Book News

The Booker Prize 2020 Shortlist – the authors

Top row L to R

Diane Cook is a critically acclaimed author and short story writer, living in Brooklyn. A first time Booker shortlister or even longlister

Douglas Stuart is a Scot born and raised in Glasgow. Shuggie Bain is his debut novel after moving to New York City to follow a career in fashion design.

Avni Doshi born in new Jersey currently based in Dubai. Her debut novel is published in India under the title Girl in White Cotton

Second Row L to R

Tsitsi Dangerembga lives in Zimbabwe. Winner of Commonwealth Writers’ Prize with debut novel Nervous Conditions

Maaza Mengiste raised in Addis Ababa, her previous novel Beneath the Lion’s Gaze was listed in the Guardian ten Best Comtemporary African Books. She lives in New York City.

Brandon Taylor has a serious background in Literature and writing in the U.S. Real Life is his first novel.

 

The Booker Prize 2020 Longlist

        From Margaret Attwood to Sophie Ward, these fictional favourites are 'deserving of wide readership'

 

 

Image for The Room Where It Happened : A White House Memoir The Room Where it Happened: A White House Memoir by John Bolton

The book Trump tried to stop being published – unsuccessfully!

As President Trump’s National Security Advisor, John Bolton spent many of his 453 days in the room where it happened, and the facts speak for themselves. The result is a White House memoir that is the most comprehensive and substantial account of the Trump Administration, and one of the few to date by a top-level official. With almost daily access to the President, John Bolton has produced a precise rendering of his days in and around the Oval Office.

And in July  . . .

Tell-all book from Donald Trump's niece is temporarily blocked from publication

Watch for Much and Never Enough due out on 28 July. 

Tell-all by Donald Trump’s niece Mary Trump, has been temporarily blocked from publication by a supreme court judge.

 

In these troubled times maybe we should all be reading books to understand more about Race and Racism in our society.

Image for Me and White Supremacy : How to Recognise Your Privilege, Combat Racism and Change the World

Image for Why I'm No Longer Talking to White People About Race : The #1 Sunday Times BestsellerImage for White Fragility : Why It's So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism

Image for Between The World And Me     Image for Brit(ish) : On Race, Identity and Belonging

 

5 classic novels about race, racism and inequality that everyone should read in their lifetime

Image for I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings : The international Classic and Sunday Times Top Ten Bestseller  Image for Uncle Tom's Cabin     The Color Purple          Image for Beloved

 

One to lift your spirits – a laugh out loud.

Image for The Switch

The Switch by Beth O’Leary

Leena is too young to feel stuck. Eileen is too old to start over. Maybe it’s time for The Switch… So Leena proposes a solution: a two-month swap. Eileen can live in London and look for love, and Leena will look after everything in rural Yorkshire. ‘SO CHARMING, SO SWEET AND SO LOVELY’ MARIAN KEYES. Beth O’Leary, author of The Flatshare

 

This is a searing modern polemic and Sunday Times bestseller from the BAFTA and MOBO award-winning musician and political commentator, Akala.

Image for Natives : Race and Class in the Ruins of Empire - The Sunday Times Bestseller Natives: Race and Class in the Ruins of Empire by Akala

From the first time he was stopped and searched as a child, to the day he realised his mum was white, to his first encounters with racist teachers – race and class have shaped Akala’s life and outlook. In this unique book he takes his own experiences and widens them out to look at the social, historical and political factors that have left us where we are today.

Akala makes us quietly aware of how much we have left to learn about the world… He doesn’t shy away from uncomfortable truths backed up with hard facts, which make you sit up and pay attention.’ – Oxford Times

 

Next a straight-up thriller…from Celeste Ng, While the plot whisks you breathlessly along, it lays out the bones of a debate about race and parenthoodSunday Times, Pick of the Paperbacks

Image for Little Fires Everywhere Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

Now a major TV series . . .  Everyone in Shaker Heights was talking about it that summer: how Isabelle, the last of the Richardson children, had finally gone around the bend and burned the house down.  In Shaker Heights, a placid, progressive suburb of Cleveland, everything is meticulously planned – from the layout of the winding roads, to the colour of the houses. And no one embodies this spirit more than Elena Richardson, whose guiding principle is playing by the rules. Enter Mia Warren – an enigmatic artist and single mother- who arrives in this idyllic bubble with her teenage daughter Pearl, and rents a house from the Richardson’s. Soon Mia and Pearl become more than just tenants: all four Richardson children are drawn to the mother-daughter pair. But Mia carries with her a mysterious past, and a disregard for the rules that threatens to upend this carefully ordered community.

