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Pre-order special – ‘From Bacteria to Bach & Back’ by Daniel C. Dennett

Saturday, April 1st 2017 at 10:48 AM

From Bacteria to Bach and Back: The Evolution of Minds by Daniel Dennett
Image result for from bacteria to bach and back‘One of the world’s most original and provocative thinkers’ Daily Telegraph

What is human consciousness and how is it possible? These questions fascinate thinking people from poets and painters to physicists, psychologists, and philosophers.

This is Daniel C. Dennett’s brilliant answer, extending perspectives from his earlier work in surprising directions, exploring the deep interactions of evolution, brains and human culture. Part philosophical whodunnit, part bold scientific conjecture, Dennett shows how culture enables reflection by installing a profusion of thinking tools, or memes, in our brains, and how language turbocharges this process. The result: a mind that can comprehend the questions it poses, has emerged from a process of cultural evolution. From Bacteria to Bach and Back is essential for anyone who hopes to understand human creativity in all its applications.

The book retails at R570, but if you order and pay before publication of 1st April 2017, you will get a 20% discount and pay only R456! To order email us on booklounge@gmail.com or call 021 462 2425.

Published by Penguin Random House

Pre-order special – ‘Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls’

Saturday, April 1st 2017 at 10:46 AM

Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls by Elena Favilli and Francesca Cavallo
What if the princess didn’t marry Prince Charming but instead went on to be an astronaut? What if the jealous step sisters were supportive and kind? And what if the queen was the one really in charge of the kingdom? Illustrated by sixty female artists from every corner of the globe, Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls introduces us to one hundred remarkable women and their extraordinary lives, from Ada Lovelace to Malala, Elizabeth I to Serena Williams. Empowering, moving and inspirational, these are true fairy tales for heroines who definitely don’t need rescuing.

The book will retail at R385, but if you order and pay before publication date of 1st April 2017, you will get a 20% discount and pay only R308. To order email us on booklounge@gmail.com or call 021 462 2425.

Published by Penguin Random House

February 2017

Tuesday, February 21st 2017 at 9:16 AM

Fiction

Idaho by Emily Ruskovich

One hot August day a family drives to a mountain clearing to collect birch wood. Jenny, the mother, is in charge of lopping any small limbs off the logs with a hatchet. Wade, the father, does the stacking. The two daughters, June and May, aged nine and six, drink lemonade, swat away horseflies, bicker, sing snatches of songs as they while away the time.

But then something unimaginably shocking happens, an act so extreme it will scatter the family in every different direction.

In a story told from multiple perspectives and in razor-sharp prose, we gradually learn more about this act, and the way its violence, love and memory reverberate through the life of every character in Idaho.

 

Writing that has the cool sharpness of lemonade… Unflinching, unfrilly, multi-layered storytelling that is both beautiful and devastating”                 Rachel Joyce

“Idaho, Emily Ruskovich’s debut novel, is about not only loss, grief and redemption, but also, most interestingly, the brutal disruptions of memory… you’re in masterly hands here… will remind many of the great Idaho novel, Marilynne Robinson’s Housekeeping… wrenching and beautiful.”                           New York Times Book Review

Devastating… a textured, emotionally intricate story of deliverance… Ruskovich’s writing is a deft razor.”                    O, The Oprah Magazine

In this stunning debut novel, Emily Ruskovich introduces us to Ann and Wade, who have carved out a life for themselves from a rugged landscape in northern Idaho. But as Wade’s memory begins to fade, Ann becomes determined to learn more about her husband’s first wife, Jenny, and their daughters. What Ann discovers is a mysterious and shocking act that fractured Wade and Jenny’s lives. Hauntingly brilliant, this book will stay with you for days after you’ve put it down.”                 Evening Standard, 2017 Books of the Year

Haunting, propulsive and gorgeously written, this is a debut not to be missed.”                People Magazine

Riveting… exquisitely rendered with masterful language and imagery. You leave Idaho feeling as though you have been given a rare glimpse into the souls of genuinely surprising and convincing people, as E.M. Forster would have characterized the inhabitants of this world. Idaho is a powerful and deeply moving book, an impressive debut that portends good, even great, things to come”                          Washington Post

 

 

Everybody’s Fool by Richard Russo

National Bestseller and a New York Times 2016 Notable Book
In these pages, Richard Russo returns to North Bath, the Rust Belt town first brought to unforgettable life in Nobody’s Fool. Now, ten years later, Doug Raymer has become the chief of police and is tormented by the improbable death of his wife–not to mention his suspicion that he was a failure of a husband. Meanwhile, the irrepressible Sully has come into a small fortune, but is suddenly faced with a VA cardiologist’s estimate that he only has a year or two left to live.
As Sully frantically works to keep the bad news from the important people in his life, we are reunited with his son and grandson . . . with Ruth, the married woman with whom he carried on for years . . . and with the hapless Rub Squeers, who worries that he and Sully aren’t still best friends. Filled with humor, heart, and hard-luck characters you can’t help but love, Everybody’s Fool is a crowning achievement from one of the great storytellers of our time.

 

Buoyantly unsentimental . . . You hold his books to your heart.”                Boston Globe

Elegiac but never sentimental. . . . Russo s compassionate heart is open to the sorrows, and yes, the foolishness of this lonely world, but also the humor, friendship and love that abide.”                   San Francisco Chronicle

A writer of great comedy and warmth, Russo is living proof that a book can be profound and wise without aiming straight into darkness. [His] voice can play in any register, any key, any style [in this] portrait of an entire community, in all its romance and all its grit.”                     USA Today

A delightful return . . . to a town where dishonesty abounds, everyone misapprehends everyone else and half the citizens are half-crazy. It’s a great place for a reader to visit, and it seems to be Russo s spiritual home.”                       New York Times

How could twenty-three years have slipped by since Nobody s Fool? . . . Russo is probably the best writer of physical comedy that we have [but] even the zaniest elements of the story are interspersed with episodes of wincing cruelty. . . . The abiding wonder [is that] Russo s novel bears down on two calamitous days and exploits the action in every single minute . . . mudslides, grave robbery, collapsing buildings, poisonous snakes, drug deals, arson, lightning strikes and toxic goo. North Bath is a sleepy little town that never sleeps [and] no tangent ever feels tangential. Ron Charles, The Washington Post

The Fool books represent an enormous achievement, creating a world as richly detailed as the one we step into each day of our lives. . . . Sully in particular emerges as one of the most credible and engaging heroes in recent American fiction. . . . Bath is real, Sully is real, and so is Hattie s and the White Horse Tavern and Miss Peoples s house on Main, and I can only hope we haven t seen the last of them. I’d love to see what Sully’s going to be up to at 80.”             T. Coraghessan Boyle,  New York Times Book Review

 

 

 

Kingdom of Twilight by Steven Uhly

HISTORICAL FICTION BOOK OF THE MONTH – THE TIMES

One night in autumn 1944, a gunshot echoes through the alleyways of a small town in occupied Poland. An S.S. officer is shot dead by a young Polish Jew, Margarita Ejzenstain. In retaliation, his commander orders the execution of thirty-seven Poles – one for every year of the dead man’s life. First hidden by a German couple, Margarita must then flee the brutal advance of the Soviet army with her new-born baby. So begins a thrilling panorama of intermingled destinies and events that reverberate from that single act of defiance. Kingdom Of Twilight follows the lives of Jewish refugees and a German family resettled from Bukovina, as well as a former S.S. officer, chronicling the geographical and psychological dislocation generated by war. A quest for identity and truth takes them from Displaced Persons camps to Lübeck, Berlin, Tel Aviv and New York, as they try to make sense of a changed world, and of their place in it. Hypnotically lyrical and intensely moving, Steven Uhly’s epic novel is a finely nuanced and yet shattering exploration of universal themes: love, hatred, doubt, survival, guilt, humanity and redemption.

 

A novel about the aftermath of the war, the tribulations of uneasy peace and the violent birth of Israel . . . Kingdom Of Twilight is powerful and original.”                       Antonia Senior, The Times

Uhly skilfully unrolls an epic canvas yet rarely loses sight of the individual details that bring his characters to life.”                         Sunday Times
A gripping, thoroughly researched novel . . . Steven Uhly’s Kingdom of Twilight should be at the centre of literary debate.”                      Süddeutsche Zeitung

 

Dancing the Death Drill by Fred Khumalo

Paris, 1958. An Algerian waiter at the world famous restaurant, La Tour d’Argent, is arrested for the murder of two customers. As he awaits trial, his long-time friend, celebrated jazz musician and artist Jerry Moloto, is hounded by an opportunistic and ambitious journalist hoping to make a name for himself by being the first to reveal the real story behind the waiter’s sudden extreme act of violence. Culling details from memory and from the waiter’s own journals, the story emerges that he is actually Pitso Motaung, a mixed race South African who had volunteered to fight for the British army in the First World War. Through a tragic twist of fate, Pitso finds himself enlisted aboard the ill-fated SS Mendi the formidable warship sunk off the coast of the Isle of Wight, killing 646 people, including many black South African soldiers. Pitso witnesses many tragic events during the crossing and at the time of the sinking but one particularly cruel moment will stay with him for the rest of his life, resurfacing decades later to devastating effect. Commemorating the 100th year anniversary of the sinking of the SS Mendi, Dancing the Death Drill paints a brilliant picture of a moment in history and brings to life some of the stories from the many who perished as well as of those who survived.

 

 

Dark Circle by Linda Grant

 

Image result for dark circle linda grantThe Second World War is over, a new decade is beginning but for an East End teenage brother and sister living on the edge of the law, life has been suspended. Sent away to a tuberculosis sanatorium in Kent to learn the way of the patient, they find themselves in the company of army and air force officers, a car salesman, a young university graduate, a mysterious German woman, a member of the aristocracy and an American merchant seaman. They discover that a cure is tantalisingly just out of reach and only by inciting wholesale rebellion can freedom be snatched.

 

Exhilaratingly good . . . This is a novel whose engine is flesh and blood, not cold ideas . . . Grant brings the 1950s – that odd, downbeat, fertile decade between war and sexual liberation – into sharp, bright, heartbreaking focus.”                        Guardian

A writer whose language crackles with vitality and whose descriptive powers are working at such a high level.”                        Spectator

 

The Dark Circle is, beneath its narrative surface, fiercely political. She poses a large, naggingly relevant, question. What would (will?) privatisation of the NHS mean? Read this fine, persuasive, moving novel and contemplate – if you can dare to – that awful possibility.”                   The Times

Fascinating . . . a revealing insight: both funny and illuminating, it is a novel about what it means to treat people well, medically, emotionally and politically.”                        Observer

Contemporary issues linger ominously in Grant’s margins, silently enriching what’s already an astonishingly good period piece.”                Independent

 

Welcome to Lagos by Chibundu Onuzo

When army officer Chike Ameobi is ordered to kill innocent civilians, he knows that it is time to leave. As he travels towards Lagos, he becomes the leader of a new platoon, a band of runaways who share his desire for a better life.

Their arrival in the city coincides with the eruption of a political scandal. The education minister, Chief Sandayo, has disappeared and is suspected of stealing millions of dollars from government funds.

After an unexpected encounter with the Chief, Chike and his companions must make a choice. Ahmed Bakare, editor of the failing Nigerian Journal, is desperate for information. But perhaps the situation is more complex than it appears.

As moving as it is mesmerising, Welcome to Lagos is a novel about the power of our dreams for the future and the place of morality in a sometimes hostile world.

 

“[A] fine novel … worlds―rich and poor, urban and rural, privileged and powerless, Muslim and Christian, Igbo and Yoruba―collide to spectacular effect as their paths cross and power shifts hands in surprising and unexpected ways, and then does so again, and again. It is an unlikely plot, but Ms Onuzo pulls it off, revealing the fault lines in her country’s society―or indeed those of any half-formed democracy. Though drenched in Lagosian atmosphere, the book wears its Nigerian setting lightly: it is clearly the work of a pan-African and an internationalist―and is all the better for it.”                    Economist

“[A] hugely accomplished tragicomic farce about life in Nigeria, written by one of the country’s brightest young stars. Nothing evades Onuzo’s biting prose and whipsmart humour. From the allegedly corrupt ministers who run the country, to the BBC journalists covering breaking news, and from the idealistic newspaper editor trying in vain to hold the country to account, to the beleaguered army officer who would rather be homeless than follow orders, all show the multifaceted shades of humanity that creates the kaleidoscope of Lagos.”                Herald

With Nollywood-like storylines and clever turns in plot, the book paints an entertaining and funny picture of Lagos life and Nigerian politics … impressive.”                   Guardian

“[H]ugely accomplished…Nothing evades Onuzo’s biting prose and whipsmart humour.”              Independent

 

 

Golden Hill by Francis Spufford

New York, a small town on the tip of Manhattan Island, 1746. One rainy evening, a charming and handsome young stranger fresh off the boat from England pitches up to a counting house on Golden Hill Street, with a suspicious yet compelling proposition — he has an order for a thousand pounds in his pocket that he wishes to cash. But can he be trusted? This is New York in its infancy, a place where a young man with a fast tongue can invent himself afresh, fall in love, and find a world of trouble . . .

 

Golden Hill is a novel of gloriously capacious humanity, thick-woven with life in all its oddness and familiarity, a novel of such joy it leaves you beaming, and such seriousness that it asks to be read again and again … this novel is verifiable gold.”                       Sunday Telegraph

The intoxicating effect of Golden Hill is much more than an experiment in form. [Spufford] has created a complete world, employing his archivist skills to the great advantage of his novel … This is a book born of patience, of knowledge accrued and distilled over decades, a style honed by practice. There are single scenes here more illuminating, more lovingly wrought, than entire books.”                 Financial Times

A cunningly crafted narrative that, right up to its tour de force conclusion, is alive with tantalising twists and turns … This is a dazzlingly written novel. Little brilliances of metaphor and phrasing gleam everywhere.”                  Sunday Times

Like a newly discovered novel by Henry Fielding with extra material by Martin Scorsese. Why it works so well is largely down to Spufford’s superb re-creation of New York … His writing crackles with energy and glee, and when Smith’s secret is finally revealed it is hugely satisfying on every level. For its payoff alone Golden Hill deserves a big shiny star.”                                    The Times

Splendidly entertaining and ingenious … Throughout Golden Hill, Spufford creates vivid, painterly scenes of street and salon life, yet one never feels as though a historical detail has been inserted just because he knew about it. Here is deep research worn refreshingly lightly … a first-class period entertainment.”                  Guardian

Golden Hill shows a level of showmanship and skill which seems more like a crowning achievement than a debut … [Spufford] brings his people and situations to life with glancing ease … They all live and breathe with conviction … His descriptive powers are amazing … Spufford’s extraordinary visual imagination and brilliant pacing seems to owe more to the movies than anything else.”                       Evening Standard

A Horse Walks into a Bar by David Grossman

The setting is a comedy club in a small Israeli town. An audience that has come expecting an evening of amusement instead sees a comedian falling apart on stage; an act of disintegration, a man crumbling, as a matter of choice, before their eyes. They could get up and leave, or boo and whistle and drive him from the stage, if they were not so drawn to glimpse his personal hell. Dovaleh G, a veteran stand-up comic – charming, erratic, repellent – exposes a wound he has been living with for years: a fateful and gruesome choice he had to make between the two people who were dearest to him.

A Horse Walks into a Bar is a shocking and breathtaking read. Betrayals between lovers, the treachery of friends, guilt demanding redress. Flaying alive both himself and the people watching him, Dovaleh G provokes both revulsion and empathy from an audience that doesn’t know whether to laugh or cry – and all this in the presence of a former childhood friend who is trying to understand why he’s been summoned to this performance.

 

This is a virtuoso piece of writing, a whirlwind of laughter and tears that sucks you in and makes you holds your breath.”                        Daily Mail

A writerly tour de force that would be unbearably painful, were it not also so generously humane.”                               New Statesman, Book of the Year

A short, shocking masterpiece.”                   Adam Lively, Sunday Times

David Grossman’s new novel runs on a high voltage line, operated by a frantic, mesmerising and almost unbearable energy. An ongoing feeling of astonishment accompanies you throughout the read, and it is linked to Grossman’s bravado and to his innovation as a storyteller… A Horse Walks into a Bar…is unlike anything Grossman has written, or anything I have read. It is a packed explosive, multi-resonant, daring and exciting.”                      Ha’aretz

A fine Israeli writer… It takes an author of Mr Grossman’s stature to channel not a failed stand-up but a shockingly effective one.”                    Economist

 

 

Graphic

Troll Bridge by Neil Gaiman & Colleen Doran

 


Troll Bridge, 
a tale from the mind of Sunday Times bestselling writer Neil Gaiman, has been beautifully adapted for the first time by Eisner Award-winning writer/artist Colleen Doran. This striking graphic novel will delight fans of Alan Moore, Dave McKean and beyond.

Young Jack’s world is full of ghosts and ghouls, but one monster – a ravenous and hideous troll – haunts him long into manhood. As the beast sups upon a lifetime of Jack’s fear and regret, Jack must find the courage within himself to face the fiend once and for all.

 

 

Kindred: A Graphic Novel Adaptation by Octavia E. Butler & John Jennings

 


Kindred
, Octavia Butler’s literary science-fiction masterpiece first published in 1979, tells the story of Dana, a young black woman who is suddenly and mysteriously transported from her home in 1970s California to the antebellum South. Dana moves between worlds: one in which she is a free woman and another where she is part of a complicated familial history on a southern plantation, forced to interact with and save the life of Rufus, a conflicted white slaveholder and one of her ancestors. Frightening, compelling and richly detailed, Kindred takes an imagined yet unstinting look at our complicated social history. Adapted as a graphic novel by celebrated academics Damian Duffy and John Jennings with the full co-operation of the Butler estate, Kindred explores the violence, sexuality, loss of humanity and twisted relationships engendered by slavery, in a format that introduces the work to a new generation of readers.

 

Everything the literature of science fiction can be.”                       Walter Mosley

 

That rare magical artifact . . . the novel one returns to again and again.”                        Harlan Ellison

 

 

 

Non-fiction

Hidden Figures: The Untold Story of the African American Women Who Helped win the Space Race by Margot Lee Shetterly

#1 New York Times Bestseller

NOW A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE – Oscar Nominated For Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay

 

Set amid the civil rights movement, the never-before-told true story of NASA’s African-American female mathematicians who played a crucial role in America’s space program.

Before Neil Armstrong walked on the moon, a group of professionals worked as ‘Human Computers’, calculating the flight paths that would enable these historic achievements. Among these were a coterie of bright, talented African-American women. Segregated from their white counterparts, these ‘colored computers’ used pencil and paper to write the equations that would launch rockets, and astronauts, into space.

Moving from World War II through NASA’s golden age, touching on the civil rights era, the Space Race, the Cold War, and the women’s rights movement, Hidden Figures interweaves a rich history of mankind’s greatest adventure with the intimate stories of five courageous women whose work forever changed the world.

 

Clearly fueled by pride and admiration, a tender account of genuine transcendence and camaraderie. The story warmly conveys the dignity and refinements of these women.”                  New York Times Book Review

 

Much as Tom Wolfe did in ‘The Right Stuff’, Shetterly moves gracefully between the women’s lives and the broader sweep of history … Shetterly blends impressive research with an enormous amount of heart in telling these stories … Genuinely inspiring book.”                Boston Globe

 

Exploring the intimate relationships among blackness, womanhood, and 20th-century American technological development, Shetterly crafts a narrative that is crucial to understanding subsequent movements for civil rights.”                        Publishers Weekly

 

This an is incredibly powerful and complex story, and Shetterly has it down cold. The breadth of her well-documented research is immense, and her narrative compels on every level. The timing of this revelatory book could not be better, and book clubs will adore it.”                Booklist

 

 

Conversations with a Gentle Soul by Ahmed Kathrada

Without much fanfare Ahmed Kathrada worked alongside Nelson Mandela, Walter Sisulu and other giants in the struggle to end racial discrimination in South Africa. He faced house arrest and many court trials related to his activism until, finally, a trial for sabotage saw him sentenced to life imprisonment alongside Mandela and six others.

Conversations with a Gentle Soul has its origins in a series of discussions between Kathrada and Sahm Venter about his opinions, encounters and experiences. Throughout his life, Kathrada has refused to hang on to negative emotions such as hatred and bitterness. Instead, he radiates contentment and the openness of a man at peace with himself. His wisdom is packaged within layers of optimism, mischievousness and humour, and he provides insights that are of value to all South Africans.

 

 

 

A Woman Looking at Men Looking at Women by Siri Hustvedt

The essays in this volume – all written between 2011 and 2015 – are in three parts. A Woman Looking at Men Looking at Women brings together penetrating pieces on particular artists and writers such as Picasso, Kiefer and Susan Sontag as well as essays investigating the biases that affect how we judge art, literature, and the world in general. The Delusions of Certainty is an essay about the mind/body problem, showing how this age-old philosophical puzzle has shaped contemporary debates on many subjects and how every discipline is coloured by what lies beyond argument-desire, belief, and the imagination. The essays in the final section, What Are We? Lectures on the Human Condition, tackle such elusive neurological disorders as synesthesia and hysteria. Drawing on research in sociology, neurobiology, history, genetics, statistics, psychology and psychiatry, this section also contains a profound consideration of suicide and a towering reconsideration of Kierkegaard. Together they form an extremely stimulating, thoughtful, wide-ranging exploration of some of the fundamental questions about human beings and the human condition, delivered with Siri Hustvedt’s customary lucidity, vivacity and infectiously questioning intelligence.

 

It is obvious that hers is a great mind that is constantly exploring, searching, “becoming” . . . An impressive collection by a novelist who clearly loves the humanities, the sciences and the ancient art of storytelling. But Hustvedt is not only a writer. She is also a passionate reader and therein lies the secret of this book . . . Here is a great book that invites reading . . . not only to ‘look at a woman writer looking at men looking at women’, but also to look within, deep inside the recesses of our minds, so as to recognise the fascinating complexity but also the heartbreaking fragility of human existence.”                        Elif Shafak, Observer

“Few writers eviscerate bias and flawed logic as elegantly and ruthlessly as Hustvedt . . . she expertly flays assertions about biological and psychological sex differences . . . Hustvedt does not resolve her many questions, but her exhilarating conclusion testifies to the virtues of doubt . . . Her work is cerebral but also warm, deeply felt.”                Washington Post

 

 

Of All That Ends by Günther Grass

The final work of Nobel Prize-winning writer Günter Grass – a witty and elegiac series of meditations on writing, growing old, and the world.

Suddenly, in spite of the trials of old age, and with the end in sight, everything seems possible again: love letters, soliloquies, scenes of jealousy, swan songs, social satire, and moments of happiness.

Only an ageing artist who had once more cheated death could get to work with such wisdom, defiance and wit. A wealth of touching stories is condensed into artful miniatures. In a striking interplay of poetry, lyric prose and drawings, Grass creates his final, major work of art.

A moving farewell gift, a sensual, melancholy summation of a life fully lived.

 

As subtle and as delicate as the many feathers depicted through its pages, Of All That Ends is a glorious gift, a final salute true to the singular creativity of the most human, and humane, of artists.”                 Irish Times

There is a lovely diversity to these pieces… His intelligence and intellectual engagement remain fiercely undimmed.”                 Financial Times

This beautiful, ironic and often funny final collage of asides and meditations sums up the fabulist’s genius.”                 Irish Times, Book of the Year

Autumnal, elegiac and tinged with a twilight charm.”                     Boyd Tonkin

 

 

 

The Great Soul of Siberia by Sooyong Park

There are five races of tiger on our planet and all but one live in tropical regions: the Siberian Tiger Panthera tigris altaica is the exception. Mysterious and elusive, and with only 350 remaining in the wild, the Siberian tiger remains a complete enigma. One man has set out to change this.

Sooyong Park has spent twenty years tracking and observing these elusive tigers. Each year he spends six months braving sub-zero temperatures, buried in grave-like underground bunkers, fearlessly immersing himself in the lives of Siberian tigers. As he watches the brutal, day-to-day struggle to survive the harsh landscape, threatened by poachers and the disappearance of the pristine habitat, Park becomes emotionally and spiritually attached to these beautiful and deadly predators. No one has ever been this close: as he comes face-to-face with one tiger, Bloody Mary, her fierce determination to protect her cubs nearly results in his own bloody demise.

Poignant, poetic and fiercely compassionate, The Great Soul of Siberia is the incredible story of Park’s unique obsession with these compelling creatures on the very brink of extinction, and his dangerous quest to seek them out to observe and study them. Eloquently told in Park’s distinctive voice, it is a personal account of one of the most extraordinary wildlife studies ever undertaken.

 

If you read one nature book this year, make it this one.”                Mark Cocker, Spectator

 

Wonderful … deserves to become a classic of wildlife literature.”             The Times

 

A wonderful evocation of the land and the habits of the desperately endangered Siberian tiger.”                       Independent

 

Subtly intense … Park has a deep sense of oneness with the world around him. His close engagement with the forest ecology is the most extraordinary element of this remarkable book.”                      New Statesman

 

It’s a masterpiece. One of the most moving outdoor texts I’ve read in years. This is a book about love – one exceptional human being’s love for the wild, beautiful and persecuted creatures to which his life is dedicated. It also comprehends a fortitude and hardihood so far beyond the everyday I was left shaking my head in astonished admiration.”               Great Outdoors

 

Sooyong’s magical prose led me into little-known and breathtakingly beautiful forests, exposed me to the bitter cold of long winter months, and revealed the secret life of that most mysterious of cats, the Siberian tiger.”                  Jane Goodall

 

The book is a love letter … To read it is to hear the voice of a remarkable man.”             Daily Telegraph

 

 

We Do Things Differently: The Outsiders Rebooting Our Brain by Mark Stevenson

 

Our systems are failing. Old models – for education, healthcare and government, food production, energy supply – are creaking under the weight of modern challenges. As the world’s population heads towards 10 billion, it’s clear we need new approaches. Futurologist Mark Stevenson sets out to find them, across four continents.

From Brazilian favelas to high tech Boston, from rural India to a shed inventor in England’s home counties, We Do Things Differently travels the world to find the advance guard re-imagining our future. At each stop, he meets innovators who have already succeeded in challenging the status quo, pioneering new ways to make our world more sustainable, equitable and humane.

Populated by extraordinary characters, We Do Things Differently paints an enthralling picture of what can be done to address the world’s most pressing dilemmas, offering a much needed dose of down-to-earth optimism. It is a window on (and a roadmap to) a different and better future.

 

 

 

Solidarity Road by Jan Theron

The events leading to the Marikana massacre not only shattered South Africa’s image of itself as a democracy in which workers had a respected place, but also the image of Cosatu and its largest affiliate at the time. Subsequent events confirm that South Africa’s pre-eminent trade union federation has lost its way. To understand why this has happened, Theron argues, it is necessary to understand the choices made by the trade unions that formed it in the 1980s.

The Food and Canning Workers’ Union (FCWU) was perhaps the most famous of these, and had produced some of the country’s most prominent labour leaders. But by 1976, when Theron became its general secretary, it was on its last legs and riddled with corruption. Solidarity Road is an uncompromising account of a struggle to overcome corruption, as well as to revive a tradition of non-racial solidarity. A demonstration of non-racial solidarity by the workforce of Fatti’s and Moni’s in Cape Town catapulted the union into national prominence, in the same week as government tabled its race-based labour “reforms” in Parliament.

FCWU’s unprecedented victory in this strike meant it was well-placed to initiate the talks that eventually led to the formation of Cosatu. This was to be an independent federation, allied to political organisations fighting to end apartheid. However, for FCWU the basis of independence was always financial self-sufficiency coupled with zero tolerance of corruption. In this regard it was unlike the other trade unions involved in these talks. This is a story about the values that shaped the trade union struggle and the decisions and practices which undermined them.

 

 

Afrikaner Odyssey: The Life and Times of the Reitz Family by Martin Meredith

In the first half of the nineteenth century, Southern Africa was a jumble of British colonies, Boer republics and African chiefdoms, a troublesome region of little interest to the outside world. Into this frontier world came the Reitz family, Afrikaner gentry from the Cape, who settled in Bloemfontein and played a key role in the building of the Orange Free State.

Frank Reitz, successively chief justice and modernising president of the young republic, went on to serve as State Secretary of the Transvaal Republic. In 1899, he stood shoulder to shoulder with President Paul Kruger to resist Britain’s war of conquest in Southern Africa. At the heart of this tale is the extraordinary life of Deneys Reitz, third son of Frank Reitz and Bianca Thesen. The young Reitz’s account of his adventures in the field during the Anglo-Boer War (1899–1902), published as Commando, became a classic of irregular warfare. After a period of exile in Madagascar, he went on become one of South Africa’s most distinguished lawyers, statesmen and soldiers. Martin Meredith interweaves Reitz’s experiences, taken from his unpublished notebooks, with the wider story of Britain’s brutal suppression of Boer resistance.

Concise and readable, Afrikaner Odyssey is a wide-ranging portrait of an aristocratic Afrikaner family whose achievements run like fine thread through these turbulent times, and whose presence is still marked on the South African landscape.

 

 

The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher

 


The Princess Diarist
 is Carrie Fisher’s intimate, hilarious and revealing recollection of what happened behind the scenes on one of the most famous film sets of all time, the first Star Wars movie.

When Carrie Fisher recently discovered the journals she kept during the filming of the first Star Wars movie, she was astonished to see what they had preserved―plaintive love poems, unbridled musings with youthful naiveté, and a vulnerability that she barely recognized. Today, her fame as an author, actress, and pop-culture icon is indisputable, but in 1977, Carrie Fisher was just a (sort-of) regular teenager.

With these excerpts from her handwritten notebooks, The Princess Diarist is Fisher’s intimate and revealing recollection of what happened on one of the most famous film sets of all time―and what developed behind the scenes. And today, as she reprises her most iconic role for the latest Star Wars trilogy, Fisher also ponders the joys and insanity of celebrity, and the absurdity of a life spawned by Hollywood royalty, only to be surpassed by her own outer-space royalty. Laugh-out-loud hilarious and endlessly quotable, The Princess Diarist brims with the candour and introspection of a diary while offering shrewd insight into the type of stardom that few will ever experience.

 

It’s an eye-opener for fans, but it also shows a gifted writer even at a young age. There was a lot going on between Princess Leia’s hair buns.”               USA Today

Smart and funny…the pages crackle with one-liners.”                     Guardian

Fisher offers a thoughtful, sardonic meditation on the price of fame, cost-of-living adjustments included.”                    New York Times Book Review

The Secret Lives of Colour by Kassia St Clair

 


The Secret Lives of Colour 
tells the unusual stories of the 75 most fascinating shades, dyes and hues. From blonde to ginger, the brown that changed the way battles were fought to the white that protected against the plague, Picasso’s blue period to the charcoal on the cave walls at Lascaux, acid yellow to kelly green, and from scarlet women to imperial purple, these surprising stories run like a bright thread throughout history. In this book Kassia St Clair has turned her lifelong obsession with colours and where they come from (whether Van Gogh’s chrome yellow sunflowers or punk’s fluorescent pink) into a unique study of human civilisation. Across fashion and politics, art and war, The Secret Lives of Colour tell the vivid story of our culture.

 

A mind-expanding tour of the world without leaving your paintbox. Every colour has a story, and here are some of the most alluring, alarming, and thought-provoking. Very hard painting the hallway magnolia after this inspiring primer.”                      Simon Garfield

 

 

Ayesha’s Gift: A Daughter’s Search for the Truth about Her Father by Martin Sixsmith

From the author of the bestselling Philomena, made into the award-winning film starring Steve Coogan and Judi Dench, comes the story of a young woman, born in Pakistan, living in Britain, whose life is thrown into desperate turmoil by the violent death of her father.  The Pakistani authorities talk of suicide, but why would Ayesha’s happy, gentle father kill himself?
Ayesha’s quest to find the truth takes her right away from her safe London existence.  She meets with threats, intimidation and smiling perjurers who resent her intrusion into their world. She is warned that her life is in danger; powerful, ruthless men have reasons to want her silenced.   But there are things she needs to know, that compel her to press on with her search for the truth.
Was her father an innocent victim?  Can she continue to revere the image of him she grew up with, that of a good, loving parent?  Or will she be forced to accept that her father was not the person she thought he was?
Ayesha decides that the only way forward is to fly to Pakistan and confront his killers.    When she goes, Martin Sixsmith goes with her.   The denouement of their journey together is extraordinarily moving, with unforeseen repercussions for them both.

 

Written at thriller pace, Ayesha’s Gift . . . exposes a terrifying web of gangsters and terrorists.”                         Telegraph

Martin Sixsmith, of Philomena fame, has done it again with a wonderful new book, Ayesha’s Gift, which mixes autobiography with the story of a hunt to reveal a dark mystery in Pakistan…  What I find so striking about Ayesha’s Gift is that it’s a book in which the writer is changed by the writing of the book. I’m trying to think of other examples of that but I can’t come up with any at all.”                      Andrew Marr

 

 

Hanging on a Wire – Photographs by Sophia Klaase

Sophia Klaase first used a camera in 1999, as a teenage participant in a photography project in Paulshoek, a village in Namaqualand. She continued with the project for the next sixteen years, chronicling her life in this arid northwest corner of South Africa. Her images are a frank exploration of her relationship to family, community and the landscape.

A foreword by Zoë Wicomb, and essays by Ben Cousins, Timm Hoffman, Siona O’connell, Virginia MacKenny and Rick Rohde describe the environmental, socio-economic and political contexts in which Klaase’s work was produced. Her photographs and this book demonstrate the intellectual and aesthetic rewards of true collaboration and sustained investigation, and introduce Sophia Klaase’s name into the tradition of South African documentary and vernacular photography.

 

The Holocaust: A New History by Laurence Rees

Groundbreaking … You might have thought that we know everything there is to know about the Holocaust but this book proves there is much more.”                  Andrew Roberts, Mail on Sunday

 

By far the clearest book ever written about the Holocaust, and also the best at explaining its origins and grotesque mentality, as well as its chaotic development.”    Antony Beevor

 

This landmark work answers two of the most fundamental questions in history – how, and why, did the Holocaust happen?

Laurence Rees has spent twenty-five years meeting survivors and perpetrators of the Holocaust. Now, in his magnum opus, he combines their enthralling eyewitness testimony, a large amount of which has never been published before, with the latest academic research to create the first accessible and authoritative account of the Holocaust in more than three decades.

This is a new history of the Holocaust in three ways. First, and most importantly, Rees has created a gripping narrative that that contains a large amount of testimony that has never been published before. Second, he places this powerful interview material in the context of an examination of the decision making process of the Nazi state, and in the process reveals the series of escalations that cumulatively created the horror. Third, Rees covers all those across Europe who participated in the deaths, and he argues that whilst hatred of the Jews was always at the epicentre of Nazi thinking, what happened cannot be fully understood without considering the murder of the Jews alongside plans to kill millions of non-Jews, including homosexuals, ‘Gypsies’ and the disabled.

Through a chronological, intensely readable narrative, featuring enthralling eyewitness testimony and the latest academic research, this is a compelling new account of the worst crime in history.

 

Anyone wanting a compelling, highly readable explanation of how and why the Holocaust happened, drawing on recent scholarship and impressively incorporating moving and harrowing interviews need look no further than Laurence Rees’s brilliant book.”                     Professor Ian Kershaw

A fine book. Rees is a gifted educator, who can tell a complex story with compassion and clarity, without sacrificing all nuances…it comes alive through the voices of victims, killers and bystanders.”                   Guardian

Absorbing, heart-breaking…he has drawn skilfully on speeches, documents and diaries of the Third Reich, and on the vast library of secondary literature, to weave together a powerful, inevitably harrowing revelation of the 20th century’s greatest crime.”                  Sunday Times

Rees has distilled 25 years of research into this compelling study, the finest single-volume account of the Holocaust. It is not a book for the faint-hearted. Some of the first-hand testimony is both shocking and heart-rending. Yet it has important things to say about human nature – what our species is capable of doing if not prevented by civilized laws – and demands to be read.”                   Saul David, Telegraph

 

LGBTQ Stats by David Deschamps & Bennett L. Singer

 

LGBTQ STATS chronicles the ongoing LGBTQ revolution, providing critical statistics, and draws upon and synthesizes newly collected data. Deschamps and Singer provide chapters on family and marriage, workplace discrimination, education, youth, criminal justice, and immigration, as well as evolving policies and laws affecting LGBTQ communities. A lively, accessible, and eye-opening snapshot, LGBTQ STATS offers an invaluable resource for activists, journalists, lawmakers, and general readers who want the facts and figures on LGBTQ lives in the twenty-first century.

 

The Road to Ruin: The Global Elite’s Secret Plan for the Next Financial Crisis by Jason Rickards

 

The New York Times bestseller that reveals how investors can prepare for the next financial panic – and why it’s coming sooner than you think.

The global economy has made what seems like an incredible comeback after the financial crisis of 2008. Yet this comeback is artificial. Central banks have propped up markets by keeping interest rates low and the supply of money free-flowing. They won’t bail us out again next time. And there will be a next time – soon.

In The Road to Ruin, bestselling author James Rickards identifies how governments around the world are secretly preparing an alternative strategy for the next big crisis: a lockdown. Instead of printing money to reliquify markets and prop up assets, governments are preparing to close banks, shut down exchanges and order powerful asset managers not to sell. They’re putting provisions in place that will allow them to do so legally. What’s more, the global elite has already started making their own preparations, including hoarding cash and hard assets.

When the next one comes, it will be the average investor who suffers most – unless he or she heeds Rickards’ warning and prepares accordingly.

 

 

 

Poetry

Like the Untouchable Wind: An anthology of Poems edited by Makhosozana Xaba

 

A slim volume it may be, but it is full of the life, experience and visions of African lesbians. These seven women take a chance on the reader, that we are curious about their journeys and are willing to engage with the lives they choose to share with us. Sometimes humorous, sometimes angry, they are defiant and resolute in defending themselves and their communities from violence, attack and marginalization. On these pages, I’ve met women who have loved, who have suffered but also women who have stood firm in their sexuality and activism. Freedom fighters. They are women who are living their lives and building a movement, they are women I want to know. Read this work and wake up to their world.

 

Happy reading!

2017 Preview

Tuesday, January 24th 2017 at 10:38 AM

A fantastic year for both local and international fiction, non-fiction and poetry. Publication dates are as currently given by the publisher, but very much subject to change. Expect a slew of titles commemorating the centenary of the Russian Revolution – publishers do love an anniversary!

January

 

Fiction

 

Paul Auster: 4 3 2 1 – New novel from the hugely-respected  author of New York Stories, again echoing Auster’s own life.

Otessa Moshfegh: Homesick for Another World – Short stories from the author of the Booker-shortlisted Eileen.

Ismail Kadare: The Traitor’s Niche – A lyrical tale of the Ottoman Empire.

Roxanne Gay: Difficult Women – Short stories from the author of Bad Feminist.

Peter Swanson: Her Every Fear – New psychological thriller from author of brilliant The Kind Worth Killing.

Chibundu Onozo: Welcome to Lagos – From the author of The Spider King’s Daughter.

 

Non-fiction

Laurence Rees: The Holocaust – The holocaust expert’s magnum opus, the product of 25 years’ work.

Melissa Fleming: A Hope More Powerful than the Sea – The extraordinary story of one refugee, by the Chief Spokesperson at the United Nations High Comission for Refugees

Michael Rosen: The Disappearance of Émile Zola: Love, Literature and the Dreyfus Case. The story of Emile Zola’s exile from France in 1898, after his infamous ‘J’accuse’ letter.

Michel Houellebecq: Unreconciled: Poems 1991-2013 – Drawing on similar themes as his novels, Unreconciled is a journey into the depths of individual experience and universal passions.

Bettany Hughes: Istanbul: A Tale of Three Cities – The historian and broadcaster tells the story of one of the world’s great cities through its Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman eras and into the present day.

 

February

 

Fiction

Sara Baume: A Line Made by Walking – New from the author of Spill, Simmer, Falter, Wither; a meditation on the interconnectedness of wilderness, art and individual experience.

John Burnside: Ashland and Vine – A novel of love and loss from the acclaimed novelist and poet.

Fred Khumalo: Dancing the Death Drill –  The extraordinary story of Pitso Motaung, a young South African who volunteered to serve with the Allies in the First World War; and of the tragic sinking of the Mendi, in which so many young black soldiers died.

Graeme Simsion: The Best of Adam Sharp – New fiction from the author of The Rosie Project. A settled, middle-aged man revisits a passionate affair from his youth.

Neil Gaiman: Norse Mythology – The wonderful Neil Gamin retells the Norse myths which have inspired his (and many others’) writings.

John Boyne: The Heart’s Invisible Furies – The eclectic  author’s biggest project to date. A story of growing up lost in rural Ireland.

Mick Herron: Spook Street – The fourth part of the excellent Slow Horses series, will appeal to le Carré and Spooks fans.

China Miéville: The Last Days of New Paris – A thriller of a war that never was – of survival in an impossible city – of surreal cataclysm.

Shane Kuhn: The Asset – A man dedicates himself to airline security after his sister dies in 9/11 – until the CIA get wind of it…

Viet Thanh Ngugyen: The Refugees – Short stories from the Pulitzer prize-winning author of The Sympathizer.

Richard Russo: Everybody Falls – Russo returns to the rich and intimate lives of the characters of Empire Falls.

Emily Ruskovich: Idaho – An already highly acclaimed debut novel, centering around a violent event at a family gathering.

Sam Shepard: The One Inside – First full-length novel from the actor and writer. With a foreword by Patti Smith.

 

Poetry

Nathan Trantraal: Alles het niet kom wod – A powerful, vibrant new collection from the author of Chokers & Survivors, and winner of the Ingrid Jonker Prize.

Antjie Krog: Lady Anne: A Chronicle in Verse – From one of our most respected writers and poets. In an attempt to make sense of her own existence, Krog compares her own life in the midst of racial injustice to that of Lady Anne Barnard.

Francine Simon: Thungachi – this debut collection blends ancestral Catholic mysticism and ancient folk Hinduism to create new and essential portraits of modern South African-Indian identity and womanhood.

 

Non-fiction

Paul Bloom: Against Empathy: The Case for Rational Compassion – A controversial treatise which argues that empathy is the problem, not the solution.

Ahmed Kathrada with Sahm Venter: Conversations with a Gentle Soul – The revered struggle veteran talks about his life and experiences with wit, optimism and enlightenment.

Michael Symons Roberts and Paul Farley: Deaths of the Poets – Two poets explore the melancholic, dissolute image that often goes with their craft.

Daniel Dennett: From Bacteria to Bach & Back:  The Evolution of Minds – The respected philosopher explores how our minds developed throughout history.

 

March

 

Fiction

Helen Dunmore: Birdcage Walk – Historical fiction set in 18th century England, from the prize-winning author of The Siege.

Tim Parks: In Extremis – Tim Parks’ tour de force. A searing, darkly hilarious novel about family and what it means to be an adult.

Moshin Hamid: Exit West – A story of love and hope, travelling from the Middle East to London and beyond, from the bestselling, Man Booker-shortlisted author of The Reluctant Fundamentalist

Patty Yumi Cottrell: Sorry to Disrupt the Peace – A debut novel already receiving a huge amount of praise.

George Saunders: Lincoln in the Bardo – Highly anticipated debut novel from the bestselling short story writer, author of the award-winning Tenth of December.

Makhosazana Xaba and Karen Martin: Queer Africa II – New queer short stories from a wide range of African countries. Follow on from the award-winning first Queer Africa published in 2013.

Sarah Dunant: In the Name of the Family – Follow-up to the much lauded Blood & Beauty, a fascinating fictional look at the Borgia family.

Katie Kitamura: A Separation – Already being praised by literary heavyweights – promises to be one of the must-reads of the year.

Dan Chaon: Ill Will – A new thriller from the National Book Award finalist, already garnering enthusiastic reviews. Two unsolved crimes are linked by one man’s memory.

 

Non-fiction

PJ O’Rourke: How the Hell Did This Happen? – The ever-caustic and very entertaining O’Rourke turns his view on US Election of 2016 – which he says demonstrates “the most severe outbreak of mass psychosis since the Salem witch trials of 1692”.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: Dear Ijeawele, or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions – The fantastic Adichie’s cogent and heartfelt advice to a friend on raising a daughter.

Jay Naidoo: Change: Organising Tomorrow Today – The veteran political activists examines human values and social innovation. He reflects the voices of courageous communities that are fighting their way out of poverty and building the better life they want for themselves and their children.

Martin Meredith: Afrikaner Odyssey: The Life & Times of the Reitz Family – A wide-ranging portrait of an aristocratic Afrikaner family whose lives form a fine thread through the turbulent times after the discovery of diamonds in South Africa.

Elena Favilli & Francesca Cavallo: Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls – In this anti fairytale collection, 60 female artists illustrate and celebrate the lives of 100 inspirational women.

Fatima Meer: Fatima Meer: Memories of Love and Struggle – An enchanting tale of a rebellious, revolutionary woman who never shied away from the truth. With a foreword by Winnie Madikizela Mandela.

Kids

Refiloe Moahloli: How May Ways Can You Say Hello? – Local author Refiloe tells the story of one little girl’s journey around South Africa in a hot air balloon, and all the incredible sights she sees. Beautifully illustrated.

 

April

 

Fiction

Hari Kunzru: White Tears – A feverish new tale from the bestselling author of The Impressionist: two ambitious young musicians are drawn into a dark underworld, haunted by the ghosts of a repressive past

Lisa McInerney: The Blood Miracles – New fiction from the author of the Baileys Prize–winning The Glorious Heresies.

Mariana Enriquez: Things We Lost in the Fire – Dark short stories already much praised by Dave Eggers and Helen Oyeyemi. Not for the faint of heart!

John Darnielle: Universal Harvester – From the cult author of Wolf in White Van comes a horror-infused thriller set in a tiny Midwestern town; Clerks meets Cormac McCarthy.

Lidia Yuknavitch: The Book of Joan – Set in the near future, a reimagining of the Joan of Arc story.  Already highly praised by, amongst others, Roxanne Gay and Chuck Palahniuk.

Alain Mabanckou: Black Moses – The Man Booker International Prize-shortlisted novelist returns to the Congolese city of Pointe-Noire.

 

Poetry

Kuleka Putuma: Collective Amnesia – the long-awaited debut collection from this inspired and talented local performance poet.

 

 

Non-Fiction

Tariq Ali: The Dilemmas of Lenin: Terrorism, War, Empire, Love, Revolution – This book examines Lenin’s leadership, and asks important questions related to political representation and the popular institutions necessary to challenge capitalism today.

Mamphela Ramphele: Dreams, Betrayal and Hope – A searing critique of what has gone wrong in the public and private sectors, under the governance of the ANC, by the celebrated activist, medical doctor, academic, businesswoman and political thinker. ‘It is time,’ she says, ‘to reimagine the country and its future. We owe this to our children’s children. We dare not fail.’

Allen Ginsberg: The Best Minds of My Generation: The Literary History of the Beat Generation – Edited from a series of lectures given by Ginsberg exploring one of the most popular and enduring of literary movements.

Teju Cole: Blind Spot – In this innovative synthesis of words and images, the award-winning author of Open City and photography critic for The New York Times Magazine combines two of his great passions.

Thandeka Gqubule: No Longer Whispering to Power: The Tenure of Thuli Madonsela – sure to be explosive and revealing, the book examines Madonsela’s seven years in the hotseat: the highs and lows, but also something of the personal beliefs and values that have assisted her through her term of office.

Anne Lamott: Hallelujah Anyway: Rediscovering Mercy – The author of the hugely popular Bird by Bird explores life beyond pain.

Arundhati Roy: The Doctor and the Saint – In the run up to the new novel (see June) the fearless Roy examines caste in India through a critique of Gandhi.

Ariel Levy: The Rules Do Not Apply – Devastating memoir of a young woman who believed that life could be led outside convention. Already generation a lot of praise.

 

 

.

May

 

Fiction

Paula Hawkins: Into the Water – At last! The follow up to the huge The Girl on the Train. Another tense thriller, about the power our secrets hold over us.

Tracy Chevalier: New Boy – In the latest of the Hogarth Shakespeare series, Chevalier retells the Othello story in a 1970s suburban schoolyard.

SJ Naudé: The Third Reel – First novel from the author of the hugely successful and highly acclaimed Alphabet of Birds. Published simultaneously in English and Afrikaans.

Fred Strydom: The Inside Out Man – Strydom’s second novel, The Inside Out Man, is about a pianist named Bent who is offered a Faustian proposition by a rich old man. Strydom weaves the themes of consumption, power and privilege into an edgy and gripping tale.

Jo Nesbo: The Thirst – The eleventh in the hugely popular Harry Hole series.

Laurent Binet: The Seventh Function of Language – a literary conspiracy theory, from the author of the extraordinary HHhH, which asks what if Roland Barthes’ death wasn’t an accident…?

Haruki Murakami: Men Without Women  – Murakami’s first short story collection in a decade, focusing on how men live life without women.

Colm Tóibín: House of Names – The masterful Tóibín draws on Greek mythology to tell the story of Agamemnon, and the tragedy his murderous deeds bring upon his children Electra and Orestes.

Scott Fitzgerald: I’d Die for You and Other Lost Stories – The last of the unpublished stories from the iconic master of the form.

Dennis Lehane: Since We Fell – The hugely successful author of Mystic River and Shutter Island returns. Expect a film in the not too distant…

M.R. Carey: The Boy on the Bridge – Carey returns to the world of his phenomenal The Girl With All The Gifts.

Hanif Kureishi: The Nothing – Kureishi vividly explores helplessness, revenge, lust and power with his characteristic dark humour.

Elizabeth Strout: Anything is Possible – A novel in stories, which returns to the characters of the much-loved My Name is Lucy Barton.

Ken Barris: The Life of Worm and Other Misconceptions – A lyrical and humorous collection of short stories combining the quotidian with the surreal.

Dawn Garisch: Accident – a novel about the complicated relationship between mothers and sons, the everyday heaviness of regret, the pleasure and pain of intimacy, and the mystery of life that science and logic can’t always explain.

 

Non-fiction

Robert Sapolsky: Behave: The Biology of Humans at our Best and Worst – The author of the brilliant A Primate’s Memoir examines the entire science of human behaviour.

Peter Ackroyd: Queer City: Gay London from the Romans to the Present Day – The preeminent chronicler of London looks at the history of the city through its gay population.

Jonathan Jansen: As by Fire – Jansen examines the root causes of the 2015-16 student protests, including interviews with 11 of the most affected Vice Chancellors.

Redi Tlhabi: Khwezi: The Story of Fezekile Ntsukela Kuzwayo – The moving and tragic story of the woman who accused Jacob Zuma of rape.

Richard Ford: Between Them: Remembering My Parents – The Pulitzer Prize-winner writes a deeply personal account of his parents – an intimate portrait of American mid-twentieth century life, and a celebration of family love.

China Miéville: October: The Story of the Russian Revolution – The renowned sci fi and fantasy author explores the story of the Russian Revolution, and how it came about.

Slavoj Žižek: The Courage of Hopelessness: Chronicles of a Year of Acting Dangerously – The global challenges of the world today, as eviscerated by the popular Hegelian philosopher and Lacanian psychoanalyst.

Mark Heywood: Get Up, Stand Up – The campaigner, and founder of the TAC, recounts the personal story behind his public persona in a gripping, readable tale.

 

Kids

Giles Andreae: Winnie-The-Pooh: The Great Heffalump Hunt – The award-winning and much-loved children’s author turns his attention on our favourite bear, in a heartwarming story about the strength of friendship.

 

 

June

 

Fiction

Arundhati Roy: The Ministry of Utmost Happiness – Probably the publishing event of the year. The very long-awaited second novel from the author of The God of Small Things, coinciding with the 20th anniversary of that publication.

Adam Thorpe: Missing Fay – The story of a missing girl and tangled lives, from the author of the extraordinary Ulverton.

Will Self: Phone – New, darkly humorous fiction from the author of Umbrella and Shark.

Joshua Ferris: The Dinner Party & Other Stories – Stories looking at the comic and strange realities of modern life, as we journey through the lives of the unlovable, the unloved, and those who love too much.

Rachel Joyce: The Music Shop – A story of music and love from the author of The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry.

Barbara Boswell: Grace – Grace tracks a young woman’s experience of domestic violence within the intimate space of her family home while she negotiates the state violence inflicted upon her community during the dying days of apartheid.

Rachel Seiffert: A Boy in Winter – Seiffert returns to the territory of her devastating novel The Dark Room, with a story of survival against the odds in war-torn Ukraine.

Elif Batuman: The Idiot – First novel from author of The Possessed. Already receiving huge amounts of praise from the likes of Miranda July.

 

Non-fiction

Robbie Robertson: Testimony – The brilliant guitarist and founder of The Band tells the story of his extraordinary journey, and the music legends he met along the way.

Andrew O’Hagan: The Secret Life: Three True Stories – The novelist examines the porous border between cyberspace and the ‘real world’ with three very different tales of the ‘disruption’ of self.

Hedley Twidle: Firepool – a collection of non-fiction that is intellectually engaged, comic, personable and colloquial, but also engaged in tackling serious questions, emerging out of a difficult place at a difficult time.

David Sedaris: Theft by Finding: Diaries (1977-2016)From the bestselling author of Me Talk Pretty One Day, for the first time in print: selections from the diaries that are the source of his remarkable autobiographical essays. 

Mark Shaw: Hitmen for Hire: The Making of South Africa’s Underworld – an in-depth look at the hitman and assassination industry in South Africa.

Roxanne Gay: Hunger – A Memoir of (My) Body – From the author of Bad Feminist a searingly honest memoir of food, weight, self-image, and learning how to feed your hunger while taking care of yourself.

 

Graphic

Thibault Damour & Mathieu Burniat: Mysteries of the Quantum Universe – The bestselling French graphic novel about the wonders of quantum physics, translated for the first time.

 

July

 

Fiction

Nicola Barker: H(a)ppy – A new novel (as yet no details) from the author of The Yips and In the Approaches.

Otessa Moshfegh: McGlue – From the Booker-shortlisted author of Eileen, the story of an unforgettable blackguard on a knife-sharp voyage through the fogs of recollection.

Maxine Case: Softness of the Lime – New novel from the author of All We Have Left Unsaid, winner of the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Best First Book.

Sarah Hall: Madame Zero – Short stories, from the author of Wolf Border, embracing the darkness, eroticism, and absurdity of human existence.

 

Poetry

Jolyn Philips: Radbraak – A very strong debut in Afrikaans poetry. The title refers to the act of bending and reshaping – which is exactly what she does in her creative use of language.

 

Non-fiction

Svetlana Alexeivich: The Unwomanly Face of War: An Oral History of Women in World War II – A long-awaited English translation of the classic oral history of women in World War II across Europe and Russia from Nobel Prize-winner Svetlana Alexievich.

Karina Szczurek: The Fifth Mrs Brink – André Brink’s fifth and last wife talks about the 10 years they spent together.

Glynnis Breytenbach with Nechama Brodie: The Rule of Law – The former prosecutor for the NPA reflects on her career, and the challenges faced today.

 

August

 

Fiction

Bernard Maclaverty: Midwinter Break – Sixteen years on from his last novel, MacLaverty reminds us why he is regarded as one of the greatest living Irish writers in this profound examination of human love and how we live together.

Achmat Dangor: Dikeledi – New fiction from the author of Bitter Fruit.

Amit Chaudhuri: Friend of My Youth – A novelist named Amit Chaudhuri visits his childhood home of Bombay. The city weighs heavily on Amit’s mind, as does the unexpected absence of his childhood friend Ramu, who is Amit’s last remaining connection to the city he once called home.

Karl Ove Knausgaard: Autumn – The first book in the Seasons quartet, the major new project from the author of the international literary phenomenon, My Struggle.

Deon Meyer: Fever – The latest Deon Meyer, finally translated. A stunning standalone from a master of suspense, a compelling story of survival and betrayal set in a world after ‘The Fever’.

Alex van Tonder: The Last Memory – New fiction from the author of This One Time.

 

 

September

 

Fiction

Roddy Doyle: Smile – A razor sharp novel from the Booker Prize-winner, about the memories we try to suppress, lest they destroy our lives.

Kamila Shamsie: Home Fire – From the internationally acclaimed author of Burnt Shadows, a suspenseful and heartbreaking story of a family driven to pit love against loyalty, with devastating consequences.

Jenny Erpenbeck: Go, Went, Gone – In this radical, exquisite novel, Jenny Erpenbeck, author of Visitation, turns her attention to the contemporary refugee crisis and our responsibility in its creation.

Orhan Pamuk: The Red-Haired Woman – From the Nobel Prize-winner and best-selling author of Snow and My Name Is Red, a fable of fathers and sons and the desires that come between them.

 

Non-fiction

Richard Rogers: Inside Out: There is More to Architecture than Architecture – The engaging and inspirational story of Richard Rogers’ life as an architect and simultaneously a book about creating a better society by creating better places to live.

Iain Sinclair: The Last London – The urban shaman and psychogeograper’s last tilt at the city that has fascinated him all his life.

Norman Davies: Native Lands: A Global Journey into History and Memory – the renowned historian’s account of a global circumnavigation, of the places he visited and the history he found there. He asks the question – to whom are these lands really native?

Anne Applebaum: Red Famine: Stalin’s War on Ukraine – The historian and journalist on the political causes of the 1930s famine, in which approximately five million people died.

 

 

October

 

Fiction

Armistead Maupin: Logical Family: A Memoir – The much-loved author of the Tales of the City series turns his wit, humour and insight on to his own life.

Alan Hollinghurst: The Sparsholt Affair – A new novel from the Booker Prize-winning author of A Line of Beauty.

Nick Harkaway: Gnomon – New fiction from the author of The Gone Away World, which the author himself describes as “a novel bigger than the mind it came out of”. We’re excited!

 

Non-fiction

Nelson Mandela  with Mandla Langa: Dare Not Linger: The Presidential Years – The long-awaited, much anticipated sequel to Long Walk to Freedom. This will be huge.

Jenny Uglow: Edward Lear: A Life of Art & Nonsense – The historian and publisher examines the wild, dark and comic work and life of the much-loved nonsense writer.

Rebecca Solnit: The Mother of All Questions: Further Reports from the Feminist Revolutions – A timely follow-up to the bestseller Men Explain Things to Me; a commentary on women who refuse to be silenced, misogynistic violence, the fragile masculinity of the literary canon, the gender binary, the recent history of rape jokes, and much more.

Erik Naki: Bantu Holomisa: My Story – The President of the United Democratic Movement talks about his life and politics.

Alice Walker: Gathering Blossoms Under Fire – Extracts from fifty years of journals and letters by the author of the classic The Color Purple.

 

 

November

 

Fiction

Ali Smith: Winter – The follow-up to Autumn, and the second in a series of four.

Han Kang: The White Book – New fiction from the author of the Man Booker International Prize-winning The Vegetarian.

William Boyd: The Dreams of Bethany Mellmoth & Other Stories – A short story collection from an absolutely outstanding author.

 

Non-fiction

Martin Amis: The Rub of Time: Bellow, Nabokov, Hitchens, Travolta, Trump. Essays and Reportage, 1986-2016 – Essays from the irrepressible Amis.

 

December

Terry Hayes: Year of the Locust – An eagerly awaited new novel from the author of the phenomenal bestseller I Am Pilgrim.

Cormac McCarthy: The Passenger – Long-awaited new novel from author of The Road. Publication date not set yet, though rumoured to be late 2017.

 

Christmas 2016

Tuesday, December 13th 2016 at 10:32 AM

The Book Lounge Santa is back! Here to help you find the perfect present for your loved ones – and even the most difficult second cousin twice removed. Come in to the store and get our staff to help you choose, then relax with a coffee while we gift-wrap your presents.

But first, here is a small selection of some of the best to start inspiring you!

 

 

Fiction

The Wangs vs the World by Jade Chang

 

Charles Wang has just lost the cosmetics fortune he built up since emigrating to the US. Gone are the houses, the cars, and the incredible lifestyle. Faced with this loss, he decides to take his family on a trip to China and attempt to reclaim his ancestral lands.

But first they must go on a cross-country journey from their foreclosed Bel-Air home to the Upstate New York retreat of his eldest daughter, Saina. Charles takes his other two children out of schools that he can no longer afford and packs them into the only car that wasn’t repossessed-along with their wealth-addicted stepmother, Barbra.

But with his son waylaid by a much-older temptress in New Orleans, his wife ready to defect for a set of 1,000-thread-count sheets, and an epic smash-up in North Carolina, Charles may have to choose between the old world and the new, between keeping his family intact and finally, finally fulfilling his dream of China.

 

“[A] richly entertaining debut . . . smart and engaging.”              Guardian

 

 

 

Thin Air by Michelle Paver

 

The Himalayas, 1935.

Kangchenjunga. Third-highest peak on earth. Greatest killer of them all.

Five Englishmen set off from Darjeeling, determined to conquer the sacred summit. But courage can only take them so far – and the mountain is not their only foe.

As the wind dies, the dread grows. Mountain sickness. The horrors of extreme altitude. A past that will not stay buried.

And sometimes, the truth does not set you free.

 

A ghost story to chill and thrill…Like Touching the Void rewritten by Jack London, Thin Air is a heart-freezing masterpiece.”         Amanda Craig, The Observer

 

 

 

Three Daughters of Eve by Elif Shafak

 

Peri, a wealthy Turkish housewife, is on her way to a dinner party at a seaside mansion in Istanbul when a beggar snatches her handbag. As she wrestles to get it back, a photograph falls to the ground – an old polaroid of three young women and their university professor. A relic from a past – and a love – Peri had tried desperately to forget.

The photograph takes Peri back to Oxford University. To her dazzling, rebellious Professor and his life-changing course on God. To her home with her two best friends, Shirin and Mona, and their arguments about Islam and femininity. And finally, to the scandal that tore them all apart.

 

 

 

The Dispossessed by Szilàrd Borbély

 

A literary sensation on its original publication in Hungary, this hypnotic, hauntingly beautiful first novel from the acclaimed, award-winning poet and author Szilárd Borbély depicts the poverty and cruelty experienced by a partly-Jewish family in a rural village in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

 

No one has ever written so beautifully and at the same time so without pity about the suffering in the isolated provincial villages of Hungary…His sentences have a surgical precision, and their sustained rhythm only reinforces the power of what they evoke.”                      Nicole Henneberg, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

 

 

 

Slipping: Stories, Essays & Other Writings  by Lauren Beukes

 

A Punk Lolita fighter-pilot rescues Tokyo from a marauding art installation. Corporate recruits harvest poisonous plants on an inhospitable planet. An inquisitive adolescent ghost disrupts the life of a young architect. Product loyalty is addictive when the brand appears under one’s skin.

Award-winning Cape Town author and journalist Lauren Beukes (Zoo City, Moxyland, Broken Monsters) spares no targets in this edgy and satiric retrospective collection. In her fiction and nonfiction, ranging from Johannesburg across the galaxy, Beukes is a fierce, captivating presence throughout the literary landscape.

 

Lauren Beukes is one of the best we’ve got, and this fierce collection, showing the full breadth of her remarkable talent, is a pure dark joy.”                  Warren Ellis

 

 

Karolina’s Twins by Ronald H Balson

 

Lena Woodward, an elderly woman, enlists the help of both lawyer Catherine Lockhart and private investigator Liam Taggart to appraise the story of her harrowing past in Nazi occupied Poland. At the same time, Lena’s son Arthur presents her with a hefty lawsuit under the pretense of garnering her estate and independence for his own purposes. A tale of survival, love, and resilience in more ways than one.

 

A heartbreaking tale of a mother’s love, friendship, and family in the face of increasingly brutal conditions and the constant threat of imminent death in Nazi-occupied Poland… compelling.”                       Library Journal

 

 

The Brother by Joakim Zander

 

From the author of the internationally acclaimed The Swimmer. Growing up poor, Yasmine vowed she would always protect her little brother from harm. She broke her promise on the day she left home, abandoning Fadi to his life in the Stockholm slums.

Now, five years later, Yasmine still carries the guilt of leaving him behind. Then she hears a rumour that he is dead, killed by a US drone in Syria. What happened to turn her sweet-natured brother into one of the CIA’s most wanted men?

 

A prime slice of Nordic Noir. Zander is part of the influx of new blood into the genre, and this third novel is both forceful and subtle … What we have here are the two crucial ingredients of Scandicrime: powerfully orchestrated tension set against a strong dose of social commentary.”                       Independent.

 

Some notable 2016 titles…

Nutshell by Ian McEwan

The Woman Next Door by Yewande Omotoso

Tjieng Tjang Tjerries & Other Stories by Jolyn Phillips

Swing Time by Zadie Smith

Period Pain by Kopano Matlwa

Affluenza by Niq Mhlongo

The Yearning by Mohale Mashigo

The Gustav Sonata by Rose Tremain

Your Heart is a Muscle the Size of a Fist by Sunil Yapa

The Girls by Emma Cline

The Portable Veblen by Elizabeth McKenzie

Pleasure by Nthikeng Mohlele

This Must be the Place by Maggie O’Farrell

 

 

 

Gift

Vogue: The Shoe by Condé Nast

 

More than 300 fabulous images from a century of British Vogue, featuring remarkable styles that range from the humble clog to exquisite hand-embroidered haute couture stilettoes via fetishistic cuissardes and outrageous statement heels. The images are grouped into five thematic chapters devoted to dazzling Cinderella heels; Town & Country classics; Cult Style inspiration; the escapism of Summer Dreaming and the extreme heels of Fetish & Fantasia.

 

 

Unemployable: 30 Years of Hardcore, Skate and Street by Jason Boulter and Rodney Mullen

 

From the 1970s underground Melbourne skate scene to a company with a presence in over one hundred countries, Unemployable is the story of how three Australian brothers – Stephen, Peter and Matt Hill – founded one of the world’s biggest skate, street, and surf companies, Globe International. A story about following your dreams, Unemployable will resonate with a broad range of readers beyond a purely skate/surf/street audience.

 

 

 

 

Map Stories: The Art of Discovery by Francisca Mattéoli

 

Through this magnificent collection of historical maps, travel writer Francisca Mattéoli takes us on a geographical adventure, telling the stories of twenty-three places and voyages that inspired her, as they inspired the creation of these fascinating charts.

Discover some of the world’s most magical places and how they revealed themselves, from the lost trails of the first colonies of the American West to Amundsen’s exploration of the South Pole, and the rediscoveries of Petra and Angkor Wat. This unexpected volume will let the curious mind roam the contours of the planet, and discover how the world we know today was made, and un-made.

 

 

 

Let Them Eat Chaos by Kate Tempest

 

both a powerful sermon and a moving play for voices. Tempest argues that our alienation from one another has bred a terrible indifference to our own fate, but she counters this with a plea to challenge the forces of greed which have conspired to divide us, and mend the broken home of our own planet while we still have time.

 

Thrillingly good . . . Ms. Tempest stitches together words with such animate grace that language acquires an almost tactile quality, and the drama she unfolds . . . soars to operatic dimensions. . . . [An] hypnotically persuasive vision.”               Charles Isherwood, New York Times

 

 

Gardenista: The Definitive Guide to Stylish Outdoor Spaces by Michelle Slatalla

 

Our homes’ outdoor spaces can and should be as welcoming and carefully considered as our living rooms; when treated as extensions of our homes, these spaces enrich our lives immeasurably. This book contains lushly photographed tours of 12 enviable gardens; planting guides for a variety of climates and colour palettes; do-it-yourself projects; easy-to-implement design ideas; plus advice from landscape professionals. Equal parts inspiration and expert intel, Gardenista is both a perfect starting point and an all-in-one manual when questions arise.

 

 

 

Atlas Obscura by Joshua Foer, Dylan Thuras and Ella Morton

 

It’s time to get off the beaten path. Inspiring equal parts wonder and wanderlust, Atlas Obscura celebrates over 700 of the strangest and most curious places in the world.

Atlas Obscura revels in the weird, the unexpected, the overlooked, the hidden and the mysterious. Every page expands our sense of how strange and marvelous the world really is. And with its compelling descriptions, hundreds of photographs, surprising charts, maps for every region of the world, it is a book to enter anywhere, and will be as appealing to the armchair traveller as the die-hard adventurer. Anyone can be a tourist. Atlas Obscura is for the explorer.

 

I thought I had seen most of the interesting bits of the world. Atlas Obscura showed me that I was wrong. It’s the kind of book that makes you want to pack in your workaday life and head out to places you’d never have dreamed of going, to see things you could not even have imagined. A joy to read and to reread.”              Neil Gaiman

 

Illustrated Dictionary of Southern African Plant Names by Michael Charters and Hugh Gascoyne Clarke

 

The Illustrated Dictionary of Southern African Plant Names is aimed at keen gardeners, plant collectors, amateur and professional botanists, academics, and many other people who wish to have an answer to the question: “What do generic plant names mean?” This easy-to-use dictionary enables readers to find out how plants have got their names. It provides a wealth of information that opens up a new world of understanding for all plant lovers. The book has nearly 5 000 entries and will include approximately 400 beautiful full-colour photographs of plants taken by top botanical photographers.

 

 

Fragments by Lionel Smit

 

Lionel Smit is a South African artist renowned for his larger-than-life portraiture works. Primarily a painter and sculptor, Smit is also no stranger to silkscreen printing and public installations in a variety of mediums.

Smit’s work has been exhibited in prestigious galleries and art fairs both locally and abroad. His work is currently on show in a solo exhibition at the Didrichsen Art Museum in Helsinki, while one of his monumental sculptures is proudly featured in New York City’s Union Square.

This absolutely beautiful book is a compilation of Lionel Smit’s paintings, sculptures and installations from 2009 to 2016. Includes full colour images of works beautifully displayed with details of the artworks and a written description about the artist’s journey.

 

 

Cheap Novelties: The Pleasures of Urban Decay by Ben Katchor

 

The classic graphic novel by the landmark cartoonist is back in print for its twenty-fifth anniversary Cheap Novelties is an early testament to Ben Katchor’s extraordinary prescience as both a gifted cartoonist and an astute urban chronicler. Rumpled, middle-aged Julius Knipl photographs a vanishing city–an urban landscape of low-rent apartment buildings, obsolete industries, monuments to forgotten people and events, and countless sources of inexpensive food. In Katchor’s signature pen and ink wash style, Cheap Novelties is a portrait of what we have lost to gentrification, globalization, and the malling of America that is as moving today as it was twenty-five years ago.

 

Ben Katchor s sublime collection chronicles the wanderings of Julius Knipl, a rumpled photographer-for-hire taking pictures of buildings in a gently surreal streetscape that vaguely resembles Manhattan s financial district of old. Knipl laments a fading world of dairy cafeterias, tchotchke salesmen and trophy manufacturers.”                    Wall Street Journal

 

 

Country Music Hair by Erin Duvall

 

Country music’s greatest mullets, bobs, beehives, and bouffants collected together in one entertaining volume, illustrated with dozens of color and black-and-white photographs.

“The higher the hair, the closer to god.”

Some follow the trends and others set them. Some have stylists on the tour bus and others rely on God and hair-spray. As Dolly Parton famously said, “People always ask me how long it takes to do my hair. I don’t know, I’m never there.”

 

“…this collection is a fabuously illustrated sociocultural commentary on how the Nashville sound is reflected through its hair.”               Elle

 

 

 

The Shipping Forecast: A Miscellany by Nic Compton

 

The rhythmic lullaby of ‘North Utsire, South Utsire’ has been lulling the nation’s insomniacs to sleep for over 90 years. It has inspired songs, poetry and imaginations across the globe – as well as providing a very real service for the nation’s seafarers who might fall prey to storms and gales. In 1995, a plan to move the late-night broadcast by just 12 minutes caused a national outcry and was ultimately scrapped.
The Shipping Forecast is the official miscellany for seafarers and armchair travellers alike. From the places themselves – how they got their names, what’s happened there through the ages – to the poems and parodies that it’s inspired, this is a beautifully evocative tribute to one of Britain’s best-loved broadcasts.

 

 

Signs of Our Times: From Calligraphy to Calligraffiti

 

Signs of Our Times covers six decades of an art trend led by artists from the Arab world and Iran. Starting in the early 1950s, this alternative and original approach to modernism began with artists who took inspiration from their own cultural sources and combined them with international aesthetics and concepts. This publication considers the work of 50 key artists, ranging from important pioneers of the calligraphic movement to those who use the written word in their work today. The artworks, in a variety of media, are also interspersed with poems and relevant literature, putting into personal and historical contexts the innovative use of words in art.

 

Some Notable 2016 titles

The Initiation by Mogorosi Motshumi

The Survivor’s Club by Lauren Beukes and Dale Halvorsen

Monstress by Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda

A History of Pictures by David Hockney and Martin Gayford

Patience by Daniel Clowes

Black Panther by Ta-Nehisi Coates

The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck by Sally Knight

Modern Rasputin by Rosa Lyster

Nomme 20 Delphi Straat by Shirmoney Rhode

 

 

Non-Fiction

Keeping On Keeping On by Alan Bennett

 

‘I seem to have banged on this year rather more than usual. I make no apology for that, nor am I nervous that it will it make a jot of difference. I shall still be thought to be kindly, cosy and essentially harmless. I am in the pigeon-hole marked ‘no threat’ and did I stab Judi Dench with a pitchfork I should still be a teddy bear.’

 

Alan Bennett’s third collection of prose Keeping On Keeping On follows in the footsteps of the phenomenally successful Writing Home and Untold Stories, each published ten years apart. his is an engaging, humane, sharp, funny and unforgettable record of life according to the inimitable Alan Bennett.

 

Cleverer and funnier than any one person has a right to be … inexhaustibly fascinating; Bennett has an eager, enquiring mind and a sharp way with words that can break your ideas open.”                      Sunday Times

 

 

 

Do Humankind’s Best Days Lie Ahead? By Stephen Pinker, Matt Ridley, Alain de Botton and Malcolm Gladwell

 

Four of the world’s most renowned thinkers take on one of the biggest debates of the modern era.

 

It’s just a brute fact that we don’t throw virgins into volcanoes any more. We don’t execute people for shoplifting a cabbage. And we used to.” – Steven Pinker

“The idea that because things have gotten better in the past they will continue to do so in the future is a fallacy I would have thought confined to the lower reaches of Wall Street.” – Malcolm Gladwell

 

 

 

Ties That Bind: Race and the Politics of Friendship in South Africa edited by Shannon Walsh and Jon Soske

 

What does friendship have to do with racial difference, settler colonialism and post-apartheid South Africa? While histories of apartheid and colonialism in South Africa have often focused on the ideologies of segregation and white supremacy, Ties that Bind explores how the intimacies of friendship create vital spaces for practices of power and resistance.

 

“Ties that Bind is an intriguing and long overdue book about race and friendship. It marks a time worldwide when virtual friendships are fast becoming the norm. And yet, after reading the chapters, one is left with a clearer sense of what it takes – or might take in the future – to actually be friends across race.”
Sarah Nuttall author of Entanglement: Literary and Cultural Reflections on Post-apartheid

 

 

The Exodus Down South by Oswald Kuchera

 

The Exodus Down South wrestles with the horror and triumph of life as a migrant. Oswald Kucherera manages to capture the promise and brutality of hope. Kucherera writes candidly of his own journey from Zimbabwe to South Africa – his flight from a certain untenable future to an uncertain one. His journey is rich with stories and characters, compassion and comradeship, and the struggles of all migrants.

 

 

Get a Life: The Diaries of Vivienne Westwood

 

Vivienne Westwood began Get A Life, her online diary, in 2010 with an impassioned post about Native American activist Leonard Peltier. Since then, she has written two or three entries each month, discussing her life in fashion and her involvement with art, politics and the environment. Reading Vivienne’s thoughts, in her own words, is as fascinating and provocative as you would expect from Britain’s punk dame – a woman who always says exactly what she believes.

 

Fees Must Fall edited by Susan Booysen

 

This book maps the contours of student discontent a year after the start of the #FeesMustFall revolt. Student voices dissect coloniality, improper compromises by the founders of democratic South Africa, feminism, worker rights and meaningful education. In-depth assessments by prominent scholars reflect on the complexities of student activism, its impact on national and university governance, and offer provocative analyses of the power of the revolt.

 

 

The Face of Britain: The Stories Behind the Nation’s Portraits by Simon Schama

 

In the age of the hasty glance and the selfie, Simon Schama has written a tour de force about the long exchange of looks from which British portraits have been made over the centuries: images of the modest and the mighty; of friends and lovers; heroes and working people. Each of them – the image-maker, the subject, and the rest of us who get to look at them – are brought unforgettably to life. Together they build into a collective picture of Britain, our past and our present, a look into the mirror of our identity at a moment when we are wondering just who we are.

 

Schama’s greatest gift is a sure eye for an extraordinary story…This isn’t what you get from conventional historians or conventional art writers, more’s the pity…Schama has written books which will still be bought and talked about a century from now and he hasn’t lost an ounce of zest or intelligence. Damn him…”               Andrew Marr

 

Into a Raging Sea by Tony Weaver

 

The waters off South Africa’s coastline are regarded as some of the most dangerous on earth. Sudden changes in weather, rip currents and freak waves all play their part in putting humans in peril, which sometimes ends in tragedy. No matter the danger, however, the brave volunteers of the NSRI are always willing to risk their lives to save others. Setting out, often in ‘dirty weather’ and in dark and icy conditions, they do their utmost to bring the victims back safe.

This collection of short stories – thrilling, heart-stopping and moving – have been published to commemorate 50 years of Sea Rescue (1967-2017).

 

 

 

The Undoing Project: A Friendship that Changed the World by Michael Lewis

 

From Michael Lewis, the No.1 bestselling author of The Big Short and Flash Boys, this is the extraordinary story of the two men whose ideas changed the world.

Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky met in war-torn 1960s Israel. Both were gifted young psychology professors: Kahneman a rootless son of holocaust survivors who saw the world as a problem to be solved; Tversky a voluble, instinctual blur of energy. In this breathtaking new book, Michael Lewis tells the extraordinary story of a relationship that became a shared mind: one which created the field of behavioural economics, revolutionising everything from Big Data to medicine, from how we are governed to how we spend, from high finance to football.

 

It’s good to be reminded every now and again what genius looks like.”                    Malcolm Gladwell

 

 

The Book of Joy by Archbishop Desmond Tutu and the Dalai Lama

 

Nobel Peace Prize Laureates His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu have survived more than fifty years of exile and the soul-crushing violence of oppression. Despite their hardships – or, as they would say, because of them – they are two of the most joyful people on the planet.

In April 2015, Archbishop Tutu travelled to the Dalai Lama’s home in Dharamsala, India, to celebrate His Holiness’s eightieth birthday and to create this book as a gift for others. They looked back on their long lives to answer a single burning question: how do we find joy in the face of life’s inevitable suffering?

 

 

Some Notable 2016 titles…

Safe House: An Anthology of Creative Non-Fiction edited by Ellah Wakatama Allfrey

Under Nelson Mandela Boulevard by Sean Christie

We Write What We Like: A New Generation Speaks edited by Yolisa Qunta

Second Hand Time by Svetlana Alexeivich

Make or Break by Richard Calland

Free Fall by Malcolm Ray

Fordsburg Fighter by Amin Cajee

East West Street by Philippe Sands

The Pigeon Tunnel by John le Carré

Not Without a Fight by Helen Zille

Homo Deus by Yuval Noah Harari

Good Cop Bad Cop by Andrew Brown

Student Comrade Prisoner Spy by Bridget Hilton-Barber

Hitler, Verwoerd, Mandela and Me by Marianne Thamm

My Own Liberator by Dikgang Moseneke

Letters of Stone by Steven Robins

History Matters by Bill Nasson

 

 

 

For the Food Lover

District Six Huis Kombuis

 

The District Six Huis Kombuis cookbook commemorates the rich fusion of food and cultural heritage in District Six through personal stories, recipes, historical images and craft work. The book is a culmination of memories and narrative. It weaves through the days of a typical week in District Six, focusing on traditional family recipes that were prepared with love and often limited resources. This is a visual celebration of the vibrancy and warmth of the community – who foraged, preserved, baked and cooked together. Portraits of 23 former District Six residents, accompany recollections of lives lived in a significant time. Artifacts, food and anecdotes bring the spirit of District Six alive again.

 

 

 

Monocle Guide to Drinking and Dining

 

Make the most of your food – and discover the best places to shop, drink and dine – with this brand new guide from Monocle. This is a handbook for anybody who enjoys simple, honest food but can do without the foam, fuss and trickery it’s often served with. It’s also about the other elements that make a great meal: honed hosting skills, sourcing the best produce and using the sharpest kitchen kit. Plus, Monocle offer a global hit-list of must-visit restaurants from Adelaide to Zürich and the freshest markets, shops and producers. It is essential reading for anyone who wants to turn their love of food into a livelihood.

 

 

The Chef’s Library: Favourite Cookbooks from the World’s Greatest Kitchens by Jenny Linford

 

All chefs love and cherish cookbooks, and increasingly, cookbooks have become treasured manuals of the trade, as well as beautiful art objects. The Chef s Library is the first attempt to bring together in a single volume a comprehensive collection of cookbooks that are highly rated and actually used by more than 70 renowned chefs around the world. Readers will discover the books that have inspired brilliant culinary talents such as Daniel Humm, Jamie Oliver, Sean Brock, Michael Anthony, Tom Kerridge and many others.

Appetites: A Cookbook by Anthony Bourdain

 

Brash, wild, original and badass. This is Anthony Bourdain’s interpretation of a normal cookbook.

As a restaurant professional, Bourdain spent his life on the fringes of normality – he worked while normal people played, and played while normal people slept. Since then he has settled (kind of) into family life and is cooking for the people he loves rather than people who pay. These are the recipes he turns to when called in for pancake service at sleepover parties or when preparing a violence-free family dinner.

With a striking Ralph Steadman illustration for the cover and photography that somehow manages to be both strangely beautiful and utterly grotesque, this cookbook – Bourdain’s first in ten years – is a home-cooking, home-entertaining cookbook like no other.

 

 

 

Leafy Greens Café: Recipes from Our Organic Garden by Antonia de Luca

 

Antonia de Luca has a love for seasonal, natural, vegan-friendly food. And goodies straight out the garden are even better. In The Leafy Greens Recipe Book, she shares recipes for the healthy and varied vegan delights she serves up at her popular Leafy Greens Café in Muldersdrift. From delectable strawberry cheesecake, to spinach croquettes and goji berry bars, The Leafy Greens Recipe Book has a recipe to suit every culinary mood or occasion.

 

Some notable 2016 cookbooks…

Jamie Oliver’s Christmas Cookbook

Reuben at Home by Reuben Riffel

Simplissime by Jean-François Mallet

Jan: A Breath of French Air by Jan Hendrik van der Westhuizen

 

 

For Children and the Young at Heart

What’s Hidden in the Sea? by Aina Bestard

 

At first glance, all is still and quiet under the sea. But look closely through the glasses’ three coloured transparent sheets and amazing scenes unfold. As if by magic, fish and fauna come to life!

 

 

The Giant’s Necklace by Michael Morpurgo and Briony May Smith

 

A tense and thrilling ghost story from the internationally acclaimed author of War Horse. It all began with a necklace, made of glistening pink cowrie shells. A long, long necklace that had taken Cherry days – weeks – of careful, painstaking work. Cherry was determined it would be the longest necklace she had ever made; that it would be fit for a giant! But the end of the holidays had arrived. “You’ve only got today, Cherry,” said her mother. “Just today, that’s all.” Cherry didn’t mind, a day would be enough – she only needed a few more shells. So, amidst the taunts of her older brothers, she set out to search for them. Then the clouds grew dark and the waves grew large, and as the storm blew in, Cherry realised, to her horror, that she was cut off from the shore. From then on, events began to take a decidedly dark turn. One from which there was no turning back…

 

 

Pinocchio: The Origin Story by Alessandro Sanna

 

Told as a story of cosmic beginnings, this version of Pinocchio is about the formative energy and magic that reside in the wood that becomes the boy. This version is also about life on the molecular level and what it means to think about our composition as human beings from the point of view of energy and cosmic matter.

 

 

The Journey by Francesca Sanna

 

With haunting echoes of the current refugee crisis this beautifully illustrated book explores the unimaginable decisions made as a family leave their home and everything they know to escape the turmoil and tragedy brought by war. This book will stay with you long after the last page is turned.

 

Sanna s crisp-edged, screenprintlike forms strike a careful balance between representing visceral dangers and offering tiny measures of hope. Given the ongoing refugee crisis in Europe and immigration debates in the U.S. and abroad, Sanna s story is well poised to spark necessary conversations about the costs of war.”             Publishers Weekly

 

 

The Story Cure: An A-Z of Books to Keep Children Healthy, Happy and Wise by Ella Berthoud

 

From tantrums to tummy aches to teenage mood swings, there are times when a book is the best medicine of all. The Story Cure is a manual for grown-ups who believe that the stories which shape children’s lives should not be left to chance.

 

 

Story of Life: Evolution (Welcome to the Museum) by Katie Scott

 

Help children to understand the process of evolution with this stunning fold-out book, one of the Big Picture Press’ superb Welcome to the Museum series. It starts with the first single-cell organisms, 541 million years ago in the Pre-Cambrian era and ends with modern life forms in the Neocene and Quaternary eras. On the reverse there is information about developments in each period. Beautifully illustrated and full of detail, this really helps put evolution into context.

 

 

The Hair Fair by CA Davids

 

On the busiest street in a welcoming part of town stands a glorious hair salon, owned by Uncle Jamal and Mrs Brown.

The Hair Fair is a wonderful and warm celebration of ALL kinds of hair!

 

 

Ready Steady Mo! by Mo Farah and Kes Gray

 

From Olympic gold medal winner Mo Farah and bestselling author of Oi Frog, Kes Gray, comes a fun and action-packed picture book that will get kids reading – and running too!

So, what are you waiting for? Warm up, do the MOBOT, and then …

Run on the pavement
Run on the grass
Run in the playground
Perhaps not in class!

 

This picture book, … will inspire kids to run everywhere, around the house, the park, across country — even into outer space.”                    Sunday Times

 

The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend by Dan Santat

 

On one very special day an imaginary friend is born on an island far away. Here, he and his other imaginary friends play all day and each night they sit beneath the stars, hoping and waiting for their turn to be picked, to be imagined, by a real child. But this particular imaginary friend waits and waits, and still no child imagines him. So he does the unimaginable – he sets off into the real world.

 

Bursting at the seams with charm”                      Huffington Post

 

 

The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas: 10th Anniversary Collectors by John Boyne illustrated by Oliver Jeffers

 

Bruno doesn’t like his new house. He had to leave all his friends behind in Berlin, and there are no children to play with here – until Bruno meets Shmuel, a boy who lives on the other side of the wire fence near Bruno’s house, and who wears a strange uniform of striped pyjamas.

A stunning anniversary edition of John Boyne’s powerful classic bestseller, with illustrations from award-winning artist Oliver Jeffers.

 

 

 

The Moonlight Dreamers by Siobhan Curham

 

An inspirational, heart-warming book about four girls trying to find their place in the world. Siobhan Curham celebrates very different but like-minded friends in this captivating novel.

Amber craves excitement and adventure. Instead, she’s being bullied at school for having two dads, and life at home isn’t much better. Inspired by Oscar Wilde, Amber realizes that among the millions of people in London, there must be others who feel the same as she does; other dreamers – moonlight dreamers. After chance encounters with Maali, Sky and Rose, Amber soon recruits the three girls to the Moonlight Dreamers. It’s high time they started pursuing their dreams, and how better than with the support of friends?

 

 

 

The Graces by Laure Eve

 

Everyone said the Graces were witches.
They moved through the corridors like sleek fish, ripples in their wake. Stares followed their backs and their hair.
They had friends, but they were just distractions. They were waiting for someone different.
All I had to do was show them that person was me.

Like everyone else in her town, River is obsessed with the Graces, attracted by their glamour and apparent ability to weave magic. But are they really what they seem? And are they more dangerous than they let on?

This beautifully-written thriller will grip you from its very first page.

 

“The Graces.will have you turning the pages all night.”             Irish Independent

 

 

 

There’s a Snake in My School by David Walliams and Tony Ross

 

From Number One bestselling picture book duo, David Walliams and Tony Ross, comes this ssssspectacularly funny picture book for children of 3 and up.

Miranda loves to be different, and on Bring-your-pet-to-school Day she introduces everyone to her very DIFFERENT pet…

Penelope the snake.

Miss Bloat the headmistress doesn’t think snakes should be allowed in school. But Penelope has other ideas…

Introducing a spectacularly slithery new picture book packed with mischief and mayhem from two superstars!

 

Part Aesop, part Spike Milligan… this is rollicking stuff” – Big Issue

 

 

 

 

Games and Stocking Fillers

Top Trumps and Games

 

A favourite card game for all the family, in assorted from Adventure Time to Star Wars, from Frozen to Dinosaurs.

 

We also have a small selection of board games – from the traditional to the modern.

 

 

 

Truth Facts: The Truthiest Truths and Factiest Facts of Everyday Life by Mikael Wulff and Anders Morgenthaler

 

Playfully teasing readers even as it explores themes like perception vs. reality, this compendium of life’s truthiest facts prods us to laugh at ourselves, own up to our shortfalls, accept the strangeness of the world we live in, and continue on—happier and more connected to one another than ever before.

 

 

Keep Walking…This Doesn’t Concern You

 

Keep Walking, This Doesn’t Concern You brings together some of the internet’s laugh-out-loud and ridiculously stupid memes to help you make sense…

#parenting, #relationships, #winning, #fails, #work, #drinking and #lols whatever the occasion, you’ll never have to worry about expressing yourself again.

 

 

Ladybird Book of the Zombie Apocalypse…and others

 

This delightful book is the latest in the series of Ladybird books which have been specially planned to help grown-ups with the world about them.

The large clear script, the careful choice of words, the frequent repetition and the thoughtful matching of text with pictures all enable grown-ups to think they have taught themselves to cope. Featuring original Ladybird artwork alongside brilliantly funny, brand new text.

 

Perfect stocking fillers and Secret Santa gifts – other new titles include

How it Works: The Student
How it Works: The Cat
How it Works: The Dog
How it Works: The Grandparent 
The Ladybird Book of the Meeting
The Ladybird Book of Red Tape
The Ladybird Book of the People Next Door
The Ladybird Book of the Sickie

 

 

Rules for My Son/Daughter

 

Two beautifully presented collections of quotes featuring advice to our children – tips, tricks and wisdom to get them through the challenges of life.

 

Penguin Little Black Classics

 

Some of the best stocking fillers around – give your loved ones a slice of classic literature for only R35 each!

 

Secret Cape Town by Justin Fox and Alison Westwood

 

Table Mountain’s most exclusive hiking, a restaurant in a maximum security prison, the arboreal evidence of apartheid’s earliest manifestation, a woman disguised as a man for 56 years in order to be a doctor, a beach on top of Table Mountain, a fascinating secret collections of vintage and classic cars, a magical tree renowned for its spiritual healing properties, a heated pool on a military base that’s open to the public, a secret night-time nature tour, a hamster wheel for humans …

Far from the crowds and the usual clichés, Cape Town is still a reserve of well-concealed treasures that only reveal themselves to those who know how to wander off the beaten track, whether residents or visitors.

 

Scorn: The Wittiest and Wickedest Insults in Human History by Matthew Parris

 

There’s no pleasure like a perfectly-turned put-down (when it’s directed at somebody else, of course) but Matthew Parris’s Scorn is sharply different from the standard collections. Here are the funniest, sharpest, rudest and most devastating insults in history, from ancient Roman graffiti to the battlefields of Twitter.

Encompassing literature, art, politics, showbiz, marriage, gender, nationality and religion, Matthew Parris’s sublime collection is the perfect companion for the festive season, whether you’re searching for the perfect elegant riposte, the rudest polite letter ever written, or a brutal verbal sledgehammer.

 

The ideal stocking-filler – miniature in size and big on malevolence.”            Francis Wheen, Mail on Sunday

 

 

Suzelle DIYary by Suzelle DIY

A creative do-it-yourself diary to DIY your way through any year! Write, doodle, make lists and plan your life in Suzelle style. Be inspired by DIY stickers, fun crafts and of course, some new tips and tricks from Suzelle’s sleeves.

 

November 2016

Tuesday, November 22nd 2016 at 10:33 AM

Fiction

Swing Time by Zadie Smith

Two brown girls dream of being dancers – but only one, Tracey, has talent. The other has ideas: about rhythm and time, about black bodies and black music, what constitutes a tribe, or makes a person truly free. It’s a close but complicated childhood friendship that ends abruptly in their early twenties, never to be revisited, but never quite forgotten, either…

Dazzlingly energetic and deeply human, Swing Time is a story about friendship and music and stubborn roots, about how we are shaped by these things and how we can survive them. Moving from north-west London to West Africa, it is an exuberant dance to the music of time.

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Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz

When editor Susan Ryeland is given the tattered manuscript of Alan Conway’s latest novel, she has little idea it will change her life. She’s worked with the revered crime writer for years and his detective, Atticus Pund, is renowned for solving crimes in the sleepy English villages of the 1950s. As Susan knows only too well, vintage crime sells handsomely. It’s just a shame that it means dealing with an author like Alan Conway…

From Sunday Times bestseller Anthony Horowitz comes Magpie Murders, his deliciously dark take on the cosy crime novel, brought bang- up-to-date with a fiendish modern twist.

An ingenious novel-within-a-novel…part crime novel, part pastiche, this magnificent piece of crime fiction plays with the genre while also taking it seriously.”                   Sunday Times

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A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles

Image result for A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor TowlesOn 21 June 1922 Count Alexander Rostov is escorted out of the Kremlin, across Red Square and through the elegant revolving doors of the Hotel Metropol. But instead of being taken to his usual suite, he is led to an attic room with a window the size of a chessboard. Deemed an unrepentant aristocrat by a Bolshevik tribunal, the Count has been sentenced to house arrest indefinitely. While Russia undergoes decades of tumultuous upheaval, the Count, is forced to question what makes us who we are. And with the assistance of a glamorous actress, a cantankerous chef and a very serious child, Rostov unexpectedly discovers a new understanding of both pleasure and purpose.

Elegant… as lavishly filigreed as a Fabergé egg.”                      O, the Oprah Magazine

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The Wonder by Emma Donoghue

An eleven-year-old girl stops eating, but remains miraculously alive and well. A nurse, sent to investigate whether she is a fraud, meets a journalist hungry for a story.

Set in the Irish Midlands in the 1850s, Emma Donoghue’s The Wonder – inspired by numerous European and North American cases of ‘fasting girls’ between the sixteenth century and the twentieth – is a psychological thriller about a child’s murder threatening to happen in slow motion before our eyes. Pitting all the seductions of fundamentalism against sense and love, it is a searing examination of what nourishes us, body and soul.

Donoghue mines material that on the face of it appears intractably bleak and surfaces with a powerful, compulsively readable work of fiction.”                Irish Times

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Commonwealth by Ann Patchett

A powerful story of two families brought together by beauty and torn apart by tragedy, the new novel by the Orange Prize-winning author of Bel Canto and State of Wonder is her most astonishing yet.

Told with equal measures of humour and heartbreak, Commonwealth is a powerful and tender tale of family, betrayal and the far-reaching bonds of love and responsibility. A meditation on inspiration, interpretation and the ownership of stories.

An outstanding novel … The opening is a show stopper . Patchett is a pleasure to read: there is a no-fuss casualness to the prose that is only possible when a writer is in control of every word and she is master of her art . What is so skilful is the way Patchett makes no moral judgments … Brilliant.”                   Observer

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Last Days of Night by Graham Moore

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • A thrilling novel based on actual events, about the nature of genius, the cost of ambition, and the battle to electrify America—from the Oscar-winning screenwriter of The Imitation Game and author of The Sherlockian.

New York, 1888. Gas lamps still flicker in the city streets, but the miracle of electric light is in its infancy. The person who controls the means to turn night into day will make history—and a vast fortune. A young untested lawyer named Paul Cravath, fresh out of Columbia Law School, takes a case that seems impossible to win. Paul’s client, George Westinghouse, has been sued by Thomas Edison over a billion-dollar question: Who invented the light bulb and holds the right to power the country?

A model of superior historical fiction . . . Graham Moore digs deep into long-forgotten facts to give us an exciting, sometimes astonishing story of two geniuses locked in a brutal battle to change the world. . .[A] brilliant journey into the past.”                  Washington Post

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S.N.U.F.F by Victor Pelevin

Image result for S.N.U.F.F by Victor PelevinS.N.U.F.F. is a hard-hitting and timely satirical story about war, revolution and their relationship with the media. S.N.U.F.F. is a superb post-apocalyptic novel, exploring the conflict between the nation of Urkaine, its causes and its relationship with the city ‘Big Byz’ above. Contrasting poverty and luxury, low and high technology, barbarity and civilisation – while asking questions about the nature of war, the media, entertainment and humanity.

Invention bubbles out of every paragraph; metaphors are pushed until they fall over; pantomime slips into nuanced parody and back again…there are so many good jokes, and conceits and notions.”                        M. John Harrison, TLS

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Rotten Row by Petina Gappah

In her wonderful new story collection, Petina Gappah crosses the barriers of class, race, gender and sexual politics in Zimbabwe to explore the causes and effects of crime, and to meditate on the nature of justice. Rotten Row represents a leap in artistry and achievement from the award-winning author of An Elegy for Easterly and The Book of Memory. With compassion and humour, Petina Gappah paints portraits of lives aching for meaning to produce a moving and universal tableau.

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Death’s End (Three Body Problem) by Cixin Liu

Half a century after the Doomsday Battle, the uneasy balance of Dark Forest Deterrence keeps the Trisolaran invaders at bay. With human science advancing and the Trisolarans adopting Earth culture, it seems that the two civilizations can co-exist peacefully as equals without the terrible threat of mutually assured annihilation. But peace has also made humanity complacent.

Cheng Xin, an aerospace engineer from the 21st century, awakens from hiber­nation in this new age. She brings knowledge of a long-forgotten program dating from the start of the Trisolar Crisis, and her presence may upset the delicate balance between two worlds. Will humanity reach for the stars or die in its cradle?

A breakthrough book … a unique blend of scientific and philosophical speculation, politics and history, conspiracy theory and cosmology, where kings and emperors from both western and Chinese history mingle in a dreamlike game world, while cops and physicists deal with global conspiracies, murders, and alien invasions in the real world.”              George RR Martin

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Seconds by Bryan Lee O’Malley

Image result for Seconds by Bryan Lee O'MalleyFrom the mind and pen behind the acclaimed Scott Pilgrim graphic series comes a madcap new tale of existential angst, everyday obstacles, young love, and ancient spirits that s sharp-witted and tenderhearted, whimsical and wise.

In Seconds, Bryan Lee O Malley plays the angst of youth against the fabric of a larger epic. In doing so, he enriches both. A great ride!”                      Guillermo del Toro

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About Us

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Empires in the Sun: The Struggle for Mastery in Africa by Lawrence James

In this compelling history of the men and ideas that radically changed the course of world history, Lawrence James investigates and analyses how, within a hundred years, Europeans persuaded and coerced Africa into becoming a subordinate part of the modern world. His narrative is laced with the experiences of participants and onlookers and introduces the men and women who, for better or worse, stamped their wills on Africa.

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Confronting the Corrupt: Accountability Now’s Battle Against Graft in South Africa by Paul Hoffman

The infamous Seriti Commission into the arms deal. The Glenister case following the disbanding of the Scorpions. Busting open the bread manufacturers’ cartel. High drama; high stakes brought to South Africa courtesy of the Accountability Now NGO and its founder, Paul Hoffman. Join him in his journey from jaded silk to corruption buster – a fly-on-the-wall account of courtroom clashes, influential personalities, secrets and lies in the battle to speak truth to power. Confronting the Corrupt tells of Accountability Now’s biggest battles, leading to landmark decisions in jurisprudence and earning its place in the small but determined group of organisations protecting and upholding the rule of law in South Africa.

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We the People: Insights of an Activist Judge by Albie Sachs

The stirring collection of essays, talks and extracts by activists and former judge Albie Sachs marks more than 25 years of thinking about constitution making and non-racialism. Following the Constitutional Court’s landmark Nkandla ruling in March 2016, it serves as a powerful reminder of the tenets of the Constitution, the rule of law and the continuous struggle to uphold democratic rights and freedoms. .

Subjective experience and objective analysis interact powerfully in a personalised narrative that reasserts the value of constitutionality not just for South Africans, but for people striving to advance human dignity, equality and freedom across the planet today.

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Non-Fiction

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Blitzed: Drugs in Nazi Germany by Norman Ohler

Image result for Blitzed: Drugs in Nazi Germany by Norman OhlerThe sensational German bestseller on the overwhelming role of drug-taking in the Third Reich, from Hitler to housewives.

The Nazis presented themselves as warriors against moral degeneracy. Yet, as Norman Ohler’s gripping bestseller reveals, the entire Third Reich was permeated with drugs: cocaine, heroin, morphine and, most of all, methamphetamines, or crystal meth, used by everyone from factory workers to housewives, and crucial to troops’ resilience – even partly explaining German victory in 1940.

The promiscuous use of drugs at the very highest levels also impaired and confused decision-making, with Hitler and his entourage taking refuge in potentially lethal cocktails of stimulants administered by the physician Dr Morell as the war turned against Germany.

The most brilliant and fascinating book I have read in my entire life.”           Dan Snow

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Girl Trouble: An Illustrated Memoir by Kerry Cohen

Image result for Girl Trouble: An Illustrated Memoir by Kerry CohenBestselling memoirist and psychotherapist Kerry Cohen (Loose Girl: A Memoir of Promiscuity) explores complicated female friendships in Girl Trouble. Beginning with her relationship with her sister Tyler Cohen, who illustrates the memoir, Kerry examines the many ways female friendships can affect a girl’s life. From bullying and failed friendships to competition and painful break ups, Girl Trouble brings forth a story of how one girl learned to navigate the many difficulties of girls’ and women’s friendships. Girls and women everywhere will relate to the confusion, the hurt feelings, and they will also learn along with Kerry how she had to make better choices over the years

Cohen’s memoir is a deeply poignant, desperately sad account . . . commendably honest and frequently excruciating to read.”                      Publishers Weekly

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Birth of a Dream Weaver: A Writer’s Awakening by Ngǔgî wa Thiong’o

Image result for Birth of a Dream Weaver: A Writer’s Awakening by Ngǔgî wa Thiong’oAs a young student, internationally renowned author Ngugi wa Thiong’o found his voice as a playwright, journalist and novelist, writing his first, pivotal works just as the countries of East Africa were in the final throes of their independence struggles.

Birth of a Dream Weaver is a moving and thought-provoking memoir of the birth of one of the most important writers today, and the death of one of the most violent periods in global history.

Ngugi has written an autobiographical masterpiece… a riveting read in African history and literature.”                         Library Journal

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In the Darkroom by Susan Faludi

From the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and bestselling author, an astonishing confrontation with the enigma of her father and the larger riddle of identity consuming our age.

When the feminist writer learned that her 76-year-old father – long estranged and living in Hungary – had undergone sex reassignment surgery, that investigation would turn personal and urgent. How was this new parent who identified as “a complete woman now” connected to the silent, explosive, and ultimately violent father she had known, the photographer who’d built his career on the alteration of images?

Faludi’s struggle to come to grips with her father’s metamorphosis takes her across borders – historical, political, religious, sexual – to bring her face to face with the question of the age: Is identity something you “choose,” or is it the very thing you can’t escape?

An absolute stunner of a memoir ― probing, steel-nerved, moving in ways you’d never expect.”                        New York Times

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Where the Jews Aren’t by Masha Gessen

The previously untold story of the Jews in twentieth-century Russia that reveals the complex, strange, and heart-wrenching truth behind the familiar narrative that begins with pogroms and ends with emigration.

Masha Gessen gives us a haunting account of the dream of Birobidzhan and how it became the cracked and crooked mirror in which we can see the true story of the Jews in twentieth-century Russia.

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Prisoners of Geography: Ten Maps That Tell You Everything You Need to Know About Global Politics by Tim Marshall

All leaders are constrained by geography. Their choices are limited by mountains, rivers, seas and concrete. Yes, to follow world events you need to understand people, ideas and movements – but if you don’t know geography, you’ll never have the full picture.

If you’ve ever wondered why Putin is so obsessed with Crimea, why the USA was destined to become a global superpower, or why China’s power base continues to expand ever outwards, the answers are all here.

Quite simply, one of the best books about geopolitics you could imagine: reading it is like having a light shone on your understanding… Marshall is clear-headed, lucid and possessed of an almost uncanny ability to make the broad picture accessible and coherent … the book is, in a way which astonished me, given the complexities of the subject, unputdownable… I can’t think of another book that explains the world situation so well.”                 Nicholas Lezard, Evening Standard

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Genghis Khan: The Man Who Conquered the World by Frank McLynn

Genghis Khan was by far the greatest conqueror the world has ever known, whose empire stretched from the Pacific Ocean to central Europe, including all of China, the Middle East and Russia. So how did an illiterate nomad rise to such colossal power, eclipsing Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar and Napoleon? Credited by some with paving the way for the Renaissance, condemned by others for being the most heinous murderer in history, who was Genghis Khan?

Combining fast-paced accounts of battles with rich cultural background and the latest scholarship, Frank McLynn brings vividly to life the strange world of the Mongols, describes Temujin’s rise from boyhood outcast to become Genghis Khan, and provides the most accurate and absorbing account yet of one of the most powerful men ever to have lived.

This powerful and comprehensive study of the great Mongol takes your breath away with the sheer scale and fury of the man’s conquests and cruelties. Told with chilling relish.”                   Melvyn Bragg, Observer Books of the Year

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Universal: A Guide to the Cosmos by Brian Cox and Jeff Forshaw

Image result for Universal: A Guide to the Cosmos by Brian Cox and Jeff ForshawWe dare to imagine a time before the Big Bang, when the entire Universe was compressed into a space smaller than an atom. And now, as Brian Cox and Jeff Forshaw show, we can do more than imagine: we can understand. Over the centuries, the human urge to discover has unlocked an incredible amount of knowledge. What it reveals to us is breathtaking.

Science reveals a deeper beauty, connects us to each other, to our world, and to our Universe; and, by understanding the groundbreaking work of others, reaches out into the unknown. What’s more, as Universal shows us, if we dare to imagine, we can all do it.

There is still much to learn about our universe. Universal will help inspire those who share my fascination with our planets, the solar system and beyond.”                        Buzz Aldrin

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Reality is Not What it Seems by Carlo Rovelli

From the bestselling author of Seven Brief Lessons on Physics comes a new book about the mind-bending nature of the universe

Do space and time truly exist? What is reality made of? Can we understand its deep texture? Scientist Carlo Rovelli has spent his whole life exploring these questions and pushing the boundaries of what we know. In this mind-expanding book, he shows how our understanding of reality has changed throughout centuries, from Democritus to loop quantum gravity. Taking us on a wondrous journey, he invites us to imagine a whole new world where black holes are waiting to explode, spacetime is made up of grains, and infinity does not exist — a vast universe still largely undiscovered.

Rovelli writes with elegance, clarity and charm… A joy to read, as well as being an intellectual feast.”              New Statesman

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The Cyclist Who Went Out In the Cold: Adventures Along the Iron Curtain Trail by Tim Moore

Image result for The Cyclist Who Went Out In the Cold: Adventures Along the Iron Curtain Trail by Tim MooreScaling a new peak of rash over-ambition, Tim Moore tackles the 9,000km route of the old Iron Curtain on a tiny-wheeled, two-geared East German shopping bike.
Asking for trouble and getting it, he sets off from the northernmost Norwegian-Russian border at the Arctic winter’s brutal height, bullying his plucky MIFA 900 through the endless and massively sub-zero desolation of snowbound Finland.

After three months, 20 countries and a 58-degree jaunt up the centigrade scale, man and bike finally wobble up to a Black Sea beach in Bulgaria, older and wiser, but mainly older.

Bill Bryson on two wheels.”           Independent

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Time Travel: A History by James Gleick

From the acclaimed author of The Information and Chaos, here is a mind-bending exploration of time travel: its subversive origins, its evolution in literature and science, and its influence on our understanding of time itself.

In his enthralling new book, James Gleick mounts H.G. Wells’s time machine for an invigorating ride through the most baffling of the four dimensions. In these pages, time flies.”                        John Banville, author of The Sea

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Gift Books

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South Africa: The Art of a Nation

This beautiful book begins with the first artistic stirrings of our earliest ancestors and the first African kingdoms through to the creation of 3D figurative art and specialised artisans. It then considers the influence of Dutch, British, Malay, Chinese and Indian settlers from the 16th century onwards and the ensuing conflicts, followed by a focus on the British colonial period and the European obsession with the exotic and the objectification of African bodies. A chapter on segregation after the Union of South Africa in 1910 and Resistance Art during the apartheid era of c.1970 to 1989 is followed by a final section looking at South Africa’s transformation from an apartheid state to the ‘Rainbow Nation’, and the country’s current artistic optimism.

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Obie: A Photographic Story by Obie Oberholzer

Obie encompasses a decades-long sweep of his life’s work and covers the globe. It is part coffee-table book, part travelogue, part autobiography and part storybook, with a bit of philosophy thrown in for good measure. Obie captures the rare, the human, the wonderful, the cosmic even. And he doesn’t just take pictures; he also meticulously records it all in words. His descriptions are often as intriguing, as beautiful or as crazy as his photographs.

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Oh So Pretty: Punk in Print 1976-1980 by Rick Poynor and Toby Mott

A compelling visual portrait of a time, place, and subculture that raised a middle finger to modern society.

Oh So Pretty: Punk in Print 1976-80 is an unrivalled collection of visually striking ephemera from Britain’s punk subculture. It presents 500 artefacts – ‘zines,’ gig posters, flyers, and badges – from well-known and obscure musical acts, designers, venues, and related political groups. While punk was first and foremost a music phenomenon, it reflected a DIY spirit and instantly recognizable aesthetic that was as raw and strident and irrepressible as the music. As disposable as the items in this book once were, together they tell a story about music, history, class, and art, and document a seismic shift in society and visual culture.

The appeal of punk ephemera is growing among wealthy collectors… Mott points out another reason to carry on collecting: in the internet age the physical evidence of punk is even more precious.”                   Financial Times Wealth

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Non-Stop Metropolis: A New York city Atlas by Rebecca Solnit and Joshua Jelly-Schapiro

Image result for Non-Stop Metropolis: A New York city Atlas by Rebecca Solnit and Joshua Jelly-SchapiroNonstop Metropolis conveys innumerable unbound experiences of New York City through twenty-six imaginative maps and informative essays. Bringing together the insights of dozens of experts-from linguists to music historians, ethnographers, urbanists, and environmental journalists-amplified by cartographers, artists, and photographers, it explores all five boroughs of New York City and parts of nearby New Jersey.

In orienting oneself in this atlas…one is invited to fathom the many New Yorks hidden from history s eye…thoroughly terrific.”                Maria Popova, Brain Pickings

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The Odditorium by David Bramwell

Image result for The Odditorium by David BramwellThe Odditorium is a celebration of history’s lesser known creative mavericks; the tricksters, subversives and pioneers whose passion and obsession proved there are no limits or rules when it comes to human potential. From the Victorian prankster who sent 30,000 objects through the Royal Mail (including his Irish Terrier) to the housewife who grew giant peanuts using atomic energy, you’ll find inspiring stories of originality, energy and eccentricity, and learn how these heroic failures and visionaries re-invigorated culture and helped us find new ways to understand ourselves and the world around us.

Outsider artists, linguists, scientists, time travellers and architects all feature in The Odditorium, each of whom risked ostracism, ridicule and even madness in pursuit of carving their own esoteric path, changing the world in wonderful ways.

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Faber Poetry Diary 2017

Related imageThe Faber poetry list, originally founded in the 1920s, was shaped by the taste of T.S. Eliot, who was its guiding light for nearly forty years. Since the sixties, each passing decade has seen the list grow with the addition of poets who were arguably the finest of their generation. In recent years the creation of the Poet-to-Poet series has further broadened the scope of Faber poetry to include the work of great poets from the past, selected and introduced by the contemporary poets they have inspired.

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Release Your Anger/Memos to Shitty People – Colouring for Adults!

Incompetent co-worker? Annoying neighbour? Rubbish friend? Colour away your frustration with over thirty-five delightful and vulgar phrases you wish you’d said out loud.
Each single-sided page includes such tension-busting phrases as, ‘Seriously, Bitch?’ and ‘Oh look … the fuck-up fairy has visited’ alongside friendly critters and intricate flora to calm your nerves.

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Zapiro/Madam and Eve

Image result for madam and eve take us to your leader         Image result for zapiro annual

The annual offerings from some of our favourite cartoonists.

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Bookshops by Jorge Carrion/Browse: The World in Bookshops by Henry Hitchings

 . . . Image result for Browse: The World in Bookshops by Henry Hitchings

Two love letters to bookshops of the world (one featuring, ahem, The Book Lounge).

One is the travelogue of a lucid and curious observer, filled with anecdotes and stories from the universe of writing, publishing and selling books. A bookshop in Carrion’s eyes never just a place for material transaction; it is a meeting place for people and their ideas, a setting for world changing encounters, a space that can transform lives.

The other is a celebration of bookshops around the world, by an award-winning cast of writers including Ali Smith, Pankaj Mishra, Elif Shafak and Daniel Kehlmann

All these writers convey the magic of bookshops, while also making their vulnerability in recent times a recurrent theme.”                 Guardian

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Fashion: 150 Years/150 Designers

Image result for Fashion: 150 Years/150 DesignersCovering everyone from Azzedine Alaïa to Yohji Yamamoto, and everything from Boho Chic to Space Age style, this is an indispensible and delightful guide to the creative world of fashion. This encyclopedic volume contains over 150 entries on designers and styles, with multiple images and a comprehensive text for each one. This guide includes all of the designers, movements and style icons that have created the history of international fashion from the 1860s all the way to today.

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The Earth and I by James Lovelock et al

Image result for The Earth and I by James Lovelock et alHuman beings are extraordinary creatures. So great is the extent of our influence on the planet, that many speak of a new geological era, the Anthropocene, an age defined by human-induced change to the blue and green globe we call home.
Our lofty status comes with responsibility as much as possibility: How should we approach our present and future? Conceived by James Lovelock, inventor of the Gaia theory, this illustrated essay collection brings together an all-star line-up of thinkers and scientists to offer essential understanding about who we are, how we live, and where we might be going.

The book s world-class contributors include quantum physicist Lisa Randall, Astronomer Royal Martin Rees, Pulitzer Prize-winning biologist Edward O. Wilson, and Nobel Prize-winning neuroscientist Eric Kandel. With lively illustrations from British artist Jack Hudson, the result is an inspiration for curious minds young and old, and a trusted tool kit for an informed and enlightened future.

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Overview: A New Perspective by Benjamin Grant

Image result for Overview: A New Perspective by Benjamin GrantA stunning and unique collection of satellite images of Earth that offer an unexpected look at humanity, derived from the wildly popular Daily Overview Instagram account.
More than 200 images of industry, agriculture, architecture, and nature highlight incredible patterns while also revealing a deeper story about human impact. This extraordinary photographic journey around our planet captures the sense of wonder gained from a new, aerial vantage point and creates a perspective of Earth as it has never been seen before.

Stunning, surprising and intriuging photographs of Earth from the skies.”   Guardian

Absolutely gorgeous, yet absolutely gut-wrenching.”    Wired

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Planet Earth 2 by Stephen Moss & David Attenborough

Image result for 978-184990965510 years on from the first, groundbreaking, Planet Earth, the BBC uses the most incredible advances in technology and scientific discovery to bring you the most exciting and immersive picture of our world’s wildlife yet.

With over 250 breathtaking photographs and stills from the BBC Natural History Unit’s spectacular footage, this is an extraordinary new look at the complex life of some of the most amazing places on Planet Earth.

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Letters of Note: Correspondence Deserving of a Wider Audience compiled by Shaun Usher


Letters of Note
 is a collection of over one hundred of the world’s most entertaining, inspiring and unusual letters, based on the seismically popular website of the same name – an online museum of correspondence visited by over 70 million people. From Virginia Woolf’s heart-breaking suicide letter, to Queen Elizabeth II’s recipe for drop scones sent to President Eisenhower; from the first recorded use of the expression ‘OMG’ in a letter to Winston Churchill, to Gandhi’s appeal for calm to Hitler; and from Iggy Pop’s beautiful letter of advice to a troubled young fan, to Leonardo da Vinci’s remarkable job application letter, Letters of Note is a celebration of the power of written correspondence which captures the humour, seriousness, sadness and brilliance that make up all of our lives.

Quite literally the most enjoyable volume it is possible to imagine. Every page is a marvel.” (Spectator)

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Plant: Exploring the Botanical World

Image result for Plant: Exploring the Botanical WorldThe ultimate gift for gardeners and art-lovers, featuring 300 of the most beautiful and pioneering botanical images ever. This fresh and visually stunning survey celebrates the extraordinary beauty and diversity of plants. It combines photographs and cutting-edge micrograph scans with watercolours, drawings, and prints to bring this universally popular and captivating subject vividly to life. This stunning compilation of botanically themed images includes iconic work by celebrated artists, photographers, scientists, and botanical illustrators, as well as rare and previously unpublished images.

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How It Works: The Cat (Ladybird Books for Grown-ups)

Image result for How It Works: The Cat (LadybirdThis delightful book is the latest in the series of Ladybird books which have been specially planned to help grown-ups with the world about them.

The large clear script, the careful choice of words, the frequent repetition and the thoughtful matching of text with pictures all enable grown-ups to think they have taught themselves to cope. Featuring original Ladybird artwork alongside brilliantly funny, brand new text. Look out for more new titles in this hilarious series!

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Bedtime Stories for Grown-Ups compiled by Ben Holden

There are few more precious routines than that of the bedtime story. So why do we discard this invaluable ritual as grown-ups to the detriment of our well-being and good health?

Poems and short stories, fairy tales and fables, reveries and nocturnes – from William Shakespeare to Haruki Murakami, Charles Dickens to Roald Dahl, Rabindranath Tagore to Nora Ephron, Vladimir Nabokov to Neil Gaiman – are all woven together to replicate the journey of a single night’s sleep.

I have been charmed by this collection, so unlike any other…It is truly enjoyable. Not only has it crept at once onto my bedside table, but it is also going to solve my Christmas present problem.”                                     Diana Athill

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In the Kitchen

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Reuben at Home by Reuben Riffel

Image result for Reuben at Home by Reuben RiffelReuben at Home offers readers a glimpse into the life and loves of Reuben Riffel when he’s not cooking in restaurant kitchens, running successful restaurants or appearing in front of the TV cameras. This is a personal, honest account of how Reuben feels about food and the way in which he chooses to feed his family and friends in his own home.

These recipes, all created by Reuben, were inspired by his memories of happy family meals and his favourite flavours from childhood. These are tastes he remembers from his past and which he now chooses to share with those he loves.

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Hoxton Street Monster Supplies Cookbook: Everyday Recipes for the Living, the Dead & the Undead

For hundreds of years, the Hoxton Street Monster Supplies shop has been supplying quality goods for the monster community from its premises in east London – and this, its classic recipe book, has been in use for just as long.

Now, for the first time, it has been adapted for use by humans as well as monsters. So whether you’re entertaining trolls, hosting a vampire soirée or expecting zombies round for tea, you can make delicious treats to suit every occasion.

– Fallen out with a friend? Bake them some 1000-year Curse Cookies!
– Want to woo a zombie? Try our After-Gorging Breath Mints!
– Unexpected ogre guests? Make our Fresh Maggot Brownies or Spiced Earwax Pie!

With recipes and handy hints for monster housekeeping, this classic tome is an essential addition to every home, lair, cave, swamp or fiery pit.

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Giving Back Childhood

Image result for Giving Back ChildhoodIn Giving Back Childhood, South African celebrities from the world of sport, music, media, academia, business, politics, literature, food and entertainment, as well as unsung heroes at the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital, share some of their own personal memories of food and childhood, as well as the recipes that are the on-going connection to those memories.

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Provence to Pondicherry: Recipes from France to Faraway by Tessa Kiros

Tessa Kiros, renowned for her exquisite food and travel books, takes us on a fascinating journey across the globe to explore French culinary influences in far-flung destinations. Her journey begins in Provence, where Tessa first fell in love with French food. She then takes the path of early French explorers, travelling to the island of Guadeloupe in the Caribbean; Vietnam in South-east Asia; Pondicherry on the Bay of Bengal, India; La Reunion, a French island in the Indian Ocean. The result is an intriguing collection of recipes that will appeal to all those with a broad interest in food and culture.

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For youngsters

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Picture/Gift Books

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A Child of Books by Oliver Jeffers and Sam Winston

In this inspiring, lyrical tale about the rewards of reading and sharing stories, a little girl sails her raft “across a sea of words” to arrive at the house of a small boy. There she invites him to come away with her on an adventure. Guided by his new friend, the boy unlocks his imagination and a lifetime of magic lies ahead of him. But who will be next? Elegant illustrations by Oliver Jeffers are accompanied by Sam Winston’s astonishing typographical landscapes, beautifully shaped from excerpts of children’s classics including Treasure Island, Little Women and The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, creating a gorgeous gift book perfect for readers of all ages, and this year’s must-have Christmas gift.

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We Found a Hat by Jon Klassen

Image result for We Found a Hat by Jon KlassenTwo turtles have found a hat. The hat looks good on both of them. But there are two turtles. And there is only one hat… Evoking hilarity and sympathy, the shifting eyes tell the tale in this perfectly paced story in three parts, highlighting Jon Klassen’s visual comedy, deceptive simplicity and deliciously deadpan humour.

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Botanicum (Welcome to the Museum) by Katie Scott

Image result for Botanicum (Welcome to the Museum) by Katie ScottBotanicum is a stunningly curated guide to plant life. With artwork from Katie Scott of Animalium fame, Botanicum gives readers the experience of a fascinating exhibition from the pages of a beautiful book.

From perennials to bulbs to tropical exotica, Botanicum is a wonderful feast of botanical knowledge complete with superb cross sections of how plants work.

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Freedom in Congo Square by Carole Boston Weatherford

Image result for Freedom in Congo Square by Carole Boston WeatherfordThis poetic, nonfiction story about a little-known piece of African American history captures a human s capacity to find hope and joy in difficult circumstances and demonstrates how New Orleans’ Congo Square was truly freedom s heart.
Mondays, there were hogs to slop,
mules to train, and logs to chop.
Slavery was no ways fair.
Six more days to Congo Square. 

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Ada Twist, Scientist by Andrea Beaty and David Roberts

Iggy Peck and Rosie Revere have earned their places among the most beloved children s characters and have inspired countless kids and adults to follow their passions. Determined Ada Twist, with her boundless curiosity for science and love of the question Why?, is destined to join these two favourites. Like her classmates Iggy and Rosie, Ada has always been hopelessly curious. She embarks on fact-finding missions and conducts scientific experiments, all in the name of discovery. When her house fills with a horrific, toe-curling smell, Ada knows it’s up to her to find the source. But, this time, her experiments lead to trouble.

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Age 9-12

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The Midnight Gang by David Walliams

Image result for midnight gangWelcome to the Midnight Gang! Midnight is the time when all children are fast asleep, except of course for… the Midnight Gang. That is when their adventures are just beginning…

When Tom gets hit on the head by a cricket ball, he finds himself at Lord Funt Hospital, and is greeted by a terrifying-looking porter. Things go from bad to worse when he meets the wicked matron in charge of the children’s ward… But Tom is about to embark on the most thrilling journey of a lifetime!

The Midnight Gang tells an extraordinarily heartwarming and, of course, funny story of five children on a hospital ward – and on a quest for adventure! It is a story of friendship and magic – and of making dreams come true. Readers are set to be utterly spellbound by this heartfelt story that will bring magic to everyone’s Christmas.

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Teens

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Kids of Appetite by David Arnold

Kids of Appetite by David Arnold is a tragicomedy of first love and devastating loss for fans of Rainbow Rowell and Jennifer Niven.

In the Hackensack Police Department, Vic Benucci and his friend Mad are explaining how they found themselves wrapped up in a grisly murder. But in order to tell that story, they have to go way back…

It all started when Vic’s dad died. Vic’s dad was his best friend, and even now, two years later, he can’t bring himself to touch the Untouchable Urn of Oblivion that sits in his front hall. But one cold December day, Vic falls in with an alluring band of kids that wander his New Jersey neighbourhood, including Mad, the girl who changes everything. Along with his newfound friendships comes the courage to open his father’s urn, the discovery of the message inside, and the epic journey it sparks.

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Holding Up the Universe by Jennifer Niven

From the author of the New York Times bestseller All the Bright Places comes a heart-wrenching story about what it means to see someone – and love someone – for who they truly are. Jennifer Niven delivers another poignant, exhilarating love story about finding that person who sees you for who you are – and seeing them right back.

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Lies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley

Image result for Lies We Tell Ourselves by Robin TalleyIt’s 1959. The battle for civil rights is raging. And it’s Sarah’s first day of school as one of the first black students at previously all-white Jefferson High.
No one wants Sarah there. Not the Governor. Not the teachers. And certainly not the students – especially Linda, daughter of the town’s most ardent segregationist.
Sarah and Linda are supposed to despise each other. But the more time they spend together, the less their differences matter. And both girls start to feel something they’ve never felt before. Something they’re determined to ignore.

Because it’s one thing to stand up to an unjust world – but another to be terrified of what’s in your own heart.

Happy reading and Christmas shopping!

 

 

October 2016

Monday, October 24th 2016 at 10:41 AM

Fiction

 

 

Bright, Precious Days by Jay McInerney

 

Image result for Bright, Precious Days by Jay McInerneyRussell and Corrine Calloway have spent half their lives in the bright lights of New York. Theirs is the generation that flew too close to the sun on wings of cocaine – and whose lives changed irrevocably when planes crashed into the Twin Towers. Now, in 2008, Russell runs his own publishing house and Corrine manages a food redistribution programme. He clings to their loft and the illusion of downtown bohemia, while she longs to have more space for their twelve-year-old twins.

Although they try to forget each other’s past indiscretions, when Jeff Pierce’s posthumous, autobiographical novel garners a new cult following, the memory of their friend begins to haunt the couple, and their marriage feels increasingly unstable. Not helped by the reappearance of Corrine’s former lover, Luke McGavock, whose ardour seems no cooler despite having a beautiful new wife in tow.

Acutely observed and brilliantly told, Bright, Precious Days dissects the moral complexities of relationships, while painting a portrait of New York as Obama and Clinton battle for leadership and the collapse of Lehman Brothers looms. A moving, deeply humane novel about the mistakes we make, persistence in struggle and love’s ability to adapt and survive, it confirms McInerney as a great chronicler of our times.

 

Don’t miss Jay McInerney at the Book Lounge on Tuesday November 8th!

 

“One of the most gifted writers of his generation … Whatever he does makes fascinating reading.””                  Observer

“No contemporary author quite matches Jay McInerney.”               Mail on Sunday

“Not only a brilliant stylist but a master of characterization, with a keen eye for the incongruities of urban life.”                        New York Times

“McInerney joins a small number of dissident novelists, headed by Norman Mailer, who change the way we look at American history.”                  Sunday Telegraph

“A scabrously scintillating stylist.”                 Guardian

“McInerney has a gift for the simultaneous perception of the glamour and tawdriness of city life.”                     Evening Standard

“Our modern-day Fitzgerald evokes New York’s fading glamour in Bright, Precious Days.”                       Vanity Fair

 

 

The Nix by Nathan Hill

Meet Samuel: stalled writer, bored teacher at a local college, obsessive player of online video games. He hasn’t seen his mother, Faye, in decades, not since she abandoned her family when he was a boy. Now she has suddenly reappeared, having committed an absurd politically motivated crime that electrifies the nightly news, beguiles the Internet, and inflames a divided America. The media paints Faye as a radical hippie with a sordid past, but as far as Samuel knows, his mother was an ordinary girl who married her high-school sweetheart. Which version of his mother is true? Two facts are certain: she’s facing some serious charges, and she needs Samuel’s help.

As Samuel begins to excavate his mother’s – and his country’s – history, the story moves from the rural Midwest of the 1960s, to New York City during Occupy Wall Street, back to Chicago in 1968 and, finally, to wartime Norway, home of the mysterious Nix. Samuel will unexpectedly find that he has to rethink everything he ever knew about his mother – a woman with an epic story of her own, a story she has kept hidden from the world.

 

“Nathan Hill is a maestro, a maestro of being terrific.”       John Irving

“Hill has so much talent to burn that he can pull off just about any style, imagine himself into any person and convincingly portray any place or time. The Nix is hugely entertaining and unfailingly smart, and the author seems incapable of writing a pedestrian sentence or spinning a boring story.”                  New York Times Book Review

“We’re in the presence of a major new comic novelist . . . a brilliant, endearing writer . . . Readers . . . will be dazzled.”                    
Washington Post

“There is an accidental topicality in Hill’s debut, about an estranged mother and son whose fates hinge on two mirror-image political events – the Democratic Convention of 1968 and the Republican Convention of 2004. But beyond that hook lies a high-risk, high-reward playfulness with structure and tone: comic set pieces, digressions into myth, and formal larks that call to mind Jennifer Egan’s A Visit From the Goon Squad.”                     New York Magazine

“Nathan Hill Is Compared to John Irving. Irving Compares Him to Dickens.”                                  
New York Times

 

 

 

Conclave by Robert Harris

Unputdownable.”                   Guardian
Gripping.”                   Sunday Times 

The Pope is dead.

Behind the locked doors of the Sistine Chapel, one hundred and eighteen cardinals from all over the globe will cast their votes in the world’s most secretive election.

They are holy men. But they have ambition. And they have rivals.

Over the next seventy-two hours one of them will become the most powerful spiritual figure on earth.
Gripping . . . like an ecclesiastical version of House of Cards.”                    The Times

Well-researched, intelligently observed and highly credible . . . Fast-moving and suspenseful, it’s elegantly written entertainment from a first-rate storyteller.”                         Mail on Sunday

“Grips like a vice and manages to convey all the drama of an election without resorting to melodrama”                         Jake Kerridge

“An electric read, like a shot of adrenalin to the heart…rollicking and literate…an insightful and witty thriller”              
 Literary Review

 

 

 

Judas by Amos Oz

Shmuel, a young, idealistic student, is drawn to a mysterious handwritten note on a campus noticeboard. This takes him to a strange house, where an elderly invalid man requires a paid companion, to argue with and read to him. But there is someone else in the house, too… A woman, who is trailed by ghosts from her past. Shmuel is captivated by her, a sexual obsession which evolves into gentle love and devotion; and he is pulled to the old man, an intellectual obsession which also evolves into gentle love and devotion. Shmuel begins to uncover the house’s tangled history and, in doing so, reaches an understanding that harks back not only to the beginning of the Jewish-Arab conflict, but also the beginning of Jerusalem itself – to Christianity, to Judaism, to Judas.

Set in the still-divided Jerusalem of 1959–60, Judas is an exquisite love story and coming-of-age tale, and a radical rethinking of the concept of treason. It is a novel steeped in desire and curiosity from one of Israel’s greatest living writers.

 

“[Judas is] many-layered, thought-provoking and – in its love story – delicate as a chrysalis, this is an old-fashioned novel of ideas that is strikingly and compellingly modern.”              Peter Stanford, Observer

“A very absorbing addition to his remarkable oeuvre”          Andrew Motion, Guardian

“This book is compassionate as well as painfully provocative, a contribution to some sort of deeper listening to the dissonances emerging from deep within the politics and theology of Israel and Palestine.”                        New Statesman

“After almost two dozen books that track changes in both heart and state with untiring strength and subtlety, the Israeli master has delivered one of the boldest of all his works… Nicholas de Lange, Oz’s distinguished translator, steers these virtuoso transitions between debate and domesticity with unerring skill… Oz can imagine, and inhabit, treachery of every stripe. But he keeps faith with the art of fiction.”                       Boyd Tonkin, Financial Times

 

 

 

Darktown by Thomas Mullen

 


Darktown
 is a relentlessly gripping, highly intelligent crime novel set in Atlanta in 1948, following the city’s first black police force investigating a brutal murder against all the odds.

‘Magnificent and shocking’                Sunday Times

Atlanta, 1948. In this city, all crime is black and white.

On one side of the tracks are the rich, white neighbourhoods; on the other, Darktown, the African-American area guarded by the city’s first black police force of only eight men. These cops are kept near-powerless by the authorities: they can’t arrest white suspects; they can’t drive a squad car; they must operate out of a dingy basement.

When a poor black woman is killed in Darktown having been last seen in a car with a rich white man, no one seems to care except for Boggs and Smith, two black cops from vastly different backgrounds. Pressured from all sides, they will risk their jobs, the trust of their community and even their own lives to investigate her death.

Their efforts bring them up against a brutal old-school cop, Dunlow, who has long run Darktown as his own turf – but Dunlow’s idealistic young partner, Rakestraw, is a young progressive who may be willing to make allies across colour lines . . .

Mullen blends the classic ingredients of det-fic noir with a well-researched and searing portrayal of pre-civil rights racial division. Magnificent and shocking (Sunday Times)

“One incendiary image ignites the next in this highly combustible procedural, set in the city’s rigidly segregated black neighborhoods during the pre-civil-rights era and written with a ferocious passion that’ll knock the wind out of you.”                       New York Times

“A terrific story that raises issues that have not vanished.”              Marcel Berlins, The Times

“From the very first page of Darktown, I was stunned, mesmerized, and instantly a huge fan of Tom Mullen. Beyond the history and the thrilling mystery, the book’s soul lies in the burgeoning partnership (and dare I say friendship) at the center of the book. It’s a reminder of the ties that cut across race in America. There is nothing I love more in a book than hope.”                    Attica Locke, author of Black Water Rising

“A fine, unflinching example of the increasingly widespread use of crime fiction to explore social issues; its plot is gripping.”                AD Miller, The Economist

“Fine Southern storytelling meets hard-boiled crime in a tale that connects an overlooked chapter of history to our own continuing struggles with race today.”               Charles Frazier, author of Cold Mountain

 

 

Inch Levels by Neil Hegarty

 

Patrick Jackson lies on his deathbed in Derry and recalls a family history marked by secrecy and silence, and a striking absence of conventional pieties. He remembers the death of an eight-year-old girl, whose body was found on reclaimed land called Inch Levels on the shoreline of Lough Swilly. And he is visited by his beloved but troubled sister Margaret and by his despised brother-in-law Robert, and by Sarah, his hard, unchallengeable mother.

Each of them could talk about events in the past that might explain the bleakness of their relationships, but leaving things unsaid has become a way of life. Guilt and memory beat against them, as shock waves from bombs in Derry travel down the river to shake the windows of those who have escaped the city.

 

A perceptive and moving study of remorse and resilience, of the legacy violence leaves behind, and of the intricacies of family life; in the world as Neil Hegarty conjures it, old secrets never die, and what’s past is never past.”               John Banville.

Unsettling and thought-provoking, with just enough ambiguity and nuance to convince, this is a bold and well-crafted debut.”                        Irish Times

Hegarty has a gift for lyrical description, and his authorial detachment adds to a pervading sense of bleakness.”                         Daily Mail

 

 

 

Selection Day by Aravind Adiga

The most exciting novelist writing in English today.”                      A. N. Wilson

 

Manjunath Kumar is fourteen. He knows he is good at cricket – if not as good as his elder brother Radha. He knows that he fears and resents his domineering and cricket-obsessed father, admires his brilliantly talented sibling and is fascinated by the world of CSI and by curious and interesting scientific facts. But there are many things, about himself and about the world, that he doesn’t know . . . Sometimes it seems as though everyone around him has a clear idea of who Manju should be, except Manju himself.

When Manju begins to get to know Radha’s great rival, a boy as privileged and confident as Manju is not, everything in Manju’s world begins to change and he is faced with decisions that will challenge both his sense of self and of the world around him . . .

 

“Selection Day is at its heart an engrossing and nuanced coming-of-age-novel . . . intriguing and subtly developed . . . [Adiga] has succeeded in composing a powerful individual story that, at the same time, does justice to life’s (and India’s) great indeterminacies.”                     Sunday Times

“[A] finely told, often moving, and intelligent novel . . . Adiga’s novel takes in class, religion and sexuality – all issues that disrupt the dream of a sport that cares for nothing but talent and temperament. Because Adiga is a novelist, and one who has grown in his art since his Booker prizewinning debut, The White Tiger, he knows how to talk about all these matters through his characters and their compelling stories.”             Kamila Shamsie, Guardian

“[Adiga] has always been drawn to that gap between the glitter and gleam of India Shining and the violence, inequality and social misery that give a partial lie to the nation’s desire to rebrand itself . . . [he] has written another snarling, witty state-of-the-nation address about a country in thrall to values that 19th-century moralists would have damned as “not cricket”.            
Observer

“Top-rate fiction from a young master . . . Adiga’s plot is gripping.”                       The Times

“Selection Day is a captivating and sensitive coming-of-age story . . . Adiga’s characters are getting more complex with each book, and this complexity makes his indictment of the contemporary world all the more urgent and convincing.”                Hirsh Sawhney, TLS

 

 

 

Resolution by A.N. Wilson

 

A.N. Wilson’s powerful new novel explores the life and times of one of the greatest British explorers, Captain Cook, and the golden age of Britain’s period of expansion and exploration.
Wilson’s protagonist, witness to Cook’s brilliance and wisdom, is George Forster, who travelled with Cook as botanist on board the HMS Resolution, on Cook’s second expedition to the southern hemisphere, and penned a famous account of the journey. Resolution moves back and forth across time, to depict Forster’s time with Cook, and his extraordinary later life, which ended with his death in Paris, during the French Revolution.
Wilson once again demonstrates his great powers as a master craftsman of the historical and the human in this richly evoked novel, which brings to life the real and the extraordinary, brilliantly drawing together a remarkable cast of characters in order to look at human endeavour, ingenuity and valour.

 

 

 

 

Fairy Tales

Beyond the Woods: Fairy Tales Retold edited by Paula Guran

Once upon a time, the stories that came to be known as fairy tales were cultivated to entertain adults more than children; it was only later that they were tamed and pruned into less thorny versions intended for youngsters. But in truth, they have continued to prick the imaginations of readers at all ages.
Over the years, authors have often borrowed bits and pieces from these stories, grafting them into their own writing, creating literature with both new meaning and age-old significance. In the last few decades or so, they ve also intentionally retold and reinvented the tales in a variety of waysdelightful or dark, wistful or wicked, sweet or satiricalthat forge new trails through the forests of fantastic fiction.
This new anthology compiles some of the best modern fairy-tale retellings and reinventions from award-winning and bestselling authors, acclaimed storytellers, and exciting new talents, into an enchanting collection. Explore magical new realms by traveling with us, “Beyond the Woods” . . .

Non-fiction

Memories from Moscow to the Black Sea by Teffi

 

Image result for teffi memories from moscowWonderfully idiosyncratic, coolly heartfelt and memorable.” William Boyd

I never imagined such a memoir could be possible… enthralling.” Antony Beevor

A vividly idiosyncratic personal account of the disintegration of Tsarist Russia after the Revolution, as alive to the farcical and the ridiculous as it is to the tragic; a bit like what Chekhov might have written if he had lived to experience it.”            Michael Frayn

 

The writer and satirist Teffi was a literary sensation in Russia until war and revolution forced her to leave her country for ever. Memories is her blackly funny and heartbreaking account of her final, frantic journey into exile across Russia-travelling by cart, freight train and rickety steamer-and the ‘ordinary and unheroic’ people she encounters. From refugees setting up camp on a dockside to a singer desperately buying a few ‘last scraps’ of fabric to make a dress, all are caught up in the whirlwind; all are immortalized by Teffi’s penetrating gaze.

Fusing exuberant wit and bitter horror, this is an extraordinary portrayal of what it means to say goodbye, with haunting relevance in today’s new age of diaspora. Published in English for the first time, it confirms the rediscovery of Teffi as one of the most humane, perceptive observers of her time, and an essential writer for ours.

 

Darkly funny… she did write in this very charming, humorous and light way that allowed her to slip in these satirical points in a way that was acceptable.”                       BBC Radio 4 Open Book

Memories might have been relentlessly bleak if it were not for its humour and Teffi’s indestructible positivity… Teffi’s world becomes somewhere we do not want to leave.”                                   Guardian

“Highly readable… she is not afraid to look into the depths of what human beings can do to one another and what happens when civilisation breaks down.”       Financial Times

“She always finds the funny but never loses sight of the sadness in the madness. Awesome.”                    Big Issue

“[Teffi] succeeds in conveying the sense of claustrophobia and disorientation that are the refugee condition.”                           New York Times Book Review

“[A] remarkable memoir… perhaps this is the essence of Teffi, the quality that makes her writing both potent and endearing: she pitches in.”                  New Statesman

 

 

 

Science & the City: The Mechanics Behind the Metropolis by Laurie Winkless

Cities are a big deal. More people now live in them than don’t, and with a growing world population, the urban jungle is only going to get busier in the coming decades. But how often do we stop to think about what makes our cities work?

Cities are built using some of the most creative and revolutionary science and engineering ideas – from steel structures that scrape the sky to glass cables that help us communicate at the speed of light – but most of us are too busy to notice. Science and the City is your guidebook to that hidden world, helping you to uncover some of the remarkable technologies that keep the world’s great metropolises moving.

Laurie Winkless takes us around cities in six continents to find out how they’re dealing with the challenges of feeding, housing, powering and connecting more people than ever before. In this book, you’ll meet urban pioneers from history, along with today’s experts in everything from roads to time, and you will uncover the vital role science has played in shaping the city around you. But more than that, by exploring cutting-edge research from labs across the world, you’ll build your own vision of the megacity of tomorrow, based on science fact rather than science fiction.

Science and the City is the perfect read for anyone curious about the world they live in.

 

“Offers a unique insight into the revolutionary thinking that is shaping big cities around the world.”                   Sunday Times

“Provides a fun and engaging insight into how cutting-edge technology is shaping our cities. Winkless’s love of science and curiosity shines through.”                       Irish Independent

 

“Fascinating, lucid and entertaining; her infectious enthusiasm for the subject lights up every page.”                  John O’Farrell, comedy scriptwriter and author of The Man Who Forgot His Wife

 

 

Take Six Girls: The Lives of the Mitford Sisters by Laura Thompson

 

Image result for take six girls mitfordThe eldest was a razor-sharp novelist of upper-class manners; the second was loved by John Betjeman; the third was a fascist who married Oswald Mosley; the fourth idolized Hitler and shot herself in the head when Britain declared war on Germany; the fifth was a member of the American Communist Party; the sixth became Duchess of Devonshire.

They were the Mitford sisters: Nancy, Pamela, Diana, Unity, Jessica and Deborah. Born into country-house privilege in the early years of the 20th century, they became prominent as ‘bright young things’ in the high society of interwar London. Then, as the shadows crept over 1930s Europe, the stark – and very public – differences in their outlooks came to symbolize the political polarities of a dangerous decade.

The intertwined stories of their stylish and scandalous lives – recounted in masterly fashion by Laura Thompson – hold up a revelatory mirror to upper-class English life before and after WWII.

 

“I was enthralled and charmed by this group biography of all six Mitford sisters, which tells the intertwined stories of their stylish scandalous lives in a fresh and admirably concise way – and with a striking contemporary sensibility too.”                 Bookseller, Editor’s Choice

“Engaging … Thompson’s is an astute, highly readable and well assembled book, and she writes with particular intelligence about the sisters’ self-mythologising and their ongoing hold on the public imagination.”                   Observer

“Thompson is marvellous at mapping and explicating the webs or skeins of sibling rivalry [in this] gripping and appalling family saga.”                        The Times

“The first book to consider “the whole six-pack” in the post-Mitford age. And what a remarkable story it is … Thompson retells the story with great style and illuminating detail.”                        Independent

 

 

Feminist Fight Club by Jessica Bennett

Engaging, hilarious and practical – I will proudly proclaim myself a card-carrying member of the FFC.”             Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook and bestselling author of Lean In

This is a call to arms.

Are you aged zero to infinity? Finished with the sexist status quo? Ready to kick ass and take names?

Welcome to the Feminist Fight Club. You have lifetime membership.

Feminist Fight Club provides an arsenal of weapons for surviving in an unequal world. You will learn how to fight micro-aggressions, correct unconscious bias, deal with male colleagues who can’t stop ‘manterrupting’ or ‘bro-propriating’ your ideas – and how to lean in without falling the f*ck over.

Every woman needs this book – and they needed it yesterday.

This is not a drill.

 

“I’ll be buying this for any young woman I know starting out on her career … It is invaluable wisdom.”               Sunday Times

“Funny and fresh … One of those books that every person, not just every woman, should read.”              Glamour

“A classic, f*ck-you feminist battle guide, with unapologetic strategies for how to get down and strength up with female comrades to fight patriarchy on the daily. Every woman should have a Feminist Fight Club.”                   Ilana Glazer, comedian and co-creator of BROAD CITY

“This book offers the weapons that women need to win the war on inequality. With mighty wit, Jessica Bennett shows women how to defeat the enemies – and men how to stop being enemies. I was not prepared to laugh out loud so many times while learning so much about a serious topic. “                      
Adam Grant, bestselling author of ORIGINALS and GIVE AND TAKE

 

 

Why It’s Not All Rocket Science: Scientific Theories and Experiments Explained by Robert Cave

In Why It’s Not All Rocket Science , Robert Cave examines 100 extraordinary projects, theories and experiments that have been conducted in the name of science. Some, including various nuclear tests, have attracted controversy and hostility; others, such as Johann Wilhelm Ritter’s erotic self-experiments with a voltaic pile, seem downright weird. But Cave demonstrates, thoroughly and informatively, that it is only by doggedly asking awkward questions, and paying close attention to the answers, that scientists have been able to make progress.
From spider monkeys to human cyborgs, and from swimming in syrup to chaos theory, Cave places each experiment and discovery in its scientific context to present an entertaining guide to some of the most jaw-dropping entries in the history of science. Why It’s Not All Rocket Science contains chapters on the brain, the body, society and communications, planet Earth and the Universe, and to read it is to gain startling insights into why scientists seem to behave so oddly, and how their brilliant if sometimes bizarre work benefits all of society.

 

 

Lara: The Untold Love Story that Inspired Doctor Zhivago by Anna Pasternak

The heartbreaking story of the passionate love affair between Boris Pasternak and Olga Ivinskaya – the tragic true story that inspired ‘Doctor Zhivago’.

‘Doctor Zhivago’ has sold in its millions yet the true love story that inspired it has never been fully explored. Pasternak would often say ‘Lara exists, go and meet her’, directing his visitors to the love of his life and literary muse, Olga Ivinskaya. They met in 1946 at the literary journal where she worked. Their relationship would last for the remainder of their lives.

Olga paid an enormous price for loving ‘her Boria’. She became a pawn in a highly political game and was imprisoned twice in Siberian labour camps because of her association with him and his controversial work. Her story is one of unimaginable courage, loyalty, suffering, tragedy, drama and loss.

Drawing on both archival and family sources, Anna Pasternak’s book reveals for the first time the critical role played by Olga in Boris’s life and argues that without Olga it is likely that Doctor Zhivago would never have been completed or published.

 

Meticulously researched.”                Sunday Times

 

Anna Pasternak has produced an irresistible account of joy, suffering and passion.”                    Financial Times

 

A story with enough romance and suffering to make a moving novel or film in its own right.”                Observer

 

Anna Pasternak does not spare an ounce of drama nor detail from the story of her great uncle’s love affair with Olga Ivinskaya, the inspiration for Doctor Zhivago’s Lara. The result is a profoundly moving meditation on love, loyalty, and, ultimately, forgiveness.”                        Amanda Foreman

 

 

When Zuma Goes by Ralph Mathekga

 

Image result for When Zuma Goes by Ralph MathekgaWhen Jacob Zuma retires to Nkandla, what will be left behind?

South Africa has been in the grip of the “Zunami” since May 2009: Scandal, corruption and allegations of state capture have become synonymous with the Zuma era, leaving the country and its people disheartened.

But Jacob Zuma’s time is running out. Whether he leaves the presidency after the ANC’s national conference in 2017, stays on until 2019, or is forced to retire much sooner, the question is: what impact will his departure have on South Africa, its people and on the ruling party? Can we fix the damage, and how?

Ralph Mathekga answers these questions and more as he puts Zumaʼs leadership, and what will come after, in the spotlight.

 

 

Student, Comrade, Prisoner, Spy by Bridget Hilton-Barber

 

Image result for Student, Comrade, Prisoner, Spy by Bridget Hilton-BarberWhen Bridget Hilton-Barber got on a train to Grahamstown in 1982 to study journalism at Rhodes University, she had no idea of the brutal drama that would unfold.

 

A rebellious young woman, she became politically involved in anti-apartheid organisations and was caught up in the massive resistance and repression sweeping the Eastern Cape at the time. She ended up spending three months in detention without trial, and after her release discovered she had been betrayed by one of her best friends, Olivia Forsyth, who was a spy for the South African security police.

 

Thirty years later, a horrific flashback triggers Bridget’s journey back to the Eastern Cape to see if she can forgive her betrayer and finally let go of the extraordinary violence she encountered in the final days of apartheid. This is her powerful story.

 

 

Field Guide to Lies and Statistics by Daniel Levitin

 

Image result for Field Guide to Lies and Statistics by Daniel LevitinThe bestselling author of The Organized Mind explains and debunks statistics in the information age

We live in a world of information overload. Facts and figures on absolutely everything are at our fingertips, but are too often biased, distorted, or outright lies. From unemployment figures to voting polls, IQ tests to divorce rates, we’re bombarded by seemingly plausible statistics on how people live and what they think. In a world where anyone can become an expert at the click of a button, being able to see through the tricks played with statistics is more necessary than ever before. Daniel Levitin teaches us how to effectively ask ourselves: can we really know that? And how do they know that?

In this eye-opening, entertaining and accessible guide filled with fascinating examples and practical takeaways, acclaimed neuroscientist Daniel Levitin shows us how learning to understand statistics will enable you to make quicker, better-informed decisions to simplify your life.

 

“A Field Guide to Lies by the neuroscientist Daniel Levitin lays out the many ways in which each of us can be fooled and misled by numbers and logic, as well as the modes of critical thinking we will need to overcome this.”                    The Wall Street Journal 

 

 

 

Virago Book of Women Gardeners edited by Deborah Kellaway

 

Image result for Virago Book of Women Gardeners edited by Deborah KellawayFrom diggers and weeders, to artists and colourists, writers and dreamers to trend-setters, plantswomen to landscape designers, women have contributed to the world of gardening and gardens. Here Deborah Kellaway, author of The Making of an English Country Garden and Favourite Flowers , has collected extracts from the 18th century to the present day, to create a book that is replete with anecdotes and good-humoured advice. Colette, Margery Fish, Germaine Greer, Eleanor Sinclair Rohde, Vita Sackville-West, Rosemary Verey, Edith Wharton and Dorothy Wordsworth are some of the writers represented in this book.

 

“A glorious and fertile compendium”.                        Independent

“Kellaway’s intelligent and tender book enlarges the sense of human possibility.”                         Observer

“Boldly editied, the equivalent of a well-planted border with not a gap of bare earth, all season-colour interest, and no visible pea-sticks.”                   Lynne Truss, Sunday Times

 

 

The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo by Amy Schumer

 

Image result for The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo by Amy SchumerThe highly anticipated first book from award-winning comedian, writer, producer and actress, Amy Schumer.

In The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo, Amy shares stories about her family, her relationships, her career, good – and bad – sex, recounting the experiences that have shaped who she is today: from the riches to rags story of her childhood to her teenage quest for popularity (and boys) to becoming one of the most sought-after comedians on the planet and an outspoken advocate for women’s rights.

Whether she’s experiencing lust at first sight in the queue at the airport, discovering her boot camp instructor’s secret bad habit, or candidly discussing her father’s multiple sclerosis, Amy Schumer proves to be a fearless, original, and always entertaining storyteller. Her book will move you, make you laugh, catch you completely off guard, and answer this burning question: is it okay for a 35 year-old woman to still sleep with her childhood teddy bears?

 

Amy Schumer’s deadpan honesty shines through in these hilarious, moving vignettes about life, love and her early years.”             Observer

 

This book is soulful, hilarious and deeply necessary.”                     Lena Dunham

 

Schumer has written a probing, confessional, unguarded, and, yes, majorly humanizing non-memoir, a book that trades less on sarcasm, and more on emotional resonance.”           Vogue

 

Schumer is a talented storyteller. She’s known for standing in a spotlight and sharing every corner of her soul with thousands of strangers. So it’s no surprise that her book is packed with hilarious, honest and often vulnerably raw details of her life… Readers will laugh and cry, and may put the book down from moments of honesty that result in uncomfortable realistic details from her life.”                    Washington Post

 

 

 

Emily Hobhouse: Beloved Traitor by Elsabé Brits

 

Image result for Emily Hobhouse: Beloved Traitor by Elsabé BritsA fresh, nuanced look at an extraordinary woman and her lifelong fight for justice. Defying the constraints of her gender and class, Emily Hobhouse travelled across continents and spoke out against oppression. A passionate pacifist and a feminist, she opposed both the 1899-1902 Anglo-Boer War and World War One, which led to accusations of treason. Despite saving thousands of lives in two wars, she died alone – an unsung hero in her own country. Elsabé Brits travelled in Emily Hobhouse’s footsteps, retracing her inspirational, often astonishing story. In Canada the author discovered Hobhouse’s handwritten notebooks, scrapbooks and letters in a trunk. With Emily Hobhouse: Beloved Traitor, she brings to life a colourful story of war, heroism and passion, spanning three continents.

 

 

 

 

 

Graphic and Art

 

A History of Pictures by David Hockney and Martin Gayford

 

Image result for hockney history of picturesThe making of pictures has a history going back perhaps 100,000 years to an African shell used as a paint palette. Two-thirds of it is irrevocably lost, since the earliest images known to us are from about 40,000 years ago. But what a 40,000 years, explored here by David Hockney and Martin Gayford in a brilliantly original book. They privilege no medium, or period, or style, but instead, in 16 chapters, discuss how and why pictures have been made, and insistently link ‘art’ to human skills and human needs.
Each chapter addresses an important question: What happens when we try to express reality in two dimensions? Why is the ‘Mona Lisa’ beautiful and why are shadows so rarely found in Chinese, Japanese and Persian painting? Why are optical projections always going to be more beautiful than HD television can ever be? How have the makers of images depicted movement? What makes marks on a flat surface interesting?
Energized by two lifetimes of looking at pictures, combined with a great artist’s 70-year experience of experimentation as he makes them, this profoundly moving and enlightening volume will be the art book of the decade.

 

“What makes some pictures a masterpiece? Who better to explain than our greatest living artist, as he teams up with art critic Martin Gayford to open your eyes to the works of genius he holds dear.”                Mail on Sunday 

“His sharp and often delightfully slanted take on pictures, explained in clear terms, crisps up perceptions and help readers to look anew.”                       Rachel Campbell-Johnston, The Times

 

“Reality,” Hockney says, “is a slippery concept.” And that is why this book is so utterly fascinating. It is why, when I had finished reading it through, I immediately sat down to read it again. And why I keep dipping into it. Whether they are telling us about the history of scientific instruments, such as the telescope (Gayford is especially good on this), or revisiting images we thought were familiar, such as the mirror in Jan van Eyck’s The Arnolfini Portrait, or the Mona Lisa, they always have something original to say.”                       AN Wilson, Sunday Times

 

 

Black Panther by Ta-Nehisi Coates

 

Image result for Black Panther by Ta-Nehisi CoatesMacArthur Genius and National Book Award-winner T- Nehisi Coates (Between the World and Me) takes the helm, confronting T’Challa with a dramatic upheaval in Wakanda. When a superhuman terrorist group that calls itself The People sparks a violent uprising, the land famed for its incredible technology and proud warrior traditions will be thrown into turmoil. If Wakanda is to survive, it must adapt – but can its monarch survive the necessary change? Collecting: Black Panther 1-4

 

 

 

Survivor’s Club by Lauren Beukes

 

Image result for Survivor's Club by Lauren BeukesWhat if the horror movies of the 1980s were real?
Where are those kids today?

The haunted house, the demonic doll, the cursed video game, the monstrous neighbor, the vengeful ghost, the killer imaginary friend…in 1987 a wave of horrors struck six communities around the globe. Six traumatized kids survived those events, and grew up haunted by what happened to them.

Almost 30 years later, the six survivors are drawn together in Los Angeles to confront a terrifying childhood nightmare that has returned, bringing up their own traumas and dragging their dark secrets into the light. Somehow, they’re all connected. But when personal horrors collide, they’ll be forced to confront one another’s demons.

And then they’ll discover that staying alive was only the beginning…

Award-winning novelist Lauren Beukes and co-writer Dale Halvorsen join artist Ryan Kelly for a bloody journey of self-discovery in SURVIVORS’ CLUB, a terrifying new vision of horror in an inescapably interconnected world. Collects #1-9.

 

 

Happy Reading!

September 2016

Monday, September 26th 2016 at 10:36 AM

Fiction

Nutshell by Ian McEwan

Trudy has betrayed her husband, John. She’s still in the marital home – a dilapidated, priceless London townhouse – but not with John. Instead, she’s with his brother, the profoundly banal Claude, and the two of them have a plan. But there is a witness to their plot: the inquisitive, nine-month-old resident of Trudy’s womb.

Told from a perspective unlike any other, Nutshell is a classic tale of murder and deceit from one of the world’s master storytellers.

An astonishing act of literary ventriloquism unlike any in recent literature. A bravura performance, it is the finest recent work from a true master… Told from a perspective unlike any other, Nutshell is a shocking tale of murder and treachery from one of the world’s master storytellers.”      Telegraph

Ian McEwan’s embryonic spin on Hamlet is a virtuoso feat of wordplay … Virtuoso entertainment.”                    Observer

At once playful and deadly serious, delightful and frustrating it is one of McEwan’s hardest to categorise works, and all the more interesting for it.”             The Times

A fast, arch beach read… A psychological thriller with a bad marriage and murder at its centre… McEwan has thrown in Gone Girl intrigue with The Girl on the Train suspense and given us his take on how toxic a marriage can get when spliced with a Shakespearean cast. Who knew McEwan could mix high and low literary genres to create such a bizarrely readable mash-up?”                        Independent

 

Here I Am by Jonathan Safran Foer

Image result for Here I Am by Jonathan Safran FoerA monumental new novel about modern family lives from the bestselling author of Everything Is Illuminated and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

God asked Abraham to sacrifice his beloved son Isaac, and Abraham replied obediently, ‘Here I am’.

This is the story of a fracturing family in a moment of crisis. Over the course of three weeks in present-day Washington DC, three sons watch their parents’ marriage falter and their family home fall apart. Meanwhile, a larger catastrophe is engulfing another part of the world: a massive earthquake devastates the Middle East, sparking a pan-Arab invasion of Israel. With global upheaval in the background and domestic collapse in the foreground, Jonathan Safran Foer asks us – what is the true meaning of home? Can one man ever reconcile the conflicting duties of his many roles – husband, father, son? And how much of life can a person bear?

“[Here I Am is] an ambitious platter of intellection and emotion. Its observations are crisp; its intimations of doom resonate; its jokes are funny. Here I Am consistently lit up my pleasure centers . . . This is also Mr. Foer’s best and most caustic novel, filled with so much pain and regret that your heart sometimes struggles to hold it all.”                    New York Times

 “Here I Am is one of those books, like Middlemarch, or for that matter Gone Girl, which lays bare the interior of a marriage with such intelligence and deep feeling and pitiless clarity, it’s impossible to read it and not re-examine your own family, and your place in it.”                   Time

Brilliant, always original . . . Certain set pieces . . show a masterly sense of timing and structure and deep feeling . . . Foer strews small, semiprecious comic and gnomic gems all along the trail he is breaking . . Here I Am is not only the novel’s title but also, maybe, an announcement of its ambitious and crazy-talented author’s literary residence―an announcement that not only his location but his basic sensibility and very identity are to be found in this work.”                 New York Times Book Review

Lament for the Fallen by Gavin Chait

Image result for Lament for the Fallen by Gavin Chait‘Father, tell me a story?’ asks Isaiah, moments before a strange craft falls from the sky and smashes into the jungle near his isolated West African community. Inside the ruined vessel the villagers find the shattered body of a man. His name is Samara and he is a man unlike any the villagers have seen before – a man who is perhaps something more than human.

With his city home of Achenia hiding in the rubble left by a devastating war, Samara has fallen 35,000 km to earth in order to escape the automated hell of an orbiting prison called Tartarus. As he struggles to heal himself, he helps transform the lives of those who rescued him but in so doing attracts the attention of the brutal warlord who rules over this benighted, ravaged post-21st century land. He is not a man to be crossed, and now he threatens the very existence of the villagers themselves and the one, slim chance Samara has of finding his way home and to the woman – and the world – he loves.

And all the while – in the darkness above – waits the simmering fury that lies at the heart of Tartarus . . .

Refreshingly different . . . exhilarating . . . a compulsively readable, life-affirming tale told in direct, lambent prose, and Chait does a masterful job of juxtaposing a traditional African setting with a convincing depiction of a far-future alien society.”      Guardian

The Crime Writer by Jill Dawson

Image result for The Crime Writer by Jill DawsonIn 1964, the eccentric American novelist Patricia Highsmith is hiding out in a cottage in Suffolk, to concentrate on her writing and escape her fans. She has another motive too – a secret romance with a married lover based in London.

Unfortunately it soon becomes clear that all her demons have come with her. Prowlers, sexual obsessives, frauds, imposters, suicides and murderers: the tropes of her fictions clamour for her attention, rudely intruding on her peaceful Suffolk retreat. After the arrival of Ginny, an enigmatic young journalist bent on interviewing her, events take a catastrophic turn. Except, as always in Highsmith’s troubled life, matters are not quite as they first appear . . .

Masterfully recreating Highsmith’s much exercised fantasies of murder and madness, Jill Dawson probes the darkest reaches of the imagination in this novel – at once a brilliant portrait of a writer and an atmospheric, emotionally charged, riveting tale.

An ingenious concept . . . Dawson can be applauded for her passionate immersion in her subject, and for creating a novel as dark and odd as the subject herself.”                      Guardian

Dawson has drawn a witty, creepy plot as well as a convincing character sketch of a woman all too easy to caricature.”                        Daily Telegraph

Dawson skilfully constructs a dark tale that Highsmith fans will love.”                       Sunday Times

 

Underground Airlines by Ben H Winters

Image result for Underground Airlines by Ben H Winters“The most timely of alternate history novels. Ben Winters has created a spellbinding world that forces the reader to look around―and to look within. This is a thriller not to be missed and one that will not be easily forgotten.”                  Hugh Howey

It is the present-day, and the world is as we know it. Except for one thing: slavery still exists.

Victor has escaped his life as a slave, but his freedom came at a high price. Striking a bargain with the government, he has to live his life working as a bounty hunter. And he is the best they’ve ever trained.

A mystery to himself, Victor tries to suppress his memories of his own childhood and convinces himself that he is just a good man doing bad work, unwilling to give up the freedom he is desperate to preserve. But in tracking his latest target, he can sense that that something isn’t quite right.

For this fugitive is a runaway holding something extraordinary. Something that could change the state of the country forever.

And in his pursuit, Victor discovers secrets at the core of his country’s arrangement with the system that imprisoned him, secrets that will be preserved at any cost.

A rich noir in a terrifingly convincing alternate America. It’s both beautiful and brutal. The Handmaid’s Tale for Black Lives Matter.”                       Lauren Beukes

Winters has written a book that will make you see the world in a new light.”            Washington Post

Ben H. Winters new novel (Underground Airlines) makes the word ‘thrilling’ seem inadequate. Not only could I not stop reading it, it changed the way I looked at everything around me once I was finished.”             Observer

What distinguishes Underground Airlines as literature is the acuity and penetration of Winter’s moral vision – a perception that goes far beyond and specific historical injustices … Winters allows Victor to exquisitely express our own moral unease.” Financial Times

 

Field Service by Robert Edric

Morlancourt, Northern France, 1920

In the aftermath of the world’s bloodiest conflict, a small contingent of battle-worn soldiers remains in France. Captain James Reid and his men are tasked with the identification and burial of innumerable corpses as they come to terms with the events of the past four years.

The stark contrast between the realities of burying men in France and the reports of honouring the dead back in Britain is all too clear. But it is only when the daily routine is interrupted by a visit from two women, both seeking solace from their grief, that the men are forced to acknowledge the part they too have played.

With his trademark unerring precision, Robert Edric explores the emotional hinterland which lies behind the work done by the War Graves Commission in the wake of the First World War.

There has been a slew of novels commemorating the First World War’s anniversaries. Field Service will be judged one of the best.”                         The Times

A masterly analyst of human behaviour….Carefully nuanced and engaging…Puts the work of most other historical novelists in the shade”    Sunday Times

 

Arrowood by Lauren McHugh

I thought I knew who did it, but I was wrong – four times.”     Lee Child

Arrowood is the most ornate and beautiful of the grand historical houses that line the Mississippi river in southern Iowa where the days are long and humid and communities are small and closed.

It has its own secrets and ghostly presence: it’s where two small twin girls were abducted ten years previously – never to be seen again.

Now, Arden has inherited Arrowood, and she returns to her childhood home determined to establish what really happened to her sisters that traumatic summer. But the house and the surrounding town hold their secrets close – and the truth, when Arden finds it, is more devastating than she ever could have imagined.

Family lies, buried secrets and a terrifying truth lie at the heart of this brilliant and haunting crime novel.

A failed graduate student’s return to the family mansion she inherited from her grandfather touches off a maelstrom of emotion, regret and memories in McHugh’s poignant second novel . . . Lyrical prose and in-depth character studies examine the reliability of memory, punctuated by believable suspense and aided by a careful look at a small town.”                         Publishers Weekly

McHugh’s slow exposure of an old crime is a pitch-perfect example of a Southern gothic.”                      Sunday Times

 

I See You by Clare Mackintosh

Image result for I See You by Clare MackintoshWhen Zoe Walker sees her photo in the classifieds section of a London newspaper, she is determined to find out why it’s there. There’s no explanation, no website: just a grainy image and a phone number. She takes it home to her family, who are convinced it’s just someone who looks like Zoe. But the next day the advert shows a photo of a different woman, and another the day after that.

Is it a mistake? A coincidence? Or is someone keeping track of every move they make . . .

I See You is an edge-of-your-seat, page-turning psychological thriller from one of the most exciting and successful British debut talents of 2015

I See You stands out from the crowd with flawless plotting and an eye for detail which will send a satisfying chill through its readers. I loved it!”                           Renee Knight, number one bestselling author of Disclaimer

Compelling and suffused with menace.”             Sunday Mirror

 

Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly

Inspired by the life of a real World War II heroine, this powerful debut novel reveals an incredible story of love, redemption, and terrible secrets that were hidden for decades.

New York socialite Caroline Ferriday has her hands full with her post at the French consulate and a new love on the horizon. But Caroline s world is forever changed when Hitler s army invades Poland in September 1939 and then sets its sights on France.

An ocean away from Caroline, Kasia Kuzmerick, a Polish teenager, senses her carefree youth disappearing as she is drawn deeper into her role as courier for the underground resistance movement. In a tense atmosphere of watchful eyes and suspecting neighbors, one false move can have dire consequences.

For the ambitious young German doctor, Herta Oberheuser, an ad for a government medical position seems her ticket out of a desolate life. Once hired, though, she finds herself trapped in a male-dominated realm of Nazi secrets and power.

The lives of these three women are set on a collision course when the unthinkable happens and Kasia is sent to Ravensbrück, the notorious Nazi concentration camp for women. Their stories cross continents from New York to Paris, Germany, and Poland as Caroline and Kasia strive to bring justice to those whom history has forgotten.

A powerful story for readers everywhere . . . Martha Hall Kelly has brought readers a firsthand glimpse into one of history s most frightening memories. A novel that brings to life what these women and many others suffered. . . . I was moved to tears.”                       San Francisco Book Review”

“[A] compelling first novel . . . This is a page-turner demonstrating the tests and triumphs civilians faced during war, complemented by Kelly s vivid depiction of history and excellent characters.”                        Publishers Weekly

 

Dead Man’s Blues by Ray Celestin

Image result for Dead Man’s Blues by Ray CelestinDead Man’s Blues is the gripping historical crime novel from Ray Celestin, the author of The Axeman’s Jazz, winner of the CWA John Creasey (New Blood) Dagger for Best First Novel 2014.

Chicago, 1928. In the stifling summer heat three disturbing events take place. A clique of city leaders is poisoned in a fancy hotel. A white gangster is found mutilated in an alleyway in the Blackbelt. And a famous heiress vanishes without a trace.

Pinkerton detectives Michael Talbot and Ida Davis are hired to find the missing heiress by the girl’s troubled mother. But it proves harder than expected to find a face that is known across the city, and Ida must elicit the help of her friend Louis Armstrong.

While the police take little interest in the Blackbelt murder, Jacob Russo, crime scene photographer, can’t get the dead man’s image out of his head, and so he embarks on his own investigation.

And Dante Sanfelippo – rum-runner and fixer – is back in Chicago on the orders of Al Capone, who suspects there’s a traitor in the ranks and wants Dante to investigate. But Dante is struggling with his own problems as he is forced to return to the city he thought he’d never see again . . .

As the three parties edge closer to the truth, their paths cross and their lives are threatened. But will any of them find the answers they need in the capital of jazz, booze and corruption?

Heroes of the Frontier by Dave Eggers

Image result for Heroes of the Frontier by Dave EggersFrom the bestselling author of The Circle comes a brilliant new black comedy about modern America.

A mother and her two young children rent a battered old RV (optimistically christened the ‘Chateau’) and embark upon a journey through the Alaskan wilderness. At first their trip feels like a vacation: they spot wild animals, build bonfires, enjoy the scenery. But as Josie drives her kids deeper into the forest, dodging wildfires and increasingly eccentric locals, we learn more of the events that forced her to escape her old life. Fraught with unexpected encounters from the sublime to the ridiculous, her tiny family must survive this surreal adventure at all costs, in order to finally discover something clean and redemptive out at the very edge of civilization.
Heroes of the Frontier is a captivating and hilarious novel about family, loss and recovery, and a powerful examination of contemporary American life.

This is a novel about America, about what forces people to leave the lower 48 to seek refuge in a forbidding, unpeopled landscape Eggers renders it with such passion and good humour, and describes the land of mountains and light in such stirring, lustrous prose There is a feeling of utopianism about the novel, a sense that, in Alaska, some original American dream slumbers just beneath the ice. Heroes of the Frontier acts on the reader like a breath of Alaskan air, cleansing the spirit and lifting the heart.”                  Alex Preston, Guardian 

The Hide by Matthew Griffin

Wendell Wilson, a taxidermist, and Frank Clifton, a veteran, meet after the Second World War. But, in this declining textile town in a southern US state, their love holds real danger. Severing nearly all ties with the rest of the world, they carve out a home for themselves on the outskirts of town. For decades, their routine of self-reliant domesticity – Wendell’s cooking, Frank’s care for a yard no one sees, and the vicarious drama of courtroom TV – seems to protect them.

But when Wendell finds Frank lying motionless outside at the age of eighty-three, their carefully crafted life together begins to unravel. As Frank’s memory and physical strength deteriorate, Wendell struggles in vain to hold on to the man he once knew. Faced with giving care beyond his capacity, he must come to terms with the consequences of half a century in seclusion: the different lives they might have lived – and the impending, inexorable loss of the one they had.

Tender, restrainedHide is the freshly imagined story of a gay male couple who decide to give up the world -friends, family, career – in order to live out their forbidden love in the decades before gay liberation. This is a great love story.”               Edmund White, author of A Boy’s Own Story

Graceful and understated.”                        New York Times Book Review

One of the best debut novels we’ve had the pleasure to read this year . A profoundly compassionate book about how we administer to those we love, the tender acrimony of intimacy and facing loss in a world dominated by threat. The story is understated, poignant, beautifully observed and lingers with you long after you’ve reluctantly read the final page.”                    Attitude

A tough, thoughtful story beautifully told.”                       Eithne Farry, Sunday Express

 

Infinite Ground by Martin MacInnes

A luminous debut novel of modern alienation, of the sinister beauty of the human body and of the enduring splendour of the natural world.

During a sweltering South American summer, a family convenes for dinner at a restaurant. Midway through the meal, Carlos disappears. An experienced, semi-retired inspector takes the case, but what should be a routine investigation becomes something strange, intangible, even sinister. The corporation for which Carlos worked seems to serve no purpose; the staff talk of their missing colleague’s alarming, shifting physical symptoms; a forensic scientist uncovers evidence of curious abnormalities in the thriving microorganisms that shared Carlos’s body. As the inspector relives and retraces the missing man’s footsteps, the trail leads him away from the city sprawl and deep into the country’s rainforest interior, where he encounters both horror and wonder.

Stunning – a totally original, surreal mystery shot through with hints of the best of César Aira, Vladimir Nabokov, Angela Carter, and Julio Cortázar. Smart, clever, and honest. I doubt you’ve read anything quite like it.”             Jeff VanderMeer, author of The Southern Reach trilogy

Weird, wonderful, totally indefinable… If not the Booker, then surely the Goldsmiths beckons.”                Guardian

A novel of intelligence, grace, cunning and warped imagination, one that melds and sometimes clashes styles and influences to create something original and unsettling. It is a bravura performance, and one that announces Martin McInnes as one of our most exciting new voices.”             Stuart Evers, author of Your Father Sends his Love

The Last Photograph by Emma Chapman

Image result for The Last Photograph by Emma ChapmanHe walks into the living room and June is dead.
He centres her, checking the light. Focusing, he clicks the shutter.
He’ll ask himself later, if he knew. It’s easy to say that he had acted without thinking, out of instinct.

Rook Henderson is an award-winning photographer, still carrying the hidden scars of war. Now, suddenly, he is also a widower. Leaving his son Ralph to pick up the pieces, Rook flies to Vietnam for the first time in fifty years, escaping to the landscape of a place he once knew so well.

But when Ralph follows him out there, seeking answers from the father he barely knows, Rook is forced to unwind his past: his childhood in Yorkshire, his life in London in the 1960s and his marriage to the unforgettable June – and to ask himself what price he has paid for a life behind the lens . . .

Gripping, evocative and unforgettable, The Last Photograph is a story of a life shaped by trauma and love – and the secrets that make us who we are.

Evocative, harrowing. . .Emma Chapman tackles the big subjects of love and war with aplomb.”                       Tatler

Non-fiction

Rogue: The Inside Story of SARS’ Elite Crime-Busting Unit by Johann van Loggerenberg with Adrian Lackey

The story of a ‘rogue unit’ operating within the South African Revenue Service (SARS) became entrenched in the public mind following a succession of sensational reports published by theSunday Times in 2014. The unit, the reports claimed, had carried out a series of illegal spook operations: they had spied on President Jacob Zuma, run a brothel, illegally bought spy ware and entered into unlawful tax settlements.

In a plot of Machiavellian proportions, head of the elite crime‐busting unit Johann van Loggerenberg and many of SARS’s top management were forced to resign. Van Loggerenberg’s select team of investigators, with their impeccable track record of busting high‐level financial fraudsters and nailing tax criminals, lost not only their careers but also their reputations.

Now, in this extraordinary account, they finally get to put the record straight and the rumours to rest: there was no ‘rogue unit’. The public had been deceived, seemingly by powers conspiring to capture SARS for their own ends. Shooting down the allegations he has faced one by one, Van Loggerenberg tells the story of what really happened inside SARS, revealing details of some of the unit’s actual investigations.

Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow by Noah Yuval Harari


Homo Deus will shock you. It will entertain you. Above all, it will make you think in ways you had not thought before.’                     Daniel Kahneman, author of Thinking Fast, and Slow

Yuval Noah Harari, author of the bestselling Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, envisions a not-too-distant world in which we face a new set of challenges. In Homo Deus, he examines our future with his trademark blend of science, history, philosophy and every discipline in between.

Homo Deus explores the projects, dreams and nightmares that will shape the twenty-first century – from overcoming death to creating artificial life. It asks the fundamental questions: Where do we go from here? And how will we protect this fragile world from our own destructive powers? This is the next stage of evolution. This is Homo Deus.

War is obsolete
You are more likely to commit suicide than be killed in conflict

Famine is disappearing
You are at more risk of obesity than starvation

Death is just a technical problem
Equality is out – but immortality is in

What does our future hold?

Spellbinding… This is a very intelligent book, full of sharp insights and mordant wit… It is a quirky and cool book, with a sliver of ice at its heart… It is hard to imagine anyone could read this book without getting an occasional, vertiginous thrill.”               Guardian

What elevates Harari above many chroniclers of our age is his exceptional clarity and focus.”                Sunday Times

I think the mark of a great book is that it not only alters the way you see the world after you’ve read it, it also casts the past in a different light. In Homo Deus, Yuval Noah Harari shows us where mankind is headed in an absolutely clear-sighted & accessible manner. I don’t normally ask for autographs but I got a bit starstruck & asked him to sign my copy of his book after we’d had a conversation for my show on BBC 6Music. His inscription reads: ‘The future is in your hands’ – a good thing to remember when such great changes are afoot.”              Jarvis Cocker

 

AB by AB de Villiers

AB de Villiers is one of the finest batsmen ever to play cricket, and yet his achievement extends beyond his outrageous armoury of drives, pulls, paddles, scoops and flicks.
Whether he is delighting home crowds at the Wanderers or Newlands or setting new records in Bengaluru or Sydney, he plays the game in a whole-hearted manner that projects a positive image of his country around the world and also makes millions of South Africans feel good about themselves.
This is AB’s story, in his own words … the story of the youngest of three talented, sports-mad brothers growing up in Warmbaths, of a boy who excelled at tennis, rugby and cricket, of a youngster who made his international debut at the age of 20 and was then selected in every single Test played by South Africa for the next 11 seasons, of a batsman who has started to redefine the art, being ranked among the world’s very best in Test, ODI and T20.
Through all the pyrotechnics and consistency, AB has remained a true sportsman – quick to deflect praise, swift to praise opponents, eager to work hard, to embrace the team’s next challenge and to relish what he still regards as the huge privilege of representing his country.
This is the story of a modern sporting phenomenon.

Under Nelson Mandela Boulevard: A Life Among the Stowaways by Sean Christie

Image result for Under Nelson Mandela Boulevard: A Life Among the Stowaways by Sean ChristiePart memoir, part ethnography, Under Nelson Mandela Boulevard is journalist Sean Hunter Christie’s account of time spent amongst the Tanzanian stowaways who live rough under the Nelson Mandela Boulevard flyover, at the foot of Cape Town.

After a year living in South Africa’s most unequal city, the young Zimbabwean is introduced to serial stowaway Adam Bashili, through the photographer David Southwood. This encounter changes everything. Adam introduces Christie to the extraordinary world of the “beachboys”, a multi-port, fourth generation sub-culture of young men from the slums of Dar es Salaam, who came to South Africa with the aim of stowing away on ships bound for other continents.

Under Nelson Mandela Boulevard presents Cape Town as it has not yet been seen: as a series of desperate social margents and cloying controls, but also of unbelievable and somehow hopeful beliefs and survival strategies.

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Make or Break by Richard Calland

In his new book, Richard Calland raises a compelling argument: South Africa is at a critical juncture, and events over the next three years are going to shape the country s next three decades. Jacob Zuma s term as president is due to end in 2019 and there are calls for him to resign; the ANC is declining in popularity and moral stature; opposition parties are gaining ground; the economy and the currency are in trouble; the Treasury has been racked by power struggles; the Public Protector s term ends later in 2016; the rule of law and judicial independence are under pressure. Looking at these and other issues, Calland explores possible futures for South Africa, showing how the next few years are the most critical since the 1990s, and how South Africa can set itself on a path to success or failure.

The Kingdom of Speech by Tom Wolfe

Tom Wolfe, whose legend began in journalism, takes us on an eye-opening journey that is sure to arouse widespread debate. The Kingdom of Speech is a captivating, paradigm-shifting argument that speech – not evolution – is responsible for humanity’s complex societies and achievements.

From Alfred Russel Wallace, the Englishman who beat Darwin to the theory of natural selection but later renounced it, and through the controversial work of modern-day anthropologist Daniel Everett, who defies the current wisdom that language is hard-wired in humans, Wolfe examines the solemn, long-faced, laugh-out-loud zig-zags of Darwinism, old and Neo, and finds it irrelevant here in our Kingdom of Speech.

A great journalist with a whip-like satirical prose style… Wolfe’s great gift is to make the heavy seem light and this book is such an entertaining polemic that I read it in a day and immediately wanted to read it again.”                        Bryan Appleyard, Sunday Times

It is clear how much we have missed him…. The wonder of his book is its point of view. He is a polemicist, a slayer of reputation and pretension… It is wonderful to have him back.”                     Financial Times

 

The Maverick Mountaineer: The Remarkable Life of George Ingle Finch – Climber, Scientist, Inventor by Robert Wainwright

Image result for The Maverick Mountaineer: The Remarkable Life of George Ingle Finch – Climber, Scientist, Inventor by Robert WainwrightIn the spring of 1901 a teenager stood on top of a hill, gazed out in wonderment at the Australian landscape and decided he wanted to be a mountaineer. Two decades later, the same man stood in a blizzard beneath the summit of Mount Everest, within sight of his goal to be the first to stand on the roof of the world. George Finch was at the highest point ever reached by a human being and only his decision to save the life of his stricken companion stopped him from reaching the summit.

George Finch was a rebel of the first order, a man who dared to challenge the British establishment who disliked his independence, background, long hair and lack of an Oxbridge education. Despite this, he not only became one of the world’s greatest alpinists, earning the grudging respect of his rival George Mallory, but pioneered the use of the artificial oxygen that enabled Everest to finally be conquered thirty years after his own attempt. A renowned scientist, a World War I hero and a Fellow of the Royal Society, involved in the development of some of the twentieth century’s most important inventions, his skills helped save London from burning to the ground during the Blitz. Finch’s public accomplishments, however, were shadowed by his complicated private life and his fraught relationship with his son, the actor Peter Finch.

Acclaimed biographer Robert Wainwright restores George Finch to his rightful place in history with this remarkable tribute to one of the twentieth century’s most eccentric anti-heroes.

“[A] compelling biography… As a study of a man whose greatness we would do well to remember and applaud, it sparkles.”                       Independent

James Connolly: My Search for the Man the Myth and his Legacy by Sean OÇallaghan


‘Very interesting on how fanaticism can develop within a community, and especially relevant today
.’                 Bob Geldof

By former member of the IRA and police informant, Sean O’Callaghan, the story of revolutionary James Connolly, his role in the 1916 Easter Rising, and his subsequent influence both on O’Callaghan himself, and on 20th century Irish politics.

Easter Monday, 24th April, 1916: James Connolly, a 48-year-old Edinburgh-born Marxist and former British soldier, stands at the top of the steps of Liberty Hall, Dublin.

‘We are going out to be slaughtered,’ Connolly told his comrades, and with this he set in train the Easter Rising of 1916.

Two weeks later, in a scene that has haunted Nationalist Ireland ever since, he was carried to his place of execution having been badly wounded. Placed on a chair, he was shot dead by soldiers of the army he had once served in.

This is not a traditional biography; it is a book about Sean O’Callaghan’s relationship with a man who was to deeply influence his formative years; it is about the politics of violent extremism that O’Callaghan subsequently became caught up in; and it’s about the kind of individuals who are willing to sacrifice everything, including their lives, for a holy cause.

 

Ottoman Endgame: War, Revolution and the Making of the Modern Middle East 1908-1923 by Sean McMeekin


‘An outstanding history … one of the best writers on the First World War
.’                  Simon Sebag Montefiore

The Ottoman Endgame is the first, and definitive, single-volume history of the Ottoman empire’s agonising war for survival. Beginning with Italy’s invasion of Ottoman Tripoli in September 1911, the Empire was in a permanent state of emergency, with hardly a frontier not under direct threat. Assailed by enemies on all sides, the Empire-which had for generations been assumed to be a rotten shell-proved to be strikingly resilient, beating off major attacks at Gallipoli and in Mesopotamia before finally being brought down in the general ruin of the Central Powers in 1918.

As the Europeans planned to partition all its lands between them and with even Istanbul seemingly helpless in the face of the triumphant Entente, an absolutely unexpected entity emerged: modern Turkey. Under the startling genius of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, a powerful new state emerged from the Empire’s fragments.

This is the first time an author has woven the entire epic together from start to finish – and it will cause many readers to fundamentally re-evaluate their understanding of the conflict. The consequences, well into the 21st century, could not have been more momentous – with countries as various as Serbia, Greece, Libya, Armenia, Iraq and Syria still living with them.

It is an enormous story, and McMeekin is a worthy chronicler of it … The Ottoman Endgame is the most satisfactory and thought-through of the recent books on the subject that I have seen.”                    Norman Stone)

Masterful and sympathetic … superb.”                 Literary Review

A marvellous exposition of the historian’s art.”                Guardian

 

The Caliphate: A Pelican Introduction by Hugh Kennedy

Image result for The Caliphate: A Pelican Introduction by Hugh KennedyWhat is a caliphate?
What is the history of the idea?
How is the term used and abused today?

In the first modern account of a subject of critical importance today, acclaimed historian Hugh Kennedy answers these questions by chronicling the rich history of the caliphate, from the death of Muhammad to the present. At its height, the caliphate stretched from Spain to the borders of China and was the most powerful political entity in western Eurasia. In an era when Paris and London boasted a few thousand inhabitants, Baghdad and Cairo were sophisticated centres of trade and culture, and the Umayyad and Abbasid caliphates were distinguished by major advances in science, medicine and architecture. By ending with the recent re-emergence of caliphal ideology within fundamentalist Islam,The Caliphate underscores why it is crucial that we know about this form of Islamic government to understand the political ideas of the so-called Islamic State and other Islamist groups in the twenty first century.

Lab Girl: A Story of Trees, Science & Love by Hope Jahren

Image result for Lab Girl: A Story of Trees, Science & Love by Hope JahrenLab Girl is a book about work and about love, and the mountains that can be moved when those two things come together. It is told through Jahren’s remarkable stories: about the discoveries she has made in her lab, as well as her struggle to get there; about her childhood playing in her father’s laboratory; about how lab work became a sanctuary for both her heart and her hands; about Bill, the brilliant, wounded man who became her loyal colleague and best friend; about their field trips – sometimes authorised, sometimes very much not – that took them from the Midwest across the USA, to Norway and to Ireland, from the pale skies of North Pole to tropical Hawaii; and about her constant striving to do and be her best, and her unswerving dedication to her life’s work.

Visceral, intimate, gloriously candid and sometimes extremely funny, Jahren’s descriptions of her work, her intense relationship with the plants, seeds and soil she studies, and her insights on nature enliven every page of this thrilling book. In Lab Girl, we see anew the complicated power of the natural world, and the power that can come from facing with bravery and conviction the challenge of discovering who you are.

“[Lab Girl] does for botany what Oliver Sacks’s essays did for neurology.”                 Michiko Kakutani, New York Times

Some people are great writers, while other people live lives of adventure and importance. Almost no one does both. Hope Jahren does both. She makes me wish I’d been a scientist.”                     Ann Patchett, author of State of Wonder and Bel Canto (winner of the Orange Prize)

The Jane Goodall of botany . . . I am not sure which is more extraordinary, the plants or the woman who studies them. If the next generation of scientists have role models like Jahren, then the world of science will be better off indeed.”                 Science

This is an absolutely extraordinary book . . . By the end, I was babbling about it to complete strangers and determined to give a copy to just about everyone I know . . . Jahren is not just a scientist, though, but a poet who has given us insight into her mind and her passions, and I feel privileged to have been granted a glimpse.”                    Times Higher Education Supplement

 

Far and Away by Andrew Solomon

Image result for Far and Away: Essays from the Brink of Change by Andrew SolomonFrom the winner of the National Book Award and the National Books Critics Circle Award and one of the most original thinkers of our time Andrew Solomon s magisterial Far and Away collects a quarter-century of soul-shaking essays (Vanity Fair).
Far and Away chronicles Andrew Solomon’s writings about places undergoing seismic shifts political, cultural, and spiritual. From his stint on the barricades in Moscow in 1991, when he joined artists in resisting the coup whose failure ended the Soviet Union, his 2002 account of the rebirth of culture in Afghanistan following the fall of the Taliban, his insightful appraisal of a Myanmar seeped in contradictions as it slowly, fitfully pushes toward freedom, and many other stories of profound upheaval, this book provides a unique window onto the very idea of social change. With his signature brilliance and compassion, Solomon demonstrates both how history is altered by individuals, and how personal identities are altered when governments alter.

Far and Away takes a magnificent journey into the heart of extraordinarily diverse experiences: You will not only know the world better after having seen it through Solomon s eyes, you will also care about it more.”                        Elizabeth Gilbert

This is a beautiful book, inspired by love of away’ and uncertainty about home, ‘ a celebration of freedom which valuably warns that freedom must sometimes be learned. Much more than ‘travel writing, ‘ it’s a portrait of our world, made by someone who has been there.”             Salman Rushdie

The Gene: An Intimate History by Siddhartha Mukherjee

Image result for The Gene: An Intimate History by Siddhartha MukherjeeDramatic and precise… [A] thrilling and comprehensive account of what seems certain to be the most radical, controversial and, to borrow from the subtitle, intimate science of our time… He is a natural storyteller… A page-turner… Read this book and steel yourself for what comes next.’                    Bryan Appleyard, Sunday Times

The Gene is the story of one of the most powerful and dangerous ideas in our history, from bestselling, prize-winning author Siddhartha Mukherjee.

Spanning the globe and several centuries, The Gene is the story of the quest to decipher the master-code that makes and defines humans, that governs our form and function.

This is an epic, moving history of a scientific idea coming to life, by the author of The Emperor of All Maladies. But woven through The Gene, like a red line, is also an intimate history – the story of Mukherjee’s own family and its recurring pattern of mental illness, reminding us that genetics is vitally relevant to everyday lives. These concerns reverberate even more urgently today as we learn to “read” and “write” the human genome – unleashing the potential to change the fates and identities of our children.

The story of the gene begins in an obscure Augustinian abbey in Moravia in 1856 where a monk stumbles on the idea of a ‘unit of heredity’. It intersects with Darwin’s theory of evolution, and collides with the horrors of Nazi eugenics in the 1940s. The gene transforms post-war biology. It reorganizes our understanding of sexuality, temperament, choice and free will. This is a story driven by human ingenuity and obsessive minds – from Charles Darwin and Gregor Mendel to Francis Crick, James Watson and Rosalind Franklin, and the thousands of scientists still working to understand the code of codes.

Majestic in its ambition, and unflinching in its honesty, The Gene gives us a definitive account of the fundamental unit of heredity – and a vision of both humanity’s past and future.

The Gene is prodigious, sweeping, and ultimately transcendent. If you’re interested in what it means to be human, today and in the tomorrows to come, you must read this book.”                    Anthony Doerr, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of All the Light We Cannot See

The story has been told, piecemeal, in different ways, but never before with the scope and grandeur that Siddhartha Mukherjee brings to his new history, The Gene. He fully justifies the claim that it is “one of the most powerful and dangerous ideas in the history of science. … Definitive.”                        James Gleick New York Times Book Review

The Rise & Fall of Nations: Ten Rules of Change in the Post-Crisis World by Ruchir Sharma

Image result for The Rise & Fall of Nations: Ten Rules of Change in the Post-Crisis World by Ruchir SharmaThe crisis of 2008 ended the illusion of a golden era in which many people imagined that prosperity and political calm would continue to spread indefinitely. In a world now racked by slowing growth and mounting unrest, how can we discern which nations will thrive and which will fail?

Shaped by prize-winning author Ruchir Sharma’s twenty-five years travelling the world, The Rise and Fall of Nations rethinks economics as a practical art. By narrowing down the thousands of factors that can shape a country’s future, it spells out ten clear rules for identifying the next big winners and losers in the global economy.

Each rule looks at a nation’s political, economic, and social conditions in real time to filter out the hype and noise. He shows, for example, how slow population growth is eroding economic growth, and ranks nations by how well they respond. He describes the way cycles of political complacency and revolt fuel economic booms and busts. Amid growing tensions over inequality, he demonstrates how billionaire lists yield clues to which economies are most or least threatened by extreme wealth. In a period when the world is struggling with trillions of dollars in new debt, he explains which nations are most likely to avert this threat or buckle under it. Sharma’s rules are based on the data he has collected over many years at Morgan Stanley Investment Management in New York, where he is now Head of Emerging Markets and Chief Global Strategist. This is a book of original research, not mere opinion.

The final chapter takes the reader on a surprising world tour of the likely winners and losers in the near future. The Rise and Fall of Nations is enlivened by Sharma’s stories from the road and his encounters with presidents, tycoons, and villagers from Rio to Beijing. It is a pioneering field guide to understanding our impermanent world.

Filled with amazing data … fascinating insights and revealing anecdotes, this is quite simply the best guide to the global economy today. Whether you are an observer or an investor, you cannot afford to ignore it.”                    Fareed Zakaria

If Mr Sharma is right that global capital flows will remain depressed, and that developing economies face a pedestrian future, then the hot money chasing them will recede-as, perhaps, will the influence of famous fund managers. Until then, Mr Sharma’s book is a fine guide to the great emerging market boom and bust.”              Economist

For sheer readability and insight on the developing world drama, I dare say you won’t find a better choice.”                      Wall Street Journal

 

Rendezvous at the Russian Tearooms: The Spyhunter, The Fashion Designer and the Man from Moscow by Paul Willetts


Rendezvous at the Russian Tea Rooms
 provides the first comprehensive account of what was once hailed by a leading American newspaper as the greatest spy story of World War II. This dramatic yet little-known saga, replete with telephone taps, kidnappings, and police surveillance, centres on the furtive escapades of Tyler Kent, a handsome, womanising 28-year-old Ivy League graduate, who doubles as a US Embassy code clerk and Soviet agent.

Against the backdrop of London high society during the so-called Phoney War, Kent’s life intersects with the lives of the book’s two other memorably flamboyant protagonists. One of those is Maxwell Knight, an urbane, endearingly eccentric MI5 spyhunter. The other is Anna Wolkoff, a White Russian fashion designer and Nazi spy whose outfits are worn by the Duchess of Windsor and whose parents are friends of the British royal family. Wolkoff belongs to a fascist secret society called the Right Club, which aims to overthrow the British government. Her romantic entanglement with Tyler Kent gives her access to a secret correspondence between President Roosevelt and Winston Churchill, a correspondence that has the potential to transform the outcome of the war.

Max Perkins: Editor of Genius by A. Scott Berg

The talents Maxwell Perkins nurtured were known worldwide: F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, Thomas Wolfe among numerous others. But the man himself remained a mystery, a backstage presence who served these authors not only as editor but as critic, career manager, moneylender, psychoanalyst, confessor and friend. This outstanding biography, a winner of the National Book Award, is the first to explore the fascinating life of this editor extraordinaire in both professional and personal domains. It tells not only of Perkins’ stormy marriage and secret twenty-five-year romance with Elizabeth Lemmon, but also of his intensely intimate relationships with the leading literary lights of the twentieth century.

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Intercept: The Secret History of Computers and Spies by Gordon Corera

Image result for Intercept: The Secret History of Computers and Spies by Gordon CoreraThe computer was born to spy, and now computers are transforming espionage. But who are the spies and who is being spied on in today’s interconnected world?

This is the exhilarating secret history of the melding of technology and espionage. Gordon Corera’s compelling narrative, rich with historical details and characters, takes us from the Second World War to the internet age, revealing the astonishing extent of cyberespionage carried out today. Drawing on unique access to intelligence agencies, heads of state, hackers and spies of all stripes, INTERCEPT is a ground-breaking exploration of the new space in which the worlds of espionage, geopolitics, diplomacy, international business, science and technology collide. Together, computers and spies are shaping the future. What was once the preserve of a few intelligence agencies now matters for us all.

Riveting … Making use of excellent sources, Corera, the BBC’s security correspondent, has produced a highly relevant read that addresses the key debate in intelligence gathering – the balance between privacy and security.”                        Sunday Times

If you are looking for a clear and comprehensive guide to how communications have been intercepted, from cable-cutting in the First World War to bulk data collection exposed by Ed Snowden, this is it … A most readable account of how computers and the internet have transformed spying.”                    Guardian

 

Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare: Churchill’s Mavericks – Plotting Hitler’s Defeat by Giles Milton

Image result for Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare: Churchill’s Mavericks – Plotting Hitler’s Defeat by Giles MiltonSix gentlemen, one goal – the destruction of Hitler’s war machine

In the spring of 1939, a top secret organisation was founded in London: its purpose was to plot the destruction of Hitler’s war machine through spectacular acts of sabotage.

The guerrilla campaign that followed was to prove every bit as extraordinary as the six gentlemen who directed it. Winston Churchill selected them because they were wildly creative and thoroughly ungentlemanly. One of them, Cecil Clarke, was a maverick engineer who had spent the 1930s inventing futuristic caravans. Now, his talents were put to more devious use: he built the dirty bomb used to assassinate Hitler’s favourite, Reinhard Heydrich. Another member of the team, William Fairbairn, was a portly pensioner with an unusual passion: he was the world’s leading expert in silent killing. He was hired to train the guerrillas being parachuted behind enemy lines.

Led by dapper Scotsman Colin Gubbins, these men – along with three others – formed a secret inner circle that planned the most audacious sabotage attacks of the Second World War. Winston Churchill called it his Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare. The six ‘ministers’, aided by a group of formidable ladies, were so effective that they single-handedly changed the course of the war.

Told with Giles Milton’s trademark verve and eye for detail, The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare is thoroughly researched and based on hitherto unknown archival material. It is a gripping and vivid narrative of adventure and derring-do and is also, perhaps, the last great untold story of the Second World War.

What sets Milton’s work apart from other recounting is his behind-the-scenes access to the stories of the small group of men who put their minds to creating new ways to wage war.”                        Spectator

A magnificent story, brilliantly told. Read it!”                  Anthony Horowitz

“[Giles Milton] writes with relish about the eccentrics who dreamed up the likes of anti-tank ‘sticky bombs’ while the adventures he describes could not be faster-moving or more exciting.”                Literary Review

 

War and Turpentine by Stefan Hertman

Image result for War & Turpentine by Stefan HertmansShortly before his death at the age of 90, Stefan Hertmans’ grandfather Urbain gave his grandson a set of notebooks.

As Stefan began to read, he found himself drawn into a conversation across the centuries, as Urbain – so quiet and reserved in life – revealed his eloquence and his private passions on the page. Gradually, as he learned of his grandfather’s heroics in the First World War, the loss of his great love, and his later years spent seeking solace in art and painting, a portrait emerged of the grandfather he had never fully known.

War and Turpentine is an exquisite, loving reconstruction of a man’s interior life, at once deeply personal and yet so evocative of many of his generation, affected by the long shadow of war. In beautiful, glimmering prose, Hertmans shows us how our experiences shape us all, and how, even in a life of sorrow and heartache, dignity can be found.

War and Turpentine is the astonishing result of Hertmans’ reckoning with his grandfather’s diaries. It is a book that lies at the crossroads of novel, biography, autobiography and history… It seems aching to be called “Sebaldian”, and earns the epithet glowingly… In McKay’s lyrical translation, every detail has the heightened luminosity of poetry… War and Turpentine has all the marking of a future classic.”   Neel Mukherjee, Guardian

Skilful and lyrical reconstruction of a life transformed by war, love and art… It is not often a book succeeds on many levels, but War and Turpentine manages to be a mesmerising portrait of an artist as a young man, a significant contribution to First World War literature and a brilliant evocation of a vanished world.”                        Herald

 

Broke and Broken: The Shameful Legacy of Gold Mining in South Africa by Lucas Ledwaba and Leon Sadiki

ZImage result for Broke and Broken: The Shameful Legacy of Gold Mining in South Africa by Lucas Ledwaba and Leon Sadikiwelendaba Mgidi is dying. He is a depressed, sickly man who cannot even leave his home or perform the simplest of duties such as gardening. He used to be a very fit man; a boxer and road runner full of life and energy. But the 28 years he spent working underground in the mines of South Africa’s Gold Fields in the Free State have left him a wreck. In 2008, aged 48, he received devastating news. The Medical Bureau for Occupational Diseases diagnosed him with silicosis, “an irreversible, progressive, incurable and at a later stage disabling and potentially fatal disease.”

Broke and Broken: The Shameful Legacy of Gold Mining in South Africa explores the exploitation, the blatant disregard for health and safety regulations whose implications continue to be felt in rural villages far away from the imposing mine shafts.

It examines how, following the deaths of their spouses, widows are left to live in deprivation and struggle to raise children on handouts, thus creating fertile ground for another generation of poor young men with no choice but to follow the same route followed by their fathers before them to the gold mines. It is a story of human tragedy, suffering and how in their quest for profit, the mining houses cared very little about the health and safety of the very men whose sweat made them millions in profit.

 

The Return by Hisham Matar

Image result for The Return: Fathers, Sons & the Land Inbetween by Hisham MatarThe Return is at once a universal and an intensely personal tale. It is an exquisite meditation on how history and politics can bear down on an individual life. And yet Hisham Matar’s memoir isn’t just about the burden of the past, but the consolation of love, literature and art. It is the story of what it is to be human.

Hisham Matar was nineteen when his father was kidnapped and taken to prison in Libya. He would never see him again. Twenty-two years later, the fall of Gaddafi meant he was finally able to return to his homeland. In this moving memoir, the author takes us on an illuminating journey, both physical and psychological; a journey to find his father and rediscover his country.

What a brilliant book. The Return reads as easily as a thriller, but is a story that will stick; a person is lost but gravity and resonance remain.”                       Hilary Mantel

A total work of art. It reminded me of Solzhenitsyn. It is of the same importance. I love it.”                        James Rebanks

Wise and agonizing and thrilling to read.”          Zadie Smith

 

White Sands: Experiences from the Outside World by Geoff Dyer

Image result for white sands dyerFrom one of Britain’s most original writers, White Sands is a creative exploration of why we travel.

Episodic, wide-ranging, funny and smart, the linked journeys recall the themes of Dyer’s Yoga for People Who Can’t Be Bothered to Do It – albeit with the wisdom of (middle) age.

From a trip to the Lightning Field in New Mexico, to chasing Gauguin’s ghost in French Polynesia, from falling for someone who may or may not be a tour guide in Beijing’s Forbidden City, to tracking down the house of an intellectual hero in Los Angeles, Dyer pursues all permutations of the peak experience including the trough experience.

In his trademark style he blends travel writing, essay, criticism and fiction with a smart and cantankerous wit that is unmatched. This is a book for armchair travellers and procrastinating philosophers everywhere.

Even Chekhov might have envied Geoff Dyer’s talent . . . Almost perfect.”              Jan Morris, Spectator

Reading Dyer is akin to the sudden elation and optimism you feel when you make a new friend, someone as silly as you but cleverer too, in whose company you know you will travel through life more vagrantly, intensely, joyfully.”                     Daily Telegraph

 

The War on Women: And the Brave Ones Who Fight Back by Sue Lloyd Roberts

In 1973, Sue Lloyd Roberts joined ITN as a news trainee and went on to be one of the UK’s first video-journalists to report from the bleak outposts of the Soviet Union. Travelling as a tourist, she also gained access to some of the world’s most impenetrable places like China, Tibet and Burma. During her 30-year-long career she witnessed the worst atrocities inflicted on women across the world. But in observing first-hand the war on the female race she also documented their incredible determination to fight back.

The War on Women brings to life the inconceivable and dangerous life Sue led. It tells the story of orphan Mary Merritt who, age sixteen, instead of being released from the care of nuns was interned by them in a Magdalen Laundry and forced to work twelve hours a day six days a week, without pay, for over a decade. She gives voice to Maimouna, the woman responsible for taking over her mother’s role as the village female circumciser in The Gambia and provides a platform for the 11-year-old Manemma, who was married off in Jaipur at the age of six. From the gender pay gap in Britain to forced marriage in Kashmir and from rape as a weapon of war to honour killings, Sue has examined humankind’s history and takes us on a journey to analyse the state of women’s lives today. Most importantly she acts as a mouthpiece for the brave ones; the ones who challenge wrongdoing; the ones who show courage no matter how afraid they are; the ones who are combatting violence across the globe; the ones who are fighting back.

Sue sadly died in 2015, shortly after writing this book, today she is widely recognised as one of the most acclaimed television journalists of her generation. This book is the small tribute to the full and incredible life she lived and through it these women’s voices are still being heard.

 

And finally…..

The Great South African Cookbook

Image result for The Great South African Cookbook67 South African chefs were honoured to contribute to The Great South African Cookbook and answer the question ‘What is the food you make for the people you love’? This cookbook has been created to honour of Madiba’s legacy in South Africa and the world. SA’s finest cooks, chefs, gardeners, bakers, farmers, foragers and local food heroes let us into their homes – and their hearts – as they share the recipes they make for the people they love. Each recipe is accompanied by stunning original photography that captures the essence of our beautiful country

The 150 recipes that went into the 372 pages cookbook were contributed by renowned chefs like Luke Dale-Roberts, Ina Paarman , Dorah Sitole and Siphokazi Mdlankomo.

Nelson Mandela gave 67 years of his life to the struggle for human rights and social justice. The Great South African Cookbook will be released in conjunction with Mandela Day in July 2016, and The Nelson Mandela Foundation will receive all royalties from sales of the book to develop and support community food and agricultural projects that will improve the lives of those who are in need of food and who need to be freed from poverty.

Simplissime: The Easiest French Cookbook by Jean-François Mallet

Image result for simplissime malletLearn to cook classic French cuisine the easy way with this French bestseller from professionally trained chef Jean-François Mallet.

Taking cooking back to basics, Simplissime is bursting with easy-to-follow and quick recipes for delicious French food. Discover how to make a mouth-watering Apple Tart with Cinnamon with just five ingredients, or Spaghetti with Asparagus and Orange in just three steps. For an impressive dish, whip up mouth-watering Mussels in Curry in a short 15 minutes.

Each of the 160 recipes in this book is made up of only 2-6 ingredients, and can be made in a short amount of time. Recipe steps are precise and simple, accompanied by clear photographs of each ingredient and finished dish.

Cooking has never been so easy! It’s no surprise that this book has been selling a copy every ten seconds in France.

Remarkable Birds by Mark Avery

Image result for Remarkable Birds by Mark AveryWe share the Earth with more than 10,000 species of birds and we have always been enchanted by them. Here, over 60 birds, organized thematically into eight sections, cover all aspects of our relationship with birds. ‘Songbirds’ celebrates the greatest bird virtuosi, such as the Nightingale, while ‘Birds of Prey’ include majestic hunters such as the Harpy Eagle, which catches prey as large as monkeys and sloths. ‘Feathered Travellers’ describes astounding journeys made by birds – even some tiny Hummingbirds migrate huge distances. ‘The Love Life of Birds’ can rival any soap opera and involves the most brilliant displays, notably the Birds of Paradise, with their extravagant feathers and dances. ‘Avian Cities’ explores species such as the Flamingo that live in spectacular large colonies. ‘Useful to Us’ examines the ways we find birds of value, such as the Turkey, but also the Canary. ‘Threatened and Extinct’ describes some no longer living and others that seem on the brink. Birds have also had great mystical significance, both for good and evil, and ‘Revered and Adored’ considers such species as the Sacred Ibis, believed by the ancient Egyptians to represent the god Thoth.
For anyone interested in the natural world and the wonderful variety of birds around us, this beautifully illustrated book is a visual treat that will inspire, inform and delight.

Yuge! 30 Years of Doonesbury on Trump

Image result for Yuge! 30 Years of Doonesbury on TrumpDoonesbury is one of the most overrated strips out there. Mediocre at best.”                       Donald Trump, 1989

He tried to warn us. Ever since the release of the first Trump-for-President trial balloon in 1987, Doonesbury’s Garry Trudeau has tirelessly tracked and highlighted the unsavory career of the most unqualified candidate to ever aspire to the White House. It’s all there–the hilarious narcissism, the schoolyard bullying, the loathsome misogyny, the breathtaking ignorance; and a good portion of the Doonesbury cast has been tangled up in it.  Join Duke, Honey, Earl, J.J., Mike, Mark, Roland, Boopsie, B.D., Sal, Alice, Elmont, Sid, Zonker, Sam, Bernie, Rev. Sloan, and even the Red Rascal as they cross storylines with the big, orange airhorn who’s giving the GOP such fits.

Garry Trudeau is the “sleazeball” “third-rate talent” who draws the “overrated” comic strip Doonesbury, which “very few people read.” He lives in New York City with his wife Jane Pauley, who “has far more talent than he has.”

Trump and ‘Doonesbury’: The Comic Gift That Keeps On Giving”                New York Times

How Doonesbury predicted Donald Trump’s presidential run 29 years ago.”                      Washington Post

Why so surprised, America? Doonesbury has been preparing us for President Trump since 1987.”                  USA Today

If anybody thinks Trump can do a presidential pivot and change his personality “Yuge!” should be required reading.”                 Daily Kos

 

The Initiation by Mogorosi Motshumi

Image result for The Initiation by Mogorosi MotshumiThe First Graphic Autobiography by a black South African. An artist’s struggle for survival and redemption. Set against the turbulent backdrop of a nation in transition, the first book of Motshumi’s autobiography trilogy begins with his childhood in Batho township, Bloemfontein, i the early 60s, and runs thought to the late 1970s when he arrives in Johannesburg as a budding political cartoonist on the run from the security police.

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Angel Catbird Volume 1 by Margaret Atwood and Johnnie Christmas

Image result for Angel Catbird Volume 1 by Margaret Atwood and Johnnie ChristmasLauded novelist Margaret Atwood and acclaimed artist Johnnie Christmas collaborate on one of the most highly anticipated comic book and literary events of the year.

On a dark night, young genetic engineer Strig Feleedus is accidentally mutated by his own experiment and merges with the DNA of a cat and an owl. What follows is a humorous, action-driven, pulp-inspired superhero adventure with a lot of cat puns.

Published in over 35 countries, Margaret Atwood is one of the most important living writers of our day and is the author of more than 40 books of fiction, poetry and critical essays. Her work has won the Man Booker Prize, the Giller Prize, Premio Mondello and more. Angel Catbird is her first graphic novel series.

 

The Paper Girls Volume 1 by Brian K. Vaughan and Cliff Chiang

From Brian K. Vaughan, #1 New York Times bestselling writer of SAGA, and Cliff Chiang, legendary artist of WONDER WOMAN, comes the first volume of an all-new ongoing adventure.

In the early hours after Halloween of 1988, four 12-year-old newspaper delivery girls uncover the most important story of all time. Suburban drama and otherworldly mysteries collide in this smash-hit series about nostalgia, first jobs, and the last days of childhood.

 

 

HAPPY READING!

Book of the Week – 20% discount

Wednesday, August 17th 2016 at 11:03 AM

We are delighted to be able to offer Teju Cole’s brilliant first collection of essays – Known and Strange Things – as our Book of the Week.

Buy the book before Friday 26th August and get a 20% discount. Retail price is R290, but you will pay only R232!

July 2016

Monday, July 25th 2016 at 11:23 AM

Fiction

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The Lost Time Accidents by John Wray

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The Lost Time Accidents is a bold and epic saga set against the greatest upheavals of the twentieth century.

Haunted by a failed love affair and the darkest of family secrets, Waldemar ‘Waldy’ Tolliver wakes one morning to discover that he has been exiled from the flow of time. The world continues to turn, and Waldy is desperate to find his way back.

In his ambitious and fiercely inventive new novel, John Wray takes us from turn-of-the-century Viennese salons buzzing with rumours about Einstein’s radical new theory to the death camps of the Second World War, from the golden age of post-war pulp science fiction to a startling discovery in a modern-day Manhattan apartment packed to the ceiling with artefacts of contemporary life.

This is literature as high-wire act without the net; epic in scale, even bigger in heart.”                Marlon James

John Wray gets his Calvino on, his Mitchell on, his Murakami on, and even his Joyce on in this spectacular rattlebag of a novel . . . Who says the novel is dead? Just smash the clocks and open this novel.”               Colum McCann

With this darkly playful chronicle of three generations of crackpots and criminals, losers and visionaries, John Wray has written a book of eerie magic: Waldy Tolliver’s love letter to the mysterious Mrs. Haven is a secret love letter to fiction itself. A mischievous epic, luminous and strange.”                  Kiran Desai

John Wray is the next wave of American fiction.”                         Jonathan Lethem

One of our most astonishing and relevant young writers.”                    Esquire

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Our Young Man by Edmund White

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Has everyone always been in love with you? Of course they have, who am I kidding? What did they say about Helen of Troy? That her face launched a thousand ships? That’s you, you’re that beautiful. A thousand ships.

New York City in the eighties, and at its decadent heart is Guy. The darling of Fire Island’s gay community and one of New York’s top male models, Guy is gliding his way to riches that are a world away from his modest provincial upbringing back home in France. Like some modern-day Dorian Gray he seems untouched by time: the decades pass, fashions change, yet his beauty remains as transcendent and captivating as ever.

Such looks cannot help but bring him adoration. From sweet yet pathetic Fred to the wealthy and masochistic Baron, from the acerbic and cynical Pierre-Georges to Andre, fabricating Dalí fakes and hurtling towards prison and the abyss, all are in some way fixated on him. In return for the devotion and expensive gifts they lavish on him, he plays with unswerving loyalty, whatever role they project onto him: unattainable idol, passionate lover, malleable client. But just as the years are catching up on his smooth skin and perfect body, so his way of life is closing in on him and destroying the men he loves.

Edmund White has in Our Young Man created some of the richest representations of gay male identity, from the disco era to the age of AIDs. What links them all is the allure and enchantment they find in beauty. Revelling in its magic, Our Young Man nonetheless slips beneath the seductive surface to examine its dangerous depths, exploring its power to fascinate, enslave and deceive.

Edmund White is one of the best writers of my generation; he’s certainly the contemporary American writer I reread more than any other, and the one whose next book I look forward to reading most.”                   John Irving

Edmund White continues to chronicle, with more insight and compassion than any other writer I could name, the points at which gay life is simultaneously particular unto itself, and contiguous with universal human states. Thank you, Edmund, for insisting on our differences while reminding us, as well, that none of us is truly different, not in our innermost selves.”                    Michael Cunningham

So funny – it’s really one of his best – full of life, and so nasty.”             Andrew Holleran

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A Hero in France by Alan Furst

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From the undisputed master of historical espionage, a story of courage, love and treachery during the French Resistance.

Furst’s ability to recreate the terrors of espionage is matchless.”                    Robert Harris

Spring, 1941. Britain is losing the war.

Paris is occupied by the Nazis, dark and silent at night. But when the clouds part, and moonlight floods the city, a Resistance leader called Mathieu steps out to begin his work.
The fighters of the French Resistance are determined not to give up. These courageous men and women – young and old, aristocrats and nightclub owners, teachers and students – help downed British airmen reach the border with Spain. In farmhouses and rural churches, in secret hotels, and on the streets, they risk everything to open Europe’s sealed doors and lead Allied fighters to freedom.

But as the military police heightens surveillance, Mathieu and his team face a new threat, dispatched from the Reich to destroy them all.

When the theme is espionage during the dark days of wartime Europe, Alan Furst is one of its elite novelists.”                   The Times

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LaRose by Louise Erdrich

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Late summer in North Dakota, 1999: Landreaux Iron stalks a deer along the edge of the property bordering his own. He shoots with easy confidence but only when he staggers closer does he realise he has killed his neighbour’s son.

Dusty Ravich, the deceased boy, was best friends with Landreaux’s five-year-old son, LaRose. The two families have been close for years and their children played together despite going to different schools. Landreaux is horrified at what he’s done; fighting off his longstanding alcoholism, he ensconces himself in a sweat lodge and prays for guidance. And there he discovers an old way of delivering justice for the wrong he’s done. The next day he and his wife Emmaline deliver LaRose to the bereaved Ravich parents. Standing on the threshold of the Ravich home, they say, ‘Our son will be your son now’.

LaRose is quickly absorbed into his new family. Gradually he’s allowed visits with his birth family, whose grief for the son and brother they gave away mirrors that of the Raviches. The years pass and LaRose becomes the linchpin that links both families. As the Irons and the Raviches grow ever more entwined, their pain begins to subside. But when a man who nurses a grudge against Landreaux fixates on the idea that there was a cover-up the day Landreaux killed Dusty – and decides to expose this secret – he threatens the fragile peace between the two families…

Grief and guilt and unquenchable yearning overwhelm the pages … Erdrich has considerable powers as a writer of tragedy and comedy … it’s wonderful.”               Literary Review

LaRose, [Erdrich’s] 15th novel, is excellent. It is heartbreaking; it is nuanced; the prose is as strong and stark as the wintry western landscape it describes. The story is both simple and incredibly complex . . . Erdrich exposes the messy aftermath of a tragedy. She does so without sentimentality, without pity. Her themes are the limitations of love as a healing power as much as the healing power of love. It is important to say that Erdrich is one of the greatest living American writers, and LaRose is brilliant.”                        Guardian

Warm-hearted . . . a novel remarkable for its forgiveness and sheer magnanimity.”                   Sunday Times

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End of Watch by Stephen King

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The cell rings twice, and then his old partner in his ear… ‘I’m at the scene of what appears to be a murder-suicide. I’d like you to come and take a look. Bring your sidekick with you, if she’s available…’

Retired Detective Bill Hodges now runs a two-person firm called Finders Keepers with his partner Holly Gibney. They met in the wake of the ‘Mercedes Massacre’ when a queue of people was run down by the diabolical killer Brady Hartsfield.

Brady is now confined to Room 217 of the Lakes Region Traumatic Brain Injury Clinic, in an unresponsive state. But all is not what it seems: the evidence suggests that Brady is somehow awake, and in possession of deadly new powers that allow him to wreak unimaginable havoc without ever leaving his hospital room.

When Bill and Holly are called to a suicide scene with ties to the Mercedes Massacre, they find themselves pulled into their most dangerous case yet, one that will put their lives at risk, as well as those of Bill’s heroic young friend Jerome Robinson and his teenage sister, Barbara. Brady Hartsfield is back, and planning revenge not just on Hodges and his friends, but on an entire city.

The clock is ticking in unexpected ways …

Both a stand-alone novel of heart-pounding suspense and a sublimely terrifying final episode in the Hodges trilogy, End of Watch takes the series into a powerful new dimension.

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The Fireman by Joe Hill

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Nobody knew where the virus came from.
Fox News said it had been set loose by ISIS, using spores that had been invented by the Russians in the 1980s.
MSNBC said sources indicated it might’ve been created by engineers at Halliburton and stolen by culty Christian types fixated on the Book of Revelation.
CNN reported both sides.
While every TV station debated the cause, the world burnt.

Pregnant school nurse, Harper Grayson, had seen lots of people burn on TV, but the first person she saw burn for real was in the playground behind the school.
With the epic scope of The Passage and the emotional impact of The Road, this is one woman’s story of survival at the end of the world.

If you haven’t yet grabbed a copy of Joe Hill’s The Fireman, you need to. Original and gripping, a page-turner.”                     George R.R.Martin

I devoured this book as if the pages themselves were on fire…an end of the world tale with a blazing heart of hope at its core. A contender for book of the year.”               Sarah Pinborough, author of 13 Minutes

Joe Hill has always been good, but he’s created something incandescent here,
soaring and original. He’s a master storyteller who writes with fire in his veins
.”                 Lauren Beukes

Hill’s writing has matured along with his ideas. He plays out the apocalypse so quickly and efficiently, through small-town witnesses and television broadcasts, that it feels absolutely devastating. And in the aftermath, he juggles a huge cast of characters with aplomb, giving each their time to shine, yet still managing to keep the tension high throughout.”                        Guardian

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The Prophet of Eternal Fjord by Kim Leine

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Idealistic, misguided Morten Falck is a newly ordained priest sailing to Greenland in 1787 to convert the Inuit to the Danish church. A rugged outpost battered by harsh winters, Sukkertoppen is overshadowed by the threat of dissent; natives from neighboring villages have united to reject Danish rule and establish their own settlement atop Eternal Fjord. As Falck becomes involved with those in his care-his ambitious catechist, a lonely trader’s wife, and a fatalistic widow he comes to love-his faith and reputation are dangerously called into question.

An astonishing, hallucinatory journey into the frozen heart of Denmark’s colonial darkness… A fervid, exhilarating evocation of faith versus hypocrisy, empathy versus dislocation and desperate rebellion versus grim destiny, The Prophets of Eternal Fjord is a slow-release depth charge of a novel whose reverberations bear the terrible poignancy of global and timely relevance.”              Guardian

Superb… A raw, hugely powerful chronicle of lives lived on the edge… The Prophets of Eternal Fjord has a grandeur and a compass that few novels this year will match.”              Sunday Times

The result of this novel is symphonic: politics, history, sexuality, and religion deftly interwoven. The combination is perfectly balanced, fascinating, and irresistible.”                          Le Monde

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Hitman Anders and the Meaning of it All by Jonas Jonasson

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A madcap new novel from the author of The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and The Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden.

It’s never too late to start again. And again.

It’s always awkward when five thousand kronor goes missing. When it happens at a certain grotty hotel in south Stockholm, it’s particularly awkward because the money belongs to the hitman currently staying in room seven. Per Persson, the hotel receptionist, just wants to mind his own business, and preferably not get murdered. Johanna Kjellander, temporarily resident in room eight, is a priest without a vocation, and, as of last week, without a parish. But right now she has two things at her disposal: an envelope containing five thousand kronor, and an excellent idea . . .

 “Enormous fun … The subversive charm of it lies in the hints that God, or the Universe or whatever, is smarter and funnier than any of us.”             Kate Saunders, The Times

Jonasson matches the irreverence of his debut The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared … It’s a thrilling ride.”                     Financial Times

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This Must Be the Place by Maggie O’Farrell

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This wonderful new novel from Costa Novel Award-winner Maggie O’Farrell crosses time zones and continents to reveal an extraordinary portrait of a marriage.

“A tour de forceher best novel to date, a book that surely confirms her as one of the UK’s most assured, accomplished and inventive storytellers.”                        Observer

A symphony of stories and voices… absolutely gripping.”                      Sunday Times

Meet Daniel Sullivan, a man with a complicated life. A New Yorker living in the wilds of Ireland, he has children he never sees in California, a father he loathes in Brooklyn and a wife, Claudette, who is a reclusive ex-film star given to shooting at anyone who ventures up their driveway.

He is also about to find out something about a woman he lost touch with twenty years ago, and this discovery will send him off-course, far away from wife and home. Will his love for Claudette be enough to bring him back?

“A tour de force, a complex and nuanced story leaping effortlessly across multiple time frames… This Must Be The Place is that rare literary beast, both technically dazzling and deeply moving. It has all the structural and temporal playfulness of a Kate Atkinson novel while retaining the hallmark emotional insight for which O’Farrell has become renowned. It is her best novel to date, a book that surely confirms her as one of the UK’s most assured, accomplished and inventive storytellers.”                        Observer

A symphony of stories and voices… absolutely gripping… A rare talent to enthral… It will leave you bereft and wanting more.”                        Sunday Times

Some books are for lingering over. Every sentence Maggie O’Farrell writes is so perfectly formed that you want to wallow in it. As a writer, she’s perceptive, warm and particularly good at the nuances of family relationships. In This Must Be The Place, she casts her sharp but humane eye on a marriage in trouble.”                Good Housekeeping

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Moonstone: The Boy Who Never Was by Sjón

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Winner of the Icelandic Literary Prize

The year is 1918 and in Iceland the erupting volcano Katla can be seen colouring the sky night and day from the streets of Reykjavik. Yet life in the small capital carries on as usual, despite the natural disaster, a shortage of coal and, in the outside world, the Great War grinding on.

There, sixteen-year-old Máni Steinn lives for the new fashion – the movies. Asleep he dreams altered versions of them, their tapestry of events threaded with strands from his own life. Awake he hovers on the fringes of society. But then the Spanish flu epidemic comes ashore, killing hundreds and driving thousands into their sick beds. The shadows of existence deepen and for Máni everything changes.

Capturing Iceland at a moment of profound transformation, this is the story of a misfit in a place where life and death, reality and imagination, secrets and revelations jostle for dominance. With not a word wasted, this mesmerising and original novel is the work of a major international writer.

Sjón’s prose is never histrionic or overwrought, balancing rage and hallucination . . . with a gentleness of spirit, an affection for precision and the small scale. The result is sure to delight his fans and convert many new ones. “                Hari Kunzru, Guardian

“Moonstone is Sjón’s slim, simmering masterpiece. Vibrant and visceral, briskly paced but meditative, unsettling yet droll and flecked with beauty, it is a pitch-perfect study of transgression, survival and love.”                    David Mitchell

A work of miniaturist perfection: a brief, brilliant jewel of a book in which each paragraph is precision-cut, each sentence burnished. “                 Guardian

A magical book, the work of a great illusionist. You see the historical moment unfurl, luminous with desire and imagination and the flames of an erupting volcano, dark with repression, disease and death. You see it all through the poetic, poignant images of Máni Steinn’s story. And then in a final flourish you see it all vanish in a way that makes it unforgettable. “                   Adam Foulds

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The Chosen Ones by Steve Sem-Sandberg

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The Am Spiegelgrund clinic, in glittering Vienna, masqueraded as a well-intentioned reform school for wayward boys and girls and a home for chronically ill children. The reality, however, was very different: in the wake of Germany’s annexation of Austria on the eve of World War Two, its doctors, nurses, and teachers created a monstrous parody of the institution’s benign-sounding brief. The Nazi regime’s euthanasia program would come to determine the fate of many of the clinic’s inhabitants.

Through the eyes of a child inmate, Adrian Ziegler, and a nurse, Anna Katschenka, Steve Sem-Sandberg, the author of the award-winning The Emperor of Lies, explores the very meaning of survival. An absorbing, emotionally overwhelming novel, rich in incident and character, The Chosen Ones is obliquely illuminated by the author’s sharp sense of the absurd. Passionately serious, meticulously researched, and deeply profound, this extraordinary and dramatic novel bears witness to oppression and injustice, and offers invaluable and necessary insight on an intolerable chapter in Austria’s past.

You don’t so much read Sem-Sandberg as stand in the fiery wind of his prose . . . There is something here of Samuel Beckett’s trilogy – nothing is too small to shine an unwavering light on . . . The Chosen Ones is the logical outlay of a worst-case scenario of the human soul. It is not a book that can be read for “delight”, though it features beautiful sentences, and when Sem-Sandberg describes landscape and weather he has the sudden generosity of a poet. But he is also the ambassador of the unwanted child everywhere, then and now, and that is a rarer profession even than poet . . . Some novels are described as dark, in order to alert the reader. But this novel, translated into English by Anna Paterson, is as bright as a cloudless June sky under which, behind walls and doors, we go about our inexplicable human business.”                     Sebastian Barry, Guardian

An extraordinary, harrowing story … a novel that might often be hard to read but has a rare and raw power.”               Sunday Times

The Chosen Ones is meticulously researched and laden with history but such is Sem-Sandberg’s skill that it does not feel this way: he jumps between his characters and weaves the historical details into their conversations, thoughts and actions. It’s an education but do not approach this book lightly. This is historical fiction at its most raw and disturbing.”               The Times

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Emperor of the Eight Islands by Lian Hearn

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From the author of the hugely successful Tales of Otori trilogy.

An ambitious warlord leaves his nephew for dead and seizes his lands.

A stubborn father forces his younger son to surrender his wife to his older brother.

A mysterious woman seeks five fathers for her children.

A powerful priest meddles in the succession to the Lotus Throne.

These are the threads of an intricate tapestry in which the laws of destiny play out against a backdrop of wild forest, elegant court, and savage battlefield. Set in a mythical medieval Japan inhabited by warriors and assassins, ghosts and guardian spirits, Emperor of the Eight Islands by Lian Hearn is a brilliantly imagined novel, full of drama and intrigue – and it is just the beginning of an enthralling, epic adventure: The Tale of Shikanoko.

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A Divided Spy by Charles Cumming

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From the winner of the CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger 2012 for Best Thriller of the Year comes a suspenseful new spy novel.

Thomas Kell thought he was done with spying. A former MI6 officer, he devoted his life to the Service, but it has left him with nothing but grief and a simmering anger against the Kremlin.

Then Kell is offered an unexpected chance at revenge. Taking the law into his own hands, he embarks on a mission to recruit a top Russian spy who is in possession of a terrifying secret. As Kell tracks his man from Moscow to London, he finds himself in a high stakes game of cat and mouse in which it becomes increasingly difficult to know who is playing whom.

As the mission reaches boiling point, the threat of a catastrophic terrorist attack looms over Britain. Kell is faced with an impossible choice. Loyalty to MI6 – or to his own conscience?

A gripping psychological clash of wills, tactics and morals … Kell’s third appearance confirms him as one of the most interesting and sympathetic characters in the spy thriller field.”                       The Times

Thomas Kell has become one of the most interesting and well-drawn spies in contemporary literature – a man who deserves to be spoken in the same breath as George Smiley … Delicately written, with Cumming’s customary subtle humour, it confirms him as le Carré’s heir.”                Daily Mail

“This a convincing and gripping spy thriller with a clever, twisty plot, believable characters and an abundance of credible spy lore. Highly recommended.”               Herald

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Non-Fiction

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Rendezvous at the Russian Tea Rooms: The Spyhunter, the Fashion Designer and the Man from Moscow by Paul Willetts

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Rendezvous at the Russian Tea Rooms provides the first comprehensive account of what was once hailed by a leading American newspaper as the greatest spy story of World War II. This dramatic yet little-known saga, replete with telephone taps, kidnappings, and police surveillance, centres on the furtive escapades of Tyler Kent, a handsome, womanising 28-year-old Ivy League graduate, who doubles as a US Embassy code clerk and Soviet agent.

Against the backdrop of London high society during the so-called Phoney War, Kent’s life intersects with the lives of the book’s two other memorably flamboyant protagonists. One of those is Maxwell Knight, an urbane, endearingly eccentric MI5 spyhunter. The other is Anna Wolkoff, a White Russian fashion designer and Nazi spy whose outfits are worn by the Duchess of Windsor and whose parents are friends of the British royal family. Wolkoff belongs to a fascist secret society called the Right Club, which aims to overthrow the British government. Her romantic entanglement with Tyler Kent gives her access to a secret correspondence between President Roosevelt and Winston Churchill, a correspondence that has the potential to transform the outcome of the war.

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The View from the Cheap Seats: Selected Non-Fiction by Neil Gaiman

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The View from the Cheap Seats draws together myriad non-fiction writing by international phenomenon and Sunday Times bestselling author Neil Gaiman. From Make Good Art, the speech that went viral, to pieces on artists and legends including Terry Pratchett and Lou Reed, the collection offers a glimpse into the head and heart of one of the most acclaimed writers of our time.

Literature does not occur in a vacuum. It cannot be a monologue. It has to be a conversation.

Welcome to the conversation. Neil Gaiman fled the land of journalism to find truths through storytelling and sanctuary in not needing to get all the facts right. Of course, the real world continued to make up its own stories around him, and he has responded over the years with a wealth of ideas and introductions, dreams and speeches. Here ‘we can meet the writer full on’ (Stephen Fry) as he opens our minds to the people he admires and the things he believes might just mean something – and makes room for us to join the conversation too.

Like a series of thoughts for the day, it’s a perfect antidote to cynicism and a paean to the power of reading.”             Observer

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A Life Discarded by Alex Masters

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Unique, transgressive and as funny as its subject, A Life Discarded has all the suspense of a murder mystery. Written with his characteristic warmth, respect and humour, Masters asks you to join him in celebrating an unknown and important life left on the scrap heap.

A Life Discarded is a biographical detective story. In 2001, 148 tattered and mould-covered notebooks were discovered lying among broken bricks in a skip on a building site in Cambridge. Tens of thousands of pages were filled to the edges with urgent handwriting. They were a small part of an intimate, anonymous diary, starting in 1952 and ending half a century later, a few weeks before the books were thrown out. Over five years, the award-winning biographer Alexander Masters uncovers the identity and real history of their author, with an astounding final revelation.

A Life Discarded is a true, shocking, poignant, often hilarious story of an ordinary life. The author of the diaries, known only as ‘I’, is the tragicomic patron saint of everyone who feels their life should have been more successful. Part thrilling detective story, part love story, part social history, A Life Discarded is also an account of two writers’ obsessions: of ‘I’s need to record every second of life and of Masters’ pursuit of this mysterious yet universal diarist.

A bizarre, engrossing, affectionate book that is a triumph on every level.”             The Times

 “If Masters investigations feel like a Paul Auster detective story, there are also traces of Alan Bennet bad Barbary Pym seeping through the Cambridge hedges … It’s not life affirming – Masters isn’t slick or pompous enough for that – but life-probing, pushing at the boundaries of empathy and understanding.”              Sunday Times

Masters wonderfully exposes all the questions about identity, in writing or in the flesh, that this enormous, rambling, sad diary raises … Masters tells his tale with such verve.”                   Mary Beard, Guardian

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Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman by Lindy West

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Lindy West is an essential (and hilarious) voice for women. Her talent and bravery have made the Internet a place I actually want to be.”   Lena Dunham

 

A thrilling, kick-ass, joyous ROAR of a book.”                     Caitlin Moran

Guardian columnist Lindy West wasn’t always loud. It’s difficult to believe she was once a nerdy, terror-stricken teen who wanted nothing more than to be invisible. Fortunately for women everywhere, along the road she found her voice – and how she found it! That cripplingly shy girl, who refused to make a sound, grew up to be one of the loudest, shrillest, most fearless feminazis on the internet, making a living speaking up for what’s right instead of what’s ‘cool’.

In Shrill, Lindy recounts how she went from being the butt of people’s jokes, to telling her own brand of jokes – ones that come with a meaningful agenda and aren’t at someone else’s expense. She reveals the obstacles and misogyny she’s had to overcome to make herself heard, in a society that doesn’t believe women (especially fat women and feminists) can ever be funny.

A catalyst for conversation, West also addresses some of the most burning issues of popular culture today, taking a frank and provocative look at social injustice, racism, fat-shaming, twitter-trolling and even rape culture, unpicking the bullshit and calling out unpalatable truths with conviction, intelligence and a large dose of her trademark black humour.

It made me hurt, both from laughing and crying. Required reading if you are a feminist. Recommended reading if you aren’t.”                        Jenny Lawson, #1 bestselling author of Let’s Pretend This Never Happened and Furiously Happy

The surge of love and joy I felt while crylaughing through this book almost made my cold dead heart explode. Lindy is so smart and so funny that it almost hurts my little jealous-ass feelings. She is my most favorite writer ever.”              Samantha Irby, author of Meaty

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Mmusi Maimane: Prophet or Puppet? by S’Thembiso Msomi

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‘Mr Maimane, good evening to you and, with the greatest of respect, who are you?’

This is how journalist Jeremy Maggs began his television interview with Mmusi Maimane in 2011 when he was unveiled as the Democratic Alliance’s mayoral candidate for Johannesburg. Since then, the charismatic Maimane’s rise from obscurity to leader of the DA in 2015 has been nothing short of meteoric.

His anointment as leader of the DA made history, marking the completion of this political party’s transformation from ‘white’ political party to one whose new leader shared similar experiences to those of the majority voters. Yet there are those, even within the party, who denounce Maimane as nothing more than a puppet dancing to the tune of white masters.

So who is the real Maimane? Experienced political reporter S’thembiso Msomi goes behind the scenes to examine how and why Maimane rose head up the opposition party. He delves into Maimane’s formative years, his time at the pulpit in the church, and his family, to bring substance to the man.

Msomi also examines Maimane’s first year as head of the DA in the run-up to the local government elections, assessing how this young man has negotiated the often treacherous waters of political power. Finally, the author attempts to answer these burning questions: is Maimane his own man, and can he deliver the electorate that the DA so fervently desires?

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Writing Home: Lewis Nkosi on South African Writing edited by Lindy Stiebel and Michael Chapman

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Lewis Nkosi’s insights into South African literature, culture and society first appeared in the 1950s, when the ‘new’ urban African in Sophiatown and on ‘Drum’ magazine mockingly opposed then Prime Minister H.F. Verwoerd’s Bantu retribalisation policies.

Before his death in 2010, Nkosi focused on the literary-cultural challenges of post-Mandela times. Having lived for 40 years in exile, he returned to South Africa, intermittently, after the unbannings of 1990. His critical eye, however, never for long left the home scene. Hence, the title of this selection of his articles, essays and reviews, ‘Writing Home’.

Writing home with wit, irony and moral toughness Nkosi assesses a range of leading writers, including Herman Charles Bosman, Breyten Breytenbach, J.M. Coetzee, Athol Fugard, Nadine Gordimer, Bessie Head, Alex La Guma, Bloke Modisane, Es’kia Mphahlele, Nat Nakasa, Njabulo S. Ndebele, Alan Paton and Can Themba. Combining the journalist’s penchant for the human-interest story with astute analysis, Nkosi’s ideas, observations and insights are as fresh today as when he began his 60-year career as a writer and critic.

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Learning Zulu  by Mark Sanders

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Why are you learning Zulu?” When Mark Sanders began studying the language, he was often asked this question. In Learning Zulu, Sanders places his own endeavors within a wider context to uncover how, in the past 150 years of South African history, Zulu became a battleground for issues of property, possession, and deprivation. Sanders combines elements of analysis and memoir to explore a complex cultural history.

Perceiving that colonial learners of Zulu saw themselves as repairing harm done to Africans by Europeans, Sanders reveals deeper motives at work in the development of Zulu-language learning—from the emergence of the pidgin Fanagalo among missionaries and traders in the nineteenth century to widespread efforts, in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, to teach a correct form of Zulu. Sanders looks at the white appropriation of Zulu language, music, and dance in South African culture, and at the association of Zulu with a martial masculinity. In exploring how Zulu has come to represent what is most properly and powerfully African, Sanders examines differences in English- and Zulu-language press coverage of an important trial, as well as the role of linguistic purism in xenophobic violence in South Africa.

Through one person’s efforts to learn the Zulu language, Learning Zulu explores how a language’s history and politics influence all individuals in a multilingual society.

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Generation Revolution: On the Frontline Between Tradition and Change in the Middle East by Rachel Aspden

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In 2003, Rachel Aspden arrived in Egypt as a 23-year-old trainee journalist. She found a country on the brink of change. Of Egypt’s 80 million citizens, two-thirds were under 30. The new generation were stifled, broken and frustrated – caught between a dictatorship with nothing to offer them and autocratic parents still clinging to tradition and obedience after a lifetime of fear.

In January 2011, the young people’s patience ran out. They thought the revolution that followed would change everything for them. But as violence escalated, the economy collapsed and as the united front against Mubarak shattered into sectarianism, many found themselves wavering, hesitant to discard the old ways.

What happens when a revolution unravels?

Why is a generation raised on Hollywood movies and global brand names turning to religion?

How do you choose between sex and tradition, consumerism and faith?

Why would people who once chanted for freedom support a military state?

And where will the next generation take the Middle East?

Following the stories of four young Egyptians – Amr the atheist software engineer, Amal the village girl who defied her family and her entire community, Ayman the one-time religious extremist and Ruqayah the would-be teenage martyr – Generation Revolution unravels the complex forces shaping the lives of young people caught between tradition and modernity, and what their stories mean for the future of the Middle East.

Fascinating study… A deep dive into one of the revolution’s most critical faultlines.”                                Evening Standard

The Arab spring has yielded a bumper crop of books about youth across the region and Generation Revolution is among its more fruitful reads… Always compelling… Particularly interesting for its nuanced portraits of young Egyptian Men.”               Shereen El Feki, Observer

Having lived on and off in Cairo for more than a decade, Aspden has a clear eye for its marvelous and maddening details… her stories are always compelling… Generation Revolution is particularly interesting for its nuanced portraits of young Egyptian men… A welcome prism, separating the spectrum of political Islam through the coming of age of its characters… A sobering tale for anyone with an interest in Egypt’s future.”                  Guardian

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My Dear Ones: One Family and the Final Solution by Jonathan Wittenberg

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A family’s story of human tenacity, faith and a race for survival in the face of unspeakable horror and cruelty perpetrated by the Nazi regime against the Jewish people.

Growing up in the safety of England, far away from his family’s past, Jonathan Wittenberg had never asked too many questions about his ancestors, although his father had told him Hitler murdered millions of people and ‘turned thousands of them into bars of soap, including several of your relatives.’

On a burning June day in Jerusalem, Jonathan, now a rabbi, and his family, bury his aunt Steffi in the Jewish cemetery on the Mount of Olives. Afterwards, Jonathan discovers a plain linen bag, nestled for years in a suitcase on her balcony, which delves him into his family history.

Through the war-time correspondence of his great-grandmother Regina, his great aunts and uncles Sophie, Trude and Alfred, Jonathan weaves together the strands of an ancient rabbinical family with the history of Europe during the Second World War.

My Dear Ones takes us on a tumultuous journey throughout Europe and the United States and tells the moving story of a family whose lives hang by a silken thread but whose faith in God remains unshakeable throughout.

One of Britain’s greatest religious thinkers – asking the toughest, and most enduring, questions. It’s time Britain got the chance to hear him in his own voice, telling his own story.”                                    -Jonathan Freedland

Moving – at times almost unbearably so – and fascinating.”                Antonia Fraser

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The Rise & Fall of Nations: Ten Rules of Change in the Post-Crisis World by Ruchir Sharma

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The crisis of 2008 ended the illusion of a golden era in which many people imagined that prosperity and political calm would continue to spread indefinitely. In a world now racked by slowing growth and mounting unrest, how can we discern which nations will thrive and which will fail?

Shaped by prize-winning author Ruchir Sharma’s twenty-five years travelling the world, The Rise and Fall of Nations rethinks economics as a practical art. By narrowing down the thousands of factors that can shape a country’s future, it spells out ten clear rules for identifying the next big winners and losers in the global economy.

Each rule looks at a nation’s political, economic, and social conditions in real time to filter out the hype and noise. He shows, for example, how slow population growth is eroding economic growth, and ranks nations by how well they respond. He describes the way cycles of political complacency and revolt fuel economic booms and busts. Amid growing tensions over inequality, he demonstrates how billionaire lists yield clues to which economies are most or least threatened by extreme wealth. In a period when the world is struggling with trillions of dollars in new debt, he explains which nations are most likely to avert this threat or buckle under it. Sharma’s rules are based on the data he has collected over many years at Morgan Stanley Investment Management in New York, where he is now Head of Emerging Markets and Chief Global Strategist. This is a book of original research, not mere opinion.

The final chapter takes the reader on a surprising world tour of the likely winners and losers in the near future. The Rise and Fall of Nations is enlivened by Sharma’s stories from the road and his encounters with presidents, tycoons, and villagers from Rio to Beijing. It is a pioneering field guide to understanding our impermanent world.

For sheer readability and insight on the developing world drama, I dare say you won’t find a better choice.”                    Wall Street Journal

A vital guide to the new economic order…he looks to help readers navigate this turbulent world with rules that can help them identify which countries might, over 5 to 10 year time horizons, rise, fall, or muddle through.”               Rana Foroohar, Time

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Secondhand Time: The Last of the Soviets by Svetlana Alexievich

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The magnum opus and latest work from Svetlana Alexievich, the 2015 winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature a symphonic oral history about the disintegration of the Soviet Union and the emergence of a new Russia
When the Swedish Academy awarded Svetlana Alexievich the Nobel Prize, it cited her for inventing a new kind of literary genre, describing her work as a history of emotions a history of the soul. Alexievich’s distinctive documentary style, combining extended individual monologues with a collage of voices, records the stories of ordinary women and men who are rarely given the opportunity to speak, whose experiences are often lost in the official histories of the nation.
In Secondhand Time,  Alexievich chronicles the demise of communism. Everyday Russian citizens recount the past thirty years, showing us what life was like during the fall of the Soviet Union and what it s like to live in the new Russia left in its wake. Through interviews spanning 1991 to 2012, Alexievich takes us behind the propaganda and contrived media accounts, giving us a panoramic portrait of contemporary Russia and Russians who still carry memories of oppression, terror, famine, massacres but also of pride in their country, hope for the future, and a belief that everyone was working and fighting together to bring about a utopia. Here is an account of life in the aftermath of an idea so powerful it once dominated a third of the world.

Like the greatest works of fiction, Secondhand Time is a comprehensive and unflinching exploration of the human condition. . . . Alexievich s tools are different from those of a novelist, yet in its scope and wisdom, Secondhand Time is comparable to War and Peace.”               Wall Street Journal

Already hailed as a masterpiece across Europe, Secondhand Time is an intimate portrait of a country yearning for meaning after the sudden lurch from Communism to capitalism in the 1990s plunged it into existential crisis. A series of monologues by people across the former Soviet empire, it is Tolstoyan in scope, driven by the idea that history is made not only by major players but also by ordinary people.                               New York Times

“[Alexievich s] longest and most ambitious project to date: an effort to use an oral history of the nineties to understand Soviet and post-Soviet identity.”                           New Yorker

In this spellbinding book, Svetlana Alexievich orchestrates a rich symphony of Russian voices telling their stories of love and death, joy and sorrow, as they try to make sense of the twentieth century.”                  J. M. Coetzee

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The Violet Hour: Great Writers at the End by Katie Roiphe

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In The Violet Hour, Katie Roiphe takes an unexpected and liberating approach to the most unavoidable of subjects. She investigates the last days of six great thinkers, writers and artists as they come to terms with the reality of approaching death.

Roiphe draws on her own extraordinary research and access to the family, friends and caretakers of her subjects. Here is Susan Sontag, the consummate public intellectual, who finds her commitment to rational thinking tested during her third bout with cancer. Roiphe takes us to the hospital room where, after receiving the worst possible diagnosis, seventy-six-year-old John Updike begins writing a poem. She vividly re-creates the fortnight of almost suicidal excess that culminated in Dylan Thomas’s fatal collapse on the floor of a Greenwich Village tavern. She gives us a bracing portrait of Sigmund Freud fleeing Nazi-occupied Vienna only to continue in his London exile the compulsive cigar smoking that he knows will hasten his decline. She shows us how Maurice Sendak’s beloved books for children are infused with his lifelong obsession with death, if you know where to look. And from James Salter she learns that ‘we make our own comfort.’

The Violet Hour is a book filled with intimate and surprising revelations. In the final acts of each of these creative geniuses are examples of courage, passion, self-delusion, pointless suffering and superb devotion.

In this elegant and beautifully written set of elegies, Katie Roiphe looks death squarely in the face, describing how people evanesce, how others lose them, how they lose themselves, how writing is a means to negotiate for immortality. This courageous, generous, intimate book is suffused with affection, and therefore provides comfort even when its topic is the loneliness that inheres in finality.”                        Andrew Solomon, author of Far from the Tree

The Violet Hour is a revelation, at least to me. Her case studies-of Susan Sontag, Sigmund Freud, Dylan Thomas, John Updike, and Maurice Sendak – focus on the last months of life, using each writer’s final struggle as a key to his or her character. This is the best book Roiphe has written. She shows that our interest in dying is not just an interest in endings, or in final things, or in posterity. Instead, it has to do with how we get along, how families and friendship work, in short, how we live.”                      Paris Review

Her technique is never anything less than insightful . . . on every page, she turns up something interesting, lets in some astonishing shaft of light. Her writing is elegant, cool, unforgettable.”                         Observer

Engrossing . . . Such an immersive book is testament to her remarkable literary skills. This is an immensely sympathetic and satisfying read.”                      Sunday Times

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Country of Refuge: An Anthology of Writing on Asylum Seekers edited by Lucy Popescu

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A Country of Refuge is a poignant, thought-provoking and timely anthology of writing on asylum seekers from some of Britain and Ireland’s most influential voices.

Compiled and edited by human rights activist and writer Lucy Popescu, this powerful collection of short fiction, memoir, poetry and essays explores what it really means to be a refugee: to flee from conflict, poverty and terror; to have to leave your home and family behind; and to undertake a perilous journey, only to arrive on less than welcoming shores.

These writings are a testament to the strength of the human spirit. The contributors articulate simple truths about migration that will challenge the way we think about and act towards the dispossessed and those forced to seek a safe place to call home.

A powerful, and frequently harrowing, collection … I read it with fascination.”                 Penelope Lively

A beautiful insight into the painful individuality of the refugee.”                     Jon Snow

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Sicily: A Short History from the Greeks to the Cosa Nostra by John Julius Norwich

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‘Sicily is the key to everything‘               Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

‘I discovered Sicily almost by mistake . . .We drove as far as Naples, then put the car on the night ferry to Palermo. There was a degree of excitement in the early hours when we passed Stromboli, emitting a rich glow every half-minute or so like an ogre puffing on an immense cigar; and a few hours later, in the early morning sunshine, we sailed into the Conca d’Oro, the Golden Shell, in which the city lies. Apart from the beauty of the setting, I remember being instantly struck by a change in atmosphere. The Strait of Messina is only a couple of miles across and the island is politically part of Italy; yet somehow one feels that one has entered a different world . . . This book is, among other things, an attempt to analyse why this should be.’

The stepping stone between Europe and Africa, the gateway between the East and the West, at once a stronghold, clearing-house and observation post, Sicily has been invaded and fought over by Phoenicians and Greeks, Carthaginians and Romans, Goths and Byzantines, Arabs and Normans, Germans, Spaniards and the French for thousands of years. It has belonged to them all – and yet has properly been part of none.

John Julius Norwich was inspired to become a writer by his first visit in 1961 and this book is the result of a fascination that has lasted over half a century. In tracing its dark story, he attempts to explain the enigma that lies at the heart of the Mediterranean’s largest island.

This vivid short history covers everything from erupting volcanoes to the assassination of Byzantine emperors, from Nelson’s affair with Emma Hamilton to Garibaldi and the rise of the Mafia. Taking in the key buildings and towns, and packed with fascinating stories and unforgettable characters, Sicily is the book he was born to write.

The most amiable and freewheeling of guides, Norwich will always find room for the amusing anecdote . . . Written Sicilian history dates back 2,500 years, so compressing it into one book means a swift and exhilarating gallop . . . Norwich renders it entertaining on every page.”                    Sunday Times

Norwich is an authoritative historian, but his writing is charmingly personal . . . Sicily’s political history is full of some much turbulence it’s sometimes hard to keep track of the battles, murders and successions, but Norwich sketches personalities vividly . . . Norwich calls this book his ‘valediction’ to Sicily: he does the island and the reader a generous service in providing such an amiable introduction.”                 Sunday Telegraph

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Trigger Warning: Is the Fear of Being Offensive Killing Free Speech? by Mick Hume

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Do we really have the right to say the ‘wrong’ thing?

I strongly recommend this book. Hume is right that the current proliferation of trigger warnings is absurd.”                Guardian

In a fierce defence of free speech – in all its forms – Mick Hume’s blistering polemic exposes the new threats facing us today in the historic fight for freedom of expression. In 2015, the cold-blooded attacks in Paris on the Charlie Hebdo cartoonists united the free-thinking world in proclaiming ‘Je suis Charlie’. But it wasn’t long before many were arguing that the massacres showed the need to restrict the right to be offensive. Meanwhile sensitive students are sheltered from potentially offensive material and Twitter vigilantes police those expressing the ‘wrong’ opinion. But the basic right being suppressed – to be offensive, despite the problems it creates – is not only acceptable but vital to society. Without a total freedom of expression, other liberties will not be possible.

This is an important book, and couldn’t be more timely. It’s strong-minded, unafraid, determined to knock down all the various specious arguments against free speech, unapologetic about insisting on the value of free expression, and terrifically well argued. In these weak-minded times it’s good to have so uncompromising a defence.”               Salman Rushdie

“What this book does tremendously is pull off the neat trick of summing up just what the hell is going on out there on the great frontiers of speech, offence, liberty and people shouting at each other.”                      The Times

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Tide: The Science & Lore of the Greatest Force on Earth by Hugh Aldersey-Williams

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Described by the Sunday Times as “a gently studious Bill Bryson crossed with an upbeat and relaxed WG Sebald“, Tide is “a superb book… a delight to read. It is profound and powerful, and should win prizes.”

From Cnut to D-Day, the history and science of the unceasing tide is explored for the first time.

Half of the world’s population lives in coastal regions lapped by tidal waters. Yet how little most of us know about the tide – a key force on our planet that has altered the course of history and will transform our future.

Our ability to predict and understand the tide depends on centuries of science, from the observations of Aristotle and the theories of Newton to today’s supercomputer calculations. This story is punctuated here by notable tidal episodes in history, from Caesar’s thwarted invasion of Britain to the catastrophic flooding of Venice, and interwoven with a rich folklore that continues to inspire art and literature today.

With Aldersey-Williams as our guide to the most feared and celebrated tidal features on the planet, from the original maelstrøm in Scandinavia to the world’s highest tides in Nova Scotia to the crumbling coast of East Anglia, the importance of the tide, and the way it has shaped – and will continue to shape – our civilization, becomes startlingly clear.

A spring tide of colour and historical anecdote laps over the more austere mudflats of the actual science. So much so that I find myself looking forward to the next piece of technical exposition as, like the gentle ebb of a neap tide, his cultural history of tides also slowly reveals and explains each successive advance in our understanding of them.”                      The Times

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East West Street: On the Origins of Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity by Philippe Sands

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A monumental achievement: profoundly personal, told with love, anger and great precision.”                        John le Carré

A triumph of astonishing research … No novel could possibly match such an important work of truth.”                       Antony Beevor

Magnificent … I was moved to anger and to pity. In places I gasped, in places I wept. I wanted to reach the end. I couldn’t wait to reach the end. And then when I got there I didn’t want to be at the end.”                  The Times

When human rights lawyer Philippe Sands received an invitation to deliver a lecture in the western Ukrainian city of Lviv, he began to uncover a series of extraordinary historical coincidences. It set him on a quest that would take him halfway around the world in an exploration of the origins of international law and the pursuit of his own secret family history, beginning and ending with the last day of the Nuremberg trial.

Part historical detective story, part family history, part legal thriller, Philippe Sands guides us between past and present as several interconnected stories unfold in parallel. The first is the hidden story of two Nuremberg prosecutors who discover, only at the end of the trial, that the man they are prosecuting may be responsible for the murder of their entire families in Nazi-occupied Poland, in and around Lviv. The two prosecutors, Hersch Lauterpacht and Rafael Lemkin, were remarkable men, whose efforts led to the inclusion of the terms ‘crimes against humanity’ and ‘genocide’ in the judgement at Nuremberg. The defendant, Hans Frank, Hitler’s personal lawyer and Governor-General of Nazi-occupied Poland, turns out to be an equally compelling character.

The lives of these three men lead Sands to a more personal story, as he traces the events that overwhelmed his mother’s family in Lviv and Vienna during the Second World War. At the heart of this book is an equally personal quest to understand the roots of international law and the concepts that have dominated Sands’ work as a lawyer. Eventually, he finds unexpected answers to his questions about his family, in this powerful meditation on the way memory, crime and guilt leave scars across generations, and the haunting gaps left by the secrets of others.

Important and engrossing … The surprise is that even when charting the complexities of law, Sands’s writing has the intrigue, verve and material density of a first-rate thriller … He can magic whole histories of wartime heroism out of addresses eight decades old. Or, chasing the lead of a faded photograph, he can unearth possible alternate grandparents and illicit liaisons to be verified only by DNA tests … East West Street is an exceptional memoir.”                  Lisa Appignanesi, The Observer

Engrossing … Sands has written a remarkable and enjoyable book, deftly weaving his own family history into a lively account of the travails of the early campaigners for international human rights law.”                       Literary Review

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Something Different

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The Alphabet from Space by Adam Voiland

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‘Aloha, A! What begins with A? There is Antarctica, Azerbaijan, algal blooms, and alluvial fans. Astronauts appreciating awe-inspiring views of Earth from above. And these ancient Appalachian ridges in America intersected by an azure river in autumn!’

We’ve all looked up at clouds and found faces, objects and animals within their white puffy shapes. Astronauts and satellites can do the same thing – but from far above in outer space…

While working on a story about wildfires in northern Canada, NASA science writer and new father Adam Voiland found a stunning satellite image of an enormous smoke cloud, many miles across, shaped like the letter ‘V’. The majesty of that image made Adam wonder: could he track down all 26 letters of the alphabet for his newborn baby son, using only satellite imagery and photographs of the Earth taken by astronauts? With the help of readers and colleagues at NASA, he started to collect images of clouds, blooms of sea plankton and dust storms that formed shapes reminiscent of all the letters from A to Z.

The result is this beautiful book of earth imagery. It offers a unique view of the alphabet, where letters are spelled out by rivers, deserts, mountains and ice. At a time when Space travel is more popular than ever, and astronauts from Chris Hadfield to Tim Peake are inspiring a whole generation of young readers, this book is a delight for adults and children alike. It is at once a celebration of Space, language and the natural beauty of our home planet, and a gift to keep for ever.

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Fox Tossing, Octopus Wresting and Other Forgotten Sports by Edward Brooke-Hitching

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For those who enjoyed the quirkiness of Schott’s Miscellany, the erudition of The Etymologicon or the extremes of The Dangerous Book for Boys, this is the perfect read.

From Flagpole Sitting to Hot Cockles, Edward Brooke-Hitching has researched through piles of dusty tomes to bring vividly back to life some of the most curious, dangerous and downright bizarre sports and pastimes that mankind has ever devised, before thinking better of it and erasing it from the memory.

After all, who would ever want to bring back Fox Tossing, a popular sport for men and women in 17th-century Germany? As the name suggests, it would involve dozens of couples pairing up and standing 20-25 feet apart in an enclosed field, each holding one end of a net, and then they would pull hard at both ends as the fox ran past, sending it flying high into the air.

There are many other sports revealed within these pages that are unlikely ever to make an appearance on our TV screens, such as Firework Boxing, which is just as dangerous as it sounds. Meanwhile, Ski Ballet may not have been so risky, but Suzy ‘Chapstick’ Chaffee’s signature move – the Suzy Split (a complete forward split while balanced on the tips of her skis) – was probably not one to try at home. An intriguing, entertaining and occasionally shocking insight into the vivid imaginations of mankind across the years, Fox Tossing, Octopus Wrestling and Other Forgotten Sportsis an unforgettable read.

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Polina by Bastien Vivés

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As a very young girl, Polina Oulinov is taken on as a special pupil by the famous ballet teacher Professor Bojinsky. He is very demanding and refuses to adapt his standards to the talents of his pupils, and Polina has to work hard and make great sacrifices in order to reach the level Bojinsky senses she has the talent for. When she graduates and is admitted to the official theatre school, she discovers that Bojinsky’s view of ballet is only one of many and that she can’t adapt to new rules, new visions. She flees Russia for Berlin, where she meets a group of drama students. Together they create a new form of theatre – and conquer the world.

Brilliantly drawn, Polina is a moving and intimate story of self-discovery. It confirms Bastien Vivès as one of the most exciting talents at work in the graphic novel field today.

A distinctly continental sort of graphic novel: 200 sepia-tone pages of rambling story about a young ballet dancer’s training and young adulthood, rather like Black Swan without the madness and body horror.”                         Daily Telegraph

I was seduced immediately… This is an exceptionally absorbing and touching book, one that should be required reading for teenage girls everywhere.”                    Rachel Cooke, Observer

Vivès conveys emotions with the lightest of touches… a perceptive look at the things in a ballerina’s life that fuel her artistry. But it will also delight readers unfamiliar with ballet. It reminds us that youthful hopes and disappointments may be innocent, but they are not necessarily shallow. They can be turned into great art.”              Economist

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For younger readers

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Smart About Sharks by Owen Davey

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It is time to learn about the sea’s most feared (and most misunderstood) residents: sharks!

Owen Davey returns to nonfiction to explain the mysteries of those denizens of the deep. Some deadly, some not-so-deadly, and almost all just generally misunderstood. Exciting and detailed illustrations fill the page and educate young readers about these thrilling residents of the sea! Delivering information with the same whimsical text and brash illustration that saw his previous book win the affection of the many, Smart About Sharks is sure to have teeth!

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Life and I: A Story About Death by Elisabeth Helland Larsen, illustrated by Marine Schneider

This sensitively-told story for readers of all ages illustrates the inseparability of life and death. Rosy-cheeked and wrapped in blue, with a flower in her hair, Death rides a pink bike. Death, a green-eyed little girl in this pastel world, visits small animals with soft fur and big animals with sharp teeth. She lingers with a kindly grandmother as they knit one last scarf together. She wanders through surroundings of gentle beauty and she tells us who she is. For parents of children facing the loss of a family member, a friend, or a pet, this book finds words to express what is often so difficult to explain. It ends with such a feeling of uplift and acceptance that readers of any age will turn the last page with a smile and a tear. Author Elisabeth Helland Larsen and illustrator Marine Schneider weave a tapestry out of direct, poetic words and hand-drawn pictures to give voice to emotions that are moving, real, and most of all, honest.

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Happy Reading