THIS WEEK:

Image for Factory Summers

Factory Summers by Guy Delisle. A Graphic Novel

The legendary cartoonist aims his pen and paper towards his high school summer job. For three summers beginning when he was 16, cartoonist Guy Delisle worked at a pulp and paper factory in Quebec City. Factory Summers chronicles the daily rhythms of life in the mill, and the twelve-hour shifts he spent in a hot, noisy building filled with arcane machinery. Delisle takes his noted outsider perspective and applies it domestically, this time as a boy amongst men through the universal rite of passage of the summer job. 

 

Image for Will This House Last Forever? : 'Raw, devastating, beautifully formed' Daisy Johnson

Will this House Last Forever by Xanthi Barker

A heartfelt and wholly original memoir about the pain of having to come to terms with a parent’s mortality, the way grief so utterly defies logic, and about learning to see the flaws in those that we love, and let them go.

When Xanthi Barker’s father died when she was in her mid twenties, she could make no sense of her grief for a man who had been absent for most of her life. Her father, poet Sebastian Barker, had left Xanthi, her mother and her brother to pursue writing and a new relationship, when Xanthi was a baby.

 

Image for The Broken House : Growing up under Hitler

The Broken House: Growing Up Under Hitler by Horst Kruger

In 1965 the German journalist Horst Kruger attended the Auschwitz trial in Frankfurt, where 22 former camp guards were put on trial for the systematic murder of over 1 million men, women and children.
Twenty years after the end of the war, this was the first time that the German people were confronted with the horrific details of the Holocaust executed by ‘ordinary men’ still living in their midst. The trial sent Kruger back to his childhood in the 1930s, in an attempt to understand ‘how it really was, that incomprehensible time’. He had grown up in a Berlin suburb, among a community of decent, lower-middle-class homeowners.

 

Image for The Shadow of the Mine : Coal and the End of Industrial Britain

The Shadow of the Mine by Ray Hudson

No one personified the age of industry more than the miners. The Shadow of the Mine tells the story of King Coal in its heyday – and what happened to mining communities after the last pits closed. Coal was central to the British economy, powering its factories and railways.

Tens of thousands were cast onto the labour market with a minimum amount of advice and support. Yet British politics all of a sudden revolves around the coalfield constituencies that lent their votes to Boris Johnson’s Conservatives in 2019. Even in the Welsh Valleys, where the ‘red wall’ still stands, support for the Labour Party has halved in a generation.

 

Image for The Hummingbird

The Hummingbird by Sandro Veronesi

Marco Carrera is ‘the hummingbird,’ a man with the almost supernatural ability to stay still as the world around him continues to change.
As he navigates the challenges of life – confronting the death of his sister and the absence of his brother; taking care of his parents as they approach the end of their lives; raising his granddaughter when her mother, Marco’s own child, can no longer be there for her; coming to terms with his love for the enigmatic Luisa – Marco Carrera comes to represent the quiet heroism that pervades so much of our everyday existence.
A thrilling novel about the need to look to the future with hope and live with intensity to the very end. 

Soon to be a major motion picture

 

Image for The Rules of Revelation

The Rules of Revelation by Lisa McInerney 

Ireland. Great nationalists, bad mothers and a whole lot of secrets. Ryan Cusack is ready to deliver its soundtrack.
Former sex-worker Georgie wants the truth about Ryan’s past out there but the journalist has her own agenda. Mel returns from Brexit Britain, ill-equipped to deal with the resurgence of a family scandal. Karine has always been sure of herself, till a terrible secret tugs the rug from under her.

 

Image for Burning Man : The Ascent of DH Lawrence

Burning Man The Ascent of D H Lawrence by Frances Wilson

D H Lawrence is no longer censored, but he is still on trial – and we are still unsure what the verdict should be, or even how to describe him.


History has remembered him, and not always flatteringly, as a nostalgic modernist, a sexually liberator, a misogynist, a critic of genius, and a sceptic who told us not to look in his novels for ‘the old stable ego’, yet pioneered the genre we now celebrate as auto-fiction. But where is the real Lawrence in all of this, and how – one hundred years after the publication of Women in Love – can we hear his voice above the noise? Delving into the memoirs of those who both loved and hated him most, Burning Man follows Lawrence from the peninsular underworld of Cornwall in 1915 to post-war Italy to the mountains of New Mexico, and traces the author’s footsteps through the pages of his lesser known work. 

 

Image for The Devil You Know : Stories of Human Cruelty and Compassion The Devil You Know by Gwen Adshead and Eileen Horne

Arson. Gang crime. Who are the people behind these acts of terrible violence? What are their stories? And what is it like to sit opposite them?Dr Gwen Adshead is one of Britain’s leading forensic psychiatrists, and she has spent thirty years providing therapy inside secure hospitals and prisons.
Whatever her patient’s crime she aims to help them to better know their minds by helping them to articulate their life experience. Through a collaboration with co-author Eileen Horne, Adshead brings her work to life in these fascinating, unflinching portraits of individuals who newspaper headlines, TV dramas and crime fiction label ‘monsters’. Case by case, Adshead takes us into the treatment room and reveals these men and women in all their complexity and vulnerability.