OUTSTANDING’ – MATT HAIG, ‘TO SAY I LOVED THIS BOOK IS AN UNDERSTATEMENT’ – REECE WITHERSPOON

 

Next a masterful work of historical fiction about hope, exile and belonging,

Image for A Long Petal of the Sea : 'Allende's finest book yet' - now a Sunday Times bestsellerA Long Petal of the Sea by Isabel Allende

n the late 1930s, civil war grips Spain. When General Franco and his Fascists succeed in overthrowing the government, hundreds of thousands are forced to flee in a treacherous journey over the mountains to the French border. Among them is Roser, a pregnant young widow, who finds her life intertwined with that of Victor Dalmau, an army doctor and the brother of her deceased love. In order to survive, the two must unite in a marriage neither of them desires.

 

Women’s Prize for Fiction 2020

Chair of the judges, Martha Lane Fox, said: “Ahead of the longlist meeting I was anxious that the negotiations between judges might be as arduous as Brexit, but it was an absolute delight to pick our final 16 books. Entries for the Prize’s 25th year have been spectacular and we revelled in the variety, depth, humanity and joy of the writing – we hope everyone else will too.”

On Wednesday 22nd April, the judges announced they have whittled the 16 down to 6 for the shortlist, as follows

  • Dominicana by Angie Cruz
  • Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo
  • A Thousand Ships by Natalie Haynes
  • The Mirror and the Light by Hilary Mantel
  • Hamnet by Maggie O’ Farrell
  • Weather by Jenny Offill

The winner will be announced on Wednesday 9th September, this date has been pushed back from June, due to the current situation.

Click on the link for more details about the Women’s Prize

Women’s Prize for Fiction

 

Image for The Trail

  • The Trail
  • The gripping debut crime novel from James Ellson, former Moss Side detective.

Q & A with James:

So James, your book is out this week?  Yes! I’ve been writing it for 10 years, and finally I’ve got there!

In a nutshell, what’s it about? A missing person enquiry leads Manchester DCI Rick Castle to Nepal

So, a crime thriller. Why so?  They say write about what you know. I was a police officer for 15 years, first in London, then in Manchester and finishing at Moss Side. Really, Moss Side finished me. That was 10 years ago, and I’ve been writing ever since.

Having the quote from Paula Hawkins on the cover is amazing. ‘A pacy and intelligent thriller.’ How did that come about?  I sent my memoir From Cop to Coppicer to a number of agents including, as it turned out Paula Hawkins’ agent. She asked if Paula could get in touch. Of course, I said yes, and subsequently I was credited in the acknowledgements to Paula’s sequel to Girl On The Train, Into The Water. In December I asked her if she’d review my book, and fantastically she said she would!

Why’s it called The TrailIt hasn’t always – the book started life as Missing, then changed to Missing in Nepal. I finally settled on The Trail for three reasons. It suggests both a police trail of evidence and also a footpath in the mountains. It’s also a nod to one of my favourite authors Cormac McCarthy, and his book The Road.

What makes it different from other crime thrillers? Firstly, the setting is Nepal and secondly the detecting method.  Many crime thrillers focus on ‘clues’ (DNA, fingerprints etc) but in reality crimes with these leads are not as interesting to investigate. What makes ‘The Trail’ different to most in its genre is the real investivative technique. Detectives start an investivation by asking themselves 4 questions (which are taught on every SIO, Senior Investigating Officer, course in the country)

        What do I know?

        What are my hypotheses for what happened?

        What else do I know?

        How can I find the information I need?

These 4 questions, and the developing hypotheses, form part of DCI Castle’s investigation.

Thank you, and very good luck with your first book, I look forward to reading it!

It’s a pleasure, thank you.

Don’t forget you can meet James at RM on Saturday 7th March between 12 – 2pm

 

Image for Square Haunting : Five Women, Freedom and London Between the WarsSquare Haunting by Francesca Wade H/B Out now

Mecklenburgh Square in Bloomsbury was passed through in the interwar years by H. D., Dorothy L. Sayers, Jane Harrison, Eileen Power and Virginia Woolf during a period of expanding female possibility, with these creative pioneers operating in this liberated new territory. Wade’s group biography reveals the place of Mecklenburgh Square in each writer’s development.

 

Image for Big SkyBig Sky by Kate Atkinson P/B Out now

Jackson Brodie has relocated to a quiet seaside village in North Yorkshire, in the occasional company of his recalcitrant teenage son Nathan and ageing Labrador Dido, both at the discretion of his former partner Julia. It’s a picturesque setting, but there’s something darker lurking behind the scenes. Jackson’s current job, gathering proof of an unfaithful husband for his suspicious wife, seems straightforward, but a chance encounter with a desperate man on a crumbling cliff leads him into a sinister network-and back into the path of someone from his past.

Old secrets and new lies intersect in this breathtaking new literary crime novel, both sharply funny and achingly sad, by one of the most dazzling and surprising writers at work today. THE NUMBER ONE SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER.

 

Image for Elevation

Elevation by Stephen King  P/B Out now

‘A master simply elevating his own legendary game yet again’ USA TodayIn the small town of Castle Rock word gets around quickly. That’s why Scott Carey only confides in his friend Doctor Bob Ellis about his strange condition. Every day he’s losing weight – but without looking any different.

 

Image for War Doctor : Surgery on the Front Line

War Doctor: Surgery on the Front line  by David Nott  P/B Out now

For more than twenty-five years, David Nott has taken unpaid leave from his job as a general and vascular surgeon with the NHS to volunteer in some of the world’s most dangerous war zones. From Sarajevo under siege in 1993, to clandestine hospitals in rebel-held eastern Aleppo, he has carried out life-saving operations and field surgery in the most challenging conditions, and with none of the resources of a major London teaching hospital. The conflicts he has worked in form a chronology of twenty-first-century combat: Afghanistan, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Darfur, Congo, Iraq, Yemen, Libya, Gaza and Syria.

Doctors on the ground needed to learn how to treat the appalling injuries that war inflicts upon its victims. Since 2015, the foundation he set up with his wife, Elly, has disseminated the knowledge he has gained, training other doctors in the art of saving lives threatened by bombs and bullets. War Doctor is his extraordinary story.

Brave, compassionate and inspiring – it left me in floods of tears’ Adam Kay, author of This Is Going to Hurt.

 

Image for Reasons to be Cheerful : Winner of the 2019 Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize for Comic Fiction

Reasons to be Cheerful by Nina Stibbe  P/B Out now

Teenager Lizzie Vogel has a new job as a dental assistant. This is not as glamorous as it sounds. At least it means mostly getting away from her alcoholic, nymphomaniacal, novel-writing mother.

But, if Lizzie thinks being independent means sex with her boyfriend (he prefers bird-watching), strict boundaries (her boss keeps using her loo) or self-respect (surely only actual athletes get fungal foot infections?) she’s still got a lot more growing up to do.

‘Funny, charming, odd-in-the-best-way and gorgeously uplifting! A delight from start to finish’ Marian Keyes

 

Image for Unruly Waters : How Mountain Rivers and Monsoons Have Shaped South Asia's History

Unruly Waters: How Mountain Rivers and Monsoons Have Shaped South Asia;s History by Sunil Amrith P/B Out now

A bold new perspective on the history of South Asia, telling its story through its climate, and the long quest to tame its watersSouth Asia’s history has been shaped by its waters. In Unruly Waters, historian Sunil Amrith reimagines this history through the stories of its rains, rivers, coasts, rivers and seas – and of the weather-watchers and engineers, mapmakers and farmers who have sought to control them. He shows how fears and dreams of water have, throughout South Asia, shaped visions of political independence and economic development, provoked efforts to reshape nature through dams and pumps, and unleashed powerful tensions within and between nations.

An enthralling, elegantly written and, ultimately, profoundly alarming history’ Economist

 

Image for The Mercies

The Mercies by Kiran Millwood Hargrave H/B out on 6th February 2020

Inspired by the real events of the Vardo storm of 1617, The Mercies is a story about how suspicion can twist its way through a community, and a love that may prove as dangerous as it is powerful. On Christmas Eve, 1617, the sea around the remote Norwegian island of Vardo is thrown into a reckless storm. As Maren Magnusdatter watches, forty fishermen, including her father and brother, are lost to the waves – the menfolk of Vardo wiped out in an instant. Vardo is now a place of women. Eighteen months later, a sinister figure arrives. Summoned from Scotland to take control of a place at the edge of the civilized world, Absalom Cornet knows what he needs to do to bring the women of Vardo to heel.

‘A gripping novel, beautiful and chilling’ – Madeline Miller, author of Circe

Costa Book Awards 2019

Overall Winner 2019

The Volunteer : The True Story of the Resistance Hero who Infiltrated Auschwitz THE VOLUNTEER 

BY JACK FAIRWEATHER

 

 

First Novel Shortlist

Queenie Diary of a Somebody The Confessions of Frannie Langton : The Costa-shortlisted 'dazzling page-turner' (Emma Donoghue) The Other Half of Augusta Hope

Biography Shortlist

In Extremis : The Life of War Correspondent Marie Colvin  The Making of Poetry : Coleridge, the Wordsworths and Their Year of Marvels  On Chapel Sands : My mother and other missing persons  The Volunteer : The True Story of the Resistance Hero who Infiltrated Auschwitz

Poetry Shortlist

The Mizzy Reckless Paper Birds Surge Fleche

Children’s Shortlist

Crossfire  Furious Thing  Asha & the Spirit Bird  In the Shadow of Heroes

All the above are on sale in the shop. The Costa Book of the Year will be announced on Tuesday 28th January 2020

January Sale

Half price 2020 diaries and calendars plus selected adult and children’s books.

 

 

Image for The Secret Commonwealth: The Book of Dust Volume TwoThe Book of Dust 2 The Secret Commonwealth by Philip Pullman

The Secret Commonwealth is truly a book for our times; a powerful adventure and a thought-provoking look at what it is to understand yourself, to grow up and make sense of the world around you. This is storytelling at its very best from one of our greatest writers.

 

 

Image for The Testaments : The Sequel to The Handmaid's TaleThe Testaments by Margaret Atwood

Margaret Atwood’s dystopian masterpiece, The Handmaid’s Tale, is   a modern classic. Now she brings the iconic story to a dramatic   conclusion in this riveting sequel.

More than fifteen years after the events of The Handmaid’s Tale,   the  theocratic regime of the Republic of Gilead maintains its grip   on power, but there are signs it is beginning to rot from within. At   this crucial moment, the lives of three radically different women converge, with potentially explosive results. Two have grown up as part of the first generation to come of age in the new order. The testimonies of these two young women are joined by a third voice: a woman who wields power through the ruthless accumulation and deployment of secrets. As Atwood unfolds The Testaments, she opens up the innermost workings of Gilead as each woman is forced to come to terms with who she is, and how far she will go for what she believes.

THE SUNDAY TIMES NO. 1 BESTSELLER,  SHORTLISTED FOR THE 2019 BOOKER PRIZE, AS READ ON BBC RADIO 4 

 

Image for The Long Call

The Long Call by Anne Cleeves

This is the captivating first novel in the Two Rivers series from Sunday Times bestseller and creator of Vera and Shetland, Ann Cleeves. In North Devon, where the rivers Taw and Torridge converge and run into the sea, Detective Matthew Venn stands outside the church as his father’s funeral takes place. The day Matthew turned his back on the strict evangelical community in which he grew up, he lost his family too.   The Long Call

Image for TidelandsTidelands by Philippa Gregory

THE BRAND NEW SERIES FROM THE SUNDAY TIMES NUMBER ONE BESTSELLING AUTHOR. England 1648. A dangerous time for a woman to be different . .

Midsummer’s Eve, 1648, and England is in the grip of civil war between renegade King and rebellious Parliament. The struggle reaches every corner of the kingdom, even to the remote Tidelands – the marshy landscape of the south coast. This is the time of witch-mania, and Alinor, a woman without a husband, skilled with herbs, suddenly enriched, arouses envy in her rivals and fear among the villagers, who are ready to take lethal action into their own hands. `The first in a planned series . .

 

Image for Peterloo : The Story of the Manchester Massacre

Peterloo: The Story of the Manchester Massacre by Jacqueline Riding

Jacqueline Riding tells this tragic story with mesmerising skill’ John Bew. ‘Fast-paced and full of fascinating detail’ Tim Clayton. Marking the 200th anniversary on 16th August 2019.

On a hot late summer’s day, a crowd of 60,000 gathered in St Peter’s Field. They came from all over Lancashire – ordinary working-class men, women and children – walking to the sound of hymns and folk songs, wearing their best clothes and holding silk banners aloft. Their mood was happy, their purpose wholly serious: to demand fundamental reform of a corrupt electoral system. By the end of the day fifteen people, including two women and a child, were dead or dying and 650 injured, hacked down by drunken yeomanry after local magistrates panicked at the size of the crowd.

Peterloo: The Story of the Manchester Massacre adds significantly to our understanding of a tragic staging-post on Britain’s journey to full democracy. On sale now £8.99

 

Image for Help The Witch

Help the Witch by Tom Cox

Inspired by our native landscapes, Tom Cox’s first collection of short stories is a series of evocative and unsettling trips into worlds previously visited by the likes of M. R. James and E.F. Benson. Railway tunnels, the lanes and hills of the Peak District, family homes, old stones, shreds fluttering on barbed wire, night drawing in, something that might be an animal shifting on the other side of a hedge: Tom has drawn on his life-long love of weird fiction, folklore and nature’s disregarded corners to write a collection of stories that will delight fans old and new, and leave them very uneasy about turning the reading lamp off. On sale now £10.99

 

Image for Mudlarking : Lost and Found on the River ThamesMudlarking by Lara Maiklem

Lara Maiklem has scoured the banks of the Thames for over fifteen years, in pursuit of the objects that the river unearths: from Neolithic flints to Roman hair pins, medieval buckles to Tudor buttons, Georgian clay pipes to Victorian toys. These objects tell her about London and its lost ways of life. Moving from the river’s tidal origins in the west of the city to the point where it meets the sea in the east, Mudlarking is a search for urban solitude and history on the River Thames, which Lara calls the longest archaeological site in England. As she has discovered, it is often the tiniest objects that tell the greatest stories. On sale now £16.99

‘DRIVEN BY CURIOSITY, FREIGHTED WITH MYSTERY AND TEMPERED BY CHANCE, WONDERS GLEAM FROM EVERY PAGE’ THE SUNDAY TIMES

 

Alex WhiteGet Your Boots On by Alex White  

This is young Alex White who is on a quest to get more people out Image for Get Your Boots Onenjoying nature. Illustrated throughout by Alex’s stunning photographs, this book will appeal to young and old alike. It suggests when and where to get out there; what to go looking for; how to do it; what to take… and a host of other tips.

Good, practical advice for getting closer to nature. There is also encouragement from those who have lived it with expert contributors telling their stories. Ideal for anyone who wants to get closer to nature. Perfect for those who would like to get more involved or even build a career out of their passion for wildlife. On sale now SP £13.99. Thank you Alex – cracking book!

 

Monastic Granges of Derbyshire by Mary Wiltshire & Sue Woore

A comprehensive introduction is followed by annotated maps, references and historical notes for each grange are arranged in alphabetical order. Summary tables highlight patterns and trends.

An appendix, researched and written by Brian Rich, considers routes taken by religious houses to reach their granges from outside Derbyshire.

The book aims to bring to life the activity and influence which monastic communities had during some four centuries in Derbyshire and how this can be interpreted today in the landscape. It is hoped it will stimulate enthusiasm for renewed investigation.

Mary Wiltshire and Sue Woore have always had a keen interest in interpreting the landscape. They have undertaken field work at the site of every grange catalogued and have reinforced this by researching documentary sources.

On sale now SP £14.99

 

averse to opera

Averse (or two) to Opera by Macclesfield author, Frank Walker

‘How wonderful Opera would be if there were no singers’ Gioachino Rossini.

Not the kind of comment one would expect from Rossini who composed 39 of them during his life! However, this book is fun for both lovers and haters. With an eye for biographical detail, as keen as Florence Foster Jenkins’ ear for perfect pitch, Frank presents a collection of comic verse exploring the absurdities of opera. A little taster for you . . . .

Composers treat women with little respect.

In opera it’s practically certain 

the poor prima dona will end up a goner;

It’s few that survive till the curtain’

On sale now £8.99

 

Women’s Prize for Fiction 2019 The Longlist

The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker
Remembered by Yvonne Battle-Felton
My Sister, the Serial Killer Oyinkan Braithwaite
The Pisces Melissa Broder
Milkman Anna Burns
Freshwater Akwaeke Emezi
Ordinary People Diana Evans
Swan Song Kelleigh Greenberg-Jephcott
An American Marriage Tayari Jones   THE WINNER 2019
Number One Chinese Restaurant Lillian Li
Bottled Goods Sophie van Llewyn
Lost Children Archive Valeria Luiselli
Praise Song for the Butterflies Bernice L. McFadden
Circe Madeline Miller
Ghost Wall Sarah Moss
Normal People by Sally Rooney

 

PictureBroadcast Brothers ‘On the Radio’

by Steve and Paul Jenner

Towards the end of the last century, there was a modern – day Gold Rush; the rush to establish independent commercial radio stations in ‘virgin territories’ – or ‘white space’ – throughout the country.on-the-radio-7511-orig

The story of two brothers from a mining town in the former North Nottinghamshire coalfield, whose efforts would define this desperate dash. Without money, status or influence, they took on the power of an indifferent Establishment in pursuit of their dreams and changed the broadcasting map of the country forever. On sale here only £12.99  (RRP £14.99)

 

Baillie Gifford 2018 short

Baillie Gifford Prize 2018 for non fiction

The six shortlisted titles are

  • Hello World: How to be Human in The Age of The Machine, Hannah Fry (Doubleday)
  • The Spy and the Traitor, Ben Macintyre (Viking)
  • Amateur: A True Story About What Makes a Man, Thomas Page McBee (Canongate Books)
  • Imperial Twilight: The Opium War and the End of China’s Last Golden Age, Stephen R Platt (Atlantic)
  • Chernobyl: History of A Tragedy, Serhii Plokhy (Allen Lane)
  • She Has Her Mother’s Laugh:  The Powers, Perversions and Potential of Heredity, Carl Zimmer (Picador)

 

The winner of the 2018 Baillie Gifford Prize for Non-Fiction will be announced on Wednesday 14 November at an awards dinner at RIBA generously supported by the Blavatnik Family Foundation.

 

Image for MilkmanMilkman by Anna Burns, the Man Booker 2018 winner

Chair of Judges Kwame Anthony Appiah comments:

‘The language of Anna Burns’ Milkman is simply marvellous; beginning with the distinctive and consistently realised voice of the funny, resilient, astute, plain-spoken, first-person protagonist. From the opening page her words pull us into the daily violence of her world — threats of murder, people killed by state hit squads — while responding to the everyday realities of her life as a young woman, negotiating a way between the demands of family, friends and lovers in an unsettled time. The novel delineates brilliantly the power of gossip and social pressure in a tight-knit community, and shows how both rumour and political loyalties can be put in the service of a relentless campaign of individual sexual harassment. Burns draws on the experience of Northern Ireland during the Troubles to portray a world that allows individuals to abuse the power granted by a community to those who resist the state on their behalf. Yet this is never a novel about just one place or time. The local is in service to an exploration of the universal experience of societies in crisis.’

Man Booker Prize 2018 for fiction shortlist

 

 

  • Anna Burns (UK)  Milkman
  • Esi Edugyan (Canada)  Washington Black
  • Daisy Johnson (UK)  Everything Under
  • Rachel Kushner (USA)  The Mars Room
  • Richard Powers (USA)  The Overstory 
  • Robin Robertson (UK)  The Long Take

The 2018 winner will be announced on Tuesday 16 October in London’s Guildhall, at a dinner that brings together the shortlisted authors and well-known figures from the cultural world. The ceremony will be aired by the BBC, the prize’s broadcast partner.

Crime Novel of the Year Award

Congratulations to the winner of the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award, Stav Sherez with The Intrusions and Congratulations to John Grisham on being awarded the Outstanding Contribution to Crime Fiction!

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