Munich as a history book. Harris’s treatment of Britain’s most maligned prime minister is so powerful, so persuasive, that it ranks among the most moving fictional portraits of a politician that I have ever read.”                    Sunday Times

 

Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookshop by Matthew Sullivan

 

Image result for Midnight at the Bright Ideas Books by Matthew SullivanWhen a bookshop patron commits suicide, it’s his favourite store clerk who must unravel the puzzle he left behind in this fiendishly clever debut novel.

Lydia Smith lives her life hiding in plain sight. A clerk at the Bright Ideas Bookstore, she keeps a meticulously crafted existence among her beloved books, eccentric colleagues, and the BookFrogs—the lost and lonely regulars who spend every day marauding the store’s overwhelmed shelves.

But when Joey Molina, a young, beguiling BookFrog, kills himself in the bookstore, Lydia’s life comes unglued. Always Joey’s favorite bookseller, Lydia has inherited his meagre worldly possessions. Trinkets and books; the detritus of a lonely man. But when Lydia flips through his books she finds them defaced in ways both disturbing and inexplicable. They reveal the psyche of a young man on the verge of an emotional reckoning. And they seem to contain a hidden message. What did Joey know? And what does it have to do with Lydia?

As Lydia untangles the mystery of Joey’s suicide, she unearths a long-buried memory from her own violent childhood. Details from that one bloody night begin to circle back. Her distant father returns to the fold, along with an obsessive local cop, and the Hammerman, a murderer who came into Lydia’s life long ago and, as she soon discovers, never completely left. Bedazzling, addictive, and wildly clever, Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore is a heart-pounding mystery that perfectly captures the intellect and eccentricity of the bookstore milieu.

 

With Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore, Matthew Sullivan has written – with great panache and suspense – a smart, twisty crime novel filled with compelling characters set in a world that book-lovers will adore.”              Jess Walter
A page-turner featuring a heroine bookseller who solves a cold case with clues from books – what is not to love?”                         Nina George

 

 

 

The Wardrobe Mistress by Patrick McGrath

 

Image result for The Wardrobe Mistress by Patrick McGrathFrom the Bestselling Author of AsylumTrauma And Spider

Wonderfully sinister … a delight … you are in for a thrilling ride.”              Spectator

A brilliant evocation of the theatrical world’s seedy glamour, The Wardrobe Mistress is also a moving portrait of a woman struggling to make sense of her past and imagine a future for herself.”              Sunday Times

Ghosts of the theatre and the spectre of fascism haunt cold and grimy London in this atmospheric tale from a master of the grotesque.”                   Guardian

January 1947.

London is in ruins, there’s nothing to eat, and it’s the coldest winter in living memory.

To make matters worse, Charlie Grice, one of the great stage actors of the day, has suddenly died. His widow Joan, the wardrobe mistress, is beside herself with grief.

Then one night she discovers Gricey’s secret. Plunged into a dark new world, Joan realises that though fascism might hide, it never dies. Her war isn’t over after all.

McGrath has the gift, the storyteller’s gift, to compel attention, so that you gaze rapt into the fire and listen to the tale unfold.”                 Sunday Times

McGrath is one of the age’s most elegantly accomplished divers into the human psyche . . . a master writer.”             John Banville

McGrath is that rare yet essential thing, a writer who can expose our darkest fears without making us run away from them.”                 New Statesman

 

 

My Absolute Darling by Gabriel Tallent

 

Image result for My Absolute Darling by Gabriel TallentThe year’s must read novel.”                        The Times

One of the most important books you’ll pick up this decade.”         Harper’s Bazaar

An outstanding book that could be this year’s A Little Life.”            Guardian

 

You think you’re invincible. You think you won’t ever miss. We need to put the fear on you. You need to surrender yourself to death before you ever begin, and accept your life as a state of grace, and then and only then will you be good enough.’

At 14, Turtle Alveston knows the use of every gun on her wall;
That chaos is coming and only the strong will survive it;
That her daddy loves her more than anything else in this world.
And he’ll do whatever it takes to keep her with him.

She doesn’t know why she feels so different from the other girls at school;
Why the line between love and pain can be so hard to see;
Why making a friend may be the bravest and most terrifying thing she has ever done
And what her daddy will do when he finds out …

Sometimes strength is not the same as courage.
Sometimes leaving is not the only way to escape.
Sometimes surviving isn’t enough.

Brutal yet beautiful, My Absolute Darling has floored me. Dear Turtle, a heroine amidst the horrorExceptional, unflinching storytelling.”                    Ali Land‏, author of Good Me Bad Me

An incandescent novel with an extraordinary, unforgettable heroine, both deeply contemplative and utterly thrilling.”                      Observer – Thriller of the month

There are books we like well enough to recommend, but there are a very few – To Kill a Mockingbird, Catch-22, The Things They Carried – that we remember forever. To my own shortlist I can now add My Absolute Darling, by Gabriel Tallent … The word “masterpiece” has been cheapened by too many blurbs, but My Absolute Darling absolutely is one.”     Stephen King

A heartrending debut that will shock, then shake, then inspire you.”                     Celeste Ng

An outstanding book that could be this year’s A Little Life.”                        Guardian

Tallent’s breathtaking debut is a harrowing and at times psychologically difficult journey on the scale of A Little Life or The Goldfinch, but it’s worth it . . . a true inspiration.”           Harper’s Bazaar

 

Uncommon Type by Tom Hanks

 

Image result for Uncommon Type by Tom HanksA collection of seventeen wonderful short stories showing that two-time Oscar winner Tom Hanks is as talented a writer as he is an actor.

A hectic, funny sexual affair between two best friends. A World War II veteran dealing with his emotional and physical scars. A second-rate actor plunged into sudden stardom and a whirlwind press junket. A small-town newspaper columnist with old-fashioned views of the modern world. A woman adjusting to life in a new neighborhood after her divorce. Four friends going to the moon and back in a rocket ship constructed in the backyard. A teenage surfer stumbling into his father’s secret life.