 

Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi

Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi

As a child Gifty would ask her parents to tell the story of their journey from Ghana to Alabama, seeking escape in myths of heroism and romance. When her father and brother succumb to the hard reality of immigrant life in the American South, their family of four becomes two – and the life Gifty dreamed of slips away. Years later, desperate to understand the opioid addiction that destroyed her brother’s life, she turns to science for answers.

LONGLISTED FOR THE WOMEN’S PRIZE FOR FICTION 2021 from the bestselling author of Homegoing.

 

Image for The Shadowy Third : Love, Letters, and Elizabeth Bowen

The Shadowy Third by Julia Parry

A sudden death in the family delivers Julia Parry a box of love letters. Dusty with age, they reveal an illicit affair between the celebrated Irish novelist, Elizabeth Bowen, and the academic Humphry House – Julia’s grandfather. So begins a life-changing quest to discover and understand this affair, one with profound repercussions for Julia’s family, not least her grandmother, Madeline. Inspired by Bowen’s own obsession with place and memory, Julia travels to all the locations in the letters – from Kolkata to Cambridge; from Ireland to Texas weaving present-day storytelling with historical narrative and literary exploration.

 

Image for Klara and the Sun : Sunday Times Number One Bestseller Klara and the Sun by Kazou Ishiguro

From her place in the store, Klara, an Artificial Friend with outstanding observational qualities, watches carefully the behaviour of those who come in to browse, and of those who pass in the street outside. She remains hopeful a customer will soon choose her, but when the possibility emerges that her circumstances may change for ever, Klara is warned not to invest too much in the promises of humans. Radio 4 Book at Bedtime from Monday 8th March

 

Image for Small Pleasures : The BBC 2 Between the Covers Pick and BBC Radio 4 Book at Bedtime

Small Pleasures by Clare Chambers

Jean Swinney is a journalist on a local paper, trapped in a life of duty and disappointment from which there is no likelihood of escape. When a young woman, Gretchen Tilbury, contacts the paper to claim that her daughter is the result of a virgin birth, it is down to Jean to discover whether she is a miracle or a fraud. As the investigation turns her quiet life inside out, Jean is suddenly given an unexpected chance at friendship, love and – possibly – happiness. But there will, inevitably, be a price to pay. Radio 4 Book at Bedtime from Monday 22nd February

 

We Are All Birds of Uganda   by Hafsa Zayyan Image for We Are All Birds of Uganda

Hasan struggles to keep his family business afloat following the sudden death of his wife. As he begins to put his shattered life back together piece by piece, a new regime seizes power, and a wave of rising prejudice threatens to sweep away everything he has built.

Present-day LONDON, Sameer, a young high-flying lawyer, senses an emptiness in what he thought was the life of his dreams. Called back to his family home by an unexpected tragedy, Sameer begins to find the missing pieces of himself not in his future plans, but in a heritage he never knew.

Moving between two continents over a troubled century, We Are All Birds of Uganda is an immensely resonant novel that explores racial tensions, generational divides and what it means to belong. MALORIE BLACKMAN  ‘Rightfully tipped for greatness.’ SUNDAY TIMES’This moving tale of love and loss … is well worth the wait’ Reviewed on Radio 2 Book Club 2021

 

Image for How to Avoid a Climate Disaster : The Solutions We Have and the Breakthroughs We NeedHow to Avoid a Climate Disaster by Bill Gates 

In this urgent, authoritative book, Bill Gates sets out a wide-ranging, practical – and accessible – plan for how the world can get to zero greenhouse gas emissions in time to avoid a climate catastrophe. Bill Gates has spent a decade investigating the causes and effects of climate change. With the help of experts in the fields of physics, chemistry, biology, engineering, political science, and finance, he has focused on what must be done in order to stop the planet’s slide toward certain environmental disaster.

 

Image for Karachi Vice : Life and Death in a Contested CityKarachi Vice by Samira Shackle

Karachi. Pakistan’s largest city is a sprawling metropolis of 20 million people. It is a place of political turbulence in which those who have power wield it with brutal and partisan force, a place in which it pays to have friends in the right places and to avoid making deadly enemies. It is a society where lavish wealth and absolute poverty live side by side. There is Parveen, the activist whose outspoken views on injustice corruption repeatedly lead her towards danger. And there is Zille, the hardened journalist whose commitment to getting the best scoops puts him at increasing risk. Radio 4’s Book of the Week from Monday 1st February.

 

Image for Light Perpetual : from the author of Costa Award-winning Golden Hill Light Perpetual by Francis Spufford

November 1944. A German rocket strikes London, and five young lives are atomised in an instant. November 1944. That rocket never lands. A single second in time is altered, and five young lives go on – to experience all the unimaginable changes of the twentieth century. Because maybe there are always other futures. Radio 4’s Book at Bedtime from Monday 8th February.