New Books February 2017

Fiction

Do Not Say We Have Nothing by Madeleine Thein
In Canada in 1991, ten-year-old Marie and her mother invite a guest into their home: a young woman who has fled China in the aftermath of the Tiananmen Square protests. Her name is Ai-Ming. As her relationship with Marie deepens, Ai-Ming tells the story of her family in revolutionary China, from the crowded teahouses in the first days of Chairman Mao’s ascent to the Shanghai Conservatory in the 1960s and the events leading to the Beijing demonstrations of 1989. It is a history of revolutionary idealism, music, and silence, in which three musicians, the shy and brilliant composer Sparrow, the violin prodigy Zhuli, and the enigmatic pianist Kai struggle during China’s relentless Cultural Revolution to remain loyal to one another and to the music they have devoted their lives to. Forced to re-imagine their artistic and private selves, their fates reverberate through the years, with deep and lasting consequences for Ai-Ming – and for Marie.

4321 by Paul Auster
On March 3, 1947, in the maternity ward of Beth Israel Hospital in Newark, New Jersey, Archibald Isaac Ferguson, the one and only child of Rose and Stanley Ferguson, is born. From that single beginning, Ferguson’s life will take four simultaneous and independent fictional paths. Four Fergusons made of the same genetic material, four boys who are the same boy, will go on to lead four parallel and entirely different lives. Family fortunes diverge. Loves and friendships and intellectual passions contrast. Chapter by chapter, the rotating narratives evolve into an elaborate dance of inner worlds enfolded within the outer forces of history as, one by one, the intimate plot of each Ferguson’s story rushes on across the tumultuous and fractured terrain of mid twentieth-century America. A boy grows up-again and again and again.

Rotten Row by Petina Gappah
In her accomplished 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.

 

Mystery / Thriller

The Evenings by Gerard Reve
Twenty-three-year-old Frits – office worker, daydreamer, teller of inappropriate jokes – find life absurd and inexplicable. He lives with his parents, who drive him mad. He has terrible, disturbing dreams of death and destruction. Sometimes he talks to a toy rabbit. This is the story of ten evenings in Frits’s life at the end of December, as he drinks, smokes, sees friends, aimlessly wanders the gloomy city street and tries to make sense of the minutes, hours and days that stretch before him. (The first English translation of a postwar masterpiece.) 

The Dying Detective by Leif G.W. Persson
Retired Chief of the National Crime Police and Swedish Security Service Lars Martin Johansson has just suffered a stroke. He is paying the price for a life of excess – stress, good food and fine wine. With his dangerously high blood pressure, his heart could fail at the slightest excitement.  In the hospital, a chance encounter with a neurologist provides an important piece of information about a 25-year-old murder investigation and alerts Johansson’s irrepressible police instincts. The period for prosecution expired just weeks earlier and that isn’t the only limitation. Johansson is determined to solve the atrocious crime – from his deathbed.

 

Non-Fiction

The Undoing Project: A Friendship That Changed the World by Michael Lewis
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. Kahneman and Tversky, shows Michael Lewis, helped shape the world in which we now live – and may well have changed, for good, humankind’s view of its own mind.

Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right by Jane Mayer
Why is America living in an age of profound and widening economic inequality? Why have even modest attempts to address climate change been defeated again and again? Why do hedge-fund billionaires pay a far lower tax rate than middle-class workers? Dark Money illuminates the history of an elite cadre of plutocrats–headed by the Kochs, the Scaifes, the Olins, and the Bradleys–who have bankrolled a systematic plan to fundamentally alter the American political system. Mayer traces a byzantine trail of billions of dollars spent by the network, revealing a staggering conglomeration of think tanks, academic institutions, media groups, courthouses, and government allies that have fallen under their sphere of influence. Drawing from hundreds of exclusive interviews, as well as extensive scrutiny of public records, private papers, and court proceedings, Mayer provides vivid portraits of the secretive figures behind the new American oligarchy and a searing look at the carefully concealed agendas steering the nation. Dark Money is an essential book for anyone who cares about the future of American democracy.

At the Existentialist Cafe: Freedom, Being and Apricot Cocktails  by Sarah Bakewell
Paris, near the turn of 1933. Three young friends meet over apricot cocktails at the Bec-de-Gaz bar on the rue Montparnasse. They are Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir and their friend Raymond Aron, who opens their eyes to a radical new way of thinking. Pointing to his drink, he says, “You can make philosophy out of this cocktail!” From this moment of inspiration, Sartre will create his own extraordinary philosophy of real, experienced life – of love and desire, of freedom and being, of cafés and waiters, of friendships and revolutionary fervour. It is a philosophy that will enthral Paris and sweep through the world, leaving its mark on post-war liberation movements, from the student uprisings of 1968 to civil rights pioneers. At the Existentialist Café tells the story of modern existentialism as one of passionate encounters between people, minds and ideas. From the ‘king and queen of existentialism’ – Sartre and de Beauvoir – to their wider circle of friends and adversaries including Albert Camus, Martin Heidegger, Maurice Merleau-Ponty and Iris Murdoch, this book is an enjoyable and original journey through a captivating intellectual movement. Weaving biography and thought, Sarah Bakewell takes us to the heart of a philosophy about life that also changed lives, and that tackled the biggest questions of all: what we are and how we are to live.

 

Children’s Picture Books

Chinese New Year for Kids by Baby Professor
Why do dragons dance during Chinese New Year? Allow your children to find the right answers on their own with the help of this very informative book.

Goldy Luck and the Three Pandas by Natasha Yim
In this Chinese American retelling of “Goldilocks and the Three Bears,” a careless Goldy Luck wreaks havoc on the home of a family of panda bears. She eats up the littlest panda’s rice porridge, breaks his rocking chair, and rumples all the blankets on his futon. When Goldy takes responsibility for her actions, she makes a new friend (and a whole plate of turnip cakes!) just in time for Chinese New Year.

The Name Jar by Yangsook Choi
The new kid in school needs a new name! Or does she?  Being the new kid in school is hard enough, but what about when nobody can pronounce your name? Having just moved from Korea, Unhei is anxious that American kids will like her. So instead of introducing herself on the first day of school, she tells the class that she will choose a name by the following week. Her new classmates are fascinated by this no-name girl and decide to help out by filling a glass jar with names for her to pick from. But while Unhei practices being a Suzy, Laura, or Amanda, one of her classmates comes to her neighborhood and discovers her real name and its special meaning. On the day of her name choosing, the name jar has mysteriously disappeared. Encouraged by her new friends, Unhei chooses her own Korean name and helps everyone pronounce it–Yoon-Hey.