These are just some of the people and situations that Tom Hanks explores in his first work of fiction, a collection of stories that dissects, with great affection, humour and insight, the human condition and all its foibles.
Uncommon Type is a book that will delight as well as surprise his millions of fans. It also establishes him as a welcome and wonderful new voice in contemporary fiction, a voice that perceptively delves beneath the surface of friendships, families, love and normal, everyday behaviour.

 

Mr. Hanks turns out to be as authentically genuine a Writer with a capital W as ever touched a typewriter key. The stories in Uncommon Type range from the hilarious to the deeply touching…All with that extra quality of keenly observant and sympathetic intelligence that has always set Tom Hanks apart. I blink, bubble and boggle in amazed admiration.”              Stephen Fry

Reading Tom Hanks’s Uncommon Type is like finding out that Alice Munro is also the greatest actress of our time.”              Ann Patchett

All American life is here … Delightful … Hanks’s prose is impressive, with a strong voice and stylistic flair … so fluent, convincing and confident that you forget it belongs to Tom Hanks, movie star. He’s just a writer. And he’s going to write a great novel one day.”                      The Times

The central quality to Tom’s writing is a kind of poignant playfulness. It’s exactly what you hope from him, except you wish he was sitting in your home, reading it aloud to you, one story at a time.”                      Mindy Kaling

It turns out that Tom Hanks is also a wise and hilarious writer with an endlessly surprising mind. Damn it.”                   Steve Martin

 

 

 

Bare Ground by Peter Harris

 

Image result for Bare Ground by Peter HarrisAs the head of Wits Mining, the last major mining company to do an empowerment deal, Max Sinclair has a mandate from the board and a clear directive: to sell a share of the company to a black consortium. Born and bred in the city that remains, at heart, a mining camp built on gold and the greed of men, Max is used to being a player in the high-stakes game of deals and political influence, and he keeps his cards close to his chest.

There is no shortage of takers for the deal. A shareholding spells possible riches for some – like Sifiso Lesibe, geologist and newest member of the board – and increased influence for others. Support for the deal from government is crucial, particularly when it comes to mining and mineral rights. Politics, power and money are an irresistible combination. Mistrust is everywhere and nothing is as it seems.

Former human rights lawyer Musa Madondo has seen the rise and fall of many a former comrade and he knows he is not immune to the tug of temptation. When Walter Berryman, a former client and friend, comes to Musa for professional advice, in fear of his life after having stumbled across evidence of large-scale industry collusion, he finds himself drawn into an underworld of intrigue and sophisticated espionage every bit as ruthless and deadly in the present day as it was during the country’s struggle for liberation. And in Johannesburg, as in politics, things change in an instant.

 

 

The Fatal Tree by Jake Arnott

 

Image result for The Fatal Tree by Jake ArnottLondon, the 1720s. Welcome to ‘Romeville’, the underworld of that great city. The financial crash caused by the South Sea Bubble sees the rise of Jonathan Wild, self-styled ‘Thief-taker General’ who purports to keep the peace while brutally controlling organised crime. Only two people truly defy him: Jack Sheppard, apprentice turned house-breaker, and his lover, the notorious whore and pickpocket Edgworth Bess.

From the condemned cell at Newgate, Bess gives her account of how she and Jack formed the most famous criminal partnership of their age: a tale of lost innocence and harsh survival, passion and danger, bold exploits and spectacular gaol-breaks – and of the price they paid for rousing the mob of Romeville against its corrupt master. Bess dictates her narrative to Billy Archer, a Grub Street hack and aspiring poet who has rubbed shoulders with Defoe and Swift. But he also inhabits that other underworld of ‘molly-houses’ and ‘unnameable sin’, and has his own story of subterfuge, treachery and doomed romance to deliver. As the gallows casts its grim shadow, who will live to escape the Fatal Tree?

By the acclaimed author of The Long Firm, this is a tour de force; inventive, atmospheric and rich in the street slang of the era. Drawing on real figures and a true history of crime, punishment and rough justice, it tells a heart breaking story of love and betrayal.

 

A work of dazzling imagination and linguistic inventiveness.”                    Observer

A rambunctious narrative of venery, theft, death and a devil-may-care braggadocio, its doomed love story undercuts and counterpoints the swagger with a touching melancholy.”                Elizabeth Buchan

Jake Arnott, who is probably best known for excellent novels such as The Long Firm about London gangsters in the 1960s, has done much more than update the work of his 18th-century predecessors. Unlike them, he shows the citizens of Romeville as people, not as folk heroes or bogeymen . . . Arnott explores what poor Bess calls ‘the felony of love’, a crime that is not on the statute book. The result is powerful, poignant and readable.”              Spectator
Bawdy and rich with vivid evocations of the past . . . The Fatal Tree is Arnott on beguiling form, with the libidinous Bess a wonderfully multifaceted character. Who would have thought that a cult crime writer would become the Daniel Defoe of our day?”                  Barry Forshaw, i News

 

 

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

 

I am loving Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng. Maybe my favorite novel I’ve read this year.”                        John Green, author of The Fault in Our Stars

To say I love this book is an understatement. It’s a deep psychological mystery about the power of motherhood, the intensity of teenage love, and the danger of perfection. It moved me to tears.”                       Reese Witherspoon
Everyone in Shaker Heights was talking about it that summer: how Isabelle, the last of the Richardson children, had finally gone around the bend and burned the house down.

In Shaker Heights, a placid, progressive suburb of Cleveland, everything is meticulously planned – from the layout of the winding roads, to the colours of the houses, to the successful lives its residents will go on to lead. And no one embodies this spirit more than Elena Richardson, whose guiding principle is playing by the rules.

