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March 2018

Tuesday, March 27th 2018 at 11:38 AM

Fiction

 

The Wicked Cometh by Laura Carlin

 

Image result for wicked cometh‘We have no need to protect ourselves from the bad sort because WE are the bad sort . . .’

 

Down the murky alleyways of London, acts of unspeakable wickedness are taking place and the city’s vulnerable poor are disappearing from the streets. Out of these shadows comes Hester White, a bright young woman who is desperate to escape the slums by any means possible.

When Hester is thrust into the world of the aristocratic Brock family, she leaps at the chance to improve her station in life under the tutelage of the fiercely intelligent and mysterious Rebekah Brock.

But whispers from her past slowly begin to poison her new life and both she and Rebekah are lured into the most sinister of investigations, dragging them into the blackest heart of a city where something more depraved than either of them could ever imagine is lurking. . .

A compelling page-turner from a gifted new voice in historical fiction, The Wicked Cometh is the perfect read for fans of The Witchfinder’s Sister, Fingersmith and The Essex Serpent.

 

 

 

Book of Joan by Lidia Yuknavitch

 

Image result for Book of Joan by Lidia YuknavitchTHE RESISTANCE STARTS NOW

In the near future, world wars have transformed the earth into a battleground. Fleeing the unending violence and the planet’s now-radioactive surface, humans have regrouped to a mysterious platform known as CIEL, hovering over their erstwhile home. The changed world has turned evolution on its head: the surviving humans have become sexless, hairless, pale-white creatures floating in isolation, inscribing stories upon their skin.

Out of the ranks of the endless wars rises Jean de Men, a charismatic and bloodthirsty cult leader who turns CIEL into a quasi-corporate police state. A group of rebels unite to dismantle his iron rule—galvanized by the heroic song of Joan, a child-warrior who possesses a mysterious force that lives within her and communes with the earth. When de Men and his armies turn Joan into a martyr, the consequences are astonishing. And no one—not the rebels, Jean de Men, or even Joan herself—can foresee the way her story and unique gift will forge the destiny of an entire world for generations.

A riveting tale of destruction and love found in the direst of places—even at the extreme end of post-human experience—Lidia Yuknavitch’s The Book of Joan raises questions about what it means to be human, the fluidity of sex and gender, and the role of art as a means for survival.
100 Notable Books of 2017, New York Times
25 Most Anticipated Books by Women for 2017, ELLE
32 Most Exciting Books Coming Out in 2017, BuzzFeed
15 Best Books of 2017, Esquire
33 New Books to Read in 2017, Huffington Post
New York Times Book Review Editor’s Choice

 

Brilliant and incendiary, mixing realism and fabulism.”                   New York Times Book Review

The Book of Joan has the same unflinching quality as earlier works by Josephine Saxton, Doris Lessing, Frank Herbert, Ursula K. Le Guin and J.G. Ballard. Yet it’s also radically new, full of maniacal invention and page-turning momentum . . . A rich, heady concoction, rippling with provocative ideas”                            Jeff VanderMeer
A raucous celebration, a searing condemnation, and fiercely imaginative retelling of Joan of Arc’s transcendent life.”                                 Roxane Gay

With her verve and bold imagination, she’s earned the throne left empty since the death of David Foster Wallace.”                                Chuck Palahniuk

All my youth I gloried in the wild, exulting, rollercoaster prose and questing narratives of Henry Miller, Charles Bukowski, and Jack Kerouac, but cringed at the misogyny; couldn’t we have the former without the latter? We can, because: Lidia Yuknavitch. Buckle your seat belts; it’s gonna be a wild feminist ride.”                          Rebecca Solnit

 

 

Fire Sermon by Jamie Quatro

 

Image result for Fire Sermon by Jamie QuatroMaggie is entirely devoted to her husband Thomas, their two beautiful children, and to God.

But then what begins as innocent letter writing with poet James starts to become something far more erotically charged, their meeting of minds threatening to become a meeting of bodies.

As everything Maggie believes in is thrown into doubt the reader is drawn ever deeper into the battleground of her soul.

Fire Sermon by Jamie Quatro is a daring debut novel of obsession, desire and salvation that shows the radical light and dark of love itself. This is a visceral, rich and devastating portrait of loves lived and lost that cannot fail to echo in your own experience.

 

This book is bright and dark by turns but always shot through with a vital, unerring grace. Plus it’s about love and death, sex and God. What more could a reader want?”                   Jenny Offill, author of Dept of Speculation

A dogged, brutally thoughtful piece of work, and gives us a writer of great originality and apparent artistic maturity who seems to have come out of nowhere … Strange, thrilling, and disarmingly honest.”                   New York Times Book Review

A brilliant new voice in American fiction has arrived. Bright, sharp, startling, utterly distinctive, passionate, and secretive, Jamie Quatro’s stories are missives from deep within the landscape of American womanhood. They take you by the heart and throat, shake you awake, and ask you to ponder the mysteries of love, parenthood, and marriage. She has earned a place alongside Amy Hempel, Lydia Davis, and Alice Munro.”                             David Means

 

 

Quintember by Richard Major

 

Image result for Quintember by Richard MajorWhen there are high crimes to be covered up, mysteries to be wrapped in enigmas, or a murderer to be liquidated – literally – there is only one man in England who can be trusted with the task: Felix Culpepper, tutor in Classics at St. Wygefortis’ College, Cambridge, and assassin-at-large for the British Establishment.

From the eerie deserts of New Mexico to the high-rolling hotels of the Adriatic, Culpepper moves with consummate ease and an unexpected penchant for guns, drugs and esoteric methods of murder – all to save himself from the drudgery of cramming Latin into the privileged yet empty skulls of the dregs of Britain’s aristocracy.

With an intellectual vanity that rivals Holmes, more self-esteem than Bond and a blood-steeped amorality that out-Ripleys Hannibal Lecter, Culpepper is the ideal hero for our debased days. And only in his student, sidekick (and pending Nemesis) Margot ffontaines-Laigh, does he meet his match.
Rarely does an author have so fresh and lush a voice. Major’s writing feels wholly new, with the rib-cracking dry humor of Wodehouse, a dash of Waugh, and a Joycean love of the sound of words. You’ll want to read lines aloud and I laughed repeatedly over the course of the first few pages. Masterly, fresh, witty, this is a major new voice.”                            Noah Charney, best-selling author of The Art Thief

Engagingly devious: H. H. Munro ravished by Simon Raven.”                       Robin Stones

 

 

The Melody by Jim Crace

 

Image result for The Melody by Jim CraceThe Melody takes its place among his finest [novels] . . . an ecological fable for modern times.”                                   Guardian
Alfred Busi, famed in his town for his music and songs, is mourning the recent death of his wife and quietly living out his days in the large villa he has always called home. Then one night Busi is attacked by a creature he disturbs as it raids the contents of his larder. Busi is convinced that what assaulted him was no animal, but a child, ‘innocent and wild’, and his words fan the flames of old rumour – of an ancient race of people living in the bosk surrounding the town – and new controversy: the town’s paupers, the feral wastrels at its edges, must be dealt with. Once and for all.

Lyrical and warm, intimate and epic, The Melody by Jim Crace tracks the few days that will see Busi and the town he loves altered irrevocably. This is a story about grief and ageing, about reputation and the loss of it, about love and music and the peculiar way myth seeps into real life. And it is a political novel too – a rallying cry to protect those we persecute.

 

“The Melody is an ambitious, powerful work which won’t disappoint his growing band of enthusiasts.”                     Big Issue

Strange, unsettling, brilliant – everything you’d expect from one of our most original and inventive novelists.”                       Observer

“The Melody is at its most poignant on the subject of growing old . . . every sentence is packed with Crace’s characteristic lyricism . . . Anybody who reads The Melody will find plenty to admire and chew on.”                             The Times

 

 

The House of Impossible Beauties by Joseph Cassara

 

Image result for The House of Impossible Beauties by Joseph CassaraNAMED A MOST ANTICIPATED BOOK OF 2018 BY Buzzfeed • Esquire • Bustle • The Millions • The Wall Street Journal • Entertainment Weekly • Nylon • Elle • Dazed • The Irish Times

 

Cassaras’s propulsive and profound first novel, finding one’s home in the world – particularly in a subculture plagued by fear and intolerance from society – comes with tragedy as well as extraordinary personal freedom.”                     Esquire

 

A gritty and gorgeous debut inspired by the real House of Xtravaganza made famous by the seminal documentary Paris Is Burning

It’s 1980 in New York City, and nowhere is the city’s glamour and energy better reflected than in the burgeoning Harlem ballroom scene, where seventeen-year-old Angel first comes into her own. Burned by her traumatic past, Angel is new to the drag world, and has a yearning to help create a family for those without. When she falls in love with Hector, a beautiful young man who dreams of becoming a professional dancer, the two decide to form the House of Xtravaganza, the first-ever all-Latino house in the ballroom circuit.

Into the house come Venus, a whip-smart trans girl who dreams of finding a rich man to take care of her; Juanito, a quiet boy who loves fabrics and design; and Daniel, a butch queen who accidentally saves Venus’ life. The Xtravaganzas must learn to navigate sex work, addiction and persistent abuse, leaning on each other as bulwarks against a world that resists them. All are ambitious, resilient and determined to control their own fates, even as they hurtle toward devastating consequences.

Told in a voice that brims with wit, rage, tenderness, and fierce yearning, The House of Impossible Beauties is a tragic story of love, family, and the dynamism of the human spirit.

 

The House of Impossible Beauties tells of a search not only for respect but, above all, love in a time and place that seeks to starve its characters of both… From these threads of fact and myth, Cassara runs up a fictional ensemble that craftily stitches glamour and grit.”                            Financial Times

 

 

The Break by Katherina Vermette

 

Image result for The Break by Katherena VermetteWhen Stella, a young Metis mother, looks out her window one evening and spots someone in trouble on the Break — a barren field on an isolated strip of land outside her house — she calls the police to alert them to a possible crime.

In a series of shifting narratives, people who are connected, both directly and indirectly, with the victim — police, family, and friends — tell their personal stories leading up to that fateful night. Lou, a social worker, grapples with the departure of her live-in boyfriend. Cheryl, an artist, mourns the premature death of her sister Rain. Paulina, a single mother, struggles to trust her new partner. Phoenix, a homeless teenager, is released from a youth detention centre. Officer Scott, a Metis policeman, feels caught between two worlds as he patrols the city. Through their various perspectives a larger, more comprehensive story about lives of the residents in Winnipeg’s North End is exposed.

A powerful intergenerational family saga, The Break showcases Vermette’s abundant writing talent and positions her as an exciting new voice in literary fiction.

 

Katherena Vermette’s debut novel, The Break, takes a tough, close-up look at an extended family in Winnipeg, tackling along the way a side of female life that’s often hard to acknowledge: the violence of girls and women sometimes display towards other girls and women, and the power struggles among them. In The Break, the characters may be Metis, but the motivations and emotions are surely universal. This is an accomplished writer who will go far.”                                                 Margaret Atwood
The lives of the girls and women in The Break are not easy, but their voices — complex, urgent, and unsparing — lay bare what it means to survive, not only once, but multiple times, against the forces of private and national histories. Katherena Vermette is a tremendously gifted writer, a dazzling talent.” – Madeleine Thien

 

 

Michael K by Nthikeng Mohlele

 

Image result for Michael K by Nthikeng MohleleHow is it that a character from literary fiction can so alter the landscapes he touches, even as he – in his self-imposed isolation – seeks to avoid them? How is it that Michael K, bewildered and bewildering, can remain so fragile yet so present, so imposing without attempting to be so?
In this response to JM Coetzee’s classic masterpiece, Life & Times of Michael K, Nthikeng Mohlele dabbles in the artistic and speculative in a unique attempt to unpack the dazed and disconnected world of the title character, his solitary ways, his inventiveness, but also to show how astutely Michael K holds up a mirror to those whose paths he inadvertently crosses.
Michael K explores the weight of history and of conscience, thus wrestling the character from the confines of literary creation to the frontiers of artistic timelessness.

 

 

Under Glass by Claire Robertson

 

Image result for under glass claire robertsonIn 1857 a young Englishwoman arrives in Port Natal from India to make a new life for her family among settlers, homesteaders, and sugar-cane farmers. She is with her daughter and the child’s ayah, and has been travelling for eleven months to join her husband, already deep in the hinterland.
Her father-in-law has staked them their passage, a sum for settlement and an arrangement for the purchase of land, but there are conditions to his generosity that will have a lasting effect on the pair, and particularly on their fifth child, Cosmo, born years later.
It is on the family’s sugar-cane farm that the reader begins to understand that there is something peculiar about young Cosmo, something that must be kept secret.
At once an intriguing mystery and a meditation on the region’s colonial history, Under Glass is a high-stakes narrative of deception and disguise by one of South Africa’s finest novelists.

 

 

The Hoarder by Jess Kidd

 

Image result for The Hoarder by Jess KiddMaud Drennan – underpaid carer and unintentional psychic – is the latest in a long line of dogsbodies for the ancient, belligerent Cathal Flood. Yet despite her best efforts, Maud is drawn into the mysteries concealed in his filthy, once-grand home. She realises that something is changing: Cathal, and the junk-filled rooms, are opening up to her.

With only her agoraphobic landlady and a troop of sarcastic ghostly saints to help, Maud must uncover what lies beneath Cathal’s decades-old hostility, and the strange activities of the house itself. And if someone has hidden a secret there, how far will they go to ensure it remains buried?

 

This dark but comical tale of haunting and hoarding ensnares . . . [Kidd’s] imagination is vivid . . . Brilliant”                             The Times

A lyrical gothic detective saga . . . Wonderfully enigmatic and complex . . . [Kidd] is a writer with a poet’s skill of balancing clarity and inventive flair”                         Guardian

Excellent . . . The observations are sharp and humorous . . . with pages of inventive and colourful description . . . The Hoarder is a strong follow-up from a very talented writer who seems to be honing her skills”                          Sunday Times

Superb . . . Kidd writes brilliantly . . . A rather impressive second novel, whose imaginative prowess marks its author as one to watch”                    John Boyne, Irish Times

 

Strange Bird by Jeff Vandermeer

 

Image result for Strange Bird by Jeff VandermeerThe Strange Bird – from New York Times bestselling novelist Jeff VanderMeer – expands and weaves deeply into the world of his “thorough marvel”* of a novel, Borne.

The Strange Bird is a new kind of creature, built in a laboratory–she is part bird, part human, part many other things. But now the lab in which she was created is under siege and the scientists have turned on their animal creations. Flying through tunnels, dodging bullets, and changing her colors and patterning to avoid capture, the Strange Bird manages to escape.

But she cannot just soar in peace above the earth. The sky itself is full of wildlife that rejects her as one of their own, and also full of technology–satellites and drones and other detritus of the human civilisation below that has all but destroyed itself. And the farther she flies, the deeper she finds herself in the orbit of the Company, a collapsed biotech firm that has populated the world with experiments both failed and successful that have outlived the corporation itself: a pack of networked foxes, a giant predatory bear. But of the many creatures she encounters with whom she bears some kind of kinship, it is the humans–all of them now simply scrambling to survive–who are the most insidious, who still see her as simply something to possess, to capture, to trade, to exploit. Never to understand, never to welcome home.

 

With The Strange Bird, Jeff VanderMeer has done more than add another layer, a new chapter, to his celebrated novel Borne. He has created a whole new perspective on the world inhabited by Rachel and Wick, the Magician, Mord, and Borne–a view from above, of course, but also a view from deep inside the mind of a new kind of creature who will fight and suffer and live for the tenuous future of this world.

 

VanderMeer’s apocalyptic vision, with its mix of absurdity, horror, and grace, can’t be mistaken for that of anyone else. Inventive, engrossing, and heartbreaking, Borne finds [VanderMeer] at a high point of creative accomplishment.”                                 San Francisco Chronicle

 

 

 

Short Stories

Soweto Under the Apricot Tree by Niq Mhlongo

 

Image result for Soweto Under the Apricot Tree by Niq MhlongoThis apricot tree has multiple souls that fill me with wonder every morning and enchant me by afternoon. This tree has bitter-sweet memories, just like the fruit it bears.”

If the apricot trees of Soweto could talk, what stories would they tell? This short story collection provides an imaginative answer. Imbued with a vivid sense of place, it captures the vibrancy of the township and surrounds. Told with satirical flair, life and death are intertwined in these tales where funerals and the ancestors feature strongly; where cemeteries are places to show off your new car and catch up on the latest gossip.

Populating these stories is a politician mesmerised by his mistress’s manicure, zama-zamas running businesses underground, a sangoma with a remedy for theft, soccer fans ready to mete out a bloody justice, a private dancer in love and many other intriguing characters.

Take your seat under the apricot tree and be enthralled by tales that are both entertaining and thought-provoking.

 

 

The Fatuous State of Severity by Phumlani Pikoli

 

Image result for The Fatuous State of Severity by Phumlani PikoliThe Fatuous State of Severity is a fresh collection of short stories and illustrations that explores themes surrounding the experiences of a generation of young, urban South Africans coping with the tensions of social media, language insecurities and relationships of various kinds.

Intense and provocative, this new edition of the book, which was first self-published in 2016, features six additional stories as well as an introductory essay on Phumlani Pikoli’s publishing journey.

 

 

 

Non-Fiction

Educated by Tara Westover

 

Image result for educated westoverA memoir to stand alongside classics by the likes of Jeanette Winterson and Lorna Sage … a compelling and ultimately joyous account of self-determination.”    Sunday Times

Tara Westover grew up preparing for the End of Days, watching for the sun to darken, for the moon to drip as if with blood. She spent her summers bottling peaches and her winters rotating emergency supplies, hoping that when the World of Men failed, her family would continue on, unaffected.

She hadn’t been registered for a birth certificate. She had no school records because she’d never set foot in a classroom, and no medical records because her father didn’t believe in doctors or hospitals. According to the state and federal government, she didn’t exist.

As she grew older, her father became more radical, and her brother, more violent. At sixteen Tara decided to educate herself. Her struggle for knowledge would take her far from her Idaho mountains, over oceans and across continents, to Harvard and to Cambridge. Only then would she wonder if she’d travelled too far. If there was still a way home.

Educated is an account of the struggle for self-invention. It is a tale of fierce family loyalty, and of the grief that comes with the severing of the closest of ties. With the acute insight that distinguishes all great writers, from her singular experience Westover has crafted a universal coming-of-age story that gets to the heart of what an education is and what it offers: the perspective to see one’s life through new eyes, and the will to change it.

 

A memoir to stand alongside classics by the likes of Jeanette Winterson and Lorna Sage . . . a compelling and ultimately joyous account of self-determination.”                              Sunday Times

A dazzling example of what you can achieve if you set your mind to something…an inspirational, truly unique coming-of-age tale.”                       BBC Ones to Watch in 2018

“[A] superb memoir… Westover’s journey from a remote corner of the American west to one of the world’s grandest seats of learning is extraordinary . . . Her story, of fighting to be herself, is as old as the hills she came from, but Westover gives us such a fresh, absorbing take that it deserves to bring her own private Idaho into the bestseller lists, book groups and, eventually, cinemas.” The Times

Her story is remarkable, as each extreme anecdote described in tidy prose attests. That someone who grew up in her circumstances could achieve as much as she has is astonishing . . . The central tension she wrestles with throughout her book is how to be true to herself without alienating her family. Her upbringing was extraordinary, but that struggle is not.”                      Economist

 

 

Coalition Country by Leon Schreiber

 

Image result for Coalition Country by Leon SchreiberWe are on the cusp of a momentous change.
The ANC has governed South Africa for more than two decades but its iron grip is slipping. For the first time since 1994 there is no guarantee that it will retain power. If ANC support drops below 50% in the 2019 elections, the political landscape will be transformed dramatically.
Will Mmusi Maimane and Julius Malema be in charge? Or will the ANC and the EFF join forces? What will this mean for our nation?

 

 

 

If This Be Treason by Helen Joseph

 

Image result for If This Be Treason by Helen Joseph“Jy’s ’n Bantu!” I see Lilian [Ngoyi] close her lips firmly. The younger wardress repeats “African” under her breath and sniggers. Then to our horror the wardress snaps out at Lilian “Trek uit!” We are paralysed and the order is repeated in English, “Take your clothes off!”

Helen Joseph, founding member of the ANC’s ally, the Congress of Democrats, was one of the main organisers in the Women’s March of 9 August 1956. Arrested on a charge of high treason in 1956, and banned the next year, Helen suffered constant persecution. The first person in South Africa to be placed under house arrest, she survived several assassination attempts.

In this personal account, Joseph writes about enduring the Treason Trial – one of the longest and most important trials in South African history, where she stood accused along with Nelson Mandela and Walter Sisulu. With disarming honesty, she shares stories of the women’s prison, the behind-the-scenes discussions with their defence team, the constant daily humiliations, but also their perseverance and small triumphs.

This book, originally banned and not available for decades, adds a vital dimension to our understanding of South Africa’s recent history.

Helen’s diary works on another level − that of the human condition. It should be read by everyone who wants to know what it was like at that time.”     Walter Sisulu

An important contribution to the literature of the liberatory movement.”              Chief Albert Luthuli

 

 

Black Edge: Inside Information, Dirty Money, and the Quest to Bring Down the Most Wanted Man on Wall Street by Sheelah Kolhatkar

 

Image result for Black Edge: Inside Information, Dirty Money, and the Quest to Bring Down the Most Wanted Man on Wall Street by Sheelah KolhatkarThe story of billionaire trader Steven Cohen, the rise and fall of his hedge fund SAC Capital, and the largest insider trading investigation in history for readers of The Big Short, Den of Thieves, and Dark Money

Steven A. Cohen changed Wall Street. He and his fellow pioneers of the hedge fund industry didn’t lay railroads, build factories, or invent new technologies. Rather, they made their billions through speculation, by placing bets in the market that turned out to be right more often than wrong and for this, they gained not only extreme personal wealth but formidable influence throughout society. Hedge funds now trade nearly $3 trillion in assets each day, and the competition between them is so fierce that traders will do whatever they can to get an edge.
Cohen was one of the industry s biggest success stories, the person everyone else in the business wanted to be. Born into a middle-class family on Long Island, he longed from an early age to be a star on Wall Street. He mastered poker in high school, went off to Wharton, and in 1992 launched the hedge fund SAC Capital, which he built into a $15 billion empire, almost entirely on the basis of his wizardlike stock trading. He cultivated an air of mystery, reclusiveness, and excess, building a 35,000-square-foot mansion in Greenwich, Connecticut, flying to work by helicopter, and amassing one of the largest private art collections in the world. On Wall Street, Cohen was revered as a genius: one of the greatest traders who ever lived.
That image was shattered when SAC Capital became the target of a sprawling, seven-year investigation, led by a determined group of FBI agents, prosecutors, and SEC enforcement attorneys. Labeled by prosecutors as a magnet for market cheaters whose culture encouraged the relentless pursuit of edge and even black edge, which is inside information SAC Capital was ultimately indicted and pleaded guilty to charges of securities and wire fraud in connection with a vast insider trading scheme, even as Cohen himself was never charged.
Black Edge offers a revelatory look at the gray zone in which so much of Wall Street functions. It’s a riveting, true-life legal thriller that takes readers inside the government s pursuit of Cohen and his employees, and raises urgent and troubling questions about the power and wealth of those who sit at the pinnacle of modern Wall Street.
“Fast-paced and filled with twists, Black Edge has the grip of a thriller. It is also an essential expose of our times a work that reveals the deep rot in our financial system. Everyone should read this book.”                             David Grann, New York Times bestselling author of The Lost City of Z

 

“Black Edge is a real-life thriller about the government s attempt to get the legendary trader Steve Cohen on insider trading charges and the lengths to which he goes to elude them. Using deep reporting and top-notch storytelling, Sheelah Kolhatkar is able to shed new light on one of the least known and most fascinating characters on Wall Street.”                                Bethany McLean, co-author of The Smartest Guys in the Room

 

 

Bethlehem: Biography of a Town by Nicholas Blincoe

 

Image result for Bethlehem: Biography of a Town by Nicholas BlincoeThe town of Bethlehem carries so many layers of meaning–some ancient, some mythical, some religious–that it feels like an unreal city, even to the people who call it home. Today, the city is hemmed in by a wall and surrounded by forty-one Israeli settlements and hostile settlers and soldiers. The population is undergoing such enormous strains it is close to falling apart. Any town with an eleven-thousand-year history has to be robust, but Bethlehem may soon go the way of Salonica or Constantinople: the physical site might survive, but the long thread winding back to the ancient past will have snapped, and the city risks losing everything that makes it unique.

Still, for many, Bethlehem remains the “little town” of the Christmas song. Nicholas Blincoe will tell the history of the famous little town, through the visceral experience of living there, taking readers through its stone streets and desert wadis, its monasteries, aqueducts and orchards, showing the city from every angle and era. Inevitably, a portrait of Bethlehem will shed light on one of the world’s most intractable political problems. Bethlehem is a much-loved Palestinian city, a source of pride and wealth but also a beacon of co-existence in a region where hopelessness, poverty and violence has become the norm. Bethlehem could light the way to a better future, but if the city is lost then the chances of an end to the Israel-Palestine conflict will be lost with it.

 

A lovely personal adventure through the history of Bethlehem from its origins up to the present day. Blincoe captures the continuities and contradictions, the myths and the history of one of the world’s most famous towns with real flair.”                            Peter Frankopan, author of Silk Roads

“[Bethlehem] brings within reach 11,000 years of history, centering on the beloved town’s unique place in the world. Blincoe’s love of Bethlehem is compelling, even as he does not shy away from the complexities of its chronicle.”                     President Jimmy Carter

“[Bethlehem] illuminates both the past and the present of the Middle East with countless instances of fantastic achievement and equally terrible human folly.”                   Yotam Ottolenghi

 

 

How Democracies Die: What History Reveals About Our Future by Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt

 

Image result for How Democracies Die: What History Reveals About Our Future by Steven Levitsky and Daniel ZiblattTwo Harvard professors explain the dangerous world we face today

Democracies can die with a coup d’état – or they can die slowly. This happens most deceptively when in piecemeal fashion, with the election of an authoritarian leader, the abuse of governmental power and the complete repression of opposition. All three steps are being taken around the world – not least with the election of Donald Trump – and we must all understand how we can stop them.

In How Democracies Die, Harvard professors Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt draw insightful lessons from across history – from the rule of General Augusto Pinochet in Chile to the quiet undermining of Turkey’s constitutional system by President Recip Erdogan – to shine a light on regime breakdown across the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Notably they point to the dangers of an authoritarian leader faced with a major crisis.

Based on years of research, they present a deep understanding of how and why democracies die; an alarming analysis of how democracy is being subverted today in the US and beyond; and a guide for maintaining and repairing a threatened democracy, for governments, political parties and individuals.

History doesn’t repeat itself. But we can protect our democracy by learning its lessons, before it’s too late.
Levitsky and Ziblatt show how democracies have collapsed elsewhere—not just through violent coups, but more commonly (and insidiously) through a gradual slide into authoritarianism…. How Democracies Die is a lucid and essential guide to what can happen here.”                            New York Times

We’re already awash in public indignation—what we desperately need is a sober, dispassionate look at the current state of affairs. Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt, two of the most respected scholars in the field of democracy studies, offer just that.”                 Washington Post

 

 

Orders to Kill: The Putin Regime and Political Murder by Amy Knight

 

Image result for Orders to Kill: The Putin Regime and Political Murder by Amy KnightEver since Vladimir Putin came to power in Russia, his critics have turned up dead on a regular basis. According to Amy Knight, this is no coincidence. In Orders to Kill, the KGB scholar ties dozens of victims together to expose a campaign of political murder during Putin’s reign that even includes terrorist attacks such as the Boston Marathon bombing.

Russia is no stranger to political murder, from the tsars to the Soviets to the Putin regime, during which many journalists, activists and political opponents have been killed. Kremlin defenders like to say, “There is no proof,” however convenient these deaths have been for Putin, and, unsurprisingly, because he controls all investigations, Putin is never seen holding a smoking gun. Orders to Kill is a story long hidden in plain sight with huge ramifications.

 

“[Knight’s] detailed indictment makes a strong case that Vladimir Putin and the criminal empire he created survives because dissidents are slain without any consequence…Mr. Trump has voiced disdain for reading books. Perhaps someone should slip a copy of Orders to Kill onto his nightstand.”                              Washington Times

 

Amy Knight is our foremost expert on Russian spycraft. This incisive, deeply researched account of the Kremlin’s murderous dark arts should be an electrifying wake-up call to the West about the danger we face from Putin’s gangster state.”                    Economist

 

A brave and important book. Amy Knight has an expert understanding of Russia, its spy agencies, and the dark state created by Vladimir Putin and his KGB cronies. Putin’s critics have an uncanny habit of falling dead and Knight tells this story with rare skill. Compelling.”                              Luke Harding, author of A Very Expensive Poison: The Murder of Alexander Litvinenko and Russia’s War with the West

 

 

In Shock: How Nearly Dying Made Me a Better Intensive Care Doctor by Rana Awdish

 

Image result for In Shock: How Nearly Dying Made Me a Better Intensive Care Doctor by Rana AwdishSunday Times ‘MUST READ’

Tense, powerful and gripping… her writing style is often nothing short of beautiful – evocative and emotional.”                   Adam Kay, Observer

At seven months pregnant, intensive care doctor Rana Awdish suffered a catastrophic medical event, haemorrhaging nearly all of her blood volume and losing her unborn first child. She spent months fighting for her life in her own hospital, enduring a series of organ failures and multiple major surgeries.

Every step of the way, Awdish was faced with something even more unexpected and shocking than her battle to survive: her fellow doctors’ inability to see and acknowledge the pain of loss and human suffering, the result of a self-protective barrier hard-wired in medical training.

In Shock is Rana Awdish’s searing account of her extraordinary journey from doctor to patient, during which she sees for the first time the dysfunction of her profession’s disconnection from patients and the flaws in her own past practice as a doctor. Shatteringly personal yet wholly universal, it is both a brave roadmap for anyone navigating illness and a call to arms for doctors to see each patient not as a diagnosis but as a human being.

 

Outstanding… What marks it out is not the scale or urgency of the trauma, although I read the first chapters at such a pace that I almost had to remind myself to breathe. It is the writing. It sparks and crackles with a dark energy… The writing is not just intense, but intelligent… In Shock stands above other patient memoirs.”                               Sunday Times

A brave, powerful memoir about what it is like to be both a doctor and a patient… There is a widsom that literally comes from suffering.”                  The Times

Compelling and insightful, this story of what a doctor learns through coming close to death is packed with both action and reflection.” Cathy Rentzenbrink, bestselling author of The Last Act of Love

 



Blood on the Page by Thomas Harding

 

Image result for blood on the page hardingMeticulous and gripping – a thriller that disturbs for revelations about a singular act of murder, and the national security state which we call home.”                          Philippe Sands

 

A groundbreaking examination of a terrifying murder and its aftermath by the bestselling author of Hanns and Rudolf and The House by the Lake.

In June 2006, police were called to number 9 Downshire Hill in Hampstead. The owner of the house, Allan Chappelow, was an award-winning photographer and biographer, an expert on George Bernard Shaw, and a notorious recluse, who had not been seen for several weeks. Someone had recently accessed his bank accounts, and attempted to withdraw large amounts of money. Inside the darkened house, officers found piles of rubbish, trees growing through the floor, and, in what was once the living room, the body of Chappelow, battered to death, partially burned and buried under four feet of paper.

The man eventually arrested on suspicion of his murder was a Chinese dissident named Wang Yam: a man who claimed to be the grandson of one of Mao’s closest aides, and a key negotiator in the Tiananmen Square protests. His trial was the first in modern British history to be held ‘in camera’: closed, carefully controlled, secret. Wang Yam was found guilty, but has always protested his innocence.

Thomas Harding has spent the past two years investigating the case, interviewing key witnesses, investigating officers, forensic experts and the journalists who broke the story, and has unearthed shocking and revelatory new material on the killing, the victim and the supposed perpetrator. It is a crime that has been described in the press and by the leading detective as ‘the greatest whodunnit’ of recent years: an extraordinary tale of isolation, deception and brutal violence, stretching from the quiet streets of north London to the Palace of Westminster and beyond. It is an explosive new work of non-fiction from an author working at the height of his powers.

 

A fine and fascinating read, bolstered by exemplary research and nuanced insights. Absorbing.”                  Observer

Reads like a thriller… a rigorous investigation… a revealing piece of social history.”                            Sunday Times

Absolutely gripping throughout and builds to a devastating conclusion. Just brilliant.”                     Allan Little

 

 

The Monk of Mokha by Dave Eggers

 

Image result for The Monk of Mokha by Dave EggersFrom the best-selling author of The Circle – the gripping true story of a young Yemeni American man, raised in San Francisco, who dreams of resurrecting the ancient art of Yemeni coffee but finds himself trapped in Sana’a by civil war

Mokhtar Alkhanshali is twenty-four and working as a doorman when he becomes fascinated with the rich history of coffee and Yemen’s central place in it. He leaves San Francisco and travels deep into his ancestral home to tour terraced farms high in the country’s rugged mountains. He collects samples and organizes farmers and is on the verge of success when civil war engulfs the country. Saudi bombs rain down, the U.S. embassy closes, and Mokhtar has to find a way out of Yemen with only his hopes on his back.

The Monk of Mokha is the story of this courageous and visionary young man following the most American of dreams.

 

It’ll open your eyes – very wide – to the singular origins of your single origin.”                       Esquire

Eggers’s narrative is guaranteed to be every bit as compelling as that of any novel.”        Observer

Dave Eggers returns to his “factional” mode with The Monk Of Mokha, in which a Yemeni immigrant

 

 

Maybe Esther by Katya Petrowskaya

 

Image result for Maybe Esther by Katya PetrowskayaIntensely involving … a fervent meditation on love and loss, with a remarkable cast of characters.”            Financial Times

 

Rich, intriguing … Maybe Esther calls to mind the itinerant style of W. G. Sebald.”             Guardian

 

Katja Petrowskaja’s family story is inextricably entangled with the history of twentieth-century Europe. There is her great-uncle, who shot a German diplomat in Moscow in 1932 and was sentenced to death. There is her Ukrainian grandfather, who disappeared during World War II and reappeared forty years later. And there is her great-grandmother – whose name may or may not have been Esther – who was too old and frail to leave Kiev when the Jews there were rounded up, and was killed by a Nazi outside her house.

Taking the reader from Berlin to Warsaw, to Moscow, to Kiev, from Google searches, strange encounters and coincidences to archives, anecdotes and jokes, Katja Petrowskaja undertakes a journey in search of her own place in past and present, memory and history, languages and countries. The result is Maybe Esther – a singular, haunting, unforgettable work of literature.

 

Mesmerising. It is writing that dazzles … deeply thoughtful and with insights that flash like sharp implements.”                   New Statement

 

Rarely is research into family history this exciting, this moving. If this were a novel it would seem exaggerated and unbelievable. This is great literature.”                      Spiegel

Modern German literature is richer for this intelligent, flamboyant and extremely original voice.”               Die Zeit

 

 

 

Art/Graphic

Significant Others:  Creativity and Intimate Partnership  by Isabelle de Courtivron

 

Image result for 9780500293812Biographies of artists and writers have traditionally presented an individual’s lone struggle for self-expression. In this book, critics and historians challenge these assumptions in a series of essays that focus on artist and writer couples who have shared sexual and artistic bonds. Featuring duos such as Auguste Rodin and Camille Claudel, Sonia and Robert Delaunay, Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant, and Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg, this book combines biography with evaluation of each partner’s work in the context of the relationship.

 

Reveals the pressures of societal assumptions, whilst revealing the limitations such constructions place on male and female creativity”            Aesthetica

“The intimacy of creativity is revealed to pave the way for extraordinary partnerships and eternal bonds…this original series of essays explores how a shared passion for the arts can make sparks fly.”                 Red

Michaelis Graduate Catalogue

Image result for michaelis grad catalogue

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Michaelis Graduate Catalogue 2017 is available in print and is a must for local art lovers, artists and perspective art students. The catalogue not only includes images of works made by all the participating art grad students but also includes an original piece of art from one of the participating graduate artists.

 

 

 

 

My Brother’s Husband by Gengoroh Tagame

 

Image result for My Brother’s Husband by Gengoroh TagameWhen a cuddly Canadian comes to call, Yaichi – a single Japanese dad – is forced to confront his painful past. With his young daughter Kana leading the way, he gradually rethinks his assumptions about what makes a family. Renowned manga artist Gengoroh Tagame turns his stunning draftsmanship to a story very different from his customary fare, to delightful and heartwarming effect.”                       Alison Bechdel, author of Are You My Mother

 

Yaichi is a work-at-home suburban dad in contemporary Tokyo; formerly married to Natsuki, father to their young daughter, Kana. Their lives suddenly change with the arrival at their doorstep of a hulking, affable Canadian named Mike Flanagan, who declares himself the widower of Yaichi’s estranged gay twin, Ryoji. Mike is on a quest to explore Ryoji’s past, and the family reluctantly but dutifully takes him in. What follows is an unprecedented and heartbreaking look at the state of a largely still-closeted Japanese gay culture: how it’s been affected by the West, and how the next generation can change the preconceptions about it and prejudices against it.

 

Heartbreaking yet hopeful, Gengoroh Tagame’s beautifully rendered meditation on the struggle for gay acceptance in today’s Japan is quietly dazzling. I am already looking forward to part two!”                          CNN

“My Brother’s Husband is one of the most poignant books about self-growth I’ve read in a long time, and almost certainly the most moving graphic novel I’ve ever encountered . . . a beautiful piece of fiction.”                      Scott Manley Hadley, Triumph of the Now

 

 

Teen Pride

Saturday, March 24th 2018 at 5:00 PM

Teen Pride

Teen-run social event for queer teens and their straight allies.

Whether you’re in the closet or out, queer or questioning, you’re welcome.

Come meet other LGBTQ+ teens.

Snacks, drinks and books!

When: Saturday, 24th March

Where: The Book Lounge, corner of Roeland Street and Buitenkant Street, Cape Town

Time: 5pm-8pm

RSVP to: teenprideinfo@gmail.com

Any questions can be sent to the email above.

Teen Pride badges for sale & all proceeds go to Pride Shelter Trust. R20 each

@teenpridecpt

February 2018

Tuesday, February 27th 2018 at 11:01 AM

Fiction

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The Only Story by Julian Barnes

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Image result for only story barnesWould you rather love the more, and suffer the more; or love the less, and suffer the less? That is, I think, finally, the only real question.

First love has lifelong consequences, but Paul doesn’t know anything about that at nineteen. At nineteen, he’s proud of the fact his relationship flies in the face of social convention.

As he grows older, the demands placed on Paul by love become far greater than he could possibly have foreseen.

Tender and wise, The Only Story is a deeply moving novel by one of fiction’s greatest mappers of the human heart.

 

A novelist at the height of his powers…. Quietly devastating.”                                  The Times

A gentle, bleak, and brilliant novel.”                                       Financial Times

Immensely powerful.”                                 Alex Clark, New Statesman

This intense, taut, sad and often beautiful tale may well be Barnes’ best novel for years.”                           Lara Feigel, Spectator

A tender and heartbreaking novel.”                      Alex Preston, Observer

 

 

 

Her Body & Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado

 

Image result for Her Body & Other Parties by Carmen Maria MachadoSHORTLISTED FOR THE NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FICTION PRIZE 2017

 

Brilliantly inventive and blazingly smart.”            Garth Greenwell

 

A wild thing … covered in sequins and scales, blazing with the influence of fabulists from Angela Carter to Kelly Link and Helen Oyeyemi.”                                New York Times

 

In her provocative debut, Carmen Maria Machado demolishes the borders between magical realism and science fiction, comedy and horror, fantasy and fabulism. Startling narratives map the realities of women’s lives and the violence visited on their bodies, both in myth and in practice.

A wife refuses her husband’s entreaties to remove the mysterious green ribbon from around her neck. A woman recounts her sexual encounters as a plague spreads across the earth. A salesclerk in a mall makes a horrifying discovery about a store’s dresses. One woman’s surgery-induced weight loss results in an unwanted house guest.

Bodies become inconsequential, humans become monstrous, and anger becomes erotic. A dark, shimmering slice into womanhood, Her Body and Other Parties is wicked and exquisite.

 

The stories in Her Body and Other Parties vibrate with originality, queerness, sensuality and the strange. Her voracious imagination and extraordinary voice beautifully bind these stories about fading women and the end of the world and men who want more when they’ve been given everything and bodies, so many human bodies taking up space and straining the seams of skin in impossible, imperfect, unforgettable ways.”                      Roxane Gay

 

 

The Other Hoffman Sister by Ben Fergusson

 

Image result for The Other Hoffman Sister by Ben FergussonFor Ingrid Hoffmann the story of her sister’s disappearance began in their first weeks in Southwest Africa…

Ingrid Hoffmann has always felt responsible for her sister Margarete and when their family moves to German Southwest Africa in 1902, her anxieties only increase. The casual racism that pervades the German community, the strange relationship between her parents and Baron von Ketz, from whom they bought their land, and the tension with the local tribes all culminate in tragedy when Baron von Ketz is savagely murdered. Baroness von Ketz and their son, Emil, flee with the Hoffmanns as the Baron’s attackers burn down the family’s farm.

Both families return to Berlin and Ingrid’s concerns about Margarete are assuaged when she and Emil von Ketz become engaged on the eve of the First World War. But Margarete disappears on her wedding night at the von Ketz’s country house. The mystery of what happened to her sister haunts Ingrid, but as Europe descends into chaos, her hope of discovering the truth becomes ever more distant.

After the war, in the midst of the revolution that brings down the Kaiser and wipes out the aristocracy that her family married into, Ingrid returns to the von Ketzes’ crumbling estate determined to find out what really happened to her sister.

 

A fascinating look at racism and snobbery. Broken postwar Germany is superbly drawn and events in Africa are horrific.”                                The Times

Shortlisted for the Sunday Times/Peters Fraser & Dunlop Young Writer of the Year Award in 2015, Ben Fergusson was much praised for his first novel, The Spring of Kasper Meier…The Other Hoffmann Sister confirms the talent for atmospheric, morally complex historical fiction that Fergusson showed in his first novel…An engrossing exploration of the ways that secrecy, racism and snobbery take their toll on its finely realised characters.”                 Sunday Times

 

Lullaby by Leïla Slemani

 

Image result for Lullaby by Leïla SlemaniThe baby is dead. It only took a few seconds.

When Myriam, a French-Moroccan lawyer, decides to return to work after having children, she and her husband look for the perfect caretaker for their two young children. They never dreamed they would find Louise: a quiet, polite and devoted woman who sings to their children, cleans the family’s chic apartment in Paris’s upscale tenth arrondissement, stays late without complaint and is able to host enviable birthday parties.

The couple and nanny become more dependent on each other. But as jealousy, resentment and suspicions increase, Myriam and Paul’s idyllic tableau is shattered…

 

Consistently spellbinding: a supremely confident and provocative novel that deserves similar success to Gillian Flynn’s bestseller.”                          TLS

A masterpiece: a brilliant exploration of the collision of race, gender, and class wrapped up in a gripping psychological thriller. I absolutely loved it – and read it in one sitting.”                  Amy Chua, New York Times bestselling author of Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother
The acid, throwaway beauty of so many of Slimani’s descriptions and phrases [means] that you are taken deep into a fragile, damaged yet somehow rationally irrational psyche. I closed this book feeling very shaken but also with a sense that I’d just had an experience that almost no other art form could have given me. Long live the novel.”                          Julie Myerson, Observer Book of the Day

 

This is a political book about emotional work, about women and children and their costs and losses. But, partly because Slimani looks so clearly at these losses, not only giving them their due, but placing them carefully for full narrative impact, Lullaby also works as a thriller, which is quite a balancing act to pull off.”                              Guardian

 

“[Myriam’s] complexity is the best element of the novel. […] There is a fearless honesty in presenting a mother who knows there is more to life than her offspring. Slimani horribly illuminates the darkest fears of a great many parents of small children anxiously trying to get on with their lives.”                          David Mills, Sunday Times

 

A Long Way from Home by Peter Carey

 

Image result for A Long Way from Home by Peter CareyIrene Bobs loves fast driving. Her husband is the best car salesman in rural south eastern Australia. Together with Willie, their lanky navigator, they embark upon the Redex Trial, a brutal race around the continent, over roads no car will ever quite survive.

A Long Way from Home is Peter Carey’s late style masterpiece; a thrilling high speed story that starts in one way, then takes you to another place altogether. Set in the 1950s in the embers of the British Empire, painting a picture of Queen and subject, black, white and those in-between, this brilliantly vivid novel illustrates how the possession of an ancient culture spirals through history – and the love made and hurt caused along the way.
The Australian double Booker Prize-winner returns with a novel of road racing and postcolonial reckoning set in the small-town Victoria of his youth.‘”                       Financial Times

 

 

The Immortalists by Chloe Hoffmann

 

Image result for 9781472244994It’s 1969, and holed up in a grimy tenement building in New York’s Lower East Side is a travelling psychic who claims to be able to tell anyone the date they will die. The four Gold children, too young for what they’re about to hear, sneak out to learn their fortunes.

Over the years that follow, the siblings must choose how to live with the prophecies the fortune-teller gave them that day. Will they accept, ignore, cheat or defy them? Golden-boy Simon escapes to San Francisco, searching for love; dreamy Klara becomes a Las Vegas magician; eldest son Daniel tries to control fate as an army doctor after 9/11; and bookish Varya looks to science for the answers she craves.

A sweeping novel of remarkable ambition and depth, The Immortalists is a story about how we live, how we die, and what we do with the time we have.

 

For someone who loves stories about brothers and sisters, as I do, The Immortalists is about as good as it gets. A memorable and heartfelt look at what might happen to a family who knows too much. It’s amazing how good this book is.”                          Karen Joy Fowler

A captivating family saga.”                       New York Times Book Review

As deft and dizzying as a high-wire act… the reader is beguiled with unexpected twists and stylish, crisp prose…[an] ambitious, unorthodox tale.”                     Economist

The very best kind of literary thriller.”                    Richard Russo

A beautiful, compassionate, and even joyful novel. Chloe Benjamin has written an inspiring book that makes you think hard about what you want to do with the time you’re given. This is not really a book about dying – it’s a book about how to live.”                      Nathan Hill, author of The Nix

 

 

The Chalk Man by C.J. Tudor

 

Image result for The Chalk Man by C.J. TudorWonderfully creepy – like a cold blade on the back of your neck.”              Lee Child

 

A tense gripper with a leave-the-lights-on shock ending”            Sunday Times

 

You can feel it in the woods, in the school and in the playground; you can feel it in the houses and at the fairground. You can feel it in most places in the small town of Anderbury . . . the fear that something or someone is watching you.

It began back in 1986, at the fair, on the day of the accident. That was when twelve-year-old Eddie met Mr Halloran – the Chalk Man.

He gave Eddie the idea for the drawings: a way to leave secret messages for his friends and it was fun, until the chalk men led them to a body.

Thirty years later, Ed believes the past is far behind him, until an envelope slips through the letterbox. It contains a stick of chalk, and a drawing of a figure.

Is history going to repeat itself?

Was it ever really over?

Will this game only end in the same way?

 

Completely engrossing. Reminiscent of those unsettling Stephen King stories of childhood.”                       John Boyne author of The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas

Plenty of plot twists and an evocative portrait of small-town-life in the 1980s . . . a riveting read.”                            Guardian

 

Knuckle Bone by N.R. Brodie

 

Image result for Knuckle Bone by NR BrodieSangomas and cops don’t mix. Usually. But this is Joburg, a metropolis that is equal parts flash and shadow, and where not everything can be easily explained. Ian Jack, a disillusioned former police officer, teams up with Reshma Patel, a colleague from his old life, to investigate a routine housebreaking gone bad. But when they uncover links to a possible animal poaching and trafficking syndicate, things go from complicated to dangerous to downright evil.

Set against the richly textured backdrop of a livewire African city, this fast-paced thriller offers a disturbing contemporary take on justice and morality. To be read with the lights on.

 

 

The Confession by Jo Spain

 

Image result for The Confession by Jo SpainSOMETIMES THE TRUTH IS NOT ALL IT SEEMS…
SOMETIMES A CONFESSION IS THE BEGINNING… NOT THE END.

Late one night a man walks into the luxurious home of disgraced banker Harry McNamara and his wife Julie. The man launches an unspeakably brutal attack on Harry as a horror-struck Julie watches, frozen by fear. It looks like Harry’s many sins – corruption, greed, betrayal – have finally caught up with him.

An hour later the intruder, JP Carney, hands himself in, confessing to the assault. The police have a victim, a suspect in custody and an eye-witness account, but Julie remains troubled.

Has Carney’s surrender really been driven by a guilty conscience or is this confession the first calculated move in a deadly game?

 

I can’t praise The Confession enough. Brilliant writing, great story . . . a really cracking read.”   BA Paris, author of Behind Closed Doors

Fabulous . . . Clever, pacey, compulsive.”                            Sunday Mirror

Enthralling – Spain dissects her characters’ secrets with razor-sharp precision.”                 JP Delaney, author of The Girl Before

A clever and unusual premise . . . punchy and energetic . . . a brilliant hook and rapid-fire ride.”                                Irish Independent

 

Kintu by Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi

 

Image result for Kintu by Jennifer Nansubuga MakumbiA soaring and sublime epic. One of those great stories that was just waiting to be told.”                              Marlon James, Man Booker Prize-winning author of A Brief History of Seven Killings

 

A captivating, ambitious and haunting novel of breathtaking scope, from the winner of the Commonwealth Short Story Prize

The year is 1750. As he makes his way to the capital to pledge allegiance to the new leader of the Buganda Kingdom, Kintu Kidda unleashes a curse that will plague his family for generations. As the centuries pass, the tale moves down the bloodline, exploring the lives of four of Kintu Kidda’s descendants. Although the family members all have their own stories and live in very different circumstances, they are united by one thing – the struggle to break free from the curse and escape the burden of their family’s past.

Blending Ganda oral tradition, myth, folktale and history, Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi has brought to life an extraordinarily colourful cast of characters to produce a powerful epic – a modern classic.

 

Kintu is an important book. It is also a very good one…inventive in scope, masterful in execution, [Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi] does for Ugandan literature what Chinua Achebe did for Nigerian writing.”                   Guardian
A multicharacter epic that emphatically lives up to its ambition.”             Sunday Times
Kintu is a triumph of east African literature and one that delights in the pliant nature of storytelling itself, the ways in which family lore is passed down and the impact of variations on it… This rich drama examines the power of such legacies, and the potential for even the most far-flung, estranged families to unite in the face of ages-old evil.”                    Financial Times
Immediately engaging…as gruelling vignettes of gender injustice jostle with hallucinatory dream sequences.”                  Observer

An Unremarkable Body by Elisa Lodato

 

Image result for An Unremarkable Body by Elisa LodatoEvery mother is a woman with a past.

An intriguing tale of love, loss and missed opportunities . . . written with verve and delivers an amazing twist.”                  Sunday Mirror

Tender and moving, this part-thriller, part-memoir will leave you floored.”                          Emerald Street

When Katharine is found dead at the foot of her stairs, it is the mystery of her life that consumes her daughter, Laura.

The medical examiner’s report, in which precious parts of Katharine’s body are weighed and categorised, motivates Laura to write her own version of events; to bear witness to the unbearable blank space between each itemised entry.

It forces her to confront a new version of the woman she knew only as her mother – a woman silenced by her own mother, and wronged by her husband. A woman who felt shackled by tradition and unable to love freely.

With the heart of a memoir and the pace of a thriller, An Unremarkable Body reveals an overwhelming desire to make sense of an unfulfilled life – and to prove that an unremarkable body does not mean an unremarkable life.
Pleasingly distinct . . . the structuring of the chapters by means of an introductory extract from the autopsy report is a rather ingenious one . . . . this organizational quirkiness sets Lodato’s work apart from the start . . . a novel that shows notable promise . . . . I’m already intrigued to see what Lodato writes next.”                        Independent

 

 

The Reservoir Tapes by Jon McGregor

 

Image result for The Reservoir Tapes by Jon McGregorHe leaves behind all other writers of his generation.”                     Sarah Hall

 

Midwinter in the early years of this century. A teenage girl on holiday has gone missing in the hills at the heart of England. The villagers are called up to join the search, fanning out across the moors as the police set up roadblocks and a crowd of news reporters descends on their usually quiet home.

But the aftershocks of Becky Shaw’s disappearance have origins long before then, and those in the village have losses, and secrets, and stories of their own…

A woman remembers a son’s inexperience – and a father’s rage; a young wife pushes against the boundaries of her marriage, whilst an older one finds ways to ensure the survival of hers. A hunt for a birthday present takes an alarming turn, and a teenage game grows serious.

Fresh hurts open old wounds, salvation comes from unexpected quarters and chance encounters release long-buried memories.

First broadcast as a series of specially commissioned stories on BBC Radio 4, The Reservoir Tapes returns to the territory of the Booker-longlisted Reservoir 13, revealing the web of connections that bind us, and the many layers on which we all build our truths.

 

It’s an astonishing achievement, both effective and deeply affecting…”                               Guardian

 

For anyone who enjoyed Reservoir 13, it is essential reading.”                  Financial Times

 

An elegant collection of short stories, which can stand firmly by itself.”                 TLS

 

 

The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn

 

Image result for The Woman in the Window by A.J. FinnWhat did she see?

It’s been ten long months since Anna Fox last left her home. Ten months during which she has haunted the rooms of her old New York house like a ghost, lost in her memories, too terrified to step outside.

Anna’s lifeline to the real world is her window, where she sits day after day, watching her neighbours. When the Russells move in, Anna is instantly drawn to them. A picture-perfect family of three, they are an echo of the life that was once hers.

But one evening, a frenzied scream rips across the silence, and Anna witnesses something no one was supposed to see. Now she must do everything she can to uncover the truth about what really happened. But even if she does, will anyone believe her? And can she even trust herself?

 

“The Woman in the Window is one of those rare books that really is unputdownable. The writing is smooth and often remarkable. The way Finn plays off this totally original story against a background of film noir is both delightful and chilling.”                               Stephen King

 

An incredible debut, I absolutely loved it. I read The Woman in the Window in a single day. Full of suspense and surprises and told with heart, The Woman in the Window will send readers racing through its pages. A stunning first outing from A. J. Finn. He is a tremendous new talent.”                    Jane Harper, bestselling author of The Dry

 

A truly phenomenal debut. A taut, utterly compelling story. Smart, heart-wrenching―and really scary.”                             Nicci French

 

Astounding. Thrilling. Lovely and amazing. I could weave in more superlatives but you get the idea. Finn has created a noir for the new millennium, packed with mesmerizing characters, stunning twists, beautiful writing and a narrator with whom I’d love to split a bottle of pinot. Maybe two bottles―I’ve got a lot of questions for her.”                               Gillian Flynn

 

 

 

Non-fiction

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Brutal Legacy by Tracy Going

 

Image result for Brutal Legacy by Tracy GoingSearing, heartbreaking, triumphant: Brutal Legacy is for anyone who’s been punched in the face by someone they loved and then stood up again. It’s for every mother who has run, every sister who has picked up the pieces and every friend who hasn’t fled. It’s for every brother who’s cried and for the children who have watched. Every South African should read it.” – Sisonke Msimang, author of Always Another Country

 

When South Africa’s golden girl of broadcasting, Tracy Going’s battered face was splashed across the media back in the late 1990s, the nation was shocked.

South Africans had become accustomed to seeing Going, glamorous and groomed on television or hearing her resonant voice on Radio Metro and Kaya FM. Sensational headlines of a whirlwind love relationship turned horrendously violent threw the “perfect” life of the household star into disarray. What had started off as a fairy-tale romance with a man who appeared to be everything that Going was looking for – charming, handsome and successful – had quickly descended into a violent, abusive relationship.

 

The rosy love cloud burst just five months after meeting her “Prince Charming” when she staggered into the local police station, bruised and battered. A short relationship became a two-and-a-half-year legal ordeal played out in the public eye. In mesmerising detail, Going takes us through the harrowing court process – a system seeped in injustice – her decline into depression, the immediate collapse of her career due to the highly public nature of her assault and the decades-long journey to undo the psychological damages in the search for safety and the reclaiming of self.

 

 

The Land is Ours: South Africa’s First Black Lawyers and the Birth of Constitutionalism by Tembeka Ngcukaitobi

 

Image result for The Land is Ours: South Africa’s First Black Lawyers and the Birth of Constitutionalism by Tembeka NgcukaitobiThe Land Is Ours tells the story of South Africa’s first black lawyers, who operated in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. In an age of aggressive colonial expansion, land dispossession and forced labour, these men believed in a constitutional system that respected individual rights and freedoms, and they used the law as an instrument against injustice.

 

The book follows the lives, ideas and careers of Henry Sylvester Williams, Alfred Mangena, Richard Msimang, Pixley ka Isaka Seme, Ngcubu Poswayo and George Montsioa, who were all members of the ANC. It analyses the legal cases they took on, explores how they reconciled the law with the political upheavals of the day, and considers how they sustained their fidelity to the law when legal victories were undermined by politics.

 

The Land Is Ours shows that these lawyers developed the concept of a Bill of Rights, which is now an international norm. The book is particularly relevant in light of current calls to scrap the Constitution and its protections of individual rights: it clearly demonstrates that, from the beginning, the struggle for freedom was based on the idea of the rule of law.

 

 

Making Love in a War Zone by Jonathan Jansen

 

Image result for Making Love in a War Zone by Jonathan JansenMy father-in-law did not show up for the wedding. My future wife had to leave her family home the moment we asked permission to ‘go out’ together, a tradition in those days. There were certain members of the family whom she visited on her own; my presence was not welcomed. I was a confident human being and a proud black man, but those things stick when it comes to flesh and blood.”                          Jonathan Jansen

 

Can racism and intimacy co-exist? Can love and friendship form and flourish across South Africa’s imposed colour lines?

Who better to engage on the subject of hazardous liaisons than the students Jonathan Jansen served over seven years as Vice Chancellor of the University of the Free State.

The context is the University campus in Bloemfontein, the City of Roses, the Mississippi of South Africa. Rural, agricultural, insular, religious and conservative, this is not a place for breaking out.

But over the years, Jansen observed shifts in campus life and noticed more and more openly interracial friendships and couples, and he began having conversations with these students with burning questions in mind.

Ten interracial couples tell their stories of love and friendship in their own words, with no social theories imposed on their meanings, but instead a focus on how these students experience the world of interracial relationships, and how flawed, outdated laws and customs set limits on human relationships, and the long shadow they cast on learning, living and loving on university campuses to this day.

The Knock on the Door: The Story of the Detainees’ Parents Support Committee by Terry Shakinovsky & Sharon Cort with Lauren Segal

 

Image result for The Knock on the Door: The Story of the Detainees’ Parents Support Committee by Terry Shakinovsky & Sharon Cort with Lauren SegalThe Detainees’ Parents Support Committee (DPSC) was started in 1981 in Johannesburg. It was set up by the parents, spouses and families of activists who were detained and had no recourse to legal intervention. Many in this movement had not been politically involved.

Members of the DPSC stood on street corners with placards calling for the release of their children. They organised food, clothing and legal representation for detainees across the country, and they supported the detainees’ families. DPSC activists marched, petitioned, argued, wrote and protested for the release of all detainees. They made public the brutal operations of the security establishment.

The DPSC helped to draw international attention to the atrocities being perpetuated against children – some as young as nine – by the apartheid state. And the evidence amassed by the DPSC helped to lay some of the groundwork for South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC).

The Knock on the Door tells the story of the DPSC and of how the anti-detention movement became part of the mass uprising that brought down apartheid. It is an inspiring account of ordinary people coming together to stand up against racism and the abuse of power.

 

 

Inglorious Empire: What the British Did to India by Shashi Tharoor

 

Image result for Inglorious Empire: What the British Did to India by Shashi TharoorIn the eighteenth century, India’s share of the world economy was as large as Europe’s. By 1947, after two centuries of British rule, it had decreased six-fold. Beyond conquest and deception, the Empire blew rebels from cannon, massacred unarmed protesters, entrenched institutionalised racism, and caused millions to die from starvation.

British imperialism justified itself as enlightened despotism for the benefit of the governed, but Shashi Tharoor takes on and demolishes this position, demonstrating how every supposed imperial “gift”―from the railways to the rule of law―was designed in Britain’s interests alone. He goes on to show how Britain’s Industrial Revolution was founded on India’s deindustrialisation, and the destruction of its textile industry. In this bold and incisive reassessment of colonialism, Tharoor exposes to devastating effect the inglorious reality of Britain’s stained Indian legacy.

 

“Inglorious Empire is a timely reminder of the need to start teaching unromanticised colonial history in British schools. A welcome antidote to the nauseating righteousness and condescension pedalled by Niall Ferguson in his 2003 book Empire.”                                Irish Times

 

Tharoor convincingly demolishes some of the more persistent myths about Britain’s supposedly civilizing mission in India … [he] charts the destruction of pre-colonial systems of government by the British and their ubiquitous ledgers and rule books … The statistics are worth repeating.”                     Financial Times

Ferocious and astonishing. Essential for a Britain lost in sepia fantasies about its past, Inglorious Empire is history at its clearest and cutting best.”                           Ben Judah, author of This is London
Tharoor’s book ― arising from a contentious Oxford Union debate in 2015 where he proposed the motion “Britain owes reparations to her former colonies” ― should keep the home fires burning, so to speak, both in India and in Britain … He makes a persuasive case, with telling examples.”                              History Today
This book burns with the power of intellect married with conviction … this is erudite, well-written, thoroughly documented and persuasive history that focuses varied sources into a coherent critique of colonialism in the Indian context. Tear up your copies of Ferguson’s neo-liberal mind rot and get angry like Tharoor.”                    Morning Herald
His writing is a delight and he seldom misses his target … Tharoor should be applauded for tackling an impossibly contentious subject … he deserves to be read. Indians are not the only ones who need reminding that empire has a lot to answer for.”                       Literary Review
Those Brits who speak confidently about how Britain’s “historical and cultural ties” to India will make it easy to strike a great new trade deal should read Mr Tharoor’s book. It would help them to see the world through the eyes of the … countries once colonised or defeated by Britain.”                              Gideon Rachman, Financial Times

 

Brave by Rose McGowan

 

Image result for Brave by Rose McGowanMy life, as you will read, has taken me from one cult to another. BRAVE is the story of how I fought my way out of these cults and reclaimed my life. I want to help you do the same.”                      Rose McGowan

 

A revealing memoir and empowering manifesto .

 

Rose McGowan was born in one cult and came of age in another, more visible cult: Hollywood.

In a strange world where she was continually on display, stardom soon became a personal nightmare of constant exposure and sexualization. Rose escaped into the world of her mind, something she had done as a child, and into high-profile relationships. Every detail of her personal life became public, and the realities of an inherently sexist industry emerged with every script, role, public appearance, and magazine cover. The Hollywood machine packaged her as a sexualized bombshell, hijacking her image and identity and marketing them for profit.

Hollywood expected Rose to be silent and cooperative and to stay the path. Instead, she rebelled and asserted her true identity and voice. She reemerged unscripted, courageous, victorious, angry, smart, fierce, unapologetic, controversial, and real as f*ck.

 

Brave is her raw, honest, and poignant memoir/manifesto―a no-holds-barred, pull-no-punches account of the rise of a millennial icon, fearless activist, and unstoppable force for change who is determined to expose the truth about the entertainment industry, dismantle the concept of fame, shine a light on a multibillion-dollar business built on systemic misogyny, and empower people everywhere to wake up and be BRAVE.

 

Her memoir is an unapologetically furious read. Sweary, raw and unrefined, Brave is female rage as it is rarely allowed to be seen.”                             The Pool

 

Sensationally explosive…A battle cry you want to get behind.”                                 Sunday Times

 

Rose McGowan’s courage is palpable in an exposé that condemns Hollywood misogyny and the ‘monster’.”                   Observer

 

 

Of Women: In the 21st Century by Shami Chakrabarti

 

Image result for Of Women: In the 21st Century by Shami ChakrabartiA powerful, urgent and timely polemic on why women still need equality, and how we get there

It is the greatest human rights abuse on the planet. It blights first and developing worlds, rich and poor women’s health, wealth, education, representation, opportunity and security everywhere. It is no exaggeration to describe it as an ‘apartheid’, but not limited to one country or historical period. Gender injustice, Shami Chakrabarti shows, is an ancient and continuing wrong that is millennial in duration and global in reach.

As we move forward in the twenty-first century, a time of crises the world over, Shami Chakrabarti lays out the huge challenges we face with honesty and clarity. We have not yet done enough to create a more equal world: one where women and men share power, responsibility and opportunity. One that is potentially happier and more peaceful. One where no life is wasted, and everyone has a chance to fulfil their potential. Instead, we’ve been playing around at the edges. What’s needed now is radical change.

From the disparity in the number of births to issues of schooling, work, ownership, faith, political representation and international diplomacy, Of Women outlines what needs fixing and makes clear, inspiring proposals about what we do next, putting women’s rights at the centre of the progressive political agenda.

 

A vital book on how we bring about gender equality.”                  Jeremy Corbyn

Thought-provoking … Chakrabarti draws in every chapter on stories from India or Kenya or Latin America as well as home … This book is likely to appeal to people who have frankly had enough of reading about the politics of waxing or the deeper meaning of Beyoncé, and who worry that western feminism is in danger of disappearing up itself in pursuit of rather glossy and superficial concerns, but still don’t for one minute think the battle is won … A welcome global perspective on gender injustice.”                            Gaby Hinsliff, Guardian

“[A] crisp, contemporary treatise on the rights of women … punchy, passionate and fiercely rational … If just half of her ideas were put into practice, gender equality could be well within reach.”                              New Internationalist

 

 

Lost Connections: Uncovering the Real Causes of Depression – and the Unexpected Solutions by Johann Hari

 

Image result for Lost Connections: Uncovering the Real Causes of Depression – and the Unexpected Solutions by Johann HariFrom the New York Times bestselling author of Chasing the Scream, a radically new way of thinking about depression and anxiety

What really causes depression and anxiety – and how can we really solve them? Award-winning journalist Johann Hari suffered from depression since he was a child and started taking anti-depressants when he was a teenager. He was told that his problems were caused by a chemical imbalance in his brain. As an adult, trained in the social sciences, he began to investigate whether this was true – and he learned that almost everything we have been told about depression and anxiety is wrong.

Across the world, Hari found social scientists who were uncovering evidence that depression and anxiety are not caused by a chemical imbalance in our brains. In fact, they are largely caused by key problems with the way we live today. Hari´s journey took him from a mind-blowing series of experiments in Baltimore, to an Amish community in Indiana, to an uprising in Berlin. Once he had uncovered nine real causes of depression and anxiety, they led him to scientists who are discovering seven very different solutions – ones that work.

It is an epic journey that will change how we think about one of the biggest crises in our culture today. His TED talk – ‘Everything You Think You Know About Addiction Is Wrong’ – has been viewed more than 8 million times and revolutionized the global debate. This book will do the same.

 

If you have ever been down, or felt lost, this amazing book will change your life. Do yourself a favour – read it now.”                     Elton John
“Lost Connections offers a wonderful and incisive analysis of the depression and alienation that are haunting … society.”                                Hillary Rodham Clinton

Wise, probing and deeply generous Hari has produced a book packed with explosive revelations about our epidemic of despair … I am utterly convinced that the more people read this book, the better off the world will be.”                  Naomi Klein

A brilliant, stimulating, radical take on mental health.”                                Matt Haig

Extraordinary … A highly personal book, written with humility, humour and candour, it nonetheless heralds a crucial new discussion about our mental health – and health of the world we’ve created for ourselves . I honestly couldn’t put it down. What a stunning piece of work.”                               Brian Eno

 

The Know-it-Alls: The Rise of Silicon Valley as a Political Powerhouse and Social Wrecking Ball  by Noam Cohen

 

Image result for The Know-it-Alls: The Rise of Silicon Valley as a Political Powerhouse and Social Wrecking Ball by Noam CohenThe Beginning: a Stanford University lab embarked on an idealistic quest to create an artificial intelligence that would benefit society, perhaps even profit the makers. There were few women or minorities in the department and its head rejected the very idea of authority, but really – what could go wrong?

Now: more and more aspects of our lives are being dictated by a tiny, unaccountable elite, a breakaway sect of free-market libertarians who are determined to bypass government and enrich themselves at the expense of society. Pioneers and self-proclaimed geniuses like Jeff Bezos, Peter Thiel, Reid Hoffman and Mark Zuckerberg have not only made the Internet what it is today – their impact on the world has been profound.

This is a history of Silicon Valley through its eleven greatest entrepreneurs and a damning indictment of the greed, bias and outright prejudice of an industry that is fracturing America and taking the rest of us with it.

 

Important… A valuable addition to the growing body of literature that’s trying to explain how a culture of under-socialized wunderkind CEOs drove tech’s future into a ditch.”                      Wired
Many people have started to suspect that something has gone wrong in Silicon Valley. This book explains what that is. The Know-It-Alls is a smart, insightful, and ultimately terrifying read about the sinister motives behind the utopian rhetoric. A fantastic read.”                          Dan Lyons, author of New York Times bestseller, Disrupted: My Misadventure in the Start-Up Bubble

 

 

Making Marigold: Beaders of Bulawayo by Joni Brenner and Elizabeth Burroughs

 

Making Marigold: Beaders of Bulawayo is a portrait of a women’s beading co-operative specialising in loomed beadwork, based in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe.

Over 200 photographs reveal the sumptuous glamour of the Marigold beadwork and necklaces. Short, stand-alone narrative vignettes offer background insights into the making and development of the Marigold co-operative.

How did these women, whose skilled practice and creative impulses evident in every necklace, perfect this practice?

And what has sustained their efforts across the decades?

Making Marigold offers the opportunity to look closely at this sumptuous and beautiful beadwork, and to get to know the creative talent behind it.

 

 

 

Life in the Garden by Penelope Lively

 

Image result for Life in the Garden by Penelope LivelyRich and unusual, this is a book to treasure.”                    Alex Preston, Observer

 

Penelope Lively has always been a keen gardener. This book is partly a memoir of her own life in gardens: The large garden at home in Cairo where she spent most of her childhood, her grandmother’s garden in a sloping Somerset field, then two successive Oxfordshire gardens of her own and the smaller urban garden in the North London home she lives in today. It is also a wise, engaging and far-ranging exploration of gardens in literature, from Paradise Lost to Alice in Wonderland, and of writers and their gardens, from Virginia Woolf to Philip Larkin.

 

Exquisite and original.”                               Daily Telegraph

A gentle, scholarly progress through the lives and works of Penelope Lively’s favoured authors – from Jane Austen to Beatrix Potter, Philip Larkin to Tom Stoppard.”                   The Times

Wonderful. A manifesto of horticultural delight.”                            Literary Review

 

Sad Topographies: A Disenchanted Traveller’s Guide by Damien Rudd

 

Image result for Sad Topographies: A Disenchanted Traveller’s Guide by Damien RuddSad Topographies is an illustrated guide for the melancholic among us.

Dispirited travellers rejoice as Damien Rudd journeys across continents in search of the world’s most joyless place names and their fascinating etymologies.

Behind each lugubrious place name exists a story, a richly interwoven narrative of mythology, history, landscape, misadventure and tragedy. From Disappointment Island in the Southern Ocean to Misery in Germany, across to Lonely Island in Russia, or, if you’re feeling more intrepid, pay a visit to Mount Hopeless in Australia – all from the comfort of your armchair.

With hand drawn maps by illustrator Kateryna Didyk, Sad Topographies will steer you along paths that lead to strange and obscure places, navigating the terrains of historical fact and imaginative fiction. At turns poetic and dark-humoured, this is a travel guide quite like no other.

 

 

In Code

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De/Cipher: The Greatest Codes Ever Invented & How to Break Them by Mark Frary

 

Image result for In Code De/Cipher: The Greatest Codes Ever Invented & How to Break Them by Mark FraryA timely reference work in the light of the rise of Wikileaks, GCHQ and recent political hacking activity.

Codes win wars, conceal state secrets, protect privacy, secure banks and transmit messages. Through 45 of the world’s most influential codes and ciphers, DECIPHER presents a compelling insight into the art and science of cryptography. Structured chronologically, DECIPHER provides practical tools for understanding and using these fascinating codes and ciphers. It features a diverse range of codes, including the Caesar shift cipher, Easter Island’s bewildering Rongorongo and the famous Enigma code at Bletchley Park. DECIPHER also includes features on famous codebreakers of history such as Alan Turing, Jonas Nordby and Auguste Kerckhoffs, providing a comprehensive overview to this beguiling, secretive world.

 

A delightful little book … an ideal introduction to ciphers to a mathematically minded teenager and a good way to expand your knowledge if you’re an adult who sees the fun to be had from ciphers, but doesn’t know much detail.”                        Popular Science

 

This eclectic introduction to the mathematics, technology and personalities behind cryptography … ranges from the baffling ancient Indus script to Alan Turing’s crucial Second World War codebreaking and the promise of quantum cryptography. Brief biographies of codebreakers both famous and obscure enliven the challenging codes”                           Nature

 

 

The GCHQ Puzzle Book

 

Image result for The GCHQ Puzzle BookWould GCHQ recruit you? Pit your wits against the people who cracked Enigma in the official puzzle book from Britain’s secretive intelligence organisation …

——————————–

Odd word out

The themes in the following words are identical, but totally different! Which is the odd word out in each case?

  1. a) ANGLE, BRING, CLAMP, DIRTY, EXACT, FIELD, GRASS, HEART, IMAGE, JAUNT
    b) ABBEY, BURST, COURT, DRINK, ENJOY, FOUND, GIANT, HARMS, IDIOT, JUMPY

Identify Me

My first is in a combine harvester, but not in a ploughshare.
My second is in a pigsty, but not in a cowshed.
My third does not exist.
My whole is in a farmyard, but not in a jungle.
Identify me.

——————————–

GCHQ is a top-secret intelligence and security agency which recruits some of the very brightest minds. Over the years, their codebreakers have helped keep our country safe, from the Bletchley Park breakthroughs of WWII to the modern-day threat of cyberattack. So it comes as no surprise that, even in their time off, the staff at GCHQ love a good puzzle. Whether they’re recruiting new staff or challenging each other to the toughest Christmas quizzes and treasure hunts imaginable, puzzles are at the heart of what GCHQ does. Now they’re opening up their archives of decades’ worth of codes, puzzles and challenges for everyone to try.

 

Fiendish . . . as frustrating, divisive and annoying as it is deeply fulfilling.”                           Guardian

 

 

 

 

 

Poetry

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Virgin by Analicia Sotelo

 

Image result for 9781571315007Selected by Ross Gay as winner of the inaugural Jake Adam York Prize, Analicia Sotelo’s debut collection of poems is a vivid portrait of the artist as a young woman.

In Virgin, Sotelo walks the line between autobiography and mythmaking, offering up identities like dishes at a feast. These poems devour and complicate tropes of femininity – of naiveté, of careless abandon – before sharply exploring the intelligence and fortitude of women, how “far & wide, / how dark & deep / this frigid female mind can go.”

 

At every step, Sotelo’s poems seduce with history, folklore, and sensory detail – grilled meat, golden habaneros, and burnt sugar – before delivering clear-eyed and eviscerating insights into power, deceit, relationships, and ourselves. Here is what it means to love someone without truly understanding them. Here is what it means to be cruel. And here is what it means to become an artist, of words and of the self.

Blistering and gorgeous, Virgin is an audacious act of imaginative self-mythology from one of our most promising young poets.

 

‘We’re all performing our bruises, ‘ says a speaker in Analicia Sotelo’s brilliant book, Virgin, and that’s exactly the kind of precise and wise and not-a-little-bit-hurting observations this book is made of. I suppose this book, too, then, s a performance of a kind of bruise, or bruising. But what I love is how, by leaning into the many registers of heartbreak, Sotelo makes something incredibly beautiful. Something that, in its beauty, is a kind of salve.”                 Ross Gay

 

Virgin gorgeously, sensuously explores the pleasures and problems of the feminine experience. Sotelo’s language is as lush and hot as the inside of a woman’s mouth; her words can feel like a fever, like your eyes will blister if you stare too long at the page. . . . And what a pleasure to be hurt this way, with these words.”                           Nylon

“Virgin introduces readers to a young, Mexican-American feminist narrator who is sarcastic and unafraid, curious and self-discovering, and interested in everything from unrequited love and heartbreak to un-romanticized sex and the historically fraught terrain of virginity, and so much more. Analicia Sotelo dives headfirst into the complexities of the female experience and mind, and you’re going to love her for it.”                   Bustle

A significant debut. . . . Sotelo’s poetry reveals the weight of desire, how our hearts drag our bodies. . . . Imbued with Catholic cultural touches, Sotelo mines the Marian paradox with complexity, grace, and power.”                              The Millions

 

 

Vertigo: Of Love & Letting Go: An Odyssey about a Lost Poet in Retrograde by Analog de Leon

 

Image result for Vertigo: Of Love & Letting Go: An Odyssey about a Lost Poet in Retrograde by Analog de LeonYou could always feel Vertigo enter the room.
She was the something of revival.

In this modern epic, poet Analog de Leon (Chris Purifoy) weaves together a collection of poems into one rich story about star-crossed love and the turbulence of letting go. Vertigo offers an empowering message to anyone who has loved, lost, or yearned for freedom. It explores what it means to be human by examining our connection with nature, the cosmos, and each other.

Inspired by a Syrian monk who lived atop a pillar in protest to the injustice of the day, Vertigo is a voice of resistance, urging the reader to be more present and intentional. It is a map laced in allegory for a lost generation of anxious people holding on for life as the train of progress careens violently forward into midnight.

The poetry, quotes and illustrations seen throughout Vertigo’s pages act as a handbook for anyone attempting to embark on a journey from separation to wholeness. It conveys deep inner truths in a relatable package—allowing readers of all ages and intellects to seek inward and empower themselves with self-love.

 

 

Animist Chants and Memorials by Harry Garuba

 

Image result for harry garubaThe poems collected in Harry Garuba’s long-awaited second volume mediate, through a deft deployment of images and symbols, and with unmatched sensitivity and tenderness, personal experiences and memories while extending his preoccupation with historical trauma of the scars of history – that is to say, the legacies of slavery, colonialism, post-colonialism, civil war and contemporary politics. Where his distinguished debut, Shadow and Dream, is defined by lush cadences and a lyrical late-modernist vision, this new volume, while retaining his aesthetic technique of modernism and lucid lines of pure poetry, is marked by a stripped down lyricism and, perhaps, a new-found maturity.”                                                                                  Idowu Omoyele

 

HAPPY READING!

 

2018 Preview

Monday, January 29th 2018 at 4:11 PM

**Please note that publication dates and schedules are subject to change without notice**

 

January

 

Non-fiction

Win! Compelling Conversations with 20 Successful South Africans by Jeremy Maggs – A book that gives you access to 20 of SA’s best of the best in their respective fields.

 

February

 

Fiction

The Chalk Man by C J Tudor – Brilliantly dark debut about childhood secrets.

The Fatuous State of Severity by Phumlani Pikoli – A fresh collection of short stories and illustrations that explore the experiences of a generation of young, urban South Africans coping with the tensions of social media, language and relationships of various kinds.

The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin – “For someone who loves stories about brothers and sisters, as I do, The Immortalists is about as good as it gets. It’s amazing how good this book is.”   Karen Joy Fowler

A Long Way from Home by Peter Carey – From the double Booker Prize winner, a story of love, Empire and high-speed racing!

The Only Story by Julian BarnesWould you rather love the more, and suffer the more; or love the less, and suffer the less? That is, I think, finally, the only real question. A discourse on love from the master of human feelings.

The Reservoir Tapes by Jon McGregor – McGregor returns to the territory of the brilliant, Booker-longlisted Reservoir 13, revealing the web of connections that bind us, and the many layers on which we all build our truths.

 

Non-Fiction

Feminism Is: South Africans Speak Their Minds edited by Jen Thorpe – An inspiring and informative collection of essays about what feminism means to South Africans today.

Lost Connections: Uncovering the Real Causes of Depression – and the Unexpected Solutions by Johan Hari – From the New York Times bestselling author of Chasing the Scream, a radically new way of thinking about depression and anxiety.

The Monk of Mokha by Dave Eggers – A heart-pounding adventure story, a tale of underdog entrepreneurship and true passion, and a fascinating modern take on the great American dream.

Wit issie ‘n color nie by Nathan Trantraal – A collection of life-stories about growing up in a township on the outskirts of the Cape Flats. Full of dark humour and raw honesty, this is a deeply personal and harrowing account of life on the Flats, written in the Kaapse dialect, from the author of Chokers and Survivors.

 

March

Fiction

Fire Sermon by Jamie Quatro – A daring debut novel of obsession, desire and salvation that shows the radical light and dark of love itself. This is a visceral, rich and devastating portrait of life and loves lived and lost that cannot fail to echo in your own experience.

Force of Nature by Jane Harper – Follow-up to the hugely successful The Dry. Five women go hiking in the Australian bush – only four come back…

Frankenstein in Baghdad by Ahmed Saadawi – A prize-winning horror novel from war-torn Iraq, which captures with white-knuckle horror and black humour the surreal reality of a city at war.

House of Impossible Beauties by Joseph CassaraA gritty and gorgeous debut that follows a cast of gay and transgender club kids navigating the Harlem ballroom scene of the 1980s and ’90s.

The Infinite Future by Tim Wirkus – A mindbending novel that melds two page-turning books in one. Part academic satire, part science-fiction, and part book-lover’s quest, this wholly original novel captures the heady way that stories inform and mirror our lives.

Knucklebone by NR Brodie – Nechama Brodie is a welcome new voice on the krimi scene. This is a disturbing story set in Johannesburg that wrangles sangomas, disillusioned cops and animal poaching.

The Lullaby by Leila Slimani – Winner of the Prix Goncourt. A terrifying and haunting thriller about what happens when the nanny is not what she seems…

The Mermaid & Mrs Hancock by Imogen Hermes Gowar – One of the most anticipated debuts of 2018, a story of curiosity and obsession, set in bustling and bawdy 18th Century London.

Soweto, Under the Apricot Tree by Niq Mhlongo – A new collection of short stories from the author of Affluenza and The Way Back Home, amongst others.

The Strange Bird: A Borne Story by Jeff Vandermeer – With The Strange Bird, Jeff VanderMeer has done more than add another layer, a new chapter, to his celebrated novel Borne. He has created a whole new perspective on the world inhabited by Borne – a view from above, of course, but also a view from deep inside the mind of a new kind of creature who will fight and suffer and live for the tenuous future of this world.

 

Poetry

Virgin: Poems by Analicia Sotelo –  A highly-acclaimed and vivid portrait of the artist as a young woman. Blistering and gorgeous, Virgin is an audacious act of imaginative self-mythology from a talented and promising young poet.

 

Non-fiction

Enlightenment by Steven Pinker – The Harvard psychologist follows up The Better Angels of Our Nature by arguing that our turbulent times call for reason and Enlightenment values.

Feel Free: Essays by Zadie Smith – A second collection of essays from the fabulous Ms Smith.

Inglorious Empire: What the British Did to India by Shashi Tharoor – The bestselling account of India’s experience of British colonialism by the internationally acclaimed author and diplomat Shashi Tharoor (first publication in South Africa).

The Knock on the Door: The Story of the Detainees’ Parents Support Committee by Terry Shakinovsky and Sharon Court – An inspiring account of the DPSC and how ordinary people came together to stand up against racism and the abuse of power.

The Land is Ours: South Africa’s First Black Lawyers by Tembeka Ngcukaitobi – This book tells the story of South Africa’s first black lawyers, who operated in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. In an age of aggressive colonial expansion these men believed in a constitutional system that respected individual rights and freedoms, and they used the law as an instrument against injustice.

Living with the Gods: The World’s Stories by Neil MacGregor – The panoramic new history of belief from the celebrated author of A History of the World in 100 Objects.

Plucked! The Truth About Chicken by Maryn McKenna – A must-read for anyone who cares about the quality of food and the welfare of animals. Rich with characters who together propelled the story of chicken’s unintended consequences, Plucked! will reveal how the antibiotic era created modern agriculture. It is an eye-opening exploration of how the world’s most popular meat came to define so much more than just chicken nuggets.

Skin in the Game: The Underlying Matrix of Daily Life by Nassim Nicholas Taleb – The ‘hottest thinker in the world’ (Sunday Times) is back with a book about why we should only trust those who have something to lose – who have ‘skin in the game’.

This Will Be My Undoing: Living at the Intersection of Black, Female, and Feminist in (White) America by Morgan Jenkins – From one of the fiercest critics writing today, Morgan Jerkins’ highly-anticipated collection of linked essays interweaves her incisive commentary on pop culture, feminism, black history, misogyny, and racism with her own experiences to confront the very real challenges of being a black woman today.

What Are We Doing Here: Essays by Marilynne Robinson – New essays by the Orange and Pulitzer Prize winning author of GileadHome and Lila. In this collection, Marilynne Robinson, one of today’s most important thinkers – admired by President Obama, and so many others – impels us to action and offers us hope.

 

 

 

 

April

Fiction

The Book of Chocolate Saints by Jeet Thayil – from the author of Narcopolis, an epic novel of contemporary Indian life that probes the mysterious margins where art bleeds into the occult, and celebrates the artist’s life itself as a final monument. It is Jeet Thayil’s spiritual, passionate, and demented masterpiece.

The Boy Who Could Keep a Swan in his Head by John Hunt – The story of a boy growing up in Hillbrow in the ’60s and his friendship with an eccentric homeless person.

Dead Men’s Trousers by Irvine Welsh – Fast and furious, scabrously funny and weirdly moving, this is a spectacular return of the crew from Trainspotting.

Death Cup/Gifbeker by Irna van Zyl – New fiction from the award-winning journalist, magazine editor and author of Dead in the Water. Simultaneously published in Afrikaans.

A Girl in Exile by Ismail Kadare -A deeply affecting portrait of life and love under surveillance, infused with myth, wry humor, and the absurdity of a paranoid regime.

The Merry Spinster: Tales of Everyday Horror by Mallory Ortberg – A collection of darkly mischievous stories based on classic fairy tales. Sinister and inviting, familiar and alien all at the same time, with elements of psychological horror, emotional clarity, and a keen sense of feminist mischief.

The Ones With Purpose by Nozizwe Cynthia Jele – From the author of Happiness is a Four-Letter Word, a novel of family, mourning and betrayal.

The Panic Room by Robert Goddard – Robert Goddard at his best. A sliver of a mystery kicks off a juggernaut of a thriller. Layers of secrets, half-truths and lies must be peeled back to reveal what really lies within.

Die rooikop en die redakteur en ander stories 1955-1959 deur André P. Brink – A collection of some of Brink’s earliest short stories, giving a picture of the development of a young literary star.

The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton – A highy-anticipated, brilliantly original high concept murder mystery from a fantastic new talent: Gosford Park meets Inception, by way of Murder on the Orient Express.

Tangerine by Christine Magnan – The perfect read for fans of Daphne du Maurier and Patricia Highsmith, set in 1950s Morocco, Tangerine is a gripping psychological literary thriller.

Under Glass by Claire Robertson – A high-stakes narrative of deception and disguise that will appeal to a range of readers of literary fiction by one of the country’s finest novelists.

 

Non-fiction

Believe in Tomorrow by Mmusi Maimane – A fascinating glimpse into the personal life and political beliefs of the leader of South Africa’s second largest party.

Blood on the Page: A Murder, A Secret Trial, a Search for the Truth by Thomas Harding  – “Meticulous and gripping – a thriller that disturbs for revelations about a singular act of murder, and the national security state which we call home” Philippe Sands.

Brutal Legacy: A Memoir by Tracy Going – A detailed and harrowing account of the media star’s brutal relationship with her ‘Prince Charming’ and the court battle that dragged on after his vicious assault.

Educated by Tara Westover – An unforgettable memoir about a young girl who, kept out of school, leaves her survivalist family and goes on to earn a PhD from Cambridge University.

Fair Shot: Rethinking Inequality by Chris Hughes – Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes makes the case that one percenters like him should pay their fortune forward in a radically simple way: a guaranteed income for working people.

Who Will Rule in 2019 by Jan-Jan Joubert – An insightful look at local politics from acclaimed journalist Jan-Jan Joubert.

May

Fiction

Agency by William Gibson – In William Gibson’s first novel since 2014’s bestselling The Peripheral, a gifted ‘app-whisperer’ is hired by a mysterious San Francisco start-up and finds herself in contact with a unique and surprisingly combat-savvy AI.

All the Beautiful Girls by Elizabeth Church – A dazzling, powerful story of a gutsy showgirl who tries to conquer her past amongst the glamour of 1960s Las Vegas – finding unexpected fortune, friendship and love.

All the Beautiful Lies by Peter Swanson – From the author of The Kind Worth Killing. On the eve of his college graduation, Harry is called home by his step-mother Alice, to their house on the Maine coast, following the unexpected death of his father.But who really is Alice, his father’s much younger second wife?

Census by Jesse Ball – A father and son who are census takers journey across a nameless country from the town of A to the town of Z in the wake of the father’s fatal diagnosis. Profoundly moving novel, glowing with wisdom and grace, and roaring with a desire to change the world.

Circe by Madeline Miller – From the Orange Prize-winning, internationally bestselling author of The Song of Achilles comes the powerful story of the mythological witch Circe, inspired by Homer’s Odyssey.

The Female Persuasion by Meg Wolitzer – From the New York Times-bestselling author of The Interestings, an electric, multilayered novel about ambition, power, friendship, and mentorship, and the romantic ideals we all follow deep into adulthood, not just about who we want to be with, but who we want to be.

Happiness by Aminatta Forna – In this breathtaking novel from the Orange Prize-shortlisted and Commonwealth Writers’ Prize-winning author Aminatta Forna asks us to consider the values of the society we live in, our co-existence with one another and all living creatures – and the true nature of happiness.

Homeland by Karin Brynard – The award-winning political journalist turned crime writer, author of Weeping Waters, with her latest novel, translated into English for the first time.

Macbeth (Hogarth Shakespeare) by Jo Nesbo – A brilliantly dark and gritty retelling of Macbeth, set in Northern Scotland in the 1970s, from the master of noir.

Michael K by Nthikeng Mohlele – A brilliant take on JM Coetzee’s classic that explores the weight of history and of conscience, by one of South Africa’s most compelling young authors.

The Neighbourhood by Mario Vargas Llosa – From the Nobel Laureate comes a politically charged detective novel weaving through the underbelly of Peruvian privilege – a crime thriller that evokes the vulgarity of freedom in a corrupt system.

The Overstory by Richard Powers – Nine strangers, each in different ways, become summoned by trees, brought together in a last stand to save the continent’s few remaining acres of virgin forest.

You Think I’ll Say It: Short Stories by Curtis Sittenfeld – Sharp and tender, funny and wise, this collection shows Sittenfeld’s knack for creating real, believable characters that spring off the page, while also skewering contemporary mores with brilliant dry wit.

 

Poetry

Wade in the Water: Poems by Tracy K Smith – The extraordinary new collection by the Poet Laureate of the United States

 

Non-Fiction

Born in Chains: The Diary of an Angry ‘Born Free’by Clinton Chauke – Debut author Chauke shows how his generation is still affected by apartheid policies but writes with wit and a unique sense of humour about his life. It’s a story of hope and perseverance, and of succeeding against all the odds.

Building and Dwelling: Ethics for the City by Richard SennettBuilding and Dwelling summarises a lifetime’s thought about what makes cities work – or not – to the benefit of their communities.

The Cost of Living by Deborah Levy – Witty and ruthlessly honest, a unique memoir of writing and womanhood from the twice-Man Booker-shortlisted author of Swimming Home.

Edge of Chaos by Dambisa Moyo – Dambisa Moyo (Dead Aid) sets out the new political and economic challenges facing the world, and the specific, radical solutions needed to resolve these issues and reignite global growth. It is a warning for advanced and emerging nations alike: we must reverse the dramatic erosion in growth, or face the consequences of a fragmented and unstable global future.

The Girl Who Smiled Beads: A Story of War and What Comes After by Clemantine Wamariya – A raw personal story of fleeing the conflict on Rwanda, and the appalling aftershocks of war.

How to Write an Autobiographical Novel by Alexander Chee – From the author of The Queen of the Night, an essay collection exploring his education as a man, writer, and activist – and how we form our identities in life and in art.

Ministry of Crime: An Underworld Explored by Mandy Wiener“The proximity of organised crime, politics and the police is frightening. I have spent years working at the coal face of crime and policing in the country and feel that the story has to be told in a book to explain the granular detail and complexity of the situation.”

The Order of Time by Carlo Rovelli – The bestselling author of Seven Brief Lessons on Physics returns with an exploration of the meaning of time.

Pops: Fatherhood in Pieces by Michael Chabon – A collection of essays on parenting and more. “As in his novels, he shifts gears easily between the comic and the melancholy, the whimsical and the serious, demonstrating once again his ability to write about the big subjects of love and memory and regret without falling prey to the Scylla and Charybdis of cynicism and sentimentality.”  Michiko Kakutani

See What Can Be Done: Essays by Lorrie Moore – In sparkling, articulate prose – studded with frequently hilarious insights – Moore’s meditations are a rare opportunity to witness a brilliant mind thinking things through and figuring things out on the page.

Seven Types of Atheism by John Gray – A meditation on the importance of atheism in the modern world – and its inadequacies and contradictions – by one of Britain’s leading philosophers.

Sharp: The Women Who Made an Art of Having an Opinion by Michelle Dean – From acclaimed, award-winning literary critic Michelle Dean, a powerful portrait of ten writers who managed to make their voices heard amidst a climate of sexism and nepotism, from the 1920s to the 1990s.

Tsk-Tsk: A Story of Childhood by Suzan Hackney – In a style reminiscent of Alexandra Fuller’s Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight, Hackney writes of a childhood on the run, fighting to survive in a world of abandoned and abused children.

 

 

June

Fiction

Adjustment Day by Chuck Palahniuk – In his new novel the author of Fight Club Palahniuk fearlessly makes real the logical conclusion of every separatist fantasy, alternative fact, and conspiracy theory lurking in the American psyche.

How to Rule the World by Tibor Fischer – Demonstrating Fischer’s inimitable talent for eviscerating social satire, How to the Rule the World is a magnificently funny read. A trip from the Garden of Eden to Armageddon, via London, plus reggae.

Last Stories by William Trevor – In this final collection of ten exquisite, perceptive and profound stories, William Trevor probes into the depths of the human spirit. These gorgeous stories – the last that Trevor wrote before his death – affirm his place as one of the world’s greatest storytellers.

The Mars Room by Rachel Kushner – From twice National Book Award-nominated Rachel Kushner, whose Flamethrowers was called “the best, most brazen, most interesting book of the year” (Kathryn Schulz, New York magazine), comes a spectacularly compelling, heart-stopping novel about a life gone off the rails in contemporary America.

Motherhood by Sheila Heti Motherhood treats one of the most consequential decisions of early adulthood – whether or not to have children – with the intelligence, wit and originality that have won Sheila Heti international acclaim.

Patagonia by Maya Fowler – A new novel from the hugely talented local author of Elephant in the Room.

A Season of Glass by Rahla Xenopoulos – A beautiful new novel from the author of Bubbles, Tribe and A Memoir of Love and Madness.

Whistle in the Dark by Emma Healey – The follow-up to the highly acclaimed and brilliant Elizabeth is Missing. A 15 year-old girl disappears and then comes back – unharmed, but changed.

 

Non-Fiction

Against Memoir: Essays by Michelle Tea – Delivered with her signature honesty and dark humour. As she blurs the line between telling other people’s stories and her own, she turns an investigative eye to the genre that’s nurtured her entire career―memoir―and considers the price that art demands be paid from life.

Arnhem: The Last German Victory by Antony Beevor – Using often overlooked sources from Dutch, British, American, Polish and German archives, Beevor has reconstructed the terrible reality of this battle, known as ‘The Last German Victory’. Written in his inimitable and gripping narrative style, goes to the very heart of war,

Ndibhala iNto eThandwa Ndim (I Write What I Like isiXhosa) by Steve Biko – long-anticipated translation with full support of the Biko family by Professor Peter Mtuze

Not That Bad: Dispatches from Rape Culture edited by Roxanne Gay – With an introduction by Roxane Gay, this anthology of first-person essays tackles rape, assault, and harassment head-on. Searing and heartbreakingly candid, this provocative collection both reflects the world we live in and offers a call to arms insisting that “not that bad” must no longer be good enough.

 

July

Fiction

Florida: Short Stories by Lauren Groff – Over a decade ago, Groff moved to her adopted home state of Florida. The stories in this collection span characters, towns, decades, even centuries, but Florida becomes their gravitational centre. Groff pinpoints the moments and decisions and connections behind human pleasure and pain, hope and despair, love and fury – the moments that make us alive.

The Golddiggers by Sue Nyathi – The Zimbabwean author recounts the experiences of her fellow compatriots trying to make a life in Jozi. The stories of these desperate immigrants are both heart-breaking and heartwarming.

Good Trouble: Short Stories by Joseph O’Neill – A masterly collection of eleven stories about the way we live now from the best-selling author of Netherland. An incisive writer on the strange world we live in – he is deeply in touch with his characters’ heartbreaking vulnerability.

Kudos by Rachel Cusk – The third in the trilogy that began with Outline, Rachel Cusk’s Kudos takes as its theme the relationship between pain and honor, and investigates the moral nature of success as a precept of both art and living.

The Mars Room by Rachel Kushner – From twice National Book Award-nominated Rachel Kushner, whose Flamethrowers was called “the best, most brazen, most interesting book of the year” (New York magazine), comes a spectacularly compelling, heart-stopping novel about a life gone off the rails in contemporary America.

The President is Missing by Bill Clinton & James Patterson – President Bill Clinton partners with No. 1 bestselling author James Patterson in a powerful, one-of-a-kind thriller filled with the kind of insider details that only a President can know.

The Shepherd’s Hut by Tim Winton – Fierce and lyrical, The Shepherd’s Hut is a story of survival, solitude and unlikely friendship. Most of all it is about what it takes to keep hope alive in a parched and brutal world.

A Spy in Time by Imraan Coovadia – a literary time travel novel with a daring and original African-centric story which also touches on global issues history, race and inequality. This might be the African time travel novel everyone was waiting for, and will appeal to fans of Blade RunnerCloud Atlas, District 9 and Stanislaw Lem, among others.

Swan Song by Kelleigh Greenberg-JephcottThey told him everything. He told everyone else.

Based on ten years of research comes a dazzling literary debut about the rise and self-destructive fall of Truman Capote and the beautiful, wealthy, vulnerable women he called his swans.

A Suitable Girl by Vikram Seth – The long-awaited sequel to the million-selling, critically acclaimed A Suitable Boy (1993). This ‘jump sequel’ is set in the present day.

Upstate by James Wood – From the highly regarded literary critic comes a novel that is rich in subtle human insight, full of poignant and often funny portraits, and vivid with a sense of place – Upstate is a perceptive, intensely moving novel.

Warlight by Michael Ondaatje – In a narrative as mysterious as memory itself – at once both shadowed and luminous – Warlight is a vivid, thrilling novel of violence and love, intrigue and desire, set in London after the Blitz.

 

Non-Fiction

Fallout: Disasters, Lies & the Legacy of the Nuclear Age by Fred Pearce – The science and environment journalist in a “shocking” book that considers seven decades of nuclear technology.

The Fire This Time: A New Generation Speaks About Race edited by Jesmyn Ward – Envisioned as a response to The Fire Next Time, James Baldwin’s groundbreaking 1963 essay collection, these contemporary writers reflect on the past, present, and future of race in America.

I Beg to Differ by Peter Storey – Memoir of the head of the Methodist Church in SA during apartheid. Fought alongside Tutu, and never backed down frm the fight.

Mandela: The Making of a President by Xolela Mangcu – Mangcu’s new appraisal of the formative influences on Nelson Mandela challenges convention, presenting arguments based on previously unused sources.

The Unpunished Vice: A Life of Reading by Edmund White – Edmund White made his name as a writer, but he remembers his life through the books he read. For White, each momentous occasion came with books to match: Proust’s Remembrance of Things Past, which opened up the seemingly closed world of homosexuality while he was at boarding school; the Ezra Pound poems adored by a lover he followed to New York; the biography of Stephen Crane that inspired one of White’s novels. This is a wickedly smart and insightful account of a life in literature.

 

August

Fiction

Axis and Revolution by Gabeba Baderoon – A working title and no information yet, but this is, excitingly, the first novel from the poet and author of Regarding Muslims.

Calypso by David Sedaris – The long-awaited new collection of stories from David Sedaris, America’s favourite humourist.

CoDex by Sjon – Jósef Loewe enters the world as a lump of clay – carried in a hatbox by his Jewish father Leo, a fugitive in WWII Germany. At once playful and profoundly serious, this novel melds multiple genres into a unique whole: a mind-bending read and a biting, timely attack on nationalism.

My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Otessa Moshfegh – The pitch-black Eileen made the 2016 Man Booker shortlist; this dark new novel features a privileged woman whose alienation is exacerbated by medication and an awful shrink.

So Much Life Left Over by Louis de Bernières – Brand new fiction from the author of Captain Corelli’s Mandolin.

Talion: A Tragedy by Beyers de VosTalion is a work of fiction which follows four characters. Written within the spirit of classic tragedy, the tightly controlled plot and heightened tension, as well as the brutal violence, strives to create something more than your average detective novel. A literary and genre hybrid that is both entertaining and unusual, suspenseful and complex.

 

Non-fiction

Criminal Mind: Why SARS Once Beat Organised Crime but are Not Doing so Now by Johan van Loggerenberg – A timely look at the government’s inability to tackle organised crime, by the co-author of Rogue.

Out of My Head by Tim Parks – The bestselling novelist embarks on a quest to discover more about consciousness.

Slay in Your Lane: The Black Girl’s Bible by Yomi Adegoke and Elizabeth Uviebinené – ‘The love child of exasperation and optimism’, Slay in Your Lane springs from best friends Yomi and Elizabeth’s search for a book that would address the uniquely challenging experiences faced by black women today. From education, to work, to dating, to representation, money and health, they explore the ways in which being black and female affects each of these areas – and offer advice and encouragement on how to navigate them.

September

Fiction

Being Lily by Qarnita Loxton – The eagerly-awaited second novel from the author of the brilliant Being Kari.

Heads of the Colored People: Stories by Nafissa Thompson-Spires – Calling to mind the best works of Paul Beatty and Junot Díaz, this collection of moving, timely, and darkly funny stories examines the concept of black identity in this so-called post-racial era.

Now We Shall be Entirely Free by Andrew Miller – Costa- and Impac-winner Miller is known for his masterful historical novels: here, a soldier home from the disastrous campaign against Napoleon in 1809 runs from his demons towards the Hebrides.

Saving Noah Croome by Máire Fisher – New fiction from the author of the wonderful Birdseye.

The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker – From the Booker Prize-winning author of the Regeneration Trilogy comes a monumental new masterpiece, set in the midst of literature’s most famous war. Pat Barker turns her attention to the timeless legend of The Iliad, as experienced by the captured women living in the Greek camp in the final weeks of the Trojan War.

The Theory of Flight by Siphiwe Ndlovu – No info yet as all very hush hush – but the publisher is very excited about this one!

Washington Black by Esi Edugyan – The Man Booker-shortlisted author of Half-Blood Blues returns with a novel based on a 19th-century criminal case about a young field slave in a Barbados sugar plantation who becomes servant to an eccentric abolitionist obsessed with flight.

 

Non-Fiction

21 Lessons for the 21st Century by Yuval Noah Harari – Hard on the heels of the astonishingly successful Sapiens, which looked back, and Homo Deus, which looked forward, Harari presents lessons on the here and now.

People, Politics and Ideology in South Africa by RW Johnson – From the author of How Long Will South Africa Survive.

 

 

October

Fiction

Lake Success by Gary Shteyngart – When his dream of the perfect marriage, the perfect son, and the perfect life implodes, a Wall Street millionaire takes a cross-country bus trip in search of his college sweetheart and ideals of youth in the long-awaited novel, his first in seven years, from the acclaimed, bestselling author of Super Sad True Love Story.

Love is Blind by William Boyd – A young Scottish musician heads to fin-de-siècle Paris to find himself, and is swept up in an obsessive love affair that takes him to Russia and back.

Paris Echo by Sebastian Faulks – Contrasts the lives of Hannah, an American academic researching women during the German occupation of Paris, and Tariq, a Moroccan teenager on the run, to explore France’s troubled history.

Transcription by Kate AtkinsonTranscription is a bravura novel of extraordinary power and substance. Juliet Armstrong is recruited as a young woman by an obscure wartime department of the Secret Service. In the aftermath of war she joins the BBC, where her life begins to unravel, and she finally has to come to terms with the consequences of idealism.

 

Non-Fiction

Breaking News by Alan Rusbridger – Former Guardian editor-in-chief on who controls the news in this era of transformation and why it matters.

The Lies that Bind by Kwame Anthony Appiah – One of a number of books out this year on identity and how it works, from the philosopher and chair of judges for the 2018 Man Booker prize.

Louis Botha: A Man Apart by Richard Steyn – biography of the first Prime Minister of South Africa, from the author of Churchill & Smuts and Jan Smuts: Unafraid of Greatness.

The Zulu Kings by John Laband – A history of the Zulu Nation through the reigns of eight kings from 1816 to the present. Author of The Assassination of King Shaka.

 

November

Fiction

American Weather by Jenny Offill – Offill made her name with 2014’s Dept. of Speculation; her new heroine is a librarian navigating polarised political opinion and family crises in turbulent contemporary America.

Bertha Isla by Javier Marías – From the author of The Infatuations, this story of Tomás, a half- Spanish, half-English man forced into the British secret service, and Berta, the woman he loves, examines the power of the state and a marriage built on lies.

Melmoth by Sarah Perry – The new novel from the author of The Essex Serpent is inspired by Charles Maturin’s 1820 gothic masterpiece Melmoth the Wanderer, and promises to investigate good and evil through a time-travelling narrative.

 

Non-Fiction

Identity by Francis Fukuyama – Still best known for The End of History, Fukuyama takes on populism, politicised Islam, the fractious “identity liberalism” of college campuses and white nationalism.

Johannesburg Then & Now – A companion volume to the hugely successful Cape Town: Then and Now.

 

December

Fiction

Killing Commendatore by Haruki Murakami – The first novel in four years from the hugely popular Murakami.

 

Dark Mirror: Edward Snowden and the Surveillance State by Barton Gellman – A study of “the hidden superstructure that connects government espionage with Silicon valley” from the journalist and author who shared the Pulitzer prize for his role in bringing Snowden’s revelations to light.

Non-Fiction

Philip Larkin: Letters Home 1936-1977 edited by James Booth –  A collection that presents the last major unpublished Larkin archive: the letters to his family, chiefly his “conservative anarchist” father and beloved mother.

The Pink Line: The World’s New Queer Frontiers by Mark Gevisser – follows protagonists from nine countries over five years to tell the story of how LGBT Rights has become the world’s new human rights frontier.

 

HAPPY 2018 READING!

 

 

Christmas Stocking 2017

Tuesday, December 12th 2017 at 10:19 AM

It’s the time for giving – and what better gift for your nearest and dearest than a book!

The Book Lounge has assembled the list below of the wondrous and the witty to help you choose the perfect present. There is LOTS more instore, so do come in and consult one of our booksellers. Complimentary gift wrapping service available.

 

But first a look back at our Bestsellers for 2017

  1. The President’s Keepers by Jacques Pauw

  2. The Ministry of Utmost Happiness by Arundhati Roy

  3. Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls

  4. Collective Amnesia by Koleka Putuma

  5. Khwezi: The Remarkable Story of Fezekile Ntsukela Kuzwayo by Redi Tlhabi

  6. Apartheid, Guns and Money by Hennie van Vuuren

  7. Killing Karoline: A Memoir by Sara-Jayne King

  8. Always Another Country by Sisonke Msimang

  9. Reflecting Rogue: Inside the Mind of a Feminist by Pumla Dineo Gqola

  10. Being Chris Hani’s Daughter by Lindiwe Hani

 

And so to our Christmas Stocking…

 

Rijks: Masters of the Golden Age by Marcel Wanders

Image result for Rijks: Masters of the Golden Age by Marcel Wanders    Image result for Rijks: Masters of the Golden Age by Marcel WandersAn utterly exquisite homage to the 17th-century Dutch masterpieces from the Rijksmuseum’s prestigious Gallery of Honour, with over 60 iconic paintings such as Rembrandt’s Night Watch and Vermeer’s The Milkmai.
Featuring writings of Ferran Adrià, David Allen, Alain de Botton, Anton Corbijn, Angela Missoni, Jimmy Nelson, Erwin Olaf and many more
Lavishly produced in genuine leather, beautiful hand-written calligraphy, and the finest printing technique and paper.

 

 

 

The Maths Behind…: Discover the Mathematics of Everyday Events by Colin Beveridge

Image result for The Maths Behind…: Discover the Mathematics of Everyday Events by Colin Beveridge

Have you ever wondered why traffic jams often turn out to have no cause when you get to the end of the queue? There’s a mathematical explanation for that. Or ever considered whether some lotteries might be easier to win than others? There’s a formula for that too.
This intriguing and illuminating book takes a scientific view of your everyday world, and can give you the answers to all the niggling questions in your life, along with many you never even thought to ask. From the science behind roller coasters, to the maths behind how to consistently win at Monopoly (and become very unpopular with your family), this is a fascinating look at the mathematical forces that run beneath our everyday transactions.

 

 

Minds of Winter by Ed O’Loughlin

Image result for Minds of Winter by Ed O’Loughlin

It begins with a chance encounter at the top of the world.
Fay Morgan and Nelson Nilsson have each arrived in Inuvik, Canada – 120 miles north of the Arctic Circle – searching for answers about a family member: Nelson for his estranged older brother, Fay for her disappeared grandfather. They soon learn that these two men have an unexpected link – a hidden share in one of the greatest enduring mysteries of polar exploration.
An extraordinary tale that warps actual history into something conjoined, poetic and thrilling . . . [A] marvel of a novel. “                                Independent on Sunday

 

 

Literary Wonderlands: A Journey through the Greatest Fictional Worlds Ever Created by Laura Miller

Image result for Literary Wonderlands: A Journey through the Greatest Fictional Worlds Ever Created by Laura Miller

Literary Wonderlands explores the timeless , captivating features of literature’s greatest fictional worlds and the minds that created them. The book is comprised of nearly 100 sections, each of which details the plot of a famous fantasy world, the historical circumstances that surrounded its production. Roaming from classic tales including C.S. Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia to Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials, this truly global collection chronicles over two thousand years of literary creation. Accompanied by stunning visuals that elucidate the production of each work, Literary Wonderlands is an enchanting read for anyone who has ever been transported to another place through the power of the written word.

 

The Mysterium: Unexplained and Extraordinary Stories for a Post-Nessie Generation by David Bramwell and Jo Keeling

 

A catalogue of the extraordinary, the strange and the downright creepy…
Discover the unexplained mysteries and unsettling oddities of the modern world, from a beach in British Columbia awash with human feet, to the ‘tulpamancers’ who claim to be channeling the living spirit of My Little Pony. Ponder terrifying thought experiments (can you think yourself to death?), and reflect on life’s great questions (was the Garden of Eden located in Bedford?).
In The Mysterium David Bramwell and Jo Keeling (authors of The Oddirotium), present a user guide to the strange and unexplained corners of modern life. The Mysterium catalogues a host of bizarre, funny and intriguing stories for a post-Nessie generation still fascinated by the unknowable. Drawing on contemporary folklore, unsolved mysteries, and unsettling phenomena from the dark corners of the internet, this book celebrates the joy of asking questions and the thrill of finding answers which stop you dead in your tracks.

 

 

Bonfire by Krysten Ritter

Image result for Bonfire by Krysten Ritter

It has been ten years since Abby Williams left home and scrubbed away all evidence of her small town roots. Now working as an environmental lawyer in Chicago, she has a thriving career, a modern apartment, and her pick of meaningless one-night stands.
But when a new case takes her back home to Barrens, Indiana, the life Abby painstakingly created begins to crack. With tantalising twists, slow-burning suspense, and a remote, rural town of five claustrophobic miles, Bonfire is a dark exploration of what happens when your past and present collide.
A first-rate mystery resplendent with shadowy scenery, a tight plot and a lead character that is both fragile and strong”                                 Washington Post

 

 

 

The Penguin Book of Puzzles by Dr Gareth Moore

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The ultimate stocking filler for the puzzle fanatic. A collection of challenges from throughout history, featuring some of the greatest ever puzzle masters . . .
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A Sumerian Riddle (circa 18th Century)
There is a house. The blind enter it and then come out seeing. What is that house?
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A Charade
I have wings, yet never fly – 
I have sails, yet never go – 
I can’t keep still, if I try,
Yet forever stand just so.
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From the riddles of the ancients to puzzles that perplex the greatest minds of today, The Penguin Book of Puzzles is a glorious compendium of conundrums from throughout history.

 

 

 

Gnomon by Nick Harkaway

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Nick Harkaway: bonkers, brilliant and hilarious … Effervescent, clever and entirely fantastic.”        Sunday Times
“[Harkaway] is the missing, but somehow logical, link between David Mitchell and Terry Pratchett.”       Independent
Near-future Britain is not just a nation under surveillance but one built on it: a radical experiment in personal transparency. Every action is seen, every word is recorded.
Diana Hunter is a refusenik, a has-been cult novelist who lives in a house with its own Faraday cage: no electronic signals can enter or leave.  Denounced, arrested and interrogated by a machine that reads your life history from your brain, she dies in custody.
Mielikki Neith is the investigator charged with discovering how this tragedy occurred.  Aided – or perhaps opposed – by the pale and paradoxical Regno Lönnrot, Neith must work her way through the puzzles of her case and find the meaning of these impossible lives. As the stories combine and the secrets and encryptions of Gnomon are revealed, the question becomes the most fundamental of all: who will live, and who will die?

 

The Well-Tempered City: What Modern Science, Ancient Civilizations, and Human Nature Teach Us about the Future of Urban Life by Jonathan F P Rose

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Jonathan F. P. Rose—a visionary in urban development and renewal—champions the role of cities in addressing the environmental, economic, and social challenges of the twenty-first century.
Cities are birthplaces of civilization; centers of culture, trade, and progress; cauldrons of opportunity—and the home of eighty percent of the world’s population by 2050
In The Well-Tempered City, Jonathan F. P. Rose—the man who “repairs the fabric of cities”—distills a lifetime of interdisciplinary research and firsthand experience into a five-pronged model for how to design and reshape our cities with the goal of equalizing their landscape of opportunity.
A celebration of the city and an impassioned argument for its role in addressing the important issues in these volatile times, The Well-Tempered City is a reasoned, hopeful blueprint for a thriving metropolis—and the future.

 

The White Book by Han Kang

 

Image result for white book han kangBoth the most autobiographical and the most experimental book to date from South Korean master Han Kang. Written while on a writer’s residency in Warsaw, a city palpably scarred by the violence of the past, the narrator finds herself haunted by the story of her older sister, who died a mere two hours after birth. From the author of The Vegetarian and Human Acts comes a book like no other. The White Book is a meditation on colour, beginning with a list of white things. It is a book about mourning, rebirth and the tenacity of the human spirit. It is a stunning investigation of the fragility, beauty and strangeness of life.

 

 

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

 

Image result for 200 womenInterviews 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.

 

Chronicles of a Liquid Society by Umberto Eco

 

Image result for chronicles of a liquid societyUmberto Eco was an international cultural superstar. A celebrated essayist as well as novelist, in this, his last collection, he explores many aspects of the modern world with irrepressible curiosity and wisdom.
A crisis in ideological values, a crisis in politics, unbridled individualism – the familiar backdrop to our lives: a ‘liquid society’ where it’s not easy to find a polestar, though stars and starlets are not lacking.
In these pieces, written by Eco as articles for his regular column in l’Espresso magazine, he brings his dazzling erudition and keen sense of the everyday to bear on topics such as popular culture and politics, being seen, conspiracies, the old and the young, mobile phones, mass media, racism, good manners and the crisis in ideological values. It is a final gift to his readers – astute, witty and illuminating.

 

 

Blue Planet II by James Honeyborne and Mark Brownlow

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The perfect Christmas gift for the nature-lover in your life
Take a deep breath and dive into the mysteries of the ocean.
Our understanding of ocean life has changed dramatically in the last decade, with new species, new behaviours, and new habitats being discovered at a rapid rate. Blue Planet II, which accompanies an epic 7-part series on BBC1, is a ground-breaking new look at the richness and variety of underwater life across our planet.

 

 

Moonless Starless Sky: Ordinary Women and Men Fighting Extremism in Africa by Alexis Okeowo

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A rich and urgently necessary book.”                    New York Times Book Review
In A Moonless, Starless Sky Okeowo weaves together four narratives that form a powerful tapestry of modern Africa: a young couple, kidnap victims of Joseph Kony’s LRA; a Mauritanian waging a lonely campaign against modern-day slavery; a women’s basketball team flourishing amid war-torn Somalia; and a vigilante who takes up arms against the extremist group Boko Haram. This debut book by one of America’s most acclaimed young journalists illuminates the inner lives of ordinary people doing the extraordinary–lives that are too often hidden, underreported, or ignored by the rest of the world.

 

 

 

The Illustrated Dust Jacket: 1920-1970 by Martin Salisbury

Image result for The Illustrated Dust Jacket: 1920-1970 by Martin Salisbury  Image result for The Illustrated Dust Jacket: 1920-1970 by Martin SalisburyA deep dive into the history of the illustrated book jacket, tracing its development across the twentieth century, reflecting some of the most iconic designs of the era.
In the modern era, the “beautiful book,” an art object in its own right, has become the key to the ongoing attraction of print publishing as physical books continue to distinguish themselves from the screen.
The middle decades of the twentieth century saw an extraordinary flourishing of the illustrated, pictorial dust jacket. From the 1920s, as the potential for the book’s protective wrapping to be used for promotion and enticement became clear, artists and illustrators on both sides of the Atlantic applied their talents to this particular art form. Rising to the wide-ranging challenges posed by format and subject matter, leading artists and illustrators, brought their unique personal vision to bear on the world of books.
A selection of dust jackets – both known and too long forgotten – for each artist reveals how far the book as an artefact had travelled from the days of the plain wrapper in the nineteenth century.

 

 

Becoming Myself: A Psychiatrist’s Memoir by Irvin D Yalom

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When Yalom publishes something – anything – I buy it, and he never disappoints. He’s an amazing storyteller, a gorgeous writer, a great, generous, compassionate thinker, and – quite rightly – one of the world’s most influential mental healthcare practitioners.”                   Nicola Barker, Guardian Best Books of 2017
Irvin D. Yalom has made a career of investigating the lives of others. In Becoming Myself, his long-awaited memoir, he turns his therapeutic eye on himself, delving into the relationships that shaped him and the groundbreaking work that made him famous.

 

 

The Company of Trees by Thomas Pakenham

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Thomas Pakenham is an indefatigable champion of trees. In The Company of Trees he recounts his personal quest to establish a large arboretum on the family estate, Tullynally in Ireland; his forays to other tree-filled parks and plantations; his often hazardous seed-hunting expeditions; and his efforts to preserve magnificent old trees and historic woodlands.
Whether writing about the terrible storms breaking the backs of hundred-year-old trees or a fire in the peat bog on Tullynally which threatens to spread to the main commercial spruce-woods, his fear of climate change and disease, or the sturdy young saplings giving him hope for the future, his book is never less than enthralling.

 

First Person by Richard Flanagan

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A young and penniless writer, Kif Kehlmann, is rung in the middle of the night by the notorious con man and corporate criminal, Siegfried Heidl. About to go to trial for defrauding the banks of $700 million, Heidl proposes a deal: $10,000 for Kehlmann to ghostwrite his memoir in six weeks.
Kehlmann accepts but begins to fear that he is being corrupted by Heidl. As the deadline draws closer, he becomes ever more unsure if he is ghostwriting a memoir, or if Heidl is rewriting him―his life, his future. Everything that was certain grows uncertain as he begins to wonder: who is Siegfried Heidl―and who is Kif Kehlmann?
By turns compelling, comic and chilling, First Person is a haunting journey into the heart of our age.

 

A black comedy about the unreliability of memory and the warped values of modern publishing… the beauty of First Person is the way it blossoms into a much richer novel than that outline scenario suggests…. readable and thought-provoking.”                        Max Davidson, Mail on Sunday

 

 

 

Nowherelands: An Atlas of Vanished Countries 1840-1975 by Bjorn Berge

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These are the stories of fifty countries that once existed – however briefly – but have now have been erased from the map. Varying vastly in size and shape, location and longevity, they are nonetheless united by one fact: all of them endured long enough to issue their own stamps. Drawing on fiction and eye-witness accounts as well as historical sources, Bjørn Berge’s witty text casts an unconventional eye on these lesser-known nations, teasing out informative anecdotes and fascinating facts. At a time when issues of sovereignty and statehood are filling the media once again, this is a different kind of history book that will intrigue anyone keen to understand what makes a nation a nation.

 

 

 

Nudes: Addressing and Undressing My Truth by Siyanda Kakana

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“When it comes to domestic violence, the focus is usually on the abuser and the victim, we seldom consider the effect domestic violence had on children growing up in such an environment. The trauma and fear experienced by a child witnessing a mother being physically abused by the father can scar any child for a lifetime. In my book, I give personal accounts on how I was affected by growing up in that kind of environment. The journey is tumultuous and emotional as I struggled with many issues from my early teen years into my mid-twenties. I wrote my book to break the culture of silence, to live free from the guilt and shame. I wrote my book so we can have these discussions and not indirectly breed the next generation of abuser and victims of abuse. I wrote my book for women who’ve found themselves stuck in a constant cycle of toxic relationships with men. But most importantly, I wrote this book so that we can heal from the pain of our past and to gain strength from things which were meant to break us.”
 

 

Stolen Beauty: A Novel by Laurie Lico Albanese

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From the dawn of the twentieth century to the devastation of World War II, this exhilarating novel of love, war, art and family gives voice to two extraordinary women and brings to life the true story behind the creation and near destruction of Gustav Klimt’s most remarkable paintings.
In the dazzling glitter of 1903 Vienna, Adele Bloch-Bauer–young, beautiful, brilliant, and Jewish–meets painter Gustav Klimt. Though they enjoy a life where sex and art are just beginning to break through the facade of conventional society, the city is also troubled by a disturbing increase in anti-Semitism as political hatred simmers in the shadows of Adele’s coffeehouse afternoons and cultural salons.
Nearly forty years later, Adele’s niece Maria Altmann is a newlywed when the Nazis invade Austria–and overnight, her beloved Vienna becomes a war zone. When her husband is arrested Maria must summon the courage and resilience that is her aunt’s legacy if she is to survive and keep her loved ones alive. Will Maria and her family escape the grip of Nazi rule? And what will become of the paintings for which her aunt sacrificed nearly everything?

 

 

Laurie Lico Albanese has given us a powerful and important tale of love and war, art and family. Filled with lush prose and vivid historical detail, Stolen Beauty is a work simultaneously intimate and sweeping in its scope. I was transported; I loved being swept up into the glorious, golden era of fin de siecle Vienna.”                       Allison Pataki

 

 

 

Bantam: Poems by Jackie Kay

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Jackie Kay’s first collection as Scottish Makar is a book about the fighting spirit – one, the poet argues, that we need now more than ever. Bantam brings three generations into sharp focus – Kay’s own, her father’s, and his own father’s – to show us how the body holds its own story. Kay shows how old injuries can emerge years later; how we bear and absorb the loss of friends; how we celebrate and welcome new life; and how we how we embody our times, whether we want to or not.
Bantam crosses borders, from Rannoch Moor to the Somme, from Brexit to Bronte country. Who are we? Who might we want to be? These are poems that sing of what connects us, and lament what divides us; poems that send daylight into the dark that threatens to overwhelm us – and could not be more necessary to the times in which we live.

 

 

Phantom Architecture by Philip Wilkinson

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A skyscraper one mile high, a dome covering most of downtown Manhattan, a triumphal arch in the form of an elephant: some of the most exciting buildings in the history of architecture are the ones that never got built.
These are the projects in which architects took materials to the limits, explored challenging new ideas, defied conventions, and pointed the way towards the future. Some of them are architectural masterpieces, some simply delightful flights of fancy. It was not usually poor design that stymied them – politics, inadequate funding, or a client who chose a ‘safe’ option rather than a daring vision were all things that could stop a project leaving the drawing board.

 

 

The Element in the Room: Science-y Stuff Staring You in the Face by Helen Arney

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These nerds are the real deal.”                 Ben Goldacre, author of Bad Science
  • Why is it impossible to spin your right foot clockwise while you draw a 6 with your right hand?
  • Can you extract DNA from a strawberry daiquiri?
The Element in the Room will take you on a rib-tickling, experiment-fuelled adventure to explain everyday science that is staring you in the face. If you are sci-curious, pi-curious or just the-end-is-nigh-curious then this is the book for you.

 

 

 

Collusion: How Russia Helped Trump to Win the White House by Luke Harding

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MOSCOW, July 1987. Real-estate tycoon Donald Trump visits Soviet Russia for the first time at the invitation of the government.
LONDON, December 2016. Luke Harding meets former MI6 officer Christopher Steele to discuss the president-elect’s connections with Russia. Harding follows two leads; money and sex.
WASHINGTON, January 2017. Steele’s explosive dossier alleges that the Kremlin has been ‘cultivating, supporting, and assisting’ Trump for years and that they have compromising information about him. Trump responds on twitter, ‘FAKE NEWS.’
In Collusion, award-winning journalist Luke Harding reveals the true nature of Trump’s decades-long relationship with Russia and presents the gripping inside story of the dossier. It features exclusive new material and draws on sources from the intelligence community. This book gets to the heart of the biggest political scandal of the modern era. Russia is reshaping the world order to its advantage; this is something that should trouble us all.

 

 

 

The Darkest Day by Håkan Nesser

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It’s December in the quiet Swedish town of Kymlinge, and the Hermansson family are gathering to celebrate father Karl-Erik and eldest daughter Ebba’s joint landmark birthdays. But beneath the guise of happy festivities, tensions are running high, and it’s not long before the night takes a dark and unexpected turn . . .
Before the weekend is over, two members of the Hermansson family are missing, and it’s up to Inspector Barbarotti – a detective who spends as much of his time debating the existence of God as he does solving cases – to determine exactly what has happened. And he soon discovers he’ll have to unravel a whole tangle of sinister family secrets in the process . . .

 

 

 

Fools and Mortals by Bernard Cornwell

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In the heart of Elizabethan England, Richard Shakespeare dreams of a glittering career in one of the London playhouses, a world dominated by his older brother, William. But he is a penniless actor, making ends meet through a combination of a beautiful face, petty theft and a silver tongue.
So when a priceless manuscript goes missing, suspicion falls upon Richard, forcing onto a perilous path through a bawdy and frequently brutal London.
Fools and Mortals is a richly portrayed tour de force with all Bernard Cornwell’s hallmark storytelling and a remarkable cast of characters: you walk the streets, explore the palaces, experience the scandals, rivalries and fierce ambitions, and stand side-by-side with the men and women of Elizabethan London.

 

Journey: An Illustrated History of Exploration and Travel

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A lavishly illustrated account of human travel from the voyages of the Vikings to the flight to the Moon.
Journeys have arisen from all manner of impulse, from migration and the search for food, to pilgrimages, trade, scientific curiosity, or simply the quest for adventure. Journey is a stunning visual guide to the stories of human movement and endeavour, from The Silk Road to the epic Voyager missions. Discover ancient maps, biographies of conquerors, explorers, and travellers, stories of scientific discovery and technological innovation, stunning works of art, and catalogues of travel-related memorabilia.

 

 

Bumper Book of Things That Nobody Knows: 1001 Mysteries of Life, the Universe and Everything by William Hartston

A witty and fascinating exploration of the limits of human knowledge of our planet, its history and culture, and the universe beyond.
There are many, many things that nobody knows…
Do animals have a sense of humour? Why do we have five fingers? What did Jesus do in his youth? Has human evolution stopped? Can robots become self-aware? What goes on inside a black hole?
Bringing together The Things That Nobody Knows and Even More Things That Nobody Knows, this bumper volume takes us on a guided tour of 1,001 gaps in our knowledge of cosmology, mathematics, animal behaviour, medical science, music, art and literature.

 

 

The Standing Chandelier by Lionel Shriver

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When Weston Babansky receives an extravagant engagement present from his best friend (and old flame) Jillian Frisk, he doesn’t quite know what to make of it – or how to get it past his fiancée. Especially as it’s a massive, handmade, intensely personal sculpture that they’d have to live with forever.
As the argument rages about whether Jillian’s gift was an act of pure platonic generosity or something more insidious, battle lines are drawn…
Can men and women ever be friends? Just friends?
Impressively sweeping… Shriver’s intelligence, mordant humour and vicious leaps of imagination all combine to make this a novel that is as unsettling as it is entertaining in its portrait of the cataclysmic unravelling of the American dream.”                      Financial Times

 

 

 

Secret Lives of Monks: From Atheism to the Zombie Apocalypse by David Waywell

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Lo! On the second day, God said: let there be light entertainment. And thus were monks created!
A book for atheists, agnostics, and perhaps a few believers too, The Secret Lives of Monks is your chance to join the only cult that promises more fun than a deep-sea baptism.
The monks might not help you save your soul but with their mixture of philosophy, stupidity, wit and irreverence, they might just make you laugh.

 

 

A Foot in the River: Why Our Lives Change and the Limits of Evolution by Felipe Fernández-Armesto

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We are a weird species. Like other species, we have a culture. But by comparison with other species, we are strangely unstable: human cultures self-transform, diverge, and multiply with bewildering speed. They vary, radically and rapidly, from time to time and place to place. And the way we live ― our manners, morals, habits, experiences, relationships, technology, values ― seems to be changing at an ever accelerating pace. The effects can be dislocating, baffling, sometimes terrifying. Why is this? In A Foot in the River, best-selling historian Felipe Fernández-Armesto sifts through the evidence and offers some radical answers to these very big questions about the human species and its history ― and speculates on what these answers might mean for our future.
A revolutionary book which challenges scientistic assumptions about culture and how and why cultural change happens, A Foot in the River comes to conclusions which readers may well find by turns both daunting and also potentially hugely liberating.
A mix of wide and deep learning and rigorous argument, beautifully written … [a] delightful and indispensable book.”                 John Gray, Literary Review

 

 

Lost Kingdom: A History of Russian Nationalism from Ivan the Great to Vladimir Putin by Serhii Plokhy

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An astonishingly wide-ranging history of Russian nationalism chronicling Russia’s yearning for Empire and how it has affected its politics for centuries
In 2014, Russia annexed Crimea and attempted to seize a portion of Ukraine. While the world watched in outrage, this violation of national sovereignty was in fact only the latest iteration of a centuries-long effort to expand Russian boundaries and create a pan-Russian nation. In Lost Kingdom, award-winning historian Serhii Plokhy argues that we can only understand the merging of imperialism and nationalism in Russia today by delving into its history.
Spanning over two thousand years, from the end of the Mongol rule to the present day, Plokhy shows how leaders from Ivan the Terrible to Joseph Stalin to Vladimir Putin have exploited existing forms of identity, warfare and territorial expansion to achieve imperial supremacy.
“Lost Kingdom tells the story of how the history of Russia was being written when that history was being made. . . A singularly fascinating account of Russian nationalism through the ages.”              Financial Times

 

 

Hollow Woods: Storytelling Card Game

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Fire your imagination with these fun storytelling cards. Reviving the Victorian craze for ‘myrioramas’, the 20 picture cards can be placed in any order to create seamless scenes. Almost infinite combinations of cards provide endless storyscaping possibilities. Traverse an enchanted landscape as you build a perpetual panorama inhabited by fire-breathing dragons, magical unicorns and sinister shadow figures. With many games to play and millions of stories to tell, each turn of the card is a new adventure. Where will the story take you? Over 2.4 quintillion storytelling possibilities, which stretch to over 5.5 feet.

 

 

F*ck That’s Delicious: An Annotated Guide to Eating Well by Action Bronson and Rachel Wharton

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This ain’t no cookbook. This ain’t no memoir. This is Action Bronson’s devotional, a book about the overwhelming power of delicious—no, f*cking amazing—food. Bronson is this era’s Homer, and F*ck, That’s Delicious is a modern-day Odyssey, replete with orgiastic recipes, world travel, siren songs, and weed.
Lavishly illustrated, Bronson’s F*ck, That’s Delicious includes 40-plus recipes inspired by his childhood, family, tours, and travels. Journey from bagels with cheese that represent familial love to the sex and Big Macs of upstate New York fat camp and ultimately to the world’s most coveted five-star temples of gastronomy. And: the tacos in LA. The best Dominican chimis. Jamaican jerk. Hand-rolled pasta from Mario. And lots more!

 

He’s big, bearded and very sweary. He’s also on a mission to tell you about great food.”                              Observer Magazine

 

 

 

Munchies: Late-Night Meals from the World’s Best Chefs by JJ Goode et al

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Munchies brings the hugely popular show Chef’s Night Out to the page with snapshots of food culture in cities around the world, plus tall tales and fuzzy recollections from 65 of the world’s top chefs, including Anthony Bourdain, Dominique Crenn, David Chang, Danny Bowien, Wylie Dufresne, Inaki Aizpitarte, and Enrique Olvera, among others.
Then there are the recipes: dishes these chefs cook when they’re done feeding customers, and ready to feed their friends instead. With chapters like “Drinks” (i.e. how to get your night started), “Things with Tortillas,” “Hardcore” (including pizzas, nachos, poutines, and more), and “Morning After” (classy and trashy dishes for the bleary-eyed next day), Munchies features more than 65 recipes to satisfy any late-night craving and plenty of drinks to keep the party going.

 

 

Diversify: Six Degrees of Integration by June Sarpong

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Engaging and informative … highlights our common humanity.”                             Kofi Annan
In troubling times, it’s tempting to retreat to our comfort zones. To people just like us.
But what if actively seeking the unfamiliar was proven to be the key to a brighter future – both personally and for society
at large?
In this fierce, empowering call to arms, June Sarpong MBE puts the spotlight on groups who are often marginalised in our society, including women, those living with disabilities, and the LGBTQ community. Diversify uncovers how a new approach to how we work, learn and live can help us reach our maximum potential, lessen the pressure on the state, and solve some of the most stubborn challenges we face.

 

 

The Future is History: How Totalitarianism Regained Russia by Masha Gessen

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Masha Gessen follows the lives of four Russians, born as the Soviet Union crumbled, at what promised to be the dawn of democracy. Each came of age with unprecedented expectations, some as the children or grandchildren of the very architects of the new Russia, each with newfound aspirations of their own – as entrepreneurs, activists, thinkers and writers, sexual and social beings. Gessen charts their paths not only against the machinations of the regime that would seek to crush them all (censorship, intimidation, violence) but also against the war it waged on understanding itself, ensuring the unobstructed emergence of the old Soviet order in the form of today’s terrifying and seemingly unstoppable mafia state.

 

“[From] a brave and eloquent critic of the Putin regime… For anyone wondering how Russia ended up in the hands of Putin and his friends, and what it means for the rest of us, Gessen’s book gives us an alarming and convincing picture.”                            The Times

 

 

African Muckraking: 100 Years of African Investigative Journalism edited by Anya Schiffrin

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Africa Muckraking is the first collection of investigative and campaigning journalism written by Africans and about Africa. The editors delved into the history of modern Africa to find the most important and compelling pieces of journalism on the stories that matter.
This collection of 41 pieces of African journalism includes passionate and committed writing on labour abuses, police brutality, women’s rights, the struggle for democracy and independence on the continent and other subjects. Each piece of writing is introduced by a noted scholar or journalist who explains the context and why the journalism mattered. Some of the highlights include: Feminist writing from Tunisia in the 1930s, hair-raising exposés of the secret tactics planned by the South African government during apartheid, Richard Mgamba’s searing description of the albino brothers in Tanzania who fear for the lives, the piece by Liberian journalist Mae Azongo’s on genital cutting which forced her to go into hiding.

 

 

Nights of the Living Dead: An Anthology edited by Jonathan Maberry and George A. Romero

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In 1968, the world experienced a brand-new kind of terror with the debut of George A. Romero’s landmark movie Night of the Living Dead. The newly dead rose to attack the living. Not as vampires or werewolves. This was something new . . . and terrifying. Since then, zombies have invaded every aspect of popular culture.
But it all started on that dreadful night in a remote farmhouse. . . .
Nights of the Living Dead returns to that night, to the outbreak, to where it all began. New York Times bestselling author Jonathan Maberry teams with the godfather of the living dead himself, George A. Romero, to present a collection of all-new tales set during the forty-eight hours of that legendary outbreak.

 

 

Something’s Cooking by J’Something

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Portugal born Joao Da Fonseca, a.k.a. J’Something is known to millions of fans for his award winning hits as the lead singer and song writer of South African band Mi Casa. J’Something has won multiple awards with Mi Casa including 8 number 1 singles and 5 SAMA awards.
In 2014 his passion for cooking came to the fore culminating in two cooking shows; Something’s Cooking & What’s for Dinner that reached over 18 000 000 viewers across South Africa in two years. His spicy authentic Portuguese heritage and hearty homegrown South African food has become his trademark. Most recently showcased as a headline chef appearing next to greats such as Marco Pierre White, Jan Hendrick and George Calombaris.
Currently together with David Higgs he hosts and judges the smash-hit My Kitchen Rules South Africa on MNet prime time. When not performing he can be found at Something’s Cooking by J his first restaurant.

 

 

The Magic Lamp: Dreams of Our Age by Ben Okri & Rosemary Clunie

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Twenty-five stories, twenty-five paintings, five years to write, ten years to paint. This is an extraordinary collaboration between artist and artist: the Booker Prize-winning writer Ben Okri and the painter Rosemary Clunie. Together they have created a world, and peopled it with dreams.
Twenty-five fairy tales for adults, these narratives are a response to our times, informed by our world but not limited by it, imaginative, enchanting, haunting – both prescient and prophetic. Twenty-five original paintings, beautiful, playful, intimate, dreamlike, these works pull you in to a land of colour and vision.

 

 

Smoke Ashes Fable by William Kentridge

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The much-loved South African artist William Kentridge  has become famous for his time-lapse animation movies and installations, as well as his activities as an opera and theater director. This book offers a unique selection of Kentridge’s work curated for Sint-Janshospitaal in Bruges-at 800 years one of Europe’s oldest surviving hospital buildings – organized around the themes of trauma and healing.

 

 

The Earth from the Air: New Edition by Yann Arthus-Bertrand

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The result of a five-year airborne odyssey across five continents and sixty countries, The Earth from the Air is the bestselling and most popular book of aerial photography ever published. This updated edition of the internationally acclaimed original features an updated text and over 100 breathtaking new photographs. New editorials by such renowned authors as Jane Goodall, Matthieu Ricard and Olivier Blond consider such perpetual issues as agriculture, climate and biodiversity, as well as the latest concerns – refugees, new technologies and environmental movements. A classic of its kind, this book will heighten everyone’s awareness of today’s urgent ecological issues. Now more than ever, The Earth from the Air stands as a call to action.

 

 

 

Why Are We Artists: 100 World Art Manifestos

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‘Art is not a luxury. Art is a basic social need to which everyone has a right’.
This extraordinary collection of 100 artists’ manifestos from across the globe over the last 100 years brings together activists, post-colonialists, surrealists, socialists, nihilists and a host of other voices. From the Négritude movement in Africa and Martinique to Brazil’s Mud/Meat Sewer Manifesto, from Iraqi modernism to Australia’s Cyberfeminist Manifesto, they are by turns personal, political, utopian, angry, sublime and revolutionary. Some have not been published in English before; some were written in climates of censorship and brutality; some contain visions of a future still on the horizon. What unites them is the belief that art can change the world.

 

Young Hitler: The Making of the Führer by Paul Ham

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When Adolf Hitler went to war in 1914, he was just 25 years old. It was a time he would later call the ‘most stupendous experience of my life’.
But this was not all about the war; the seeds of that hatred lay in Hitler’s youth.
By peeling back the layers of Hitler’s childhood, his war record and his early political career, Paul Ham’s Young Hitler: The Making of the Führer seeks the man behind the myth. How did the defining years of Hitler’s life affect his rise to power?
More broadly, Paul Ham seeks to answer the question: Was Hitler a freak accident? Or was he an extreme example of a recurring type of demagogue, who will do and say anything to seize power; who thrives on chaos; and who personifies, in his words and in his actions, the darkest prejudices of humankind?

 

 

Endangered by Tim Flach and Jonathan Baillie

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In Endangered, the result of an extraordinary multiyear project to document the lives of threatened species, acclaimed photographer Tim Flach explores one of the most pressing issues of our time. Traveling around the world—to settings ranging from forest to savannah to the polar seas to the great coral reefs—Flach has constructed a powerful visual record of remarkable animals and ecosystems facing harsh challenges. Among them are primates coping with habitat loss, big cats in a losing battle with human settlements, elephants hunted for their ivory, and numer­ous bird species taken as pets. With eminent zoologist Jonathan Baillie providing insightful commentary on this ambitious project, Endangered unfolds as a series of vivid, interconnected stories that pose gripping moral dilemmas, unforgettably expressed by more than 180 of Flach’s incred­ible images.

 

 

Little Miss Busy Surviving Motherhood and other Mr Men for Grown-ups

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The Mr. Men have been tickling children for generations with their funny and charming antics. The Mr Men for Grown-Ups series now gives adults the chance to laugh along as the Mr Men and Little Miss try to cope with the very grown-up world around them. Featuring Roger Hargreaves classic artwork alongside hilariously funny new text.

Gour

met Guide 2018: Top South African Restaurants, Their Chefs and Recipes

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Discover diverse restaurants from fine dining to fabulous food and gourmet getaways. Read about South Africa’s top 21 restaurants, meet their chefs – discover their passions, get to know them and be inspired by their recipes.

 

 

 

 

Shisanyama: Braai Recipes from South Africa by Jan Braai

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Jan Braai issued a crowdsourcing call in early 2017, and the response from the South African public was overwhelming – from the hundreds of entries received, Jan Braai has curated, tested and included over 80 favourite South African braai recipes. Each entry tells the story of how the recipe came about, why it is special – and of course celebrates the diversity of shisanyama available in South Africa. Shisanyama literally means ‘to burn meat’ in Zulu, and refers to the act of coming together to cook meat on an open fire.
Discover Mzansi favourites such as Bacon Bombs, Baby Back Ribs, B
reakfast Pizza, Chakalaka, Brandy & Coke Short Rib, Red Curried Black Mussels, Corn Bread, Mustard Ice-cream with T-Bone Steak, Thokoza Park Chuck, Watermelon Salad and Lamb Jaffles, with loads of other treasured recipes.

 

 

Artemis by Andy Weir

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By the author of The Martian.
WELCOME TO ARTEMIS. The first city on the moon.
Population 2,000. Mostly tourists.
Some criminals.
Jazz Bashara is a criminal. She lives in a poor area of Artemis and subsidises her work as a porter with smuggling contraband onto the moon. But it’s not enough.
So when she’s offered the chance to make a lot of money she jumps at it. But though planning a crime in 1/6th gravity may be more fun, it’s a lot more dangerous…
Jazz, Weir’s main character, is a moon-born version of Stieg Larsson’s Lisbeth Salander. She is young, rebellious and a petty criminal…Weir’s great strength, as he showed in The Martian, is to make us believe. His future society living inside massive domes built not far from where Armstrong set foot in 1969 is utterly plausible.”                                The Times

 

 

The Beginning of the World in the Middle of the Night by Jen Campbell

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‘These days, you can find anything you need at the click of a button.
That’s why I bought her heart online.’ 
The Beginning of the World in the Middle of the Night is a collection of twelve haunting stories; modern fairy tales brimming with magic, outsiders and lost souls.
‘I’m fascinated by storytelling, and particularly fairy tales. How humans have always tried to explain things that they can’t possibly understand with, sometimes outrageous, stories’ Jen Campbell
From the author of Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops series.
What A Book. It’s So Strange and Magical And The Writing Is Just Beautiful. I Loved It.”                               Louise O’Neill

 

 

For Younger Readers

The Hate You Give by Angie Thomas

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Stunning.”        John Green
A masterpiece.”              Huffington Post
An essential read for everyone.”             Teen Vogue
Outstanding.”                 Guardian
Sixteen-year-old Starr lives in two worlds: the poor neighbourhood where she was born and raised and her posh high school in the suburbs. The uneasy balance between them is shattered when Starr is the only witness to the fatal shooting of her unarmed best friend, Khalil, by a police officer. Now what Starr says could destroy her community. It could also get her killed.
Inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, this is a powerful and gripping YA novel about one girl’s struggle for justice.

 

 

Toto the Ninja Cat and the Great Snake Escape by Dermot O’Leary

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Toto the cat and her brother Silver live footloose and fancy-free in a townhouse in London. Toto is almost totally blind, and learned to trust her senses from a ninja cat-master who taught her back in Italy where they were born. By day, Toto and Silver seem to be ordinary cats, but by night, they love to have adventures!
One evening, news reaches Toto that a king cobra has escaped from London Zoo! Together with help from a very posh cat and two hungry tigers, Toto and Silver must investigate. Can they find the giant snake, before it’s too late?

 

The Taste of Blue Light by Lydia Ruffles

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An incandescent, soul-searching story about a broken young woman’s search for a truth buried so deep it threatens to consume her, body and mind.
These are the things Lux knows:
She is an artist.
She is lucky.
She is broken.
These are the things she doesn’t know:
What happened over the summer.
Why she ended up in hospital.
Why her memories are etched in red.
‘The nightmares tend to linger long after your screams have woken you up …’
Desperate to uncover the truth, Lux’s time is running out. If she cannot piece together the events of the summer and regain control of her fractured mind, she will be taken away from everything and everyone she holds dear.

 

 

 

The Secret Horses of Briar Hill by Megan Shepherd, illustrated by Levi Pinfold

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An exceptional and moving novel about the power of the imagination, illustrated by the winner of the Kate Greenaway medal.
An exceptional and moving novel about the power of stories and the imagination from the publisher of A Monster Calls. December 1941. Britain is at war. Emmaline has been evacuated away from the bombs to Briar Hill Hospital in Shropshire. When she gets there she discovers a secret. It’s not to be shared, not to be told to anyone, even her friend Anna. But she’ll tell you. This is Emmaline’s secret. There are winged horses that live in the mirrors of Briar Hill. Exquisitely illustrated by Levi Pinfold, winner of the Kate Greenaway Medal, The Secret Horses of Briar Hill has all the makings of a modern classic.

 

 

The Polar Bear Explorers’ Club by Alex Bell

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It sounded like a respectable and worthy enough death for an explorer – tumbling from an ice bridge to be impaled upon a mammoth tusk – but Stella really, really didn’t want that to happen, just the same.
Join Stella Starflake Pearl and her three fellow explorers as they trek across the snowy Icelands and come face-to-face with frost fairies, snow queens, outlaw hideouts, unicorns, pygmy dinosaurs and carnivorous cabbages . . .
When Stella and three other junior explorers get separated from their expedition can they cross the frozen wilderness and live to tell the tale?

 

 

Satellite by Nick Lake

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The Martian for teens – an epic, highly original space thriller with real science and heartbreaking beauty.
Leo has never set foot on Earth. Born and raised with twins Orion and Libra on the Moon 2 Space Station, they have grown up together in the most extraordinary of ways.
Now, they are preparing to make their first trip home – their first journey to Earth. But Leo, Orion and Libra cannot possibly imagine the irreversible consequences that their return will set into motion…

 

 

Fantastically Great Women Who Changed the World – Activity Book by Kate Pankhurst

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Join some of the world’s most inspiring women in this must-have activity book based on Kate Pankhurst’s bestselling book Fantastically Great Women Who Changed the World, full of fun and utterly inspiring activities and over 200 stickers.
Write your own stories with Jane Austen, lead a fashion revolution just like Coco Chanel and design your own pyjamas, walk in the footprints of Mary Anning and follow the dot-to-dot to uncover the skeletons of dinosaurs.

 

 

 

Here We Are: Notes for Living on Planet Earth by Oliver Jeffers

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The exquisite and thought-provoking new book from the multi award-winning, internationally best-selling picture book creator of Lost and Found, Oliver Jeffers.
Well, hello.
And welcome to this Planet.
We call it Earth.
Our world can be a bewildering place, especially if you’ve only just got here. Your head will be filled with questions, so let’s explore what makes our planet and how we live on it. From land and sky, to people and time, these notes can be your guide and start you on your journey. And you’ll figure lots of things out for yourself. Just remember to leave notes for everyone else… Some things about our planet are pretty complicated, but things can be simple, too: you’ve just got to be kind.
An optimistic snapshot of contemporary life, this heartfelt hug of a book ought to become a classic.” The Guardian

 

 

Dinosaurium (Welcome to the Museum) by Wormell and Murray

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Welcome to the museum that is always open to explore…
Step inside the pages of this beautiful book to discover galleries of dinosaurs, expertly curated to bring you the experience of a fascinating exhibition from the comfort of your own home.
Dinosaurium features a wide range of dinosaurs from the most-loved Triceratops and Tyrannosaurus Rex to lesser-known species such as Coelophysis and Tsintaosaurus. With stunning artwork from Chris Wormell (known for the cover of H is for Hawk and his picture books including George and the Dragon) and informative text with input from experts in palaeontology, Dinosaurium is the perfect gift for anyone with an interest in this fascinating field.

 

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Wishing all our customers a wonderful festive season!

 

Ayesha Kajee Interviews Sisonke Msimang, author of ‘Always Another Country’

Tuesday, November 28th 2017 at 11:35 AM

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Thank you to the Good Book Appreciation Society for allowing us to use this interview which took place in the comment section of a Facebook post – such a cool idea!

Ayesha Kajee (AK): Hi Sisonke. Thanks for agreeing to do this and be warned, I am still a bit star- and awe-struck!

Sisonke Msimang (SM): Thanks so much for having me. Star struck by me?? Lol! Please don’t be. You know everything about my life now.

AK: Let’s talk a bit about the writing process. You have described this memoir in my presence as ‘creative non fiction’. Has that given you more expressive freedom as a writer. Why the creative adjective? And has it protected you from any repercussions e.g. from people who hated what you said?

SM:  No the creative covers the fact that I am aware memory is subjective. And that there are conversations I remember differently than others. So it’s to preserve honesty in a sense.

AK: Ok. So this is still very much a true reflection of your childhood and adolescence in exile, and your homecoming and alienation of sorts in SA?

SM: Definitely.

AK:  I’m fascinated by your portrayal of Zambia and Nairobi particularly, by the freedom that was unthought of for black people in SA. Care to comment on that?

SM: Sure. There is something special about growing up in the demographic majority. And seeing black people in positions of power. Running their own businesses etc. You don’t have to be told you can do it. You just KNOW it in your bones.  It gave us extra confidence.

AK: The women particularly fascinate me in their fearlessness and feminism. Your mum, Gogo Lindi etc.

SM: Yes. I come from strong women. Not all of them claimed feminism as their word. But they all owned it in their actions.

AK: I saw her (Lindiwe Mabuza) at the ACT AWARDS on Friday and I swear I almost called her Gogo Lindi while everyone else was mum doctoring and sis Doctoring her.

SM: Haha!

AK: You’ve managed to make her so real to me!

SM: She is radiant in her 80s. And still as sharp as ever.

AK: Regal and magnificent indeed.

SM: She is indeed.

AK: My first reading of Always Another Country I gobbled it. Now am rereading it with savour. What was the hardest element for you to write about and what the most easy?

SM:  Easiest parts were the early chapters. My childhood memories were so vivid. The last section of the book I really struggled to communicate what I feel like I have learned about life through stories.

AK: And perhaps its easier to talk about the child because she’s not quite the you you are now?

SM: Exactly.  I also think the adult stuff was harder to explain because as we get older the challenges we face are more complex. Less easy to navigate as right or wrong.

AK: That’s a startling truth right there!

SM: And I guess because writing get is about stamina, I just struggled with the length and keeping it engaging.

AK: I love this honesty, Hate writers who make it all seem so easy . Or maybe I just envy them 🙂 Yet your homecoming to Jozi is just as vividly portrayed and as poignant. We see and smell the streets.

SM: Best trip ever!!!

AK: Though not quite what you anticipated. especially your first evening out….

SM: Meeting Joburg was phenomenal. And meeting my grandfather was unlike anything I’d ever experienced.

AK: The ties that bind us even as we are only semi conscious of them?

SM: Yes. The idea of family was always very important to me as a kid. Because cousins and aunts and stuff were mainly chosen…

AK: For me I guess one of the most significant parts of the book is your analysis of the current ANC and how it feels to express your view particularly as someone whose entire life was shaped by the party…. It resonates for me as a former UDF person and gets to the heart of the contradictions so many of us grapple with…

SM: Yup. On the one hand I was raised to question everything. On the other I was raised to love the ANC. So erm, that has been a complicated one to say the least!

AK: So how do you think the narrative should be shaped into the future, by those whose loyalty was almost a bygone conclusion in the past?

SM: Great question. I’m hoping the narrative is shaped more by those who aren’t loyal in that old sense.

AK: How so, then?

SM:  I get sad seeing old people trying to revive the ANC or to be its conscience. So for me it’s about civic leadership.

AK: YASSS!!!! On fleek!

SM:  It’s about renewed political leadership that doesn’t over emphasise the ANC. 

AK: So the priorities should be?

SM:  We make them too important. They are exactly as important as the DA, EFF, etc. The structural issues of inequality that will make a real difference: quality education. Crime that focused on crimes against women and children and our poorest citizens,  and political party reform to make it harder for them all to keep lying to us.

AK:  While we’re on the subject of education, yours was varied and having been educated in so many different milieu, what stands out for you as a truly great educational principle or system, if anything? Political party reform and funding transparency too!

SM: My best educational experiences have been as an adult.

AK: Care to share one or two here?

SM: I spent a semester at Yale and couldn’t believe the resources there. The library was bigger than the hospital in my village!

AK:  I can only imagine– with more than a tinge of envy 🙂

SM: Also really loved my high school. Lots of leeway to think aloud and ask questions.  In high school we all were pushed intellectually and we rose to the challenge. I’ve been very very lucky.

AK: Wonderful and evident in your fearlessness!

SM: But I will say to my parents credit they never ever tried to stop me. They have always been proud of my outspokenness.

AK:  You describe a #metoo moment in the book, well more than one, But the Praisegood incident …. Your empathy and compassion for him was astounding to me…was that hard to write?

SM: It was easy to write weirdly. Because I’ve processed that event so much. I’ve had therapy, I’ve gone over and over it.

AK: Still, not too many survivors would show that level of empathy and compassion.

SM:  But a lot of survivors aren’t also writers 😉 My job is to pull deeper and voice it.  Lots of survivors I know have empathy because pain has a way of helping you to care. If that makes sense. It makes you sensitive to pain.

AK:  I love you . Star struck again!

SM: And for me the act of writing about your life only has value to others if you’re able to share what you’ve learned. If you are still in pain, then it’s not fair to yourself to share. And boring to others in terms of reading! Lol!

AK: The other thing that really really struck me about the latter part of your book, was the self-agonization about becoming a ‘madam’. A reality of SA today if you are middle class….

SM:  Black madam.  Yes it was important for me to put it out there because privilege is real. I expect a lot from my fellow South Africans. If I want white people to be honest about theirs I should be honest about mine.

AK: And it comes with responsibility – any type of privilege. And with that, let’s open up to the audience … anyone out there want to engage?

Audience member, Bea Reader: Hi Sisonke, amazing interview, I’m curious about what you’re working on now, and of course your process. Are you a full time writer? If not how do you fit it all in?

SM: Thank you! I’ve got a few ideas cooking. One is about murders in small towns – it would be a deeply researched book.

BR: Oooooh. That sounds fascinating. It’s always the small towns that have a dark side. Non-fic, or fic?

SM: Nonfiction.  I work 2 days a week (school hours) at a place called the Centre for Stories. The rest of the time I write.

BR:  Do you have a set process or word count, or is it just that you do what you can when you can?

SM:  To write this book I just wrote. Meaning I wrote 6 hours a day and treated it like a full time job. I edit my work pretty intensely. So it took longer to edit the draft than to write it. And I did that before finding the publisher. 

BR:  Who edited it for you ultimately?

SM: The wonderful Angela Voges. She was so good to work with.

Audience member, Paige Nick: How have you found the process of launching your book in South Africa?

SM: It was wonderful. Amazing response. Intimate gatherings. Enjoyed every event.

AK: Any plans for global or regional launches?

SM: So we are negotiating rights in the US and UK and once those are finalised then absolutely yes.

AK:  In the meantime, events in our neighbouring countries are getting lit, to be frank! Any thoughts on those Sisonke?

SM: I worked on Zim issues for many years. I hope we finally see a free and fair election for our neighbours.

AK: Yes. And interesting times in Angola too.

SM: Indeed. People always right the wrongs of the past.

AK:  If there are really no questions, we can wrap up. I just want to urge every person on here, especially every south african, to READ this book. It’s phenomenal not because of the politics, that’s by the way. This is a story that will hit you in your heart at times, your head at others and your gut times uncountable.

SM: Thanks so much! It was great ‘talking’!

 

 

November 2017

Monday, November 27th 2017 at 2:50 PM

Fiction

The Castle Cross the Magnet Carter by Kia Corthron

 

Image result for The Castle Cross the Magnet Carter by Kia CorthronThe hotly anticipated first novel by lauded playwright and The Wire TV writer Kia Corthron, The Castle Cross the Magnet Carter sweeps American history from 1941 to the twenty-first century through the lives of four men–two white brothers from rural Alabama, and two black brothers from small-town Maryland–whose journey culminates in an explosive and devastating encounter between the two families.

On the eve of America’s entry into World War II, in a tiny Alabama town, two brothers come of age in the shadow of the local chapter of the Klan, where Randall–a brilliant eighth-grader and the son of a sawmill worker–begins teaching sign language to his eighteen-year-old deaf and uneducated brother B.J. Simultaneously, in small-town Maryland, the sons of a Pullman Porter–gifted six-year-old Eliot and his artistic twelve-year-old brother Dwight–grow up navigating a world expanded both by a visit from civil and labor rights activist A. Philip Randolph and by the legacy of a lynched great-aunt.

The four mature into men, directly confronting the fierce resistance to the early civil rights movement, and are all ultimately uprooted. Corthron’s ear for dialogue, honed from years of theater work, brings to life all the major concerns and movements of America’s past century through the organic growth of her marginalized characters, and embraces a quiet beauty in their everyday existences.

Sharing a cultural and literary heritage with the work of Toni Morrison, Alex Haley, and Edward P. Jones, Kia Corthron’s The Castle Cross the Magnet Carter is a monumental epic deftly bridging the political and the poetic, and wrought by one of America’s most recently recognized treasures.

 

There are whole chunks of writing here that are simply sublime, places in which one gets swept away by the way she subverts the rhythm of language to illuminate the familiar and allow it to be seen fresh. … [Corthron] blindsides you. She sneaks up from behind. Sometimes, it is with moments of humor, but more often with moments of raw emotional power – moments whose pathos feels hard-earned and true…. [The Castle Cross the Magnet Carter] succeeds admirably in a novel’s first and most difficult task: It makes you give a damn. It also does well by a novel’s second task: It sends you away pondering what it has to say.”              New York Times Book Review

 

 

Thwala by Eve Clayton

 

Image result for Thwala by Eve ClaytonTHWALA – the abduction and forced marriage of a young girl to an older man in South African tribal custom… But could it also be a metaphor for the way in which colonialists took possession of the virgin nations of Africa, lusting after the mineral gifts of the soil, the possession of pristine countryside and innocent souls to be exploited in their quest for power?

 

This love story across the divide of age and colour, an older white farmer to a beautiful young Xhosa girl, set in the last days of apartheid, bears testimony to so many South African lives, twisted by the ruthless hand of political imperatives. It takes the reader into the mysterious and powerful world of Xhosa culture: thwala; igqira, the diviner; ceremonial marriage;circumcision, and the way in which these sacred institutions have been eroded by the ambivalent influence of Western values.

Can the meeting of these powerful forces really create the rainbow nation that South African people so deeply desire?

Follow the lives of Nosuthu Stokwe and Andrew Christy from the awe-inspiring rural South African countryside to the urban sprawl of Kayelitsha and the metropolis of Cape Town, to try and appreciate the complexity of the challenges faced by South African people today.

Can there be healing after “Thwala syndrome”?

 

 

 

The Secret of Vesalius by Jordi Llobregat

 

Image result for The Secret of Vesalius by Jordi LlobregatFrankenstein meets The Shadow of the Wind in a Gothic thriller set in the diabolical city of fin-de-siecle Barcelona.

Daniel Amat has left Spain and all that happened there behind him. Having just achieved a brilliant role in Ancient Languages at Oxford University and an even more advantageous engagement, the arrival of a letter – a demand – stamped Barcelona comes like a cold hand from behind.

He arrives back in that old, labyrinthine and near-mythic city a few days before the great 1888 World Fair, amid dread whispers of murders – the injuries reminiscent of an ancient curse, and bearing signs of the genius 16th century anatomist, Vesalius. Daniel is soon pulled into the depths of the crime, and eventually into the tunnels below Barcelona, where his own dark past and the future of science are joined in a terrible venture – to bring the secret of Vesalius to life.

Gothic and gripping, this historical thriller makes of Barcelona a diabolical character – emerging out of the dark into a new electrical age, aflame with spirit, superstition and science. Published in eighteen countries, Jordi Llobregat’s bestselling first novel mixes a passionate setting and cryptic mystery into a genre-crossing phenomenon.

 

An excellent and atmospheric historical thriller. I loved it.”                    Philip Kerr

 

 

 

Mother Land by Paul Theroux

 

Image result for mother land therouxA darkly hilarious portrait of one dysfunctional American family and its scheming matriarch

Everyone in Cape Cod thinks that Mother is a wonderful woman: pious, hard-working, frugal. Everyone except her husband and seven children. To them she is a selfish and petty tyrant – endlessly comparing her many living children to the one who died in childbirth, keeping a vice-like hold on her offspring even as they try to escape into adulthood.

Welcome to Mother Land: a suffocating kingdom of parental narcissism. This is an engrossing, hilarious and heartbreaking portrait of a modern family — the bickering, the conspiracies, and the drive to overcome the painful ties that bind.

 

Reading Mother Land is like watching a slow-motion car crash…Mother Land is an exercise in mean-spirited score-settling. It’s also fun…the clambake in the assisted living facility where (Mother) celebrates her 102nd (birthday) is downright hilarious…Theroux possesses a fabulously nasty sense of humor…As for me, I enjoyed Mother Land against my will… a version of his cozening, calculating mother can be found in many homes. But I also found a little bit of myself here. Theroux ends up assassinating all of his characters, but I still enjoyed the play.”                  Stephen King, New York Times Book Review

 

 

The Sparsholt Affair by Alan Hollinghurst

 

Image result for sparsholt affair alan hollinghurstHollinghurst has a strong, perhaps unassailable claim to be the best English novelist working today.”                       Guardian

In October 1940, the handsome young David Sparsholt arrives in Oxford. A keen athlete and oarsman, he at first seems unaware of the effect he has on others – particularly on the lonely and romantic Evert Dax, son of a celebrated novelist and destined to become a writer himself. While the Blitz rages in London, Oxford exists at a strange remove: an ephemeral, uncertain place, in which nightly blackouts conceal secret liaisons. Over the course of one momentous term, David and Evert forge an unlikely friendship that will colour their lives for decades to come . . .

Man Booker Prize-winning author Alan Hollinghurst’s masterly novel evokes the intimate relationships of a group of friends bound together by art, literature and love across three generations. It explores the social and sexual revolutions of the most pivotal years of the past century, whose life-changing consequences are still being played out to this day. Richly observed, disarmingly witty and emotionally charged, The Sparsholt Affair is an unmissable achievement from one of our finest writers.

 

Hollinghurst is a master storyteller … thrilling in the rather awful way that the best Victorian novels are, so that one finds oneself galloping somewhat shamefacedly through the pages in order to discover what happens next.”                      John Banville

 

 

Mrs Osmond by John Banville

 

Image result for Mrs Osmond by John BanvilleHaving fled Rome and a stultifying marriage, Isabel Osmond is in London, brooding on the recent disclosure of her husband’s shocking, years-long betrayal of her. What should she do now, and which way should she turn, in the emotional labyrinth where she has been trapped for so long? Reawakened by grief and the knowledge of having been grievously wronged, she determines to resume her youthful quest for freedom and independence.

Soon Isabel must return to Italy and confront her husband, and seek to break his powerful hold on her. But will she succeed in outwitting him, and securing her revenge?

Mrs Osmond is a masterly novel of betrayal, corruption and moral ambiguity, from the Man Booker Prize-winning author of The Sea.

 

A worthy sequel… His book is not only an impressive recreation of James’s atmospheres and pacing, but also full of minor cliff-hangers and page-turning suspenses that keep you guessing.”                        Observer

 

A brilliant feat of literary ventriloquism… Richly enjoyable and enthralling, this exercise in creative empathy is a sequel of very high finish.”               Sunday Times

 

 

Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan

 

Image result for Manhattan Beach by Jennifer EganThis is a novel that will pull you in and under and carry you away on its rip tides . . . Its resonances continue to wash over the reader long after the novel ends.”                 Guardian

This is a novel that deserves to join the canon of New York stories.”               New York Times Book Review

The long-awaited novel from the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of A Visit from the Goon SquadManhattan Beach opens in Brooklyn during the Great Depression.

‘We’re going to see the sea,’ Anna whispered.

Anna Kerrigan, nearly twelve years old, accompanies her father to the house of a man who, she gleans, is crucial to the survival of her father and her family. Anna observes the uniformed servants, the lavishing of toys on the children, and some secret pact between her father and Dexter Styles.

Years later, her father has disappeared and the country is at war. Anna works at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, where women are allowed to hold jobs that had always belonged to men. She becomes the first female diver, the most dangerous and exclusive of occupations, repairing the ships that will help America win the war. She is the sole provider for her mother, a farm girl who had a brief and glamorous career as a Ziegfield folly, and her lovely, severely disabled sister. At a night club, she chances to meet Styles, the man she visited with her father before he vanished, and she begins to understand the complexity of her father’s life, the reasons he might have been murdered.

Mesmerising, hauntingly beautiful, with the pace and atmosphere of a noir thriller and a wealth of detail about organised crime, the merchant marine and the clash of classes in New York, Egan’s first historical novel is a masterpiece, a deft, startling, intimate exploration of a transformative moment in the lives of women and men, America and the world. Manhattan Beach is a magnificent novel by one of the greatest writers of our time.

Beautifully rendered . . . genuinely affecting and handsomely constructed. It moves for all the right reasons.”                     Independent

A gripping, modern version of a 19th century novel . . . such an absorbing read.”                         Evening Standard

 

 

 

The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman

 

Image result for rules of magic alice hoffmanIn this sparkling prequel we meet the Aunts from Practical Magic, sisters Frances and Jet, and Vincent, their brother. From the beginning their mother Susanna knew they were unique: Franny with her skin as pale as milk and blood red hair, who could commune with birds; Jet as shy as she is beautiful, who knows what others are thinking, and Vincent so charismatic that he was built for trouble. Susanna needed to set some rules of magic: no walking in the moonlight, no red shoes, no wearing black, no cats, no crows, no candles and certainly, absolutely, no books about magic…

But the Owens siblings are desperate to uncover who they really are. Each heads down a life-altering course, filled with secrets and truths, devastation and joy, and magic and love. Despite the warning handed down through the family for centuries – Know that for our family, love is a curse – they will all strive to break the rules and find true love.

 

Shows the author at their best… She neatly intertwines their lives with a backdrop that brims with periodic detail. Gnomic maxims add to a wise, seductive, fabular tone… Thrilling and transportive.”                      Sunday Times

The Beast by Alexander Starritt

 

Image result for beast alexander starrittJeremy Underwood is a long-suffering subeditor on The Daily Beast, Britain’s mightiest tabloid. Returning from holiday, he notices two burqa-clad figures lurking outside the paper’s Kensington offices. Two male terrorism suspects have escaped from a mosque disguised as women; recently suspicion and fear have made everyone alert. Jeremy’s casual observation sets off a chain of events that spins out of control, as the great Beast feels that it is the next target of terrorism.

Alexander Starritt’s darkly funny novel is a vivid anatomy of that most uncontrollable of large creatures, the British tabloid newspaper. The ferocious professionalism and manic rivalries of a newsroom have rarely been so well described. And at the heart of the newsroom is the brooding, dictatorial figure of its editor, Charles Brython, the booming voice of Middle England. His world is under threat, and he will do whatever it takes to defend it. This is a story in which comedy teeters on the edge of horror.

 

A brilliant satire … Starritt’s novel skewers its targets with a thrilling accuracy. It needs urgently to be read.”             Ian Jack.

Eye-wateringly funny and uncannily well observed”                   Richard Addiss, Former Editor of the Daily Express and FT Weekend.

What Starritt gets vividly right, in a way I think no other fiction has managed, is the editing process that is so central to the success of any popular paper.”              Guardian

 

 

 

Bluebird Bluebird by Attica Locke

 

Image result for bluebird bluebird attica lockeA powerful thriller about the explosive intersection of love, race, and justice from a writer and producer of the Emmy winning Fox TV/Channel 4 show Empire

Dazzlingly good … a seriously impressive writer.”                         Observer

Southern fables usually go the other way around. A white woman is killed or harmed in some way, real or imagined, and then, like the moon follows the sun, a black man ends up dead.

But when it comes to law and order, East Texas plays by its own rules – a fact that Darren Mathews, a black Texas Ranger working the backwoods towns of Highway 59, knows all too well. Deeply ambivalent about his home state, he was the first in his family to get as far away from Texas as he could. Until duty called him home.

So when allegiance to his roots puts his job in jeopardy, he is drawn to a case in the small town of Lark, where two dead bodies washed up in the bayou. First a black lawyer from Chicago and then, three days later, a local white woman, and it’s stirred up a hornet’s nest of resentment. Darren must solve the crimes – and save himself in the process – before Lark’s long-simmering racial fault lines erupt.

 

In Bluebird, Bluebird Attica Locke had both mastered the thriller and exceeded it.”                      Ann Patchett

 

A heartbreakingly resonant new novel about race and justice in America.”                        USA Today

 

 

 

Short Stories

Fresh Complaint by Jeffrey Euginedes

 

Image result for fresh complaint jeffrey eugenides‘What was it about complaining that felt so good? You and your fellow sufferer emerging from a thorough session as if from a spa bath, refreshed and tingling?’

The first-ever collection of short stories from Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jeffrey Eugenides presents characters in the midst of personal and national emergencies.

We meet Kendall, a failed poet who, envious of other people’s wealth during the real estate bubble, becomes an embezzler; and Mitchell, a lovelorn liberal arts graduate on a search for enlightenment; and Prakrti, a high school student whose wish to escape the strictures of her family leads to a drastic decision that upends the life of a middle-aged academic.

Jeffrey Eugenides’s bestselling novels Middlesex, The Virgin Suicides and The Marriage Plot have shown him to be an astute observer of the crises of adolescence, self-discovery and family love. These stories, from one of our greatest authors, explore equally rich and intriguing territory.

Narratively compelling and beautifully written, Fresh Complaint shows all of Eugenides’s trademark humour, compassion and complex understanding of what it is to be human.

 

“[An] excellent short story collection … Eugenides deploys his pronounced gifts for comedy and characterisation at the same time as he builds an overwhelming atmosphere of suffocation.”               Guardian

A very good short story writer…they are a breeze to read and Eugenides inhabits each new consciousness with easy confidence.”              The Times

 

 

The Dreams of Bethany Mellmouth by William Boyd

 

Image result for boyd dreams of bethany mellmothA philandering art dealer tries to give up casual love affairs – seeking only passionate kisses as a substitute. A man recounts his personal history through the things he has stolen from others throughout his life. A couple chart the journey of their five year relationship backwards, from awkward reunion to lovelorn first encounter. And, at the heart of the book, a 24-year old young woman, Bethany Mellmoth, embarks on a year-long journey of wishful and tentative self-discovery.

The Dreams of Bethany Mellmoth depicts the random encounters that bring the past bubbling to the surface; the impulsive decisions that irrevocably shape a life; and the endless hesitations and loss-of-nerve that wickedly complicate it. These funny, surprising and moving stories are a resounding confirmation of Boyd’s powers as one of our most original and compelling storytellers.

 

Boyd shows why he’s so often compared to Graham Greene…. brilliant and bewitching collection of stories.”                    Financial Times

Unfailingly amusing and clever.”                    Guardian

 

 

That Glimpse of Truth: The 100 Finest Short Stories Ever Written chosen by David Miller

 

Image result for That Glimpse of Truth: The 100 Finest Short Stories Ever Written chosen by David MillerProfound, lyrical, shocking, wise: the short story is capable of almost anything. This collection of 100 of the finest stories ever written ranges from the essential to the unexpected, the traditional to the surreal. Wide in scope, both beautiful and vast, this is the perfect companion for any fiction lover.

Here are childhood favourites and neglected masters, twenty-first century wits and national treasures, Man Booker Prize winners and Nobel Laureates.

Featuring an all-star cast of authors, including Kate Atkinson, Julian Barnes, Angela Carter, Anton Chekhov, Richmal Crompton, Charles Dickens, Roald Dahl, Penelope Fitzgerald, Gustave Flaubert, Rudyard Kipling, Somerset Maugham, Ian McEwan, Alice Munro, V.S. Pritchett, Thomas Pynchon, Muriel Spark and Colm Tóibín, That Glimpse Of Truth is the biggest, most handsome collection of short fiction in print today.

 

A treasure trove of short stories… A book to return to again and again.”                Sunday Independent

 

 

 

The Story: Love, Loss and the Lives of Women: 100 Great Stories chosen by Victoria Hislop

 

Image result for The Story: Love, Loss and the Lives of Women: 100 Great Stories chosen by Victoria HislopWitty, heartbreaking, shocking, satirical: the short story can excite or sadden, entice or repulse. The one thing it can never be is dull. Now Victoria Hislop, passionate ambassador for the art of the short story, has collected 100 stories from her favourite women writers into one volume.

Here are Man Booker Prize winners and Nobel Laureates, well-known feminists and famous wits, national treasures and rising stars. All handpicked by one of the nation’s best-loved novelists, there’s a story for every mood, mind-set and moment in life.

Featuring an all-star cast of authors including Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Angela Carter, Margaret Drabble, Penelope Fitzgerald, Miranda July, Doris Lessing, Katherine Mansfield, Alice Munro, Dorothy Parker and Virginia Woolf, The Story is the biggest and most beautiful collection of women’s short fiction in print today.

 

Beautiful … glittering … The scope is wide, rich and often unexpected … it blows Bridget out of the water.”               Independent

 

 

 

Non-fiction

We Were Eight Years in Power: An American Tragedy by Ta-Nehisi Coates

 

I’ve been wondering who might fill the intellectual void that plagued me after James Baldwin died. Clearly it is Ta-Nehisi Coates.”                 Toni Morrison

Powerful and necessary, a state-of-the-nation portrait of America under Obama from the prize-winning, bestselling author of Between the World and Me

From 2008-2016, the leader of the free world was a black man. Obama’s presidency reshaped America and transformed the international conversation around politics, race, equality. But it attracted criticism and bred discontent as much as it inspired hope – so much so, that the world now faces an uncertain future under a very different kind of US President.

In this essential new book, Ta-Nehisi Coates takes stock of the Obama era, speaking authoritatively from political, ideological and cultural perspectives, drawing a nuanced and penetrating portrait of America today.

 

It’s this timeless timeliness – reminiscent of the work of George Orwell and James Baldwin – that makes Coates worth reading again and again.”                  Publishers Weekly

Fiercely passionate, intelligent and clear-eyed.”               Newsday

 

 

Adventures of a Young Naturalist: Zoo Quest Expeditions by Sir David Attenborough

 

Image result for Adventures of a Young Naturalist: Zoo Quest Expeditions by Sir David AttenboroughA marvellous book … unputdownable … utterly engaging.”     Telegraph
An elegant and gently funny writer.”                        The Times 
In 1954, a young David Attenborough was offered the opportunity of a lifetime – to travel the world finding rare and elusive animals for London Zoo’s collection, and to film the expeditions for the BBC for a new show called Zoo Quest.

This book records those voyages, which mark the very beginning of a career that spans decades and stretches across continents, from Life on Earth to Blue Planet II, from the deepest oceans, the darkest jungles and everywhere in between. Staying with local tribes while trekking in search of giant anteaters in Guyana, Komodo dragons in Indonesia and armadillos in Paraguay, he and the rest of the team battled with cannibal fish, aggressive tree porcupines and escape-artist wild pigs, as well as treacherous terrain and unpredictable weather, to record the incredible beauty and biodiversity of these regions. The methods may be outdated now, but the fascination and respect for the wildlife, the people and the environment – and the importance of protecting these wild places – is not.

Written with Attenborough’s trademark wit and charm, Adventures of a Young Naturalist is not just the story of a remarkable adventure, but of the man who made us fall in love with the natural world, and who is still doing so today.

 

Mythos: A Retelling of the Myths of Ancient Greece by Stephen Fry

 

Image result for Mythos: A Retelling of the Myths of Ancient Greece by Stephen FryPerfect for the 21st Century. Ebullient, funny, Fry retells the Greek myths with elegance.”                    The Times

No one loves and quarrels, desires and deceives as boldly and brilliantly as Greek gods and goddesses. They are like us, only more so – their actions and adventures scrawled across the heavens above.

From the birth of the universe to the creation of humankind, Stephen Fry – who fell in love with these stories as a child – retells these myths for our tragic, comic, fateful age. Witness Athena born from the cracking open of Zeus’s great head and follow Persephone down into the dark realm of Hades. Experience the terrible and endless fate of Prometheus after his betrayal of Zeus and shiver as Pandora opens her jar of evil torments.

The Greek gods are the best and worst of us, and in Stephen Fry’s hands they tell us who we are. Mythos – smart, funny, and above all great fun – is the retelling we deserve by a man who has been entertaining the nation for over four decades.

 

A wondrous new immersion in ancient stories we only thought we knew. Page to page, Mythos is brilliant, funny, erudite, inventive, surprising and enthralling.”                  Richard North Patterson

 

 

Light the Dark: Writers on Creativity, Inspiration and the Artistic Process by Joe Fassler

 

Image result for Light the Dark: Writers on Creativity, Inspiration and the Artistic Process by Joe FasslerA stunning guide to finding creative inspiration and how it can illuminate your life, your work, and your art.

What inspires you? That’s the simple, but profound question posed to 46 renowned authors in Light the Dark, each one revealing what gets them started and what keeps them going with the creative work they love. Each writer begins with a favourite passage – from a novel, a song, a poem. From there, incredible lessons and stories of life changing encounters with art emerge, like how sneaking a volume of Stephen King stories into his job as a night security guard helped Khaled Hosseini learn that nothing he creates will ever be truly finished. Or how Junot Diaz learned that great art can be a friend to help us feel less alone in the world when he discovered Toni Morrison in college.

Light the Dark collects the best of The Atlantic’s much-acclaimed ‘By Heart’ series and adds brand new pieces from writers like Marilynne Robinson and Junot Diaz, each one paired with a striking illustration. A guide to creative living and writing for anyone who wants to learn how great writers find inspiration and how to find some of your own.


The collection’s best essays soar . . . The essays’ variety and the heart and intelligence evident in many of them add up to a valuable book.”   Publishers Weekly

 

The Tunnels: The Untold Stories of Escapes Under the Berlin Wall by Greg  Mitchell

 

A story with so much inherent drama… a kaleidoscopic cold war story.”                 Guardian

In the summer of 1962, one year after the rise of the Berlin Wall, a group of daring young West Germans risked prison, Stasi torture and even death to liberate friends, lovers, and strangers in East Berlin by digging tunnels under the Wall.

Then, as the world’s press heard about the secret projects, two television networks raced to be the first to document them from the inside, funding two separate tunnels for exclusive rights to film the escapes. In response, President John F. Kennedy and his administration, wary of anything that might raise tensions and force a military confrontation with the Soviets, manoeuvred to quash both documentaries.

As Greg Mitchell’s riveting narrative unfolds, we meet extraordinary characters: the legendary cyclist who became East Berlin’s most wanted man; the tunneller who had already served four years in the East German gulag; the Stasi informer who betrays the ‘CBS tunnel’; the young East Berliner who escapes with her baby, then marries one of the tunnellers; and an engineer who would later help build the tunnel under the English Channel.

Capturing the hopes and fears of everyday Berliners, the chilling reach of the Stasi secret police, and the political tensions of the Cold War, The Tunnels is breaking history, a propulsive read whose themes still reverberate today.

 

A fascinating and complex picture of the interplay between politics and media in the Cold War era.”  Washington Post

The greatest strength of The Tunnels is in the details… Days after finishing the book I could not escape one of Mitchell’s images – of a hat with a small hole in it landing softly on the Western side of the border while its owner’s dead body fell back into the East, waiting for the guards to hurry it out of sight. For those who see walls as the answer to policy problems, this book serves as a stark reminder that barriers can never cut people off entirely but only succeed in driving them underground.”                   New York Times Book Review

 

 

The Rub of Time: Essays and Reportage by Martin Amis

 

Image result for The Rub of Time: Essays and Reportage by Martin AmisOf all the great novelists writing today, few show the same gift as Martin Amis for writing non-fiction – his essays, literary criticism and journalism are justly acclaimed. As Rachel Cusk wrote in the The Times, reviewing a previous collection, ‘Amis is as talented a journalist as he is a novelist, but these essays all manifest an unusual extra quality, one that is not unlike friendship. He makes an effort; he makes readers feel that they are the only person there.’

The essays in The Rub of Time range from superb critical pieces on Amis’s heroes Nabokov, Bellow and Larkin to brilliantly funny ruminations on sport, Las Vegas, John Travolta and the pornography industry. The collection includes his essay on Princess Diana and a tribute to his great friend Christopher Hitchens, but at the centre of the book, perhaps inevitably, are essays on politics, and in particular the American election campaigns of 2012 and 2016. One of the very few consolations of Donald Trump’s rise to power is that Martin Amis is there to write about him.

There is no one alive ― with the possible exception of Adam Mars-Jones ― who can hear an ailing sentence and diagnose its problems with such devastating and gleeful precision.”             Financial Times

 

 

American Radical: Inside the World of an Undercover Muslim FBI Agent by Tamer Elnoury

 

Image result for American Radical: Inside the World of an Undercover Muslim FBI Agent by Tamer Elnoury‘In order to defeat your enemy, you must first understand them.’ – Tamer Elnoury

Tamer Elnoury, a long-time undercover agent, joined an elite counterterrorism unit after September 11. Its express purpose is to gain the trust of terrorists whose goals are to take out as many people in as public and devastating a way as possible. It’s a furious race against the clock for Tamer and his unit to stop them before they can implement their plans. Yet as new as this war still is, the techniques are as old as time. Listen, record and prove terrorist intent.

Due to his ongoing work for the FBI, Elnoury writes under a pseudonym. An Arabic-speaking Muslim American, a patriot, a hero. To many people, it will be a revelation that he and his team even exist, let alone the vital and dangerous work they do keeping all of us safe.

It’s no secret that federal agencies are waging a broad, global war against terror. Now, for the first time, an active, Muslim American federal agent reveals his experience infiltrating and bringing down a terror cell in North America.

 

“American Radical is a kinetic account of Elnoury’s undercover career… about his life infiltrating Islamist terror cells, averting mass murder, bringing evil people to justice and so on. It is the first time an active FBI agent has published a book remotely like it.”                        The Times

 

 

 

I Am, I Am, I Am: Seventeen Brushes with Death by Maggie O’Farrell

 

Image result for I Am, I Am, I Am: Seventeen Brushes with Death by Maggie O’FarrellAbsolutely, in every possible sense of the word, brilliant.”                     Max Porter

I Am, I Am, I Am is a memoir with a difference – the unputdownable story of an extraordinary woman’s life in near-death experiences. Insightful, inspirational, intelligent, it is a book to be read at a sitting, a story you finish newly conscious of life’s fragility, determined to make every heartbeat count.

A childhood illness she was not expected to survive. A teenage yearning to escape that nearly ended in disaster. A terrifying encounter on a remote path. A mismanaged labour in an understaffed hospital. Shocking, electric, unforgettable, this is the extraordinary memoir from Costa Novel-Award winner and Sunday Times bestselling author Maggie O’Farrell.

It is a book to make you question yourself. What would you do if your life was in danger, and what would you stand to lose?

She is a breathtakingly good writer, and brings all her elegance and poise as a novelist to the story of her own life.”                  Guardian

 

 

The Secret Life of the Owl by John Lewis-Stempel

 

Image result for The Secret Life of the Owl by John Lewis-StempelDusk is filling the valley. It is the time of the gloaming, the owl-light.
Out in the wood, the resident tawny has started calling, Hoo-hoo-hoo-h-o-o-o.’

There is something about owls. They feature in every major culture from the Stone Age onwards. They are creatures of the night, and thus of magic. They are the birds of ill-tidings, the avian messengers from the Other Side. But owls – with the sapient flatness of their faces, their big, round eyes, their paternal expressions – are also reassuringly familiar. We see them as wise, like Athena’s owl, and loyal, like Harry Potter’s Hedwig. Human-like, in other words.

No other species has so captivated us.

In The Secret Life of the Owl, John Lewis-Stempel explores the legends and history of the owl. And in vivid, lyrical prose, he celebrates all the realities of this magnificent creature, whose natural powers are as fantastic as any myth.

 

 

 

Tis the Season – gifts and more…

Kilted Yoga: Yoga Laid Bare by Finlay Wilson

 

Lose yourself in the wilds of Scotland.

Reconnect with the natural world.

Learn the fundamentals of yoga in four simple sequences.

Kilt optional!

After recovering from an accident, Finlay Wilson found yoga was the best way to rebuild his strength. Now a qualified yoga instructor himself, he’s decided to bring a modern take to this ancient practice. Feast your eyes on his yoga moves and discover why his Kilted Yoga video became an instant global sensation. This beautiful book is both dramatic and inspirational, but also tongue in cheek, quirky and funny.

 

Yoga can feel elitist but the book does not alienate. Partly because of its gentle humour, and partly because the language does not assume any knowledge of terms or sequences. It’s straightforward and to the point. And the scenery beats a sterile yoga studio.”                   Evening Standard

Apparently there is something about the recipe of beards, kilts, butts and the Scottish highlands that just works.”                    Finlay Wilson

 

Museums (Reflections)

 

Image result for Museums (Reflections)According to Orham Pamuk, ‘Real museums are places where Time is converted into Space.’

In this lavishly illustrated title we investigate these spaces. Since Frank Gehry created the phenomenon that is The Guggenheim in Bilbao, thus transforming the city into a popular tourist destination, there has been a boom in the investment, both creative and financial, in the architecture of museums. They showcase contemporary and experimental architecture at its best. Fully illustrated with exterior and interior photography, Museums encircles the globe and highlights these modern showpieces alongside the timeless splendour of their more classical predecessors. The buildings presented represent a wide range of spatial and architectural concepts, from the modest to the massive, from the subtle to the show-stopping, from white cubes, to freestanding structural buildings, to lavish baroque masterpieces. The Reflections series by ROADS is a visual exploration of the spaces and buildings that mirror the cultures in which they play such a crucial part.

 

 

What a Great Idea! Awesome South African Inventions by Mike Bruton

 

WAGI (2)This is the ultimate book on South African innovations and inventions that every South African should own. It is crammed with information on the awesome variety of new products and services that South Africans, at home and abroad, have invented from pre-colonial times to the present. Written in a highly readable style and richly illustrated, it will astonish, surprise and inspire you! Everything from Wadley’s Loop to Musk’s Hyperloop, Louis Liebenberg’s Cybertracker to the unique Africanis dog, the first computerised ticketing system in the world to the world’s first digital laser. Read about dozens of items that we use every day but which had very humble beginnings. Did you know that the machine that was used to drill the tunnels for the first underground railway in England was invented by a South African, or that the first ‘computers’ in South Africa were women calculators working at the Royal Observatory in Cape Town? Everyone knows that the Kreepy Krawly, Pratley’s Putty, Dolos, CATscanner and Thawte Internet Security System were invented in South Africa, but what about the Sheffel Bogie, Oil of Olay, Q20, Policansky fishing reels, Lodox low-dose X-ray machine, Waste Shark, Wind-up Pulse Oximeters, Lithium ion batteries, DryBath, Acesco Breast Imaging System, and components of the SALT and SKA telescopes? Meet the new generation of South African inventors and innovators, including Brian Steinhobel, Mulalo Doyoyo, Jacques Blom, Elon Musk, Viness Pillay, Kelly Shibale, Tebello Nyokong, Gregory Maqoma, Kiara Nirghin, Tony Budden and Ludwick Marishane, and hear what they have to say about the climate for innovation in South Africa. Historic photographs, fascinating anecdotes and illuminating case studies light up the text and make it read like a detective novel. This book clearly shows that South Africans have punched well above their weight in international circles – now you have the opportunity to become an expert on what we have achieved through the ages.

 

 

World of Lore: Monstrous Creatures by Aaron Mahnke

 

Image result for World of Lore: Monstrous Creatures by Aaron MahnkeA fascinating, beautifully illustrated guide to the monsters that are part of our collective psyche, from the host of the hit podcast Lore

They live in shadows – deep in the forest, late in the night, in the dark recesses of our mind. They’re spoken of in stories and superstitions, relics of an unenlightened age, old wives’ tales, passed down through generations. And yet, no matter how wary and jaded we have become, as individuals or as a society, a part of us remains vulnerable to them. Werewolves and wendigos, poltergeists and vampires, angry elves and vengeful spirits.

In this beautifully illustrated volume, the host of the hit podcast Lore serves as a guide on a fascinating journey through the history of these terrifying creatures, and explores not only the legends but what they tell us about ourselves. Aaron Mahnke invites us to the desolate Pine Barrens of New Jersey, where the notorious winged, red-eyed Jersey Devil dwells. Mahnke delves into harrowing accounts of cannibalism-some officially documented, others the stuff of speculation . . . perhaps. He visits the dimly lit rooms where séances take place, the European villages where gremlins make mischief, and Key West, Florida, home of a haunted doll named Robert.

The monsters of folklore have become not only a part of our language but a part of our collective psyche. Whether these beasts and bogeymen are real or just a reflection of our primal fears, we know, on some level, that not every mystery has been explained, and that the unknown still holds the power to strike fear deep in our hearts and souls.

As Aaron Mahnke reminds us, sometimes the truth is even scarier than the lore…

Narrated by Mahnke in a style that evokes spooky campfire stories, Lore is a history lesson like no other.”–Esquire

 

 

 

 

Annie Leibowitz Portraits: 2005-2016

In this new collection from Annie Leibovitz, one of the most influential photographers of our time, iconic portraits sit side by side never-before-published photographs. Afterword by Annie Leibovitz.

Annie Leibovitz: Portraits 2005-2016 is the photographer’s follow-up to her two landmark books, Annie Leibovitz: Photographs, 1970-1990 and A Photographer’s Life, 1990-2005. In this new collection, Leibovitz has captured the most influential and compelling figures of the last decade in the style that has made her one of the most beloved talents of our time. Each of the photographs documents contemporary culture with an artist’s eye, wit, and an uncanny ability to personalize even the most recognizable and distinguished figures.

 

Getting your photograph taken by Annie is one of the great totems of success in America.”         Graydon Carter, Editor-in-chief, Vanity Fair

She’s a poet.”       Robert Wilson

Annie Leibovitz is one of the most aesthetically gifted photographers alive.”          Guardian

 

 

You Can’t Spell America Without Me: The Really Tremendous Inside Story of My Fantastic First Year as President Donald J. Trump (A So-Called Parody)  by Alec Baldwin and Kurt Andersen

 

Image result for You Can't Spell America Without Me: The Really Tremendous Inside Story of My Fantastic First Year as President Donald J. Trump (A So-Called Parody) by Alec Baldwin and Kurt AndersenThe blisteringly funny satirical account of Donald Trump’s first year as President, as imagined by Alec Baldwin and Kurt Andersen.

‘I have the best words, beautiful words, as everybody has been talking and talking about for a long time. Also? The best sentences and, what do you call them, paragraphs. My previous books were great and sold extremely, unbelievably well–even the ones by dishonest, disgusting so-called journalists. But those writers didn’t understand Trump, because quite frankly they were major losers. People say if you want it done right you have to do it yourself, even when ‘it’ is a ‘memoir.’ So every word of this book was written by me, using a special advanced word processing system during the many, many nights I’ve been forced to stay alone in the White House–only me, just me, trust me, nobody helped. And it’s all 100% true, so true–people are already saying it may be the truest book ever published. Enjoy.’

You Can’t Spell America Without Me is presented by America’s foremost Trump scholar Kurt Andersen as well as America’s foremost mediocre Trump impersonator, Alec Baldwin.

 

 

Notes from the Sofa by Raymond Briggs

 

Image result for Notes from the Sofa by Raymond BriggsFrom Raymond Briggs, the beloved and bestselling author of The Snowman, comes his first book in a decade, now in an updated edition with new columns and illustrations.

Notes from the Sofa is a beautifully illustrated compilation of reflections on life and what it means to get older. Raymond dips into his past to remind us of scrumping apples, National Service, party lines on telephones, the torment of cinema organs and the endless obsession with laxatives, alongside his take on the absurdities of the modern world.

This collection gives us warm and memorable sketches of Raymond’s life now and reminds us why he is one of our best-loved storytellers.

 

 

 

Istanbul: Illustrated Edition by Orhan Pamuk

 

Like the Dublin of Joyce and Jan Morris’ Venice, Orhan Pamuk’s bestselling Istanbul: Memories of a Cityis a triumphant encounter of place and sensibility, beautifully written and immensely moving.

Since the publication of Istanbul, Pamuk has continued to add to his collection of photographs of Istanbul. Now, he has selected a range of photographs for Illustrated Istanbul, linking each new image to his memoir.

This lavish selection of 450 photographs features contributions from Ara Güler, Henri Cartier-Bresson and Istanbul’s characteristic photography collectors, and contains previously unpublished family photographs from the author’s archives.

 

This evocative book succeeds at both its tasks. It is one of the most touching childhood memoirs I have read in a very long time; and it makes me yearn – more than any glossy tourist brochure could possibly do – to be once again in Istanbul.”                           Noel Malcom, Sunday Telegraph

 

 

Penguin Book of Modern Speeches edited by Brian MacArthur

 

Whether it was Churchill rousing the British to take up arms or the dream of Martin Luther King, Fidel Castro inspiring the Cuban revolution or Barack Obama on Selma and the meaning of America, speeches have profoundly influenced the way we see ourselves and society.

Gathered here are some of the most extraordinary and memorable speeches of the last century. Some are well known, others less so, but all helped form the world we now inhabit.

Time and again, MacArthur satisfies the reader’s expectations. They are all here: Lloyd George’s fit country for heroes, Woodrow Wilson’s world made safe for democracy, Enoch Powell’s River Tiber foaming with much blood. Those who hate the sound of public men may still find it hard to listen to MacArthur’s voices and not be moved (The Times Literary Supplement)

 

 

How to be Human: The Ultimate Guide to Your Amazing Existence by New Scientist

 

Image result for How to be Human: The Ultimate Guide to Your Amazing Existence by New ScientistDid you know that half your DNA isn’t human? That somebody, somewhere has exactly the same face? Or that most of your memories are fiction?

What about the fact that you are as hairy as a chimpanzee, various parts of your body don’t belong to you, or that you can read other people’s minds? Do you really know why you blush, yawn and cry? Why 90 per cent of laughter has nothing to do with humour? Or what will happen to your mind after you die?

You belong to a unique, fascinating and often misunderstood species. How to be Human is your guide to making the most of it.

 

 

How to Swear by Stephen Walsh

 

Image result for 9781785036415Grasping how to swear is a crucial skill to any English-speaker, but it can be a tricky business. Owing to the rich and complex history of swearing, a single word can have a host of different meanings – from expressing surprise, excitement, anger, celebration, disgust or simply that you’re fucked off. If you don’t get it right, you could really be in the shit.

How to Swear, by graphic artist and swearing-connoisseur Stephen Wildish, uses all manner of charts and flow diagrams to teach you all you need to know, including: the building blocks of an effective insult; the adverbial uses of various types of animal excrement (horseshit, apeshit etc); and the different parts of speech a swear word can fulfil: ‘Fucking fuck, the fucking fucker’s fucked’. This charming (and rude) book will take you right to the heart of the wondrous world of swearing, with a lot of laughs on the way.

 

 

Ladybird Books for Grown-ups

These now perennial favourites and brilliant stocking fillers never disappoint. Along with old favourites such as The Hipster and Mindfulness, we have some new titles for this year’s stocking…

The Rock Star, The Baby, The Brother, The Nerd, The New You

 

 

Classic Art Memes

Hath thou seen thy Classic Art Memes?

This hilarious book is full of laugh-out-loud classic art memes to brighten your day.

From renaissance to baroque, rococo to romantics historical art is made hysterical with amusing modern wit.

 

 

Freedom to Express Yourself: An Inspiration Notebook by Amnesty International

 

Image result for Freedom to Express Yourself: An Inspiration Notebook by Amnesty InternationalIn partnership with Amnesty International UK, this striking notebook will explore themes of freedom through inspirational quotes and illustrations.

Focusing on ideas such as safety, home, family and much more, the book will feature artwork from a rich variety of illustrators and there is plenty of empty space for inspired readers to fill however they like.

With a diverse collection of quotes, from Bob Marley to Malala Yousafzai, and Mahatma Gandhi to Harper Lee, this notebook explores and encourages discussions around human rights.

Featuring illustrations from Sir Quentin Blake, Chris Riddell, David Shrigley, Meera Lee Patel and many more.

 

 

 

For the Foodie in Your Life

 

 

Recipes from an Italian Butcher: Roasting, Stewing, Braising by The Silver Spoon Kitchen

 

Image result for Recipes from an Italian Butcher: Roasting, Stewing, Braising by The Silver Spoon Kitchen150 inspiring and authentic Italian recipes for meat, poultry, and game – from the world’s most trusted authority on Italian cuisine.

The Italian approach to cooking with meat is to keep things straightforward and maximize the flavour. This book showcases simple, hearty dishes that are true to this tradition, from chicken cacciatore and braised beef with Barolo to osso buco and Roman lamb. With more than 150 recipes, most published for the first time in English, it’s comprehensive and authoritative, demystifying the different cuts, cooking methods, and techniques unique to each meat type – along with the side dishes that best complement them.

 

A charming and rustic collection of meat orientated recipes… What results is a cookbook where the running theme is respect… Recipes that at their core are simple, honest and often inexpensive [and] will make you want to go to your local butcher […] bring a piece of meat home and really do it justice, using the best fresh ingredients and age-old techniques.”―The Essential Journal

 

 

Jampacked by Tina Bester

 

Image result for Jampacked by Tina BesterAlways longed to create perfect pickles, relishes and jams? Jampacked shows you how to stock your pantry with an array of irresistible sweet and savoury preserves – and suggests a wealth of delicious ways to use them every day.

Cook with the seasons and fill your pantry with mouthwatering relishes, pestos, marinades, rubs and sauces that will add layers of flavour to your favourite dishes. Jampacked is crammed with easy, clever ideas for year-round culinary inspiration.

 

 

 

 

Vegan Richa’s Indian Kitchen by Richa Hingle

 

Image result for Vegan Richa’s Indian Kitchen by Richa HingleFrom delicious dals to rich curries, flat breads, savory breakfasts, snacks, and much more, this vegan cookbook brings you Richa Hingle’s collection of plant-based Indian recipes inspired by regional cuisines, Indian culture, local foods, and proven methods.

Whether you want to enjoy Indian cooking, try some new spices, or add more protein to your meals using legumes and lentils, this book has got it covered. You’ll explore some well-known and new Indian flavor profiles that are easy to make in your own kitchen. Learn the secrets of eclectic Indian taste and textures, and discover meals in which pulses and vegetables are the stars of the dish. And once you taste Richa’s mouth-watering desserts, they will likely become your new favorites.

 

With superbly spiced recipes, eye-catching photographs amd mouthwatering descriptions, this book will find a permanent place in your kitchen. Richa’s recipe for Quinoa Cauliflower biryani alone is worth the price of the book.”
Monica Bhide, author of Modern Spice

 

 

Feasts by Sabrina Ghayour

 

Sabrina Ghayour’s Middle-Eastern-plus food is all flavour, no fuss – and makes me very, very happy.”                     Nigella Lawson

Image result for Feasts by Sabrina GhayourIn Feasts, the highly anticipated follow up to the award-winning Persiana & no. 1 bestseller Sirocco, Sabrina Ghayour presents a delicious array of Middle-Eastern dishes from breakfasts to banquets and the simple to the sumptuous. Enjoy menus and dozens of recipes for celebrations and occasions with family & friends, such as summer feasts, quick-fix feasts and brunch.

Sabrina Ghayour knows how to throw a party: serve big dishes of beautifully spiced food and let everyone dig in.”               Olive

 

 

 

Brunch Across 11 Countries: Recipes of a Private Chef by Alix Verrips

 

Image result for Brunch Across 11 Countries: Recipes of a Private Chef by Alix VerripsThis book includes the best brunch recipes from 11 countries & continents; the USA, England, the Bahamas, China, Monaco, the Greek Isles, Capri, Mexico, the Emirates, Africa and Spain. Although served for brunch, the recipes are suitable for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Try the spicy lamb kofta and fatoush from the Emirates or the delicious malva pudding cupcakes with salted caramel sauce and cream cheese icing from South Africa. As private chef Alix Verrips has cooked in employers’ homes in the Bahamas, St Tropez, Spain, the UK, the USA and Africa. Alix spent fifteen years in the yachting industry cooking for royalty, celebrities, oligarchs and industrialists. She is the only female chef to have been the Head Chef on four of the top twenty largest yachts in the world.

 

 

 

Happy Reading!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

October 2017

Monday, October 30th 2017 at 3:18 PM

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

Image result for Baking with Kafka by Tom Gauld

 

 

 

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!

 

 

Brand New Philip Pullman – Pre-order Special!! Plus – see below for a chance to get the His Dark Materials trilogy at a discounted price.

Friday, October 13th 2017 at 4:30 PM

La Belle Sauvage: The Book of Dust Part One by Philip Pullman

Philip Pullman returns to the world of His Dark Materials with this magnificent first volume of The Book of Dust.

Image result for pullman la belle sauvageEleven-year-old Malcolm Polstead and his dæmon, Asta, live with his parents at the Trout Inn near Oxford. Across the River Thames (which Malcolm navigates often using his beloved canoe, a boat by the name of La Belle Sauvage) is the Godstow Priory where the nuns live. Malcolm learns they have a guest with them; a baby by the name of Lyra Belacqua . . .

We are offering 2 different editions of the book, each at 20% discount:
Trade paperback – Retails at R295, but you pay only R236 if you order and pay before Friday October 13th.
Hardback – Retails at R455, but you pay only R364 if you order and pay before Friday October 13th.

The book will be released worldwide on Thursday 19th October.
To order mail us on booklounge@gmail.com, or call on 021 462 2425.

Published by Penguin Random House

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Image result for his dark materials everyman's libraryFor the duration of the pre-order special (20th July – 13th October) we are offering the original His Dark Materials trilogy in this beautiful Everyman Library hardback edition at 20% discount.
Normally priced at R295, you will pay only R236
You can reserve your copy by mailing booklounge@gmail.com, or calling 021 462 2425

September 2017

Sunday, September 24th 2017 at 12:52 PM

Fiction

Legacy of Spies by John le Carré

 

Image result for legacy of spies le carrePeter Guillam, staunch colleague and disciple of George Smiley of the British Secret Service, otherwise known as the Circus, has retired to his family farmstead on the south coast of Brittany when a letter from his old Service summons him to London. The reason? His Cold War past has come back to claim him. Intelligence operations that were once the toast of secret London are to be scrutinised by a generation with no memory of the Cold War. Somebody must be made to pay for innocent blood once spilt in the name of the greater good.

Interweaving past with present so that each may tell its own story, John le Carré has given us a novel of superb and enduring quality.

 

Vintage le Carré as he ingeniously closes the circle of his long career … This is an immensely clever piece of novelistic engineering, of which its deviser can be justifiably proud. The ingenuity and skill with which the thing is brought off is breathtaking – really, not since The Spy Who Came in From The Cold has le Carré exercised his gift as a storyteller so powerfully and to such thrilling effect.”                           John Banville, Guardian

This novel offers more than one pleasure. It is not merely good in itself – vintage John le Carré. It gives the reader, at long last, pieces of a jigsaw puzzle that have been missing for 54 years…. A Legacy of Spies does something remarkable. Le Carré takes a le Carré classic and thickens it into something different from what it was….Like wine, le Carré’s writing has got richer with age…Don’t wait for the paperback.”           The Times

Perhaps the most significant novelist of the second half of the 20th century in Britain. He will have charted our decline and recorded the nature of our bureaucracies like no one else has. He’s in the first rank.”                      Ian McEwan

 

It is a splendid novel…It is riveting, bitter and will be controversial…le Carré’s handling of dialogue remains perfectly fresh. Who else can tell you so much about so many people so quickly? Not a syllable is wasted.”    Andrew Marr, Sunday Times

The English canon has rarely seen an acclaimed novelist and popular entertainer sustain such a hot streak in old age….A Legacy of Spies achieves many things. Outstandingly, it is a defiant assertion of creative vigour…Cornwell is signing off with a poignant and brilliant au revoir to le Carré, his alter ego, a writer who is with the immortals.”            Observer

 

 

 

 

Sunset Claws by Brent Meersman

 

Image result for Sunset Claws by Brent MeersmanSunset Claws follows a generation of South Africans from 1976 to the millennium as they struggle to come to terms with  what the birth of a nation has both given and taken from them.

Told in three parts, the action moves from Cape Town in the turbulent 1980s to the civil war in KwaZulu-Natal in the  interregnum of the early 90s and burgeoning post-apartheid Johannesburg, where an optimistic new middle class is  being forged as the country enters the 21st century. But the cracks in reconciliation are already beginning to show.

The story starts in 1968, when Mfundi, a township teenager, sets off to join Umkhonto we Sizwe, later to return on a deadly mission that will have unforeseen repercussions. Two brothers from a poor white family choose very different paths – Frans joins the military and is slowly sucked into the darkest corners of the apartheid security forces, while Joe  dodges the draft and flees to London in the hope of becoming an artist and escaping his unwanted destiny.

Zukiswa, a young black woman battling to advance herself in the shacklands, will also go into exile and return to her native land almost a stranger. Bertie is the rich white kid who rebels against his conservative parents to become a human rights lawyer, a journey that will shake his idealistic beliefs to the core. Unexpected connections between them will set them on a collision course of war, romance, love and hate.

The story sheds light on the current state of the nation, painting a vivid yet subtle portrait of the nascent “New South Africa” with all its contradictions as its characters traverse the pivotal events that shaped a generation – from the Battle of Cuito Cuanavale to the killing fields of KwaZulu-Natal; from the release of Nelson Mandela and the first democratic election to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the writing of the new Constitution and the first steps to black economic empowerment.

Sunset Claws is an epic, well-observed psychological thriller set on a vast canvas. It is a monumental novel.

 

 

The Golden House by Salman Rushdie

 

Image result for Golden House by Salman RushdieWhen powerful real-estate tycoon Nero Golden immigrates to the States under mysterious circumstances, he and his three adult children assume new identities, taking ‘Roman’ names, and move into a grand mansion in downtown Manhattan. Arriving shortly after the inauguration of Barack Obama, he and his sons, each extraordinary in his own right, quickly establish themselves at the apex of New York society.

The story of the Golden family is told from the point of view of their Manhattanite neighbour and confidant, René, an aspiring filmmaker who finds in the Goldens the perfect subject. René chronicles the undoing of the house of Golden: the high life of money, of art and fashion, a sibling quarrel, an unexpected metamorphosis, the arrival of a beautiful woman, betrayal and murder, and far away, in their abandoned homeland, some decent intelligence work.

Invoking literature, pop culture, and the cinema, Rushdie spins the story of the American zeitgeist over the last eight years, hitting every beat: the rise of the birther movement, the Tea Party, Gamergate and identity politics; the backlash against political correctness; the ascendency of the superhero movie, and, of course, the insurgence of a ruthlessly ambitious, narcissistic, media-savvy villain wearing make-up and with coloured hair.

In a new world order of alternative truths, Salman Rushdie has written the ultimate novel about identity, truth, terror and lies. A brilliant, heartbreaking realist novel that is not only uncannily prescient but shows one of the world’s greatest storytellers working at the height of his powers.

 

“[A] complex and witty fable … Rushdie has always been an impish myth-manipulator, refusing to accept, as in this novel, that the lives of the emperors can’t be blended with film noir, popular culture and crime caper. On the evidence of The Golden House, he is quite right.”                 Observer

Intelligent and darkly funny…with a raw political edge.”                            The Times

A ravishingly well-told, deeply knowledgeable, magnificently insightful, and righteously outraged epic which pos­es timeless questions about the human condition… As Rushdie’s blazing tale surges toward its crescendo, life, as it always has, rises stubbornly from the ashes, as does love.”              Booklist

Rushdie writes with a Dickensian exuberance, always full of humour as well as striking scornful, tragic notes. Often he plays the role of satirist. His caricatures and outsize figures are full of life, wickedness and human energy: again, as in Dickens, grounded in a precise social and political scene.”                  Jereme Boyd Maunsell

Salman Rushdie is a writer of illimitable imagination and verbal ingenuity. He grips us with wild storylines, takes us on flights of fancy, brings us back down again, enthralled and dazed … The Golden House is an extraordinary book, a brooding meditation on the personal and political, on ethics, egotism, freedom and interdependence.”             Yasmin Alibhai-Brown

 

Lea: A Novel by Pascal Mercier

 

Image result for Lea: A Novel by Pascal MercierPascal Mercier’s Night Train to Lisbon mesmerised readers around the world, and went on to become an international bestseller. Now, in Lea, he returns with a tender, impassioned, and unforgettable story of a father’s love and a daughter’s ambition in the wake of devastating tragedy.

It all starts with the death of Martijn van Vliet’s wife. His grief-stricken young daughter, Lea, cuts herself off from the world, lost in the darkness of grief. Then she hears the unfamiliar sound of a violin playing in the hall of a train station, and she is brought back to life. Transfixed by a busker playing Bach, Lea emerges from her mourning, vowing to learn the instrument. And her father, witnessing this delicate spark, promises to do everything and anything in his power to keep her happy.

Lea grows into an extraordinary musical talent―her all-consuming passion leads her to become one of the finest players in the country―but as her fame blossoms, her relationship with her father withers. Unable to keep her close, he inadvertently pushes Lea deeper and deeper into this newfound independence and, desperate to hold on to his daughter, Martin is driven to commit an act that threatens to destroy them both.

A revelatory portrait of genius and madness, Lea delves into the demands of artistic excellence as well as the damaging power of jealousy and sacrifice. Mercier has crafted a novel of intense clarity, illuminating the poignant ways we strive to understand ourselves and our families.

 

A novella about an artist’s development . . . genius and madness, love and betrayal, fury and self-destruction, all carefully arranged to make a stunning portrait.”                  Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

Perfectly constructed, exciting, entertaining, enigmatic, memorable.”     Buchkultur

 

 

 

A Twist of the Knife by Becky Masterman

 

Image result for A Twist of the Knife by Becky MastermanBlown away. What else can I tell you? Brigid Quinn is a heroine to cheer for, and Masterman writes like an angel who has seen far too many ungodly things.”  Linwood Barclay

 

Brigid Quinn is tough, determined, steely and sharper than sharp. As an ex-agent of the FBI she has seen it all, and survived. But nothing can cut her closer to the bone than family…

When Brigid gets a call from her mother saying her father is in hospital with pneumonia, she decides to check on her former colleague Laura Coleman who is living nearby. Having saved Brigid’s life, Laura is now working on an ‘innocence project’, investigating cold cases. And one in particular seems to have caught her attention. Fifteen years before, Marcus Creighton was accused of killing his wife and three children. Now the state governor has signed the warrant for his execution.

Worried that her friend is getting in too deep, Brigid promises to help. But what if her instincts are betraying her?

 

Chilling, smart, funny…what a voice she has.”                     Gillian Flynn

 

A crime novel that transcends the genre – a twisting, high-stakes story with characters so real and so recognizably human, that it breaks your heart a little. Brilliant.”              Shari Lapena, author of The Couple Next Door

 

The Readymade Thief by Augustus Rose

 

Image result for The Readymade Thief by Augustus RoseIn his highly addictive and multi-aceted first novel, Augustus Rose pits an irrepressible and gritty young heroine against a sinister group of fanatics. The Readymade Thief is a kickass debut from start to finish.”            Colson Whitehead, author of The Underground Railroad

Lee Cuddy is seventeen years old and on the run.

Betrayed by her family after taking the fall for a friend, Lee finds refuge in a cooperative of runaways holed up in an abandoned building they call the Crystal Castle. But the facade of the Castle conceals a far more sinister agenda, one hatched by a society of fanatical men set on decoding a series of powerful secrets hidden in plain sight. And they believe Lee holds the key to it all.

Aided by Tomi, a young hacker and artist with whom she has struck a wary alliance, Lee escapes into the unmapped corners of the city – empty aquariums, deserted motels, patrolled museums, and even the homes of vacationing families. But the deeper she goes underground, the more tightly she finds herself bound in the strange web she’s trying to elude. Desperate and out of options, Lee steps from the shadows to face who is after her–and why.

A novel of puzzles, conspiracies, secret societies, urban exploration, art history, and a singular, indomitable heroine, The Readymade Thief heralds the arrival of a spellbinding and original new talent in fiction.

 

“The Readymade Thief is smart and strange, full of lovely Duchampian tricks and treats. Augustus Rose has infused his thriller with the true Dada spirit, nothing is quite what it seems. I loved it.”                  Audrey Niffenegger

“The Readymade Thief is my favorite kind of book: an improbable one … A novel that’s unexpected, uncategorizable, unputdownable.”                 Robin Sloan, author of Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore

A rewarding novel full of pleasures and surprises. Every time I thought I knew where the story was going, it took me somewhere stranger and deeper than I could have imagined. A rich, heady mix of ideas and thrills.”                        Charles Yu
Augustus Rose shows that he has one of the steadiest hands in fiction … Rose has crafted something memorable, crackling with energy, a truly wonderful tale.”                     Kevin Wilson

 

 

Vernon Subutex by Virginie Despentes

 

Image result for Vernon Subutex by Virginie DespentesWHO IS VERNON SUBUTEX?

An urban legend. A fall from grace. The mirror who reflects us all.

 

Vernon Subutex was once the proprietor of Revolver, an infamous music shop in Bastille. His legend spread throughout Paris. But by the 2000s his shop is struggling. With his savings gone, his unemployment benefit cut, and the friend who had been covering his rent suddenly dead, Vernon Subutex finds himself down and out on the Paris streets.

 

He has one final card up his sleeve. Even as he holds out his hand to beg for the first time, a throwaway comment he once made on Facebook is taking the internet by storm. Vernon does not realise this, but the word is out: Vernon Subutex has in his possession the last filmed recordings of Alex Bleach, the famous musician and Vernon’s benefactor, who has only just died of a drug overdose. A crowd of people from record producers to online trolls and porn stars are now on Vernon’s trail.

 

 

You Should Have Left by Daniel Kehlmann

 

Image result for You Should Have Left by Daniel KehlmannA thrilling exploration of psychological disturbance and fear from the bestselling and prize-winning author of Measuring the World.

 

On retreat in the wintry Alps with his family, a writer is optimistic about completing the sequel to his breakthrough film. Nothing to disturb him except the wind whispering around their glassy house. The perfect place to focus.

Intruding on that peace of mind, the demands of his four-year-old daughter splinter open long-simmering arguments with his wife. I love her, he writes in the notebook intended for his script. Why do we fight all the time?

Guilt and expectation strain at his concentration, and strain, too, at the walls of the house. They warp under his watch; at night, looking through the window, he sees impossible reflections on the snow outside.

Then the words start to appear in his notebook; the words he didn’t write.

Familiar and forbidding by turns, this is an electrifying experiment in form by one of Europe’s boldest writers. The ordinary struggles of a marriage transform, in Kehlmann’s hands, into a twisted fable that stays darkly in the mind.

Kehlmann is one of the brightest, most pleasure-giving writers at work today, and he manages all this while exploring matters of deep philosophical and intellectual import. (Jonathan Franzen)

Daniel Kehlmann is one of the great novelists for making giant themes seem light (Adam Thirlwell)

A well-crafted tale about one man unravelling due to forces beyond his control . . . You Should Have Left – part-horror, part-psychodrama – serves up effective shocks and thrills that keep us rapt and on the edge of our seats . . . Kehlmann brings that abyss ever closer and takes his narrator, and his reader, over the edge.”                Malcolm Forbes, National

Wry, eerie and increasingly terrifying . . . Daniel Kehlmann is certainly in complete mastery of an entertaining Everyman’s postmodernist Gothic guaranteed to unsettle.”      Eileen Battersby, Irish Times

It’s a masterclass in economical storytelling, meticulously attentive prose and imaginative agility. Kehlmann creates narrative complexity with the deftest of strokes. He’s also laugh-out-loud funny. This is both a highly readable novella and a subtly derisive challenge to readers to question the value of their own enjoyment.”              Literary Review

 

 

 

What We Lose by Zinzi Clemmons

 

Image result for What We Lose by Zinzi ClemmonsA short, intense and profoundly moving debut novel about race, identity, sex and death

Thandi is a black woman, but often mistaken for Hispanic or Asian.

She is American, but doesn’t feel as American as some of her friends.

She is South African, but doesn’t belong in South Africa either.

Her mother is dying.

 

Zinzi Clemmons’s debut novel signals the emergence of a voice that refuses to be ignored.”                  Paul Beatty, winner of the Man Booker Prize 2016

 

Navigates the many registers of grief, loss and injustice … acutely moving.”                    Margo Jefferson, author of Negroland

 

Luminescent.”           Independent

 

A lovely little headrush of a novel … if you enjoyed Yaa Gyasi’s Homegoing then try this.”                      Sunday Times

 

Highly original. Zinzi Clemmons deftly explores grief, sex and identity.”               Elle

 

 

 

In Every Moment We Are Still Alive by Tom Malmquist

 

Image result for In Every Moment We Are Still Alive by Tom MalmquistThe prize-winning, bestselling tale of love, loss, family and the lives we live moment by moment, from a stunning new voice in European fiction.

Tom’s heavily pregnant girlfriend Karin is rushed to hospital with severe flu. While the doctors are able to save the baby, they are helpless in the face of what transpires to be acute leukemia, and in a moment as fleeting as it is cruel Tom gains a daughter but loses his soul-mate. In Every Moment is the story of a year that changes everything, as Tom must reconcile the fury of bereavement with the overwhelming responsibility of raising his daughter, Livia, alone.

By turns tragic and redemptive, meditative and breathless, achingly poignant and darkly funny, this heavily autobiographical novel has been described in its native Sweden as ‘hypnotic’, ‘impossible to resist’ and ‘one of the most powerful books about grief ever written’.

 

Beautiful . . . as more books are published and more stories get told, we increasingly seek out those writers who promise to give us something more than mere fiction. We want books made out of lives . . . The value of Malmquist’s book is precisely that it retains a trace of true human presence – carefully preserved by the author, but not his own.”                     Guardian

It is bound to invite comparison to Karl Ove Knausgaard’s My Struggle, the autofiction sensation that has swept Norway and beyond. Both authors explore balancing fatherhood with a writing life. Both are concerned, to varying degrees, with an intentionally cultivated sense of artlessness. The prosaic stuff of life, such as family conversations, trifling arguments and ingredients for festive meals, is presented in a seemingly unfiltered manner. Perhaps more so than Knausgaard, Malmquist demonstrates over lengthy passages that he can relay life in an intense, heightened state. The result is exhilarating.”                        Financial Times

There’s a poet’s eye for small details . . . The present-day is intercut with the past, and this works well: it is arresting to have Karin alive then gone in everyday moments . . . a fine first novel.”                                 Scotsman

 

 

Non-fiction

Khwezi: The Remarkable Story of Fezekile Ntsukela Kuzwayo by Redi Tlhabi

 

Image result for Khwezi: The Remarkable Story of Fezekile Ntsukela Kuzwayo by Redi TlhabiIn May 2006 Jacob Zuma was found not guilty of the rape of Fezekile Ntsukela Kuzwayo – better known as Khwezi – in the Johannesburg High Court. Another nail was driven into the coffin of South Africa’s fight against sexual violence. Vilified by Zuma’s many supporters, Khwezi was forced to flee South Africa and make a life in the shadows, first in Europe and then back on the African continent.

A decade after Zuma’s acquittal, Khwezi died. But not before she had slipped back into South Africa and started work with journalist Redi Tlhabi on a book about her life. About how, as a young girl living in exile in ANC camps, she was raped by the ‘uncles’ who were supposed to protect her. About her great love for her father, Judson Kuzwayo, an ANC activist who died when Khwezi was almost ten. And about how, as a young adult, she was driven once again into exile, suffering not only at the hands of Zuma’s devotees but under the harsh eye of the media.

In sensitive and considered language, Red Tlhabi breathes life into a woman for so long forced to live in hiding. In telling the story of Khwezi, Tlhabi draws attention to the sexual abuse that abounded during the struggle years, abuse that continues to plague women and children in South Africa today.

 

 

Done: The Secret Deals That Are Changing Our World by Jacques Peretti

 

Image result for Done: The Secret Deals That Are Changing Our World by Jacques PerettiA revelatory book.”                John Lewis-Stempel.

 
What if the way we understand our world is wrong? What if it isn’t politicians and events that shape our lives, but secret deals made by people you’ve never heard of?

This book tells the story of the secret deals that are changing the world, and revolutionizing everything we do, including money, the food we eat, what we buy, and the drugs we take to stay well. These deals never make the news: they are made high up in boardrooms, on golf courses, and in luxury cars: each sealed by world-changing handshakes. This is the story of those handshakes.

 

 

 

Fall Down Seven Times, Get Up Eight: A Young Man’s Voice from the Silence of Autism by Naoki Higashida

 

Image result for Fall Down Seven Times, Get Up Eight: A Young Man’s Voice from the Silence of Autism by Naoki HigashidaNaoki Higashida met international success with The Reason I Jump, a revelatory account of life as a thirteen-year-old with non-verbal autism. Now he offers an equally illuminating insight into autism from his perspective as a young adult. In concise, engaging pieces, he shares his thoughts and feelings on a broad menu of topics ranging from school experiences to family relationships, the exhilaration of travel to the difficulties of speech. Aware of how mystifying his behaviour can appear to others, Higashida describes the effect on him of such commonplace things as a sudden change of plan, or the mental steps he has to take simply to register that it’s raining. Throughout, his aim is to foster a better understanding of autism and to encourage those with disabilities to be seen as people, not as problems.

With an introduction by David Mitchell, Fall Down Seven Times, Get Up Eight includes a dreamlike short story Higashida wrote for this edition. Both moving and of practical use, the book opens a window into the mind of an inspiring young man who meets the challenges of autism with tenacity and good humour. However often he falls down, he always gets back up.

 

Essential reading for parents and teachers who work with individuals with autism who remain non-verbal.”                 Temple Grandin

There is much to be learned from it about this mysterious condition that Higashida regards as both a blessing and a curse. The book’s single most important function is to drum into the sometimes thick heads of us neurotypical readers that people with autism experience a genuine and usually insuperable disconnection between what they want to say or do and what their brain allows them . . . we should look with gratitude through the porthole he has cleared on to a submerged world.”                           Observer

Wise and witty, it offers a second insider’s insight into the mysteries of non-verbal autism . . . The evolution of Higashida’s insights is at times almost unbearably moving . . . Ultimately, though, his self-awareness is uplifting, reminding us to take joy in life’s simple pleasures . . . sage and subtle . . . [a work] of illuminating beauty.”                    Financial Times

Higashida’s books belong in the small but intense canon of “locked-in” memoirs, such as Awakenings or The Diving Bell and the Butterfly . . . Higashida reveals himself to be far more conflicted than before. The titles show how much the years have changed him. The Reason I Jump had joy shimmering through it.”                   The Times

“The Reason I Jump was a game-changer . . . This follow-up may not have the same surprise value, but it does something just as inspiring: it shows us how, with a little luck, plenty of support and a huge amount of determination, a “neuro-atypical” person can forge a happy and fulfilled path into adulthood . . . Higashida’s observations across a whole range of topics are moving and thought-provoking.”                          Guardian

 

 

Blood and Silk: Power and Conflict in Modern Southeast Asia by Michael Vatikiotis

 

Image result for Blood and Silk: Power and Conflict in Modern Southeast Asia by Michael VatikiotisA lively and learned guide to the politics, personalities and conflicts that are shaping a dynamic group of countries.”                   Financial Times
A fascinating and many-layered portrait of Southeast Asia.”                      Thant Myint-U

 

Thought-provoking and eye-opening, Blood and Silk is an accessible, personal look at modern Southeast Asia, written by one of the region’s most experienced outside observers. This is a first-hand account of what it’s like to sit at the table with deadly Thai Muslim insurgents, mediate between warring clans in the Southern Philippines and console the victims of political violence in Indonesia – all in an effort to negotiate peace, and understand the reasons behind endemic violence.

Peering beyond brand new shopping malls and shiny glass towers in Bangkok and Jakarta, Michael Vatikiotis probes the heart of modern Southeast Asia. Why are the region’s richest countries such as Malaysia riddled with corruption? Why do Myanmar, Thailand and the Philippines harbour unresolved violent insurgencies? How do deepening religious divisions in Indonesia and Malaysia and China’s growing influence affect the region and the rest of the world?

Vatikiotis tells the story of modern Southeast Asia using vivid portraits of the personalities who pull the strings, mixed with revealing analysis that is underpinned by decades of experience in the countries involved, from their silk-sheathed salons to blood-spattered streets. The result is a fascinating study of the dynamics of power and conflict in one of the world’s fastest growing regions.

 

Vatikiotis’s arguments are fluent and convincing, and his writing is suffused with a deep knowledge of and affection for Southeast Asia and its peoples.”                        Literary Review

 

Amazons: The Real Warrior Women of the Ancient World by John Man

 

Image result for Amazons: The Real Warrior Women of the Ancient World by John ManSince the time of the ancient Greeks we have been fascinated by accounts of the Amazons, an elusive tribe of hard-fighting, horse-riding female warriors. Equal to men in battle, legends claimed they cut off their right breasts to improve their archery skills and routinely killed their male children to purify their ranks.

For centuries people believed in their existence and attempted to trace their origins. Artists and poets celebrated their battles and wrote of Amazonia. Spanish explorers, carrying these tales to South America, thought they lived in the forests of the world’s greatest river, and named it after them.

In the absence of evidence, we eventually reasoned away their existence, concluding that these powerful, sexually liberated female soldiers must have been the fantastical invention of Greek myth and storytelling. Until now.

Following decades of new research and a series of groundbreaking archeological discoveries, we now know these powerful warrior queens did indeed exist. In Amazons, John Man travels to the grasslands of Central Asia, from the edge of the ancient Greek world to the borderlands of China, to discover the truth about the warrior women mythologized as Amazons.

In this deeply researched, sweeping historical epic, Man redefines our understanding of the Amazons and their culture, tracking the ancient legend into the modern world and examining its significance today.

 

Tremendously entertaining.”                                    The Times

Man, the enthusiastic historian of Asia, dissect the Amazons with sharp scalpel. Vivid and personal.”                  Spectator

Entertaining, fascinating, intriguing. However they are portrayed, the Amazons appear to have enduring appeal.”                                      Literary Review

 

 

St Petersburg by Jonathan Miles

 

Image result for St Petersburg by Jonathan MilesThis extraordinary book brings to life an astonishing place. Beautiful prose renders brutality vivid.”                   The Times – Book of the Week

From Peter the Great to Putin, this is the unforgettable story of St Petersburg – one of the most magical, menacing and influential cities in the world.

St Petersburg has always felt like an impossible metropolis, risen from the freezing mists and flooded marshland of the River Neva on the western edge of Russia. It was a new capital in an old country. Established in 1703 by the sheer will of its charismatic founder, the homicidal megalomaniac Peter-the-Great, its dazzling yet unhinged reputation was quickly fashioned by the sadistic dominion of its early rulers.

This city, in its successive incarnations – St Petersburg; Petrograd; Leningrad and, once again, St Petersburg – has always been a place of perpetual contradiction. It was a window on to Europe and the Enlightenment, but so much of the glory of Russia was created here: its literature, music, dance and, for a time, its political vision. It gave birth to the artistic genius of Pushkin and Dostoyevsky, Tchaikovsky and Shostakovich, Pavlova and Nureyev. Yet, for all its glittering palaces, fairytale balls and enchanting gardens, the blood of thousands has been spilt on its snow-filled streets. It has been a hotbed of war and revolution, a place of siege and starvation, and the crucible for Lenin and Stalin’s power-hungry brutality.

In St Petersburg, Jonathan Miles recreates the drama of three hundred years in this absurd and brilliant city, bringing us up to the present day, when – once more – its fate hangs in the balance. This is an epic tale of murder, massacre and madness played out against squalor and splendour. It is an unforgettable portrait of a city and its people.

 

So fluent, so textured is Jonathan Miles’s ease with prose and argument that his vivid dissection of 300 years of St Petersburg’s history should be devoured in captive sittings… Investigating the artistic life of St Petersburg, he also explores the melodrama and blood on the streets and the effects of continuing political disarray and corruption on ordinary people. This is a storyteller entranced with his subject, who makes its brilliant portrayal look deliriously easy.”               Observer

“[A] lively and entertaining biography… full of sparkling storytelling and well-drawn characters… a delight.”                 Victor Sebestyen,  Sunday Times

Jonathan Miles’s cinematic telling of the 300-year history of … St Petersburg shows how the drama, the absurdity, the splendour and the squalor of the imperial capital all found their way into Russia’s finest s, operas and paintings… Miles peels back the layers of myth in which the city is swaddled, while never losing sight of its haunting grace.”                     Guardian

 

 

Black Hand by Stephan Talty

 

Image result for Black Hand by Stephen TaltyBeginning in the summer of 1903, an insidious crime wave filled New York City, and then the entire country, with fear. The children of Italian immigrants were kidnapped, and dozens of innocent victims were gunned down. Bombs tore apart tenement buildings. Judges, senators, Rockefellers, and society matrons were threatened with gruesome deaths. The perpetrators seemed both omnipresent and invisible. Their only calling card: the symbol of a black hand. The crimes whipped up the slavering tabloid press and heated ethnic tensions to the boiling point.

Standing between the American public and the Black Hand’s lawlessness was Joseph Petrosino. Dubbed the “Italian Sherlock Holmes,” he was a famously dogged and ingenious detective, and a master of disguise. As the crimes grew ever more bizarre and the Black Hand’s activities spread far beyond New York’s borders, Petrosino and the all-Italian police squad he assembled raced to capture members of the secret criminal society before the country’s anti-immigrant tremors exploded into catastrophe. Petrosino’s quest to root out the source of the Black Hand’s power would take him all the way to Sicily—but at a terrible cost.

Unfolding a story rich with resonance in our own era, The Black Hand is fast-paced narrative history at its very best.

 

What a terrific read! Through incredible historical research and a detective’s eye for the telling detail, Stephan Talty chronicles Joseph Petrosino’s dogged pursuit of cold-blooded extortionists and killers. It’s a story about immigration, urban life, and the struggle of law enforcement to confront the terror spread by a start-up criminal underworld at the turn of the 20th century”              Dick Lehr, author of the New York Times bestseller Black Mass

 

 

The Crack in Creation: The New Power to Control Creation by Jennifer Doudna

 

Image result for The Crack in Creation: The New Power to Control Creation by Jennifer DoudnaJennifer Doudna, the world-famous scientist behind CRISPR, ‘one of the most monumental discoveries in biology’ (New York Times), describes its power to reshape the future of all life and warns of its use.

A handful of discoveries have changed the course of human history. This book is about the most recent and potentially the most powerful and dangerous of them all.

It is an invention that allows us to rewrite the genetic code that shapes and controls all living beings with astonishing accuracy and ease. Thanks to it, the dreams of genetic manipulation have become a stark reality: the power to cure disease and alleviate suffering, to create new sources of food and energy, as well as to re-design any species, including humans, for our own ends.

Jennifer Doudna is the co-inventor of this technology, known as CRISPR, and a scientist of worldwide renown. Writing with fellow researcher Samuel Sternberg, here she provides the definitive account of her discovery, explaining how this wondrous invention works and what it is capable of.

A Crack In Creation also asks us to consider what our new-found power means: how do we enjoy its unprecedented benefits while avoiding its equally unprecedented dangers? As Doudna argues, every member of our species is implicated in the answers to these questions. Somehow we must consider and act together.

The most important advance of our era. One of the pioneers of the field describes the exciting hunt for the key breakthrough and what it portends for our future.”              Walter Isaacson

Too important … What may happen thanks to Doudna’s [discovery] is dizzying … for her, this is the future of medicine. If she’s right, then Crispr is about to make our present healthcare concerns look surprisingly trivial.”                         Bryan Appleyard, Sunday Times

One of the architects of this miraculous biological technique … explains the science clearly and excitingly as a kind of globalist detective story.”                   Telegraph

Probably the greatest biological breakthrough since that of Francis Crick, James Watson and Rosalind Franklin… We owe Doudna several times over – for her discovery, for her zeal to take it from the lab into the clinic, for her involvement in the ethical issues raised, for her public engagement work, and now for this book”                                    Guardian

An urgent plea from the celebrated biologist whose discovery enabled us to rewrite the code of life. The future is in our hands as never before, and this book explains the stakes like no other.”                   George Lucas

 

 

October: Story of the Russian Revolution by China Mieville

 

Image result for October: Story of the Russian Revolution by China MievilleAward-winning writer China Miéville has long been inspired by the ideals of the Russian Revolution and here, on the centenary of the revolution, he provides his own distinctive take on its history. In February 1917, in the midst of bloody war, Russia was still an autocratic monarchy: nine months later, it became the first socialist state in world history. How did this unimaginable transformation take place? How was a ravaged and backward country, swept up in a desperately unpopular war, rocked by not one but two revolutions? This is the story of the extraordinary months between those upheavals, in February and October, of the forces and individuals who made 1917 so epochal a year, of their intrigues, negotiations, conflicts and catastrophes. From familiar names like Lenin and Trotsky to their opponents Kornilov and Kerensky; from the byzantine squabbles of urban activists to the remotest villages of a sprawling empire; from the revolutionary railroad Sublime to the ciphers and static of coup by telegram; from grand sweep to forgotten detail. Historians have debated the revolution for a hundred years, its portents and possibilities: the mass of literature can be daunting. But here is a book for those new to the events, told not only in their historical import but in all their passion and drama and strangeness. Because as well as a political event of profound and ongoing consequence, Miéville reveals the Russian Revolution as a breathtaking story.

 

Even when he is orbiting somewhere in a galaxy too far away for normal human comprehension … Mieville is dazzling.”                    New York Times

This gripping account is a re-enactment of the Russian Revolution… His writing can be as passionate as that of the poets of the time: Alexander Blok, Mikhail Kuzmin, Marina Tsvetaeva, to mention some of those quoted here. Miéville’s own special effects are of a piece with them.”                 Financial Times

Elegantly constructed and unexpectedly moving.”              London Review of Books

There are delightful grace notes here over and above a brisk and perceptive narrative.”            Scotsman
This is a very fine book — in some ways, I believe, the best work that China Miéville has produced since the three thick volumes of the Bas-Lag trilogy. Indeed, October bears, in certain respects, a deeper affinity to those novels than to anything else he has published since; and it thus provides a convenient opportunity to take stock of the Miéville oeuvre to date…That [October] is an excellent work of art there is no doubt whatever.”            Los Angeles Review of Books

 

 

Streets of the World by Jeroen Swolfs

 

Image result for Streets of the World by Jeroen Swolfs200 capitals; one street each; seven years of travelling and collecting photos, stories, facts and figures about each capital. This is not just another photography book. It reveals everything that a street means to society: education, wisdom, youth, experience, happiness, stories, food, and so much more. This is the raw material of life, drawn directly from the experiences of the Dutch photographer Jeroen Swolfs.

Seeing the street as a unifying theme, he travelled in search of that one street in each place – sometimes by a harbour or a railway station – that comprised the country as a whole. Each stunning image conveys culture, colours, rituals, even the history of the city and country where he found them. Swolfs sees the street as a universal meeting place, a platform of crowds, a centre of news and gossip, a place of work, and a playground for children.

Indeed, Swolfs’s streets are a matrix for community; his photographs are published at a time when the unique insularity of local communities everywhere has never been more under threat.

 

 

 

Poetry

There are More Beautiful Things than Beyonce by Morgan Parker

 

 

Image result for There are More Beautiful Things than Beyonce by Morgan ParkerPublishers Weekly‘s Ten Best Poetry Collections of Spring

A Most Anticipated book at BuzzfeedNYLON and Bustle

One of i-D’s emerging female authors to read in 2017

Outstanding collection of poems. So much soul. So much intelligence in how Parker folds in cultural references and the experiences of black womanhood. Every poem will get its hooks into you. And of course, the poems about Beyoncé are the greatest because Beyoncé is our queen.”  Roxane Gay
The only thing more beautiful than Beyoncé is God, and God is a black woman sipping rosé and drawing a lavender bath, texting her mom, belly-laughing in the therapist’s office, feeling unloved, being on display, daring to survive. Morgan Parker stands at the intersections of vulnerability and performance, of desire and disgust, of tragedy and excellence. Unrelentingly feminist, tender, ruthless and sequinned, these poems are an altar to the complexities of black American womanhood in an age of non-indictments and déjà vu, and a time of wars over bodies and power. These poems celebrate and mourn. They are a chorus chanting: You’re gonna give us the love we need.
I can and have read Morgan Parker’s poems over and over . . . She writes history and pleasure and kitsch and abstraction, then vanishes like a god in about 13 inches.”                Eileen Myles

Morgan Parker has a mind like wildfire and these pages are lit. I can’t recall being this enthralled, entertained, and made alert by a book in a very long time.”        Jami Attenberg

 

“[Morgan Parker s] poems are delightful in their playful ability to rake through our contemporary moment in search of all manner of riches, just as they are devastating in their ability to remind us of what we look like when nobody’s watching, and of what the many things we don’t or can’t say add up to.”                        Tracy K. Smith

 

 

Love Her Wild by Atticus

 

Image result for Love Her Wild by AtticusFor fans of Milk & Honey and Chasers of the Light, the first collection of poetry by Instagram sensation Atticus.

Love Her Wild is a collection of new and beloved poems from Atticus, the young writer who has captured the hearts and minds of hundreds of thousands of avid followers on his Instagram account @atticuspoetry

In Love Her Wild, Atticus captures what is both raw and relatable about the smallest and the grandest moments in life: the first glimpse of a new love in Paris; skinny dipping on a summer’s night; the irrepressible exuberance of the female spirit; or drinking whiskey in the desert watching the rising sun.

With honesty, poignancy, and romantic flair, Atticus distils the most exhilarating highs and the heart-breaking lows of life and love into a few perfectly evocative lines, ensuring that his words will become etched in your mind and will awaken your sense of adventure.

 

HAPPY READING!