Knuffle Bunny by Mo Willems
The first in the much-loved Knuffle Bunny series, join Trixie, her dad and her favourite stuffed bunny in this award-winning and brilliantly observed cautionary tale. This is the tale of what happens when Daddy’s in charge and things go terribly, hilariously wrong. The story follows Daddy, Trixie and Knuffle Bunny on their trip to the neighbourhood laundromat. But their adventure takes a dramatic turn when Trixie realizes somebunny’s been left behind…And no matter how hard she tries to tell dad, he just doesn’t understand!

Knuffle Bunny Too by Mo Willems
Trixie can’t wait to show off her one-of-a-kind Knuffle Bunny at school. But a dreadful surprise awaits … Trixie’s bunny is not so one-of-a-kind after all! And matters get worse that night when Trixie realizes that she has brought home the WRONG BUNNY! A phone call later, dad and Trixie are off on a desperate late-night mission to reclaim the real Knuffle Bunny!

 

Children’s Fiction 

Auggie and Me by RJ Palacio
Wonder tells the story of Auggie Pullman: an ordinary boy with an extraordinary face, whose first year at school changed the lives and the perspectives of everyone around him.  Auggie & Me gives readers a special look at Auggie’s world through three different characters – bully Julian, oldest friend Christopher and classmate Charlotte – and  how he has touched their own lives.  These stories are an extra peek at Auggie before he started at Beecher Prep and during his first year there and are a treasure for readers who don’t want to leave Auggie behind when they finish Wonder.

 

Young Adult 

The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner
Dill’s father is in jail for an unspeakable crime. Shunned by the neighbours in their small religious Tennessee town, he and his mother try to make ends meet.  Dill’s only respite from poverty and prejudice are his two friends: Lydia and Travis. Travis is an oddball, finding sanctuary from his violent father in his obsession with an epic fantasy saga. Lydia is fast-talking and fiercely creative, pinning her hopes on her achingly cool fashion blog. Dill fears his heart will break when she escapes to a better life in New York. Dill wants to get through his final year of high school in one piece. But there’s a dark secret at the heart of his family, a serpent poisoning his blood, filling him with despair and he must confront this legacy of madness and desperation before it tears him apart.

The Great American Whatever by Tim Federle
Quinn Roberts is a sixteen-year-old smart aleck and Hollywood hopeful whose only worry used to be writing convincing dialogue for the movies he made with his sister Annabeth. Of course, that was all before before Quinn stopped going to school, before his mom started sleeping on the sofa and before the car accident that changed everything.  Enter Geoff, Quinn’s best friend who insists it’s time that Quinn came out at least from hibernation. One haircut later, Geoff drags Quinn to his first college party, where instead of nursing his pain, he meets a hot guy and falls, hard. What follows is an upside-down week in which Quinn begins imagining his future as a screenplay that might actually have a happily-ever-after ending if, that is, he can finally step back into the starring role of his own life story.

New Books January 2017

Fiction

The Flame Bearer by Bernard Cornwell
Britain is in a state of uneasy peace. Northumbria’s Viking ruler Sigtryggr, and Mercia’s Saxon Queen Aethelflaed have agreed a truce. And so England’s greatest warrior, Uhtred of Bebbanburg, at last has the chance to take back the home his traitorous uncle stole from him so many years ago, and which his scheming cousin still occupies. But fate is inexorable and the enemies Uhtred has made and the oaths he has sworn combine to distract him from his dream of recapturing Bebbanburg. New enemies enter into the fight for England’s kingdoms. The redoubtable Constantin of Scotland seizes an opportunity for conquest and leads his armies south. Britain’s precarious peace threatens to turn into a war of annihilation. Uhtred is determined that nothing will keep him from his birth right. He is the Lord of Bebbanburg, but he will need all the skills he has learned in a lifetime of war to make his dream come true.

Still Here by Lara Vapnyar
Vica, Vadik, Sergey and Regina, four immigrants in New York City, met in Russia in their school days but remained in touch and now have very different lives. Sergey cycles through jobs as an analyst, hoping his idea for an app will finally bring him success. His wife Vica, a medical technician struggling to keep her family afloat, hungers for a better life. Sergey s former girlfriend Regina, once a famous translator is married to a wealthy startup owner and spends her days at home grieving over a recent loss. Sergey’s best friend Vadik keeps trying different women and different neighborhoods, all while pining for the one who got away.  As Sergey develops his app to preserve a person’s online presence after death, a formidable debate begins in the group spurring questions about the changing perception of death in the modern world and the future of our virtual selves. How do our online personas define us in our daily lives, and what will they say about us when we’re gone?

The Story of a Brief Marriage by Anuk Arudpragasam
Dinesh is a young man trapped on the frontlines between the Sri Lankan army and the Tamil Tigers. Desensitized to the horror all around him, life has been pared back to the essentials: eat, sleep, survive. All this changes when he is approached one morning by an older man who asks him to marry his daughter Ganga, hoping that victorious soldiers will be less likely to harm a married woman. For a few brief hours, Dinesh and Ganga tentatively explore their new and unexpected connection, trying to understand themselves and each other, until the war once more closes over them.

Cove by Cynan Jones
Out at sea, in a sudden storm, a man is struck by lightning. When he wakes, injured and adrift on a kayak, his memory of who he is and how he came to be there is all but shattered. Now he must pit himself against the pain and rely on his instincts to get back to shore, and to the woman he dimly senses waiting for his return. With its taut narrative and its wincingly visceral portrait of a man locked in an uneven struggle with the forces of nature, this is a powerful new work from one of the most distinctive voices in British fiction.

An Honest Man by Simon Michael
Criminal barrister Charles Holborne may have just escaped the hangman by proving he was framed for murder, but his life is now in ruins. His wife is dead, his high-flying career has morphed into criminal notoriety, and bankruptcy threatens. When the biggest brief of Charles’s career unexpectedly lands on his desk, it looks as if he has been thrown a lifeline. But far from keeping him afloat, it drags him ever deeper into the shadowy underworld of 1960s London. Now, not only is his practice at stake, but his very life. Can Charles extricate himself from a chess game played from the shadows by corrupt police officers and warring gangs without once again turning to crime himself?

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi
Effia and Esi are two sisters with two very different destinies. One sold into slavery; one a slave trader’s wife. The consequences of their fate reverberate through the generations that follow. Taking us from the Gold Coast of Africa to the cotton-picking plantations of Mississippi; from the missionary schools of Ghana to the dive bars of Harlem, spanning three continents and seven generations, Yaa Gyasi has written a miraculous novel – the intimate, gripping story of a brilliantly vivid cast of characters and through their lives the very story of America itself.

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. 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 fulfilling his dream of China.

The Purple Swamp Hen and Other Stories by Penelope Lively
A dream house that is hiding something sinister; two women having lunch who share a husband; an old woman doing her weekly supermarket shop with a secret past that no one could guess; a couple who don’t know each other at all even after fifteen years together; and, in the story from which this collection takes its name, a bird and a servant girl in ancient Pompeii who cannot converse, but share a perfect understanding.