Enter Mia Warren – an enigmatic artist and single mother- who arrives in this idyllic bubble with her teenage daughter Pearl, and rents a house from the Richardsons. Soon Mia and Pearl become more than just tenants: all four Richardson children are drawn to the mother-daughter pair. But Mia carries with her a mysterious past, and a disregard for the rules that threatens to upend this carefully ordered community.

When old family friends attempt to adopt a Chinese-American baby, a custody battle erupts that dramatically divides the town – and puts Mia and Elena on opposing sides. Suspicious of Mia and her motives, Elena is determined to uncover the secrets in Mia’s past. But her obsession will come at an unexpected and devastating cost…

 

Witnessing these two families as they commingle and clash is an utterly engrossing, often heartbreaking, deeply empathetic experience, not unlike watching a neighbour’s house burn….It’s this vast and complex network of affiliations – and the nuanced omniscient voice that Ng employs to navigate it – that make this novel even more accomplished and ambitious than her debut.”                       New York Times Book Review

Delectable and engrossing…A complex and compulsively readable suburban saga that is deeply invested in mothers and daughters…”      Boston Globe

Riveting…unearthing the ways that race, class, motherhood and belonging intersect to shape each individual…Perhaps Ng’s most impressive feat is inviting the reader’s forgiveness for Mrs. Richardson – a woman whose own mission for perfection, and strict adherence to rules ultimately become the catalyst for the maelstrom that ensues.”               Chicago Tribune

 

 

House with the Stained Glass Window by Zanna Sloniowska

 

Image result for House with the Stained Glass Window by Zanna Sloniowska“The House with the Stained-Glass Window is remarkable, a gripping, Lvivian evocation of a city and a family across a long and painful century, at once personal and political, a novel of life and survival across the ages.”               Philippe Sands, author of East West Street

In 1989, Marianna, the beautiful star soprano at the Lviv opera, is shot dead in the street as she leads the Ukrainian citizens in their protest against Soviet power. Only eleven years old at the time, her daughter tells the story of their family before and after that critical moment – including, ten years later, her own passionate affair with an older, married man.

Just like their home city of Lviv, which stands at the crossroads of nations and cultures, the women in this family have had turbulent lives, scarred by war and political turmoil, but also by their own inability to show each other their feelings. Lyrically told, this is the story of a young girl’s emotional, sexual, artistic and political awakening as she matures under the influence of her relatives, her mother’s former lover, her city and its fortunes.

Sloniowska writes subtly and beautifully – every phrase conjures up images, casting colourful lights just like the stained-glass window of the title.”                 Sylwia Chutnik

Sloniowska is a fascinating story-teller who also gives insight into the reality of life in Ukraine. This is an astonishing literary discovery.”                      Justyna Sobolewska, Polityka

 

 

2023: A Trilogy by the Justified Ancients of Mu Mu

 

Image result for 2023: A Trilogy by the Justified Ancients of Mu MuWell we’re back again, 
They never kicked us out, 
Twenty thousand years of 
SHOUT SHOUT SHOUT

Down through the epochs and out across the continents, generation upon generation of The Justified Ancients of Mu Mu have told variants of the same story – an end of days story, a final chapter story. But one with hope, even if the hope at times seems forlorn.

The story contained in this trilogy is the latest telling. Here it is presented as a utopian costume drama, set in the near future, written in the recent past.

Read with care.

REMEMBERED – TOLD – TRANSCRIBED
for Dead Perch Books

***

In the Spring of 2013, the undertakers Cauty & Drummond were on a tour of the Western Isles of Scotland. It was while staying at Jura’s one hotel that they came across a strange-looking book. The book was titled Back in the USSR and authored by someone using the name of Gimpo. Back in the USSR was the memoir of a young woman who had been a nurse in the Falklands War in 1982.

Gimpo ended up in Kiev in what was then the Soviet state of The Ukraine. Here she met with two women named Tat’jana and Kristina who went under numerous aliases, the most widely used being The KLF. Also in Back in the USSR it was claimed that Tat’jana and Kristina had been heavily influenced by a book originally written in English as The Twenty Twenty-Three! Trilogy by someone calling themselves George Orwell. But this George Orwell was in turn the pen name of Roberta Antonia Wilson.

What you are about to read is what they read – well, almost. As for Back in the USSR, if we are able to sell the initial edition of this book and make a return on our investment, we hope to publish that. As for the current whereabouts of Tat’jana and Kristina, we have no idea. They were last seen disappearing into the depths of the Black Sea in their decommissioned Project 865 Piranha submarine. This supposed disappearance happened on 23 August 1994. Rumour on the internet has it they would not reappear for another twenty-three years.

 

A brain-searing, gender-inverted metafiction that addresses the internet’s takeover of reality, the power of capital and the myths of birth.”                     Mojo

The KLF are officially back, as wicked and inscrutable as ever.”                 Pitchfork

Bill and Jimmy’s ill-behaved and darkly jocular meta-fictional spectacular . . . a bewildering-but-compelling cosmic joke of a book, a book which also offers sombre, sobering rumination on the catastrophic fairytale of our existence . . . [2023] is cast in the fluent, page-turning prose that Bill is known for.”                     Caught by the River

 

 

 

 

 

Non-fiction

Dare Not Linger: The Presidential Years by Nelson Mandela and Mandla Langa

 

Image result for Dare Not Linger: The Presidential Years by Nelson Mandela and Mandla LangaI have discovered the secret that after climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb. I have taken a moment here to rest, to steal a view of the glorious vista that surrounds me, to look back on the distance I have come. But I can only rest for a moment, for with freedom comes responsibilities, and I dare not linger, for my long walk is not ended.”                       Long Walk to Freedom

In 1994, Nelson Mandela became the first president of democratic South Africa. Five years later, he stood down. In that time, he and his government wrought the most extraordinary transformation, turning a nation riven by centuries of colonialism and apartheid into a fully functioning democracy in which all South Africa’s citizens, black and white, were equal before the law.