The Dark Flood Rises by Margaret Drabble
Fran may be old but she’s not going without a fight. So she dyes her hair, enjoys every glass of red wine, drives around the country for her job with a housing charity and lives in an insalubrious tower block that her loved ones disapprove of. And as each of them – her pampered ex Claude, old friend Jo, flamboyant son Christopher and earnest daughter Poppet – seeks happiness in their own way, what will the last reckoning be? Will they be waving or drowning when the end comes? By turns joyous and profound, darkly sardonic and moving, The Dark Flood Rises questions what makes a good life, and a good death.

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, 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.

 

Mystery / Thriller

Himself by Jess Kidd
When Mahony returns to Mulderrig, a speck of a place on Ireland’s west coast, he brings only a photograph of his long-lost mother and a determination to do battle with the lies of his past. No one – living or dead – will tell Mahony what happened to the teenage mother who abandoned him as a baby, despite his certainty that more than one of the villagers knows the sinister truth. Between Mulderrig’s sly priest, its pitiless nurse and the caustic elderly actress throwing herself into her final village play, this beautiful and darkly comic debut novel creates an unforgettable world of mystery, bloody violence and buried secrets.

The Beautiful Dead by Belinda Bauer
Eve Singer needs death. With her career as a TV crime reporter flagging, she’ll do anything to satisfy her ghoulish audience. The killer needs death too. He even advertises his macabre public performances, where he hopes to show the whole world the beauty of dying. When he contacts Eve, she welcomes the chance to be first with the news from every gory scene. Until she realizes that the killer has two obsessions. One is public murder, and the other one is her.

The Silence Between Breaths by Cath Staincliffe
Passengers boarding the 10.35 train from Manchester Piccadilly to London Euston are bound for work, assignations, reunions, holidays or new starts, with no idea that their journey is about to be brutally curtailed. Holly has just landed her dream job, which should make life a lot easier than it has been, and Jeff is heading for his first ever work interview after months of unemployment. They end up sitting next to each other. Onboard customer service assistant Naz dreams of better things as he collects rubbish from the passengers. And among the others travelling are Nick with his young family who are driving him crazy; pensioner Meg and her partner setting off on a walking holiday and facing an uncertain future; Caroline, run ragged by the competing demands of her stroppy teenage children and her demented mother; and Rhona, unhappy at work and desperate to get home to her small daughter. And in the middle of the carriage sits Saheel, carrying a deadly rucksack.

The Black Friar by S. G. MacLean
London, 1655, and Cromwell’s regime is under threat from all sides. Damian Seeker, Captain of Cromwell’s Guard, is all too aware of the danger facing Cromwell. Parliament resents his control of the Army while the Army resents his absolute power. In the east end of London, a group of religious fanatics plots rebellion. In the midst of all this, a stonemason uncovers a perfectly preserved body dressed in the robes of a Dominican friar, bricked up in a wall in the crumbling Black Friars. Ill-informed rumours and speculation abound, but Seeker instantly recognises the dead man. What he must discover is why he met such a hideous end, and what his connection was to the children who have started to disappear from around the city. Unravelling these mysteries is challenging enough, and made still harder by the activities of dissenters at home, Royalist plotters abroad, and individuals who are not what they seem.

Breaking Cover by Stella Rimington
Back in London after a gruelling operation in Paris, Liz Carlyle has been posted to MI5’s counter-espionage desk. Her bosses hope the new position will give her some breathing space, but they haven’t counted on the fallout from Putin’s incursions into the Ukraine. Discovering that an elusive Russian spy has entered the UK, Liz needs to track him down before he completes his fatal mission and plunges Britain back into the fraught days of the Cold War. Meanwhile, following the revelations of whistle-blower Edward Snowden, the intelligence services are in the spotlight. In response to the debate raging around privacy and security, they hire Jasminder Kapoor, a young and controversial civil rights lawyer, to explain the issues to the public. But in this new world of shadowy motives and secret identities, Jasminder must be extra-careful about whom she can trust .

 

Non-Fiction

Hero of the Empire by Candice Millard
At the age of twenty-four, Winston Churchill believed that to achieve his ambition of becoming Prime Minister he must do something spectacular on the battlefield. Although he had put himself in real danger in colonial wars in India and Sudan, and as a journalist covering the Spanish-American War in Cuba, glory and fame had eluded him. Churchill arrived in South Africa in 1899 to write about the brutal colonial war against the Boers. Just two weeks later, he was taken prisoner. Remarkably, he pulled off a daring escape and then had to traverse hundreds of miles of enemy territory alone. The story of his escape is extraordinary enough, but then Churchill enlisted, returned to South Africa, fought in several battles and ultimately liberated the men with whom he had been imprisoned. Churchill would later remark that this period, ‘could I have seen my future, was to lay the foundations of my later life’. Candice Millard tells a story of bravery, savagery and chance encounters with a cast of historical characters with whom Churchill would later share the world stage, and gives us an unexpected perspective on one of the iconic figures in our history.

Among the Headhunters by Robert Lyman
Flying the notorious ‘hump route’ between India and China in 1943, a twin- engine plane suffered mechanical failure and crashed in a dense mountain jungle. Among the passengers and crew were celebrated CBS journalist Eric Sevareid, a Soviet double-agent posing as an OSS operative, and General Joseph “Vinegar Joe” Stilwell’s personal political adviser. Against the odds, all but one of the twenty-one people aboard the aircraft survived.  But they fell from the frying pan into the fire. They landed in wild countryside dominated by the Nagas, notorious headhunters who routinely practiced slavery and human sacrifice. Japanese soldiers lay close by, too, with their own brand of hatred for Americans. Among the Headhunters is the first account of this incredible story.

Lenin on the Train by Catherine Merridale
By 1917 the European war seemed to be endless. In the German government a small group of men had a brilliant idea: why not sow further confusion in an increasingly chaotic Russia by arranging for Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, the most notorious of revolutionary extremists, currently safely bottled up in neutral Switzerland, to go home? Lenin on the Train recreates Lenin’s extraordinary journey from harmless exile in Zurich, across a Germany falling to pieces from the war’s deprivations, and northwards to the edge of Lapland to his eventual ecstatic reception by the revolutionary crowds at Petrograd’s Finland Station. Merridale weaves the story of the train and its uniquely strange group of passengers with a gripping account of the now half-forgotten liberal Russian revolution and shows how these events intersected. Many thought Lenin was a mere ‘useful idiot’, others thought he would rapidly be imprisoned or killed, others that he had in practice few followers and even less influence. They would all prove to be quite wrong.

 

Children’s Picture Books

Those Shoes by Maribeth Boelts
All Jeremy wants is a pair of those shoes, the ones everyone at school seems to be wearing. Though Jeremy’s grandma says they don’t have room for “want,” just “need,” when his old shoes fall apart at school, he is more determined than ever to have those shoes, even a thrift-shop pair that are much too small. But sore feet aren’t much fun, and Jeremy soon sees that the things he has — warm boots, a loving grandma, and the chance to help a friend — are worth more than the things he wants.

Edward the Emu by Sheena Knowles
Edward is tired of being an emu, so he decides to try being something else for a change. First he spends some time swimming with the seals. Next, he lounges with the lions. He even slithers with the snakes. But Edward soon discovers that being an emu may not be so bad after all. So he heads back to his pen, only to find a big surprise awaiting him.

Edwina the Emu by Sheena Knowles
Edward and his mate Edwina are the proud parents of 10 little emu chicks. “Don’t get depressed. I’ll find a job, you stay on the nest” says Edwina to her stunned mate. And so Edwina sets out to find work in this lighthearted offering from Down Under.

Fly Away Home by Eve Bunting
A homeless boy who lives in an airport with his father, moving from terminal to terminal trying not to be noticed, is given hope when a trapped bird finally finds its freedom.

 

Children’s Fiction Books

Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo
One summer’s day, ten-year-old India Opal Buloni goes down to the local supermarket for some groceries and comes home with a dog. But Winn-Dixie is no ordinary dog. It’s because of Winn-Dixie that Opal begins to make friends. And it’s because of Winn-Dixie that she finally dares to ask her father about her mother, who left when Opal was three. In fact, as Opal admits, just about everything that happens that summer is because of Winn-Dixie.

 

Young Adult

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by J.K. Rowling
When Magizoologist Newt Scamander arrives in New York, he intends his stay to be just a brief stopover. However, when his magical case is misplaced and some of Newt’s fantastic beasts escape, it spells trouble for everyone.

Boys Don’t Cry by Malorie Blackman
You’re waiting for the postman.   He’s bringing your A level results. University, a career as a journalist – a glittering future lies ahead. But when the doorbell rings it’s your old girlfriend; and she’s carrying a baby. Your baby. You’re happy to look after it, just for an hour or two. But then she doesn’t come back and your future suddenly looks very different.

Chasing the Stars by Malorie Blackman
Olivia and her twin brother Aidan are heading alone back to Earth following the virus that wiped out the rest of their crew, and their family, in its entirety. Nathan is part of a community heading in the opposite direction. But on their journey, Nathan’s ship is attacked and most of the community killed. Only a few survive. Their lives unexpectedly collided, Nathan and Olivia are instantly attracted to each other, deeply, head-over-heels – like nothing they have ever experienced. But not everyone is pleased. Surrounded by rumours, deception, even murder, is it possible to live out a happy ever after?

New Books December 2016

Fiction

Autumn by Ali Smith
Daniel is a century old. Elisabeth, born in 1984, has her eye on the future. The United Kingdom is in pieces, divided by a historic once-in-a-generation summer. Love is won, love is lost. Hope is hand in hand with hopelessness. The seasons roll round, as ever. Autumn is a meditation on a world growing ever more bordered and exclusive, on what richness and worth are, on what harvest means. This first in a seasonal quartet casts an eye over our own time. Who are we? What are we made of? Shakespearian jeu d’esprit, Keatsian melancholy, the sheer bright energy of 1960s Pop art: the centuries cast their eyes over our own history-making. Here’s where we’re living. Here’s time at its most contemporaneous and its most cyclic.

Night of Fire by Colin Thubron
A house is burning. Its six tenants include a failed priest, a naturalist, a neurosurgeon and an invalid dreaming of his anxious boyhood. Their landlord’s relationship to them is both intimate and shadowy. At times he shares their preoccupations and memories. He will also share their fate. In Night of Fire the passions and obsessions of these unquiet lives reach beyond the dying house that holds them. Ranging from an African refugee camp to the cremation-grounds of India, their memories mutate and criss-cross in a novel of lingering beauty and mystery.

The Constant Soldier by William Ryan
1944. Paul Brandt, a soldier in the German army, returns wounded and ashamed from the bloody chaos of the Eastern front to find his village home much changed and existing in the dark shadow of an SS rest hut – a luxurious retreat for those who manage the concentration camps, run with the help of a small group of female prisoners who – against all odds – have so far survived the war. When, by chance, Brandt glimpses one of these prisoners, he realizes that he must find a way to access the hut. For inside is the woman to whom his fate has been tied since their arrest five years before, and now he must do all he can to protect her. But as the Russian offensive moves ever closer, the days of this rest hut and its SS inhabitants are numbered. While hope – for Brandt and the female prisoners – grows tantalizingly close, the danger too is now greater than ever.

To the Bright Edge of the World  by Eowyn Ivey
Lieutenant Colonel Allen Forrester receives the commission of a lifetime when he is charged to navigate Alaska’s hitherto impassable Wolverine River, with only a small group of men. The Wolverine is the key to opening up Alaska and its rich natural resources to the outside world, but previous attempts have ended in tragedy. Forrester leaves behind his young wife, Sophie, newly pregnant with the child he had never expected to have. Adventurous in spirit, Sophie does not relish the prospect of a year in a military barracks while her husband carves a path through the wilderness. What she does not anticipate is that their year apart will demand every ounce of courage and fortitude of her that it does of her husband.

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 a woman in the house too 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.

The Last Horseman by David Gilman
Dublin, 1899. On a foul night in a troubled city, lawyer Joseph Radcliffe watches the execution of a young Irish rebel. Radcliffe, together with his black American comrade Benjamin Pierce, has made a living defending the toughest cases in Dublin, but is haunted by the spectre of his defeats, the loss of his wife and child, and his difficult relationship with his surviving son, Edward. While Ireland smoulders with rebellion, war breaks out in South Africa and when, after an argument with his father, Edward runs away to join the Irish forces fighting there, Radcliffe, accompanied by Pierce, sets out to find him and bring him home. Eight hundred miles north of Cape Town, amid the trackless veld, they experience the bloody brutality of a conflict that the British generals are shocked to discover they are losing. Under fire from Boer snipers and artillery, distrusted by the British forces, the two old soldiers will find their survival skills tested to the hilt as they search for the missing boy in this epic tale of heroism and treachery, love and loyalty.

 

Mystery/ Thriller

A Great Reckoning by Louise Penny
Former Chief Inspector Gamache has been hunting killers his entire career and as the new commander of the Sûreté Academy, he is given the chance to combat the corruption and brutality that has been rife throughout the force. But when a former colleague and professor of the Sûreté Academy is found murdered, with a mysterious map of Three Pines in his possession, Gamache has an even tougher task ahead of him. When suspicion turns to Gamache himself, and his possible involvement in the crime, the frantic search for answers takes the investigation to the village of Three Pines, where a series of shattering secrets are poised to be revealed.