Dare Not Linger is the story of Mandela’s presidential years, drawing heavily on the memoir he began to write as he prepared to finish his term of office, but was unable to finish. Now, the acclaimed South African writer, Mandla Langa, has completed the task using Mandela’s unfinished draft, detailed notes that Mandela made as events were unfolding and a wealth of previously unseen archival material. With a prologue by Mandela’s widow, Graça Machel, the result is a vivid and inspirational account of Mandela’s presidency, a country in flux and the creation of a new democracy. It tells the extraordinary story of the transition from decades of apartheid rule and the challenges Mandela overcome to make a reality of his cherished vision for a liberated South Africa.

 

A rare human being who, in freeing himself of his demons, also became free to give his extraordinarily leadership to his country and the world.”                        Bill Clinton

Underneath the history that has been made, there is a human being who chose hope over fear–progress over the prisons of the past . . . Even as he became a legend, to know the man–Nelson Mandela–is to respect him even more.”                         Barack Obama

 

How to Steal a City: The Battle for Nelson Mandela Bay – An Inside Account by Crispian Olver

 

Image result for How to Steal a City: The Battle for Nelson Mandela Bay – An Inside Account by Crispian OlverHow to Steal a City is an insider account of an intervention, which lays bare how the administration was entirely captured and bled dry by a criminal syndicate, how factional politics within the ruling party abetted that corruption, and how a comprehensive clean-up was eventually conducted.

It is written as a gripping real-life thriller, taking the reader deeper and deeper into the rotten heart of the city. As a former senior government official and local government “fixer”, Crispian Olver was no stranger to dealing with dodgy politicians and broken organisations. Yet what he found was graft that went far beyond the dodgy contracts, blatant conflicts of interest and garden-variety kickbacks he had seen before. It had evolved into a web far more sophisticated and deep rooted than he had ever imagined, involving mazes of shell companies, assassinations, criminal syndicates, and compromised local politicians. The metro was effectively controlled by a criminal network, closely allied to a dominant local ANC faction. What he found was complete state capture—a microcosm of what has been happening in South Africa’s national government.

But there was a personal price to pay. Intense political pressure and threats to his personal safety took a toll on his mental and physical health. He had to have a full-time bodyguard, and never maintained a regular routine. He eventually lost much of his political cover. Olver ultimately had to flee the city as the forces stacked against him started to wreak their revenge.

 

 

A Short History of the Truth: Consolation for the Post-Truth World by Julian Baggini

 

Image result for A Short History of the Truth: Consolation for the Post-Truth World by Julian BagginiHow did we find ourselves in a “post-truth” world of “alternative facts”? And can we get out of it? A Short History of Truth sets out to answer these questions by looking at the complex history of truth and falsehood. It identifies ten types of supposed truth and explains how easily each can become the midwife of falsehood. There is no species of truth that we can rely on unquestioningly, but that does not mean the truth can never be established. Attaining truth is an achievement we need to work for, and each chapter will end up with a truth we can have some confidence in.

This history builds into a comprehensive and clear explanation of why truth is now so disputed by exploring 10 kinds of truth:

Eternal truths, Authoritative truths, Esoteric truths, Reasoned truths, Evidence-based truths, Creative truths, Relative truths, Powerful truths, Moral truths, Holistic truths.

Baggini provides us with all we need to restore faith in the value and possibility of truth as a social enterprise. Truth-seekers need to be sceptical not cynical, autonomous not atomistic, provisional not dogmatic, open not empty, demanding not unreasonable.

 

 

 

The Mother of All Questions: Further Feminisms by Rebecca Solnit

 

Image result for The Mother of All Questions: Further Feminisms by Rebecca SolnitFollowing on from the success of Men Explain Things to Me comes a new collection of essays in which Rebecca Solnit opens up a feminism for all of us: one that doesn’t stigmatize women’s lives, whether they include spouses and children or not; that brings empathy to the silences in men’s lives as well as the silencing of women’s lives; celebrates the ways feminism has shifted in recent years to reclaim rape jokes, revise canons, and rethink our everyday lives.

 

There’s a new feminist revolution – open to people of all genders – brewing right now and Rebecca Solnit is one of its most powerful, not to mention beguiling, voices.”                   Barbara Ehrenreich

These short, incisive essays that pack a powerful punch.”   Publishers Weekly

A keen and timely commentary on gender and feminism. Solnit’s voice is calm, clear, and unapologetic; each essay balances a warm wit with confident, thoughtful analysis, resulting in a collection that is as enjoyable and accessible as it is incisive.”                 Booklist

 

A Farewell to Ice: A Report from the Arctic by Peter Wadhams

 

Image result for A Farewell to Ice: A Report from the Arctic by Peter WadhamsAstonishing … beautiful, compelling and terrifying.”                       Observer

Wadhams’ writing sparkles … a lyrical sense of wonder at the natural world … essential reading … may be the best reader-friendly account of the greenhouse effect available to date.”              John Burnside, New Statesman

Ice is beautiful and complex. It regulates our planet’s temperature. And it is vanishing – fast. Peter Wadhams, the world’s leading expert on sea ice, draws on his lifetime’s research in the Arctic region to illuminate what is happening, what it means for the future, and what can be done.

This most experienced and rational scientist states what so many other researchers privately fear but cannot publicly say.”               Guardian

Wadhams brings huge expertise to his subject – and he is an excellent writer.”                Martin Rees

Utterly extraordinary.”                     Jonathon Porritt

 

 

 

 

Muslim Girl: a Coming of Age by Amani Al-Khatahtbeh

 

Image result for Muslim Girl: a Coming of Age by Amani Al-KhatahtbehIn this New York Times Editor’s Pick, the brilliant founder of MuslimGirl.com shares her harrowing and candid account of what it’s like to be a young Muslim woman in the wake of 9/11, during the never-ending war on terror, and through the Trump era of casual racism.

At nine years old, Amani Al-Khatahtbeh watched from her home in New Jersey as two planes crashed into the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. That same year, she heard her first racial slur. At thirteen, her family took a trip to her father’s native homeland of Jordan, and Amani experienced first-hand a culture built on the true peaceful nature of Islam in its purest form, not the Islamic stereotypes she heard on the news.

Inspired by her trip and after years of feeling like her voice as a Muslim woman was marginalised during a time when it seemed all Western media could talk about was, ironically, Muslim women, Amani created a website called Muslim Girl. As the editor-in-chief, she put together a team of Muslim women and started a life dedicated to activism.

Muslim Girl: A Coming of Age is the extraordinary account of Amani’s journey through adolescence as a Muslim girl, from the Islamophobia she’s faced on a daily basis, to the website she launched that became a cultural phenomenon, to the nation’s political climate in 2016 as Donald Trump wins the presidency. While dispelling the myth that a headscarf signifies neither radicalism nor oppression, she shares both her own personal accounts and anecdotes from the “sisterhood” of writers that serve as her editorial team at Muslim Girl. Amani’s “blunt…potent message…is a skillful unraveling of the myth of the submissive Muslim woman” (The New York Times Book Review) and a deeply necessary counterpoint to the current rhetoric about the Middle East.

 

 

 

What Happened by Hillary Clinton

 

Image result for What Happened by Hillary ClintonA compelling read.”               Financial Times
A sporadically absorbing, pleasingly vengeful and often darkly funny account of one woman’s bid for presidential history.”                       Sunday Times
What Happened is highly entertaining. It is spirited, well-written and informative.”         Guardian

In the past, for reasons I try to explain, I’ve often felt I had to be careful in public, like I was up on a wire without a net. Now I’m letting my guard down.”         Hillary Rodham Clinton, from the introduction of What Happened

For the first time, Hillary Rodham Clinton reveals what she was thinking and feeling during one of the most controversial and unpredictable presidential elections in history. Now free from the constraints of running, Hillary takes you inside the intense personal experience of becoming the first woman nominated for president by a major party in an election marked by rage, sexism, exhilarating highs and infuriating lows, stranger-than-fiction twists, Russian interference and an opponent who broke all the rules. This is her most personal memoir yet.

In these pages, she describes what it was like to run against Donald Trump, the mistakes she made, how she has coped with a shocking and devastating loss, and how she found the strength to pick herself back up afterwards. With humour and candour, she tells readers what it took to get back on her feet – the rituals, relationships and reading that got her through, and what the experience has taught her about life. She speaks about the challenges of being a strong woman in the public eye, the criticism over her voice, age and appearance, and the double standard confronting women in politics.

She lays out how the 2016 election was marked by an unprecedented assault on democracy by a foreign adversary. By analysing the evidence and connecting the dots, Hillary shows just how dangerous the forces are that shaped the outcome, and why Americans need to understand them to protect their values and democracy in the future.

“What Happened is not one book, but many. It is a candid and blackly funny account of her mood in the direct aftermath of losing to Donald J. Trump. It is a post-mortem, in which she is both coroner and corpse. It is a feminist manifesto. It is a score-settling jubilee…. It is worth reading.”                   New York Times

“What Happened is a raw and bracing book, a guide to our political arena.”                      Washington Post

 

Enough Said: What’s Gone Wrong with the Language of Politics by Mark Thompson

 

Image result for Enough Said: What’s Gone Wrong with the Language of Politics by Mark ThompsonLonglisted for the Orwell Prize 2017

How do we discuss serious ideas in the age of 24-hour news? What was rhetoric in the past and what should it be now? And what does Islamic State have in common with Donald Trump?

We’ve never had more information or more opportunity to debate the issues of the day. Yet the relationship between politicians, the media and the public is characterised by suspicion, mistrust and apathy. What has gone wrong?

Enough Said reveals how political, social and technological change has transformed our political landscape – and how we talk about the issues that affect us all. Political rhetoric has become stale and the mistrust of politicians has made voters flock to populists who promise authenticity, honesty and truth instead of spin, evasiveness and lies.

Featuring Ronald Reagan and Sarah Palin, Tony Blair and George Osborne, Silvio Berlusconi and many more star performers, Enough Said shows how public language is losing its power, and how an ominous gap is opening between the governed and those who govern. The result of decades of first-hand experience of politics and media, this is an essential, brilliant diagnosis of what we should stop doing and what we should start doing in order to reinvigorate Western democracy.

 

“[A] superb book… Thompson’s own experience in the media is brilliantly deployed throughout for insight… Thompson is a sharp and entertaining analyst of political language itself.”                         Guardian

He writes restlessly and compellingly… [An] intricately but also urgently argued book.”              Financial Times

“[An] important study … [Thompson] usually advances his case in cool, nuanced and forensic prose, but he is a blistering flame-thrower about the consequences of the digital revolution.”                      Andrew Rawnsley, Observer

 

Red Famine: Stalin’s War on Ukraine by Anne Applebaum

 

Image result for Red Famine: Stalin’s War on Ukraine by Anne ApplebaumThe momentous new book from the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Gulag and Iron Curtain.

In 1932-33, nearly four million Ukrainians died of starvation, having been deliberately deprived of food. It is one of the most devastating episodes in the history of the twentieth century. With unprecedented authority and detail, Red Famine investigates how this happened, who was responsible, and what the consequences were. It is the fullest account yet published of these terrible events.

The book draws on a mass of archival material and first-hand testimony only available since the end of the Soviet Union, as well as the work of Ukrainian scholars all over the world. It includes accounts of the famine by those who survived it, describing what human beings can do when driven mad by hunger. It shows how the Soviet state ruthlessly used propaganda to turn neighbours against each other in order to expunge supposedly ‘anti-revolutionary’ elements. It also records the actions of extraordinary individuals who did all they could to relieve the suffering.

The famine was rapidly followed by an attack on Ukraine’s cultural and political leadership – and then by a denial that it had ever happened at all. Census reports were falsified and memory suppressed. Some western journalists shamelessly swallowed the Soviet line; others bravely rejected it, and were undermined and harassed. The Soviet authorities were determined not only that Ukraine should abandon its national aspirations, but that the country’s true history should be buried along with its millions of victims. Red Famine, a triumph of scholarship and human sympathy, is a milestone in the recovery of those memories and that history. At a moment of crisis between Russia and Ukraine, it also shows how far the present is shaped by the past.

 

Anne Applebaum’s Red Famine powerful, relentless, shocking, compelling – will cement her deserved reputation as the leading historian of Soviet crimes.”                Daniel Finkelstein, The Times

Magisterial and heartbreaking.”                  Simon Sebag Montefiore, Evening Standard

It remains a tragedy too little known. Applebaum’s book, compelling in its detail and in its empathy with those who suffered, will do much to remedy that ignorance and to place the current crises and confrontations in Ukraine into a longer historical context.”                    Sunday Times

Anne Applebaum has written an exhaustive, authoritative and eloquent book. She deals with questions that have hitherto lacked unequivocal answers.”                      Literary Review

 

 

RISISNGTIDEFALLINGSTAR by Philip Hoare

 

Image result for RISING TIDE FALLING STAR by Philip HoareRich and strange from the tip of its title to its deep-sunk bones.”              Robert Macfarlane

 

From the author of Leviathan, or, The Whale, comes a composite portrait of the subtle, beautiful, inspired and demented ways in which we have come to terms with our watery planet.

In the third of his watery books, the author goes in pursuit of human and animal stories of the sea. Of people enchanted or driven to despair by the water, accompanied by whales and birds and seals – familiar spirits swimming and flying with the author on his meandering odyssey from suburbia into the unknown.

Along the way, he encounters drowned poets and eccentric artists, modernist writers and era-defining performers, wild utopians and national heroes – famous or infamous, they are all surprisingly, and sometimes fatally, linked to the sea.

Out of the storm-clouds of the twenty-first century and our restive time, these stories reach back into the past and forward into the future. This is a shape-shifting world that has never been certain, caught between the natural and unnatural, where the state between human and animal is blurred. Time, space, gender and species become as fluid as the sea.

Here humans challenge their landbound lives through art or words or performance or myth, through the animal and the elemental. And here they are forever drawn back to the water, forever lost and found on the infinite sea.

 

Rarely have I read a book that felt as if it were speaking so directly, so confidentially to me. RISINGTIDEFALLINGSTAR is about books and about swimming, but most of all it does what all great books do: makes you feel that it’s a private conversation between you and the author. I finished it with an obscure feeling of privilege, to have been granted such access to Hoare’s most secret, intimate self … RISINGTIDEFALLINGSTAR is a masterpiece.”             Alex Preston, Observer

A rich and strange combination of memoir, travelogue and literary biography … RISINGTIDEFALLINGSTAR contains much of wonder in words strewn across its pages like treasures revealed on the sand by a retreating tide.”   Financial Times

This is an exquisite read, stuffed with dark myths and eerie legends, nourished by the author’s sublime gift for poetic description.”                Mail on Sunday

Hoare conveys a redemptive sense of the wide, continuous and beautiful world, in a remarkable book that sometimes feels rather loosely fitted together, but is always rich and strange.”                Guardian

His idiosyncratic tales of mariners, adventurers and the odd dilettante rise almost to the level of poetry … he evokes the sense of majesty that a seascape can inspire in us.”                   The Times

Wonderful…This beautifully written book is a delight.”                   BBC Radio 4

He is poetic and precise…a rich portrait of the sea as an imaginative landscape.”           TLS

 

 

Late Essays: 2006-2017 by JM Coetzee

 

Image result for Late Essays: 2006-2017 by JM CoetzeeThe subjects covered range from Daniel Defoe in the early eighteenth century to Coetzee’s contemporary Philip Roth. Coetzee has had a long-standing interest in German literature and here he engages with the work of Goethe, Hölderlin, Kleist and Walser. There are four fascinating essays on fellow Nobel laureate Samuel Beckett and he looks at the work of three Australian writers: Patrick White, Les Murray and Gerald Murnane. There are essays too on Tolstoy’s great novella The Death of Ivan Ilyich, on Flaubert’s masterpiece Madame Bovary, and on the Argentine modernist Antonio Di Benedetto.

J.M. Coetzee, a great novelist himself, is a wise and insightful guide to these works of international literature that span three centuries.

 

“J.M. Coetzee’s essays are filtered through boundless reserves of knowledge, wisdom and reading…A spare, dry sense of humour…Not a single page goes by in this collection when you don’t learn something”              Spectator

Coetzee remains a highly original thinker, able to take a much-dissected novel such as Flaubert’s Madame Bovary and offer an appreciation that stretches the boundaries of the reading experience. The most intriguing essay is one on Philip Roth, a rare occasion where Coetzee tackles one of his contemporaries.”               Financial Times

 

 

Gift and more…

The Sun and Her Flowers by Rupi Kaur

 

Image result for sun and her flowerFrom Rupi Kaur, the bestselling author of Milk and Honey, comes her long-awaited second collection of poetry. Illustrated by Kaur, The Sun and Her Flowers is a journey of wilting, falling, rooting, rising and blooming. It is a celebration of love in all its forms.

this is the recipe of life
said my mother
as she held me in her arms as i wept
think of those flowers you plant
in the garden each year 
they will teach you
that people too
must wilt
fall
root
rise
in order to bloom

Praise for Sunday Times bestseller Milk and Honey:

Kaur is at the forefront of a poetry renaissance.”    Observer

Kaur made her name with poems about love, life and grief. They resonate hugely.”                     Sunday Times

Poems tackling feminism, love, trauma and healing in short lines as smooth as pop music.”                    New York Times

 

Baking with Kafka by Tom Gauld

 

Image result for Baking with Kafka by Tom GauldIn Baking with Kafka, Tom Gauld asks the questions no one else dares ask about civilisation as we know it.
– How do you get published during a skeleton apocalypse?
– What was the secret of Kafka’s lemon drizzle cake?
– And what plot possibilities does the exploding e-cigarette offer modern mystery writers?

A riotous collection of laugh-out-loud cartoons in his signature style, Baking with Kafka reaffirms Gauld’s position as a first-rate cartoonist, creating work infused with a deep understanding of both literary and cartoon history.

 

Tom Gauld might just be the Edward Gorey of our time, channelling his wry humour and macabre aesthetic through exquisite black-and-white illustrations.”      Maria Popova

Each single-page piece is a clever, funny, slightly bonkers riff on a literary theme . . . Sublime.”                         The Times

One of the best cartoonists around!”                        BoingBoing

At once hilarious and achingly melancholy . . . A quietly essential read.”   Wired

His economical art . . . is married to dry, incisive humor, making each strip a carefully composed marvel.”                  Publishers Weekly

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Make Trouble by John Waters

 

Image result for Make Trouble by John WatersSo what if you have talent? Then what?

When John Waters delivered his gleefully subversive advice to the graduates of the Rhode Island School of Design, the speech went viral, in part because it was so brilliantly on point about making a living as a creative person. Now we can all enjoy his sly wisdom in a manifesto that reminds us, no matter what field we choose, to embrace chaos, be nosy, and outrage our critics.

Anyone embarking on a creative path, he tells us, would do well to realize that pragmatism and discipline are as important as talent and that rejection is nothing to fear. Waters advises young people to eavesdrop, listen to their enemies, and horrify us with new ideas. In other words, MAKE TROUBLE!

Illustrated with slightly demented line drawings by Eric Hanson, Make Trouble is a one-of-a-kind gift, the perfect playbook for gaming the system by making the system work for you.

 

“…as funny as it is inspiring. Make Trouble is an injection of weirdness, joy, and provocation right into your brain.”                        San Francisco Book Review

 

“…simultaneously witty and inspirational, has the potential to top the best commencement speeches of all time. … a great read. With simple, imaginative illustrations, it inspires all outsiders who strive to change society one brushstroke, word or shot at a time.”                        Tufts Daily

 

 

200 Women: Who Will Change the Way You See the World

 

Image result for 200 Women: Who Will Change the Way You See the WorldInterviews with 200 women from a variety of backgrounds provide a snapshot of female life around the globe. Each woman shares her unique reply to the same five questions: What really matters to you?, What brings you happiness?, What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?, What would you change if you could?, and Which single word do you most identify with?

With responses ranging from uplifting to heartbreaking, these women offer gifts of empowerment and strength-inviting us to bring positive change at a time when so many are fighting for basic freedom and equality.

Each interview is accompanied by a photographic portrait, resulting in a volume that is compelling in word and image and global in its scope and resonance. This landmark book is published to coincide with an interactive website, building on this remarkable, ever-evolving project.

A percentage of the originating publisher’s revenue from book sales will be distributed to organizations nominated by the women featured in the book.

 

Featuring (amongst others) Jane Goodall, Margaret Atwood, Roxane Gay, Renée Montagne, Alicia Garza, Alfre Woodard, Marian Wright Edelman, Lydia Ko, Dolores Huerta, Alice Waters, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie,

This meticulously curated book is filled with interviews from women who’ve made their mark on the world in some way and asks them five crucial questions about happiness, sorrow and meaning. Quizzing the likes of Gillian Anderson, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Whoopi Goldberg, Jane Goodall, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela and Roxane Gay (just to name a few), it’s an inspiring book that’ll change the way you see the world. Plus, the best part is that a fraction of the proceeds go towards organisations that empower women around the world.”                        Marie Claire

Eminently Instagrammable, this book features women you might recognise – Margaret Atwood, Bobbi Brown – plus some you might not, but should.”                       Red Magazine

 

 

Vaya: Untold Stories of Johannesburg by Harriet Perlman

 

Image result for Vaya: Untold Stories of Johannesburg by Harriet PerlmanThis project represents hope and pride. I have endured and persevered to get here. My story matters.”                       David Majoka – storyteller and writer
Vaya the film is based on the lives of four young men from the Homeless Writer’s Project: David Majoka, Anthony Mafela, Madoda Ntuli and Tshabalira Lebakeng, and rooted in their experiences of coming to Johannesburg. Vaya the book brings you the people and stories that inspired the award-winning film.
The book provides a rare lens into life on the margins of Johannesburg. The stories are intimate and hard hitting, funny and heartbreaking, full of courage and humanity in a world that is both capricious and unforgiving. Stories of living on the street, of finding family and friendship in unusual places, and coming to the city full of hope and promise only to be betrayed by the very people one trusts most.
Mark Lewis’s haunting photographs bring into sharp focus life in the underbelly of the city.
Vaya will both shock and inspire.

 

 

 

World Atlas of Street Fashion by Caroline Cox

 

Image result for World Atlas of Street Fashion by Caroline CoxDiscover the inspirational world of global street styles and the fascinating stories behind them, accompanied by hundreds of stunning photographs.

Filled with eye-catching images of 100 styles from around the globe, The World Atlas of Street Fashion is a celebration of those who dare to think differently. Written by acclaimed fashion historian Caroline Cox, The World Atlas of Street Fashion celebrates the invention and creativity to be found in fashion all around the globe.

From the Chinese skinheads of Beijing to the feminist funkeiras of São Paolo, the raggare of Stockholm to the Junglists of Whistler, this is world street style as you’ve never seen it before. Organized geographically by continent, this book examines street style in all its international diversity, by tracing the many and varied ways in which it has developed in different regions of the world, from the streets to the catwalk.

From the famous to the niche, the rebellious to the downright revolutionary, The World Atlas of Street Fashion offers a ground-breaking portrait of world street style.

 

 

Words on Paper by Jeff Fisher

 

Image result for Words on Paper by Jeff FisherIf you like true stories about real people, are intrigued by serendipity, curious about curiosities, or maybe you are a collector yourself, then this book is for you.

The author’s passion for more than half a century has been for collecting handwritten, original letters, antique documents, manuscripts, old share certificates, fire insurance policies, photographs and maps.

The writers of these words on paper include kings and queens, presidents and prime ministers, admirals and generals, actors and authors, judges and prisoners, philosophers, statesmen, scientists, and sportsmen. Some were famous, some infamous, some important, others less so. Many you will know about; with others, only their names may be familiar. There’s Admiral Nelson, and the Duke of Wellington; there are queens Elizabeth I and II and kings George III, IV and VI; presidents Eisenhower, Kruger, and Mandela are here; prime ministers Botha, Hertzog and Smuts; explorers Scott and Shackleton. There’s Faraday and De la Rey, and many more, including two controversial giants of history – Napoleon and Rhodes.

The chapters need not be read in any set order, although there is an underlying thread linking them to the life of the author that enabled this eclectic collection to evolve in the way it did.

 

 

 

In the Kitchen

Sweet by Yotam Ottolenghi

 

Image result for Sweet by Yotam OttolenghiThere’s nothing like a perfectly light sponge flavoured with spices and citrus or an icing-sugar-dusted cookie to raise the spirits and create a moment of pure joy.

In his stunning new baking and desserts cookbook Yotam Ottolenghi and his long-time collaborator Helen Goh bring the Ottolenghi hallmarks of fresh, evocative ingredients, exotic spices and complex flavourings – including fig, rose petal, saffron, aniseed, orange blossom, pistachio and cardamom – to indulgent cakes, biscuits, tarts, puddings, cheesecakes and ice cream.

Sweet includes over 110 innovative recipes, from Blackberry and Star Anise Friands, Tahini and Halva Brownies, Persian Love Cakes, Middle Eastern Millionaire’s Shortbread, and Saffron, Orange and Honey Madeleines to Flourless Chocolate Layer Cake with Coffee, Walnut and Rosewater and Cinnamon Pavlova with Praline Cream and Fresh Figs.

There is something here to delight everyone – from simple mini-cakes and cookies that parents can make with their children to showstopping layer cakes and roulades that will reignite the imaginations of accomplished bakers.

 

After winning us over with his savory offerings, Yotam Ottolenghi, with Helen Goh, comes to the sweet side with an international array of gorgeous cookies, cakes, candies, custards… I want to make everything in this luscious book!”              David Lebovitz, author of My Paris Kitchen and L’Appart

Yotam Ottolenghi’s additions to classic recipes make so much sense, you’ll wonder why you’ve never stirred tahini into brownies or orange flower water into amaretti–or why you’ve never even made your own amaretti! This is my kind of baking book; you’ll want to make everything.”                Elisabeth Prueitt, co-founder of Tartine Manufactory and author of Tartine All Day

Modern, creative, appealing, and, most importantly, fun–this is Ottolenghi at the top of his game.”                  Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

Image result for Sweet by Yotam Ottolenghi

 

 

Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat: Mastering the Elements of Good Cooking by Sam Nosrat

 

Image result for Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat: Mastering the Elements of Good Cooking by Sam NosratWhile cooking at Chez Panisse at the start of her career, Samin Nosrat noticed that amid the chaos of the kitchen there were four key principles that her fellow chefs would always fall back on to make their food better: Salt, Fat, Acid and Heat.

By mastering these four variables, Samin found the confidence to trust her instincts in the kitchen and cook delicious meals with any ingredients. And with her simple but revolutionary method, she has taught masterclasses to give both professionals and amateurs the skills to cook instinctively.

Whether you want to balance your vinaigrette, perfectly caramelise your roasted vegetables or braise meltingly tender stews, Samin’s canon of 100 essential recipes and their dozens of variations will teach you how.

 

This beautiful, approachable book not only teaches you how to cook, but captures how it should feel to cook: full of exploration, spontaneity and joy. Samin is one of the great teachers I know, and wins people over to cooking with real food organic, seasonal, and alive with her irrepressible enthusiasm and curiosity.”                   Alice Waters, New York Times bestselling author of The Art of Simple Food”

Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat is a wildly informative, new-generation, culinary resource. Samin Nosrat’s wealth of experience comes together here in a pitch perfect combination of charm, narrative, straight-talk, illustration, and inspiration. Ticking all the boxes for new and seasoned cooks alike, this book meets you wherever you are in the kitchen, in all the right ways.”                        Heidi Swanson, New York Times bestselling author of Super Natural Cooking”

Everyone was impressed when Michael Pollan managed to summarize the huge and complex subject of what we should be eating in just seven words: Eat food, not too much, mostly plants. Samin Nosrat has managed to summarize the huge and complex subject of how we should be cooking in just four words: Salt, fat, acid, heat. Everyone will be hugely impressed.”             Yotam Ottolenghi, New York Times bestselling author of Jerusalem”

Image result for Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat: Mastering the Elements of Good Cooking by Sam Nosrat

HAPPY READING!