Trespasser  by Tana French
Antoinette Conway is still on the Murder squad, but only just. She’s partnered up with Stephen Moran now, and that’s going well – but the rest of her working life isn’t. Antoinette doesn’t play well with others, and there’s a vicious running campaign in the squad to get rid of her. She and Stephen pull a case that at first looks like a slam-dunk lovers’ tiff. All she and her partner have to do is track down Lover Boy and bring him in. Then it’ll be back to business as usual, watching from a distance as the real detectives go up against the psychopaths. Except when Antoinette takes a good look at the victim’s face, she realises she’s seen her somewhere before. And suddenly the conviction that there’s a different answer takes her breath away.

Cold Earth by Ann Cleeves
In the dark days of a Shetland winter, torrential rain triggers a landslide that crosses the main Lerwick-Sumburgh road and sweeps down to the sea. At the burial of his old friend Magnus Tait, Jimmy Perez watches the flood of mud and peaty water smash through a croft house in its path. Everyone thinks the croft is uninhabited, but in the wreckage he finds the body of a dark-haired woman wearing a red silk dress. In his mind, she shares his Mediterranean ancestry and soon he becomes obsessed with tracing her identity. Then it emerges that she was already dead before the landslide hit the house. Perez knows he must find out who she was, and how she died.

No Shred of Evidence by Charles Todd
On the north coast of Cornwall, an apparent act of mercy is repaid by an arrest for murder. Four young women have been accused of the crime. A shocked father calls in a favor at the Home Office and Scotland Yard is asked to review the case. Inspector Ian Rutledge is not the first Inspector to reach the village. Following in the shoes of a dead man, he is told the case is all but closed. Even as it takes an unexpected personal turn, Rutledge will require all his skill to deal with the incensed families of the accused, the grieving parents of the victim, and local police eager to see these four women sent to the infamous Bodmin Gaol. Then why hasn’t the killing stopped? With no shred of evidence to clear the accused, Rutledge must plunge deep into the darkest secrets of a wild, beautiful and dangerous place if he is to find a killer who may—or may not—hold the key to their fate.

The Dead House by Harry Bingham
When the body of a young woman is found in an old ‘dead house’ – the annexe where the dead were stored before burial in medieval times – of a tiny church in a small town in Wales, it seems that past and present have come together in a bizarre and horrifying way. For DC Fiona Griffiths, the girl – a murder victim whose corpse was laid out with obvious tenderness – represents an irresistibly intriguing puzzle, given Fiona’s unusual empathy for the dead. And when her investigations lead her to an obscure and secretive monastery hidden in a remote valley, she finds that the murder victim is far from the only victim of a dark and disturbing melding of modern crime and medieval religious practices. Only Fiona is capable of solving this brilliantly crafted mystery.

Another One Goes Tonight by Peter Lovesey
Peter Diamond, the Bath detective brilliant at rooting out murder, is peeved at being diverted to Professional Standards to enquire into a police car accident. Arriving late at the scene, he discovers an extra victim thrown onto an embankment – unconscious and unnoticed. Diamond administers CPR, but no one can say whether the elderly tricyclist will pull through. But why had the man been out in the middle of the night with an urn containing human ashes? Diamond ‘s suspicions grow after he identifies the accident victim as Ivor Pellegrini, a well-known local eccentric and railway enthusiast. A search of Pellegrini’s workshop proves beyond question that he is involved in a series of uninvestigated deaths. While Pellegrini lingers on life support, Diamond wrestles with the appalling possibility that he has saved the life of a serial killer.

 

Non-Fiction

Caught in the Revolution: Petrograd 1917 by Helen Rappaport
Between the first revolution in February 1917 and Lenin’s Bolshevik coup in October, Petrograd was in turmoil – felt nowhere more keenly than on the fashionable Nevsky Prospekt where the foreign visitors and diplomats who filled hotels, clubs, bars and embassies were acutely aware of the chaos breaking out on their doorsteps and beneath their windows. Among this disparate group were journalists, businessmen, bankers, governesses, volunteer nurses and expatriate socialites. Many kept diaries and wrote letters home: from an English nurse who had already survived the sinking of the Titanic; to the black valet of the US Ambassador, far from his native Deep South; to suffragette leader Emmeline Pankhurst, who had come to Petrograd to inspect the indomitable Women’s Death Battalion led by Maria Bochkareva. Helen Rappaport draws upon this rich trove of material, much of it previously unpublished, to carry us right up to the action – to see, feel and hear the Revolution as it happened to a diverse group of individuals who suddenly felt themselves trapped in a ‘red madhouse.’

SAS: Rogue Heroes – The Authorized Wartime History by Ben Macintyre
In the summer of 1941, at the height of the war in the Western Desert, a bored and eccentric young officer, David Stirling, came up with a plan that was radical and entirely against the rules: a small undercover unit that would inflict mayhem behind enemy lines. Despite intense opposition, Winston Churchill personally gave Stirling permission to recruit the toughest, brightest and most ruthless soldiers he could find. So began the most celebrated and mysterious military organisation in the world: the SAS. Now, 75 years later, the SAS has finally decided to tell its astonishing story. It has opened its secret archives for the first time, granting historian Ben Macintyre full access to a treasure trove of unseen reports, memos, diaries, letters, maps and photographs, as well as free rein to interview surviving Originals and those who knew them. The result is an exhilarating tale of fearlessness and heroism, recklessness and tragedy; of extraordinary men who were willing to take monumental risks. It is a story about the meaning of courage.

Spymaster: The Life of Britain’s Most Decorated Cold War Spy and Head of MI6, Sir Maurice Oldfield by Martin Pearce
The extraordinary story of the most highly decorated British spymaster of the Cold War, Sir Maurice Oldfield. Chief of the Secret Intelligence Service (commonly known as the SIS or MI6), he was the first Chief to be named and pictured in the press, and often alleged by them to be the model for the screen versions of both Ian Fleming’s M and John Le Carré’s George Smiley. This major study of Oldfield’s life portrays one of the UK’s most important and complex spies of the Cold War era. He was the first Chief of MI6 that hadn’t come from an upper-class background or studied at Eton or Oxbridge. Rather, he was a farmer’s son from a provincial grammar school who found himself accidentally plunged into the world of espionage by the outbreak of the Second World War. Oldfield was our man in Washington at the time of the Cuban Missile Crisis and the assassination of JFK, and was largely responsible for keeping Britain out of the Vietnam War. This is the fascinating life story of Maurice Oldfield, written by his nephew Martin Pearce, who remembers asking his uncle what he did for a job. ‘Oh it’s quite boring really, dear boy. I’m a kind of security guard at embassies,’ was the reply.

The Iran Wars: Spy Games, Bank Battles, and the Secret Deals That Reshaped the Middle East by Jay Solomon
For more than a decade, the United States has been engaged in a war with Iran as momentous as any other in the Middle East; a war all the more significant as it has largely been hidden from public view. Through a combination of economic sanctions, global diplomacy, and intelligence work, successive U.S. administrations have struggled to contain Iran’s aspirations to become a nuclear power and dominate the region what many view as the most serious threat to peace in the Middle East. Meanwhile, Iran has used regional instability to its advantage to undermine America s interests. The Iran Wars is an absorbing account of a battle waged on many levels military, financial, and covert. Solomon shows how Iran’s nuclear development went unnoticed for years by the international community only to become its top security concern. He catalogs the blunders of both the Bush and Obama administrations as they grappled with how to engage Iran, producing a series of both carrots and sticks. And he takes us inside the hotel suites where the 2015 nuclear agreement was negotiated, offering a frank assessment of the uncertain future of the U.S.-Iran relationship. This is a book rife with revelations, from the secret communications between the Obama administration and the Iranian government to dispatches from the front lines of the new field of financial warfare.

Easternisation: War and Peace in the Asian Century by Gideon Rachman
Easternisation is the defining trend of our age – the growing wealth of Asian nations is transforming the international balance of power. This shift to the East is shaping the lives of people all over the world, the fate of nations and the great questions of war and peace. A troubled but rising China is now challenging America’s supremacy, and the ambitions of other Asian powers – including Japan, North Korea, India and Pakistan – have the potential to shake the whole world. Meanwhile the West is struggling with economic malaise and political populism, the Arab world is in turmoil and Russia longs to reclaim its status as a great power. We are at a turning point in history: but Easternisation has many decades to run. Gideon Rachman offers a road map to the turbulent process that will define the international politics of the twenty-first century.

The Poisoned Well: Empire and its Legacy in the Middle East by Roger Hardy
Almost fifty years after Britain and France left the Middle East, the toxic legacies of their rule continue to fester. To make sense of today’s conflicts and crises, we need to grasp how Western imperialism shaped the region and its destiny in the half-century between 1917 and 1967. Roger Hardy unearths an imperial history stretching from North Africa to southern Arabia that sowed the seeds of future conflict and poisoned relations between the Middle East and the West. Drawing on a rich cast of eye-witnesses ranging from nationalists and colonial administrators to soldiers, spies, and courtesans The Poisoned Well brings to life the making of the modern Middle East, highlighting the great dramas of decolonisation such as the end of the Palestine mandate, the Suez crisis, the Algerian war of independence, and the retreat from Aden. The Poisoned Well offers a thought-provoking and insightful story of the colonial legacy in the Middle East.

 

Young Adult

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling
It was always difficult being Harry Potter and it isn’t much easier now that he is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband, and father of three school-age children. While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes, darkness comes from unexpected places.

 

Children’s Fiction

The Nest by Kenneth Oppel
Steve just wants to save his baby brother—but what will he lose in the bargain? For some kids summer is a sun-soaked season of fun. But for Steve, it’s just another season of worries. Worries about his sick newborn baby brother who is fighting to survive, worries about his parents who are struggling to cope, even worries about the wasp’s nest looming ominously from the eaves. So when a mysterious wasp queen invades his dreams, offering to “fix” the baby, Steve thinks his prayers have been answered. All he has to do is say “Yes.” But “yes” is a powerful word. It is also a dangerous one. And once it is uttered, can it be taken back?

When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead
By sixth grade, Miranda and her best friend, Sal, know how to navigate their New York City neighborhood. They know where it’s safe to go, and they know who to avoid. Like the crazy guy on the corner. But things start to unravel. Sal gets punched by a kid on the street for what seems like no reason, and he shuts Miranda out of his life. The apartment key that Miranda’s mom keeps hidden for emergencies is stolen. And then a mysterious note arrives, scrawled on a tiny slip of paper. The notes keep coming, and Miranda slowly realizes that whoever is leaving them knows things no one should know. Each message brings her closer to believing that only she can prevent a tragic death. Until the final note makes her think she’s too late.

 

Children’s Picture Books

Stop Following Me, Moon by Darren Farrell
Bear is hungry. So hungry that when he spies a squirrel’s berry snack, he can’t help taking the whole berry bush. Then, when he wanders past a busy beehive, Bear knows he’s hit the jackpot. But someone is on to him the moon! Or so Bear thinks. Before he knows it, Bear is on the run with his stolen snacks, causing a whole lot of trouble for the other animals in the forest.

The Tea Party in the Woods by Akiko Miyakoshi
When a young girl named Kikko realizes her father has forgotten the pie he was supposed to bring to Grandma’s house, she offers to try and catch him as he makes his way through the woods. She hurriedly follows her father’s footprints in the snow and happens upon a large house she has never seen before. Curious, Kikko peers through the window, when she is startled by a small lamb wearing a coat and carrying a purse. Even more surprising, the lamb speaks, asking her in a kind voice “Are you here for the tea party?” Suddenly, Kikko realizes her trip through the woods has turned into something magical.

Ella and Penguin Stick Together by Megan Maynor
Ella has a surprise for Penguin—glow-in-the-dark stickers! But to see the stickers glow, Ella and Penguin must be in the dark. And the dark is so . . . dark! If only they could see the stickers glow in the light—but that won’t work. Soon Ella and Penguin find out that if they stick together, they can face anything.

The Other Side by Jacqueline Woodson
Clover’s mom says it isn’t safe to cross the fence that segregates their African-American side of town from the white side where Anna lives. But the two girls strike up a friendship, and get around the grown-ups’ rules by sitting on top of the fence together.

Hippos Are Huge by Jonathan London
What’s the deadliest animal in Africa? It’s not the lion or the crocodile—it’s the hippopotamus! Hippos have razor-sharp tusks, weigh as much as fifty men, and can run twenty-five miles per hour! Follow these hefty hulks as they glide underwater, play tug-of-war, swat balls of dung at one another, and nuzzle their young in the mud. Just don’t get too close—they could chomp you in two!

 

 

New Books November 2016

Fiction

A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles
In 1922, Count Alexander Rostov is deemed an unrepentant aristocrat by a Bolshevik tribunal, and is sentenced to house arrest in the Metropol, a grand hotel across the street from the Kremlin. Rostov, an indomitable man of erudition and wit, has never worked a day in his life, and must now live in an attic room while some of the most tumultuous decades in Russian history are unfolding outside the hotel’s doors. Unexpectedly, his reduced circumstances provide him entry into a much larger world of emotional discovery.

The Knives by Richard T. Kelly
As Home Secretary in Her Majesty’s Government, David Blaylock’s daily work involves the control of Britain’s borders, the oversight of her police force, and the struggle against domestic terror threats. Some say the job is impossible; Blaylock insists he is tough enough. But around Westminster the gossip-mongers say his fiery temper is a liability. An ex-soldier from a modest background, Blaylock has a life-story that the public respects. Privately, though, he carries pain and remorse – over some grievous things he saw in the army, and his estrangement from an ex-wife and three children for whom he still cares.  Blaylock is never sure whom he can trust or whether his decisions are the right ones. Constantly in his mind is the danger of an attack on Britain’s streets. But over the course of one fraught autumn Blaylock finds that danger moving menacingly closer to his own person.

Commonwealth by Ann Patchett
One Sunday afternoon in Southern California, Bert Cousins shows up at Franny Keating’s christening party uninvited. Before evening falls, he has kissed Franny’s mother, Beverly—thus setting in motion the dissolution of their marriages and the joining of two families.  Spanning five decades, Commonwealth explores how this chance encounter reverberates through the lives of the four parents and six children involved. Spending summers together in Virginia, the Keating and Cousins children forge a lasting bond that is based on a shared disillusionment with their parents and the strange and genuine affection that grows up between them.  When, in her twenties, Franny begins an affair with the legendary author Leon Posen and tells him about her family, the story of her siblings is no longer hers to control. Their childhood becomes the basis for his wildly successful book, ultimately forcing them to come to terms with their losses, their guilt, and the deeply loyal connection they feel for one another.

Dirt Road by James Kelman
Murdo, a teenager obsessed with music, dreams of a life beyond his Scottish island home. His dad Tom has recently lost his wife and stumbles towards the future, terrified of losing control of what remains of his family life  Both are in search of something as they set out on an expedition into the American South.  As they travel they encounter a new world and we discover whether the hopes of youth can conquer the fears of age.

The Tidal Zone by Sarah Moss
Adam is a stay-at-home dad who is also working on a history of the bombing and rebuilding of Coventry Cathedral.  One day he receives a call from his daughter’s school to inform him that, for no apparent reason, fifteen-year-old Miriam has collapsed and stopped breathing.  In that moment, he is plunged into a world of waiting, agonising, not knowing. The Tidal Zone explores parental love, overwhelming fear, illness and recovery.  It is about the NHS, academia, sex and gender in the twenty-first century, the work-life juggle, and the politics of packing lunches and loading dishwashers.

The Sellout by Paul Beatty
Winner of the Man Booker Prize 2016
A biting satire about a young man’s isolated upbringing and the race trial that sends him to the Supreme Court.  Born in Dickens on the southern outskirts of Los Angeles, the narrator of The Sellout spent his childhood as the subject in his father’s racially charged psychological studies. He is told that his father’s work will lead to a memoir that will solve their financial woes. But when his father is killed in a drive-by shooting, he discovers there never was a memoir. All that’s left is a bill for a drive-through funeral.  What’s more, Dickens has literally been wiped off the map to save California from further embarrassment. Fuelled by despair, the narrator sets out to right this wrong with the most outrageous action conceivable: reinstating slavery and segregating the local high school, which lands him in the Supreme Court.

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.

 

Mystery/ Thriller

Why Did You Lie? by Yrsa Sigurdardottir
A journalist on the track of an old case attempts suicide.  An ordinary couple return from a house swap in the states to find their home in disarray and their guests seemingly missing.  Four strangers struggle to find shelter on a windswept spike of rock in the middle of a raging sea.  They have one thing in common: they all lied.  And someone is determined to punish them…

His Bloody Project by Graeme Macrae Burnet
The year is 1869. A brutal triple murder in a remote community in the Scottish Highlands leads to the arrest of a young man by the name of Roderick Macrae. A memoir written by the accused makes it clear that he is guilty, but it falls to the country s finest legal and psychiatric minds to uncover what drove him to commit such merciless acts of violence. Was he mad? Only the persuasive powers of his advocate stand between Macrae and the gallows.

Lying in Wait by Liz Nugent
Lydia Fitzsimons lives in the perfect house with her adoring husband and beloved son. There is just one thing Lydia yearns for to make her perfect life complete, though the last thing she expects is that pursuing it will lead to murder, because nothing can stop this mother from getting what she wants.

Breaking Cover by Stella Rimmington
Back in London after a gruelling operation in Paris, Liz Carlyle has been posted to MI5’s counter-espionage desk. Her bosses hope the new position will give her some breathing space, but they haven’t counted on the fallout from Putin’s incursions into the Ukraine. Discovering that an elusive Russian spy has entered the UK, Liz needs to track him down before he completes his fatal mission – and plunges Britain back into the fraught days of the Cold War.  Meanwhile, following the revelations of whistle-blower Edward Snowden, the intelligence services are in the spotlight. In response to the debate raging around privacy and security, they hire Jasminder Kapoor, a young and controversial civil rights lawyer, to explain the issues to the public. But in this new world of shadowy motives and secret identities, Jasminder must be extra-careful about whom she can trust .

 

Non-Fiction

Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging by Sebastian Junger
Tribe is a look at post-traumatic stress disorder and the challenges veterans face returning to society. Junger argues that the problem lies not with vets or with the trauma they’ve suffered, but with the society to which they are trying to return. One of the most puzzling things about veterans who experience PTSD is that the majority never even saw combat―and yet they feel deeply alienated and out of place back home. The reason may lie in our natural inclination, as a species, to live in groups of thirty to fifty people who are entirely reliant on one another for safety, comfort and a sense of meaning: in short, the life of a soldier.  It is one of the ironies of the modern age that as affluence rises in a society, so do rates of suicide, depression and of course PTSD. In a wealthy society people don’t need to cooperate with one another, so they often lead much lonelier lives that lead to psychological distress. There is a way for modern society to reverse this trend, however, and studying how veterans react to coming home may provide a clue to how to do it. But it won’t be easy.

Hidden Figures: The Untold Story of the African-American Women Who Helped Win the Space Race by Margot Lee Shetterly
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 four courageous women whose work forever changed the world.

The Pigeon Tunnel: Stories from My Life by John Le Carre
From his years serving in British Intelligence during the Cold War, to a career as a writer, John le Carré has always written from the heart of modern times. In this, his first memoir, le Carré is as funny as he is incisive – reading into the events he witnesses the same moral ambiguity with which he imbues his novels. Whether he’s writing about the parrot at a Beirut hotel that could perfectly mimic machine gun fire, or interviewing a German terrorist in her desert prison in the Negev, or watching Alec Guinness preparing for his role as George Smiley, or describing the female aid worker who inspired the main character in his The Constant Gardener, le Carré endows each happening with vividness and humour, inviting us to think anew about events and people we believed we understood.  He gives us a glimpse of a writer’s journey over more than six decades, and his own hunt for the human spark that has given so much life and heart to his fictional characters.

Turkey: The Insane and the Melancholy by Ece Temelkuran
Starting with the basic question ‘what is this place?’, award-winning journalist and novelist Ece Temelkuran guides us through her ‘beloved country’. In challenging the authoritarian AKP government – for which she lost her job as a journalist – Temelkuran draws strength and wisdom from people, places and artistic expression. The result is a beautifully rendered account of the struggles, hopes and tragedies which make Turkey what it is today. Lamenting the commercialisation and authoritarianism which increasingly characterises Turkish society, Temelkuran sees hope in the Gezi Park protests of 2013, the electoral breakthrough of the progressive HDP party in 2015 and in the simple kindness of ordinary people. Much more than either straightforward history or memoir, it is like sitting with a friendly stranger who, over raki or coffee, reveals the secrets of this rich and complex country – the historic ‘bridge’ between east and west.

The Gardener and the Carpenter: What the New Science of Child Development Tells Us About the Relationship Between Parents and Children by Alison Gopnik
Caring deeply about our children is part of what makes us human. Yet the thing we call “parenting” is a surprisingly new invention. In the past thirty years, the concept of parenting and the multibillion dollar industry surrounding it have transformed child care into obsessive, controlling, and goal-oriented labor intended to create a particular kind of child and therefore a particular kind of adult. In The Gardener and the Carpenter, Gopnik argues that the familiar twenty-first-century picture of parents and children is profoundly wrong–it’s not just based on bad science, it’s bad for kids and parents, too.  Drawing on the study of human evolution and her own cutting-edge scientific research into how children learn, Gopnik shows that although caring for children is profoundly important, it is not a matter of shaping them to turn out a particular way. Children are designed to be messy and unpredictable, playful and imaginative, and to be very different both from their parents and from each other. The variability and flexibility of childhood lets them innovate, create, and survive in an unpredictable world. “Parenting” won’t make children learn―but caring parents let children learn by creating a secure, loving environment.

 

Young Adult 

The Infinite Sea by Rick Yancey – (Book 2 in The 5th Wave Trilogy)
How do you rid the Earth of seven billion humans? Rid the humans of their humanity.  Surviving the first four waves was nearly impossible. Now Cassie Sullivan finds herself in a new world, a world in which the fundamental trust that binds us together is gone. As the 5th Wave rolls across the landscape, Cassie, Ben, and Ringer are forced to confront the Others’ ultimate goal: the extermination of the human race.  Cassie and her friends haven’t seen the depths to which the Others will sink, nor have the Others seen the heights to which humanity will rise, in the ultimate battle between life and death, hope and despair, love and hate.

The Last Star by Rick Yancey – (Book 3 in The 5th Wave Trilogy)
The enemy is Other. The enemy is us. They’re down here, they’re up there, they’re nowhere. They want the Earth, they want us to have it. They came to wipe us out, they came to save us.  But beneath these riddles lies one truth: Cassie has been betrayed. So has Ringer. Zombie. Nugget. And all 7.5 billion people who used to live on our planet. Betrayed first by the Others, and now by ourselves.  In these last days, Earth’s remaining survivors will need to decide what’s more important: saving themselves . . . or saving what makes us human.

The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
No one ever said life was easy but Ponyboy is pretty sure that he’s got things figured out.  He knows that he can count on his brothers, Darry and Sodapop.  And he knows that he can count on his friends—true friends who would do anything for him, like Johnny and Two-Bit.  And when it comes to the Socs—a vicious gang of rich kids who enjoy beating up on “greasers” like him and his friends—he knows that he can count on them for trouble.  But one night someone takes things too far, and Ponyboy’s world is turned upside down…

 

Children’s Fiction

Timmy Failure: We Meet Again by Stephan Pastis
His name is Failure, Timmy Failure.  His detective agency is on the verge of global domination, global riches and global fame.  And yet the gods keep throwing him curveballs: for starters, academic probation.  The coveted Miracle Report is the key to everything, including a good grade.  It’s dirty business.  It’s best you know nothing.  But one thing is for sure: Timmy Failure will be triumphant again!

Booked by Kwame Alexander
In this follow-up to the Newbery-winning novel The Crossover,  soccer, family, love, and friendship, take center stage as twelve-year-old Nick learns the power of words as he wrestles with problems at home, stands up to a bully, and tries to impress the girl of his dreams. Helping him along are his best friend and sometimes teammate Coby, and The Mac, a rapping librarian who gives Nick inspiring books to read.  This electric and heartfelt novel-in-verse by poet Kwame Alexander bends and breaks as it captures all the thrills and setbacks, action and emotion of a World Cup match!

 

Children’s Picture Books

Max the Brave by Ed Vere
Max is a fearless kitten. Max is a brave kitten. Max is a kitten who chases mice. There’s only one problem-Max doesn’t know what a mouse looks like! With a little bit of bad advice, Max finds himself facing a much bigger challenge. Maybe Max doesn’t have to be Max the Brave all the time…

The Wrong Side of the Bed by Lisa Bakos
When you wake up on the wrong side of the bed, there’s just no getting around it.  The porcupine under the covers will insist on snuggling (oww); penguins will make bubbles in your bath (eww); and a crocodile will probably need to borrow your toothbrush (no, thanks). It’s just going to be that sort of day. Unless, that is, you decide to do something about it.

Bear and Duck by Katy Hudson
Bear is sick and tired of being a bear. Who wants to sleep all winter? His fur feels so hot in the summer. And the bees . . . there are just too many angry bees! Bear is done being a bear. But when he sees a line of happy yellow ducklings, he has a thought. What if he could be a duck? With a few duck lessons from Duck, Bear learns that being a duck is fun; but as it turns out, Bear realizes he makes a really good bear . . . and he makes a really good friend along the way.

The Wednesday Surprise by Eve Bunting
Anna and Grandma are planning a surprise for Dad’s birthday. Dad thinks he has received all his presents, but Grandma stands up and gives him the best one of all: she reads aloud the stories that Anna has taught her.

 

Children’s Non-Fiction

Mesmerized: How Ben Franklin Solved a Mystery That Baffled All of France by Mara Rockliffe
The day Ben Franklin first set foot in Paris, France, he found the city all abuzz. Everyone was talking about something new—remarkable, thrilling, and strange. Something called . . . Science!  But soon the straightforward American inventor Benjamin Franklin is upstaged by a compelling and enigmatic figure: Dr. Mesmer. In elaborately staged shows, Mesmer, wearing a fancy coat of purple silk and carrying an iron wand, convinces the people of Paris that he controls a magic force that can make water taste like a hundred different things, cure illness, and control thoughts! But Ben Franklin is not convinced. Will his practical approach of observing, hypothesizing, and testing get to the bottom of the mysterious Mesmer’s tricks? A rip-roaring, lavishly illustrated peek into a fascinating moment in history shows the development and practice of the scientific method—and reveals the amazing power of the human mind.

 

 

New Books October 2016

FICTION

The Gustav Sonata by Rose Tremain
Gustav Perle grows up in a small town in ‘neutral’ Switzerland, where the horrors of the Second World War seem a distant echo.  Gustav’s childhood is spent in lonely isolation, his only toy a tin train with painted passengers staring blankly from the carriage windows.  As time goes on, an intense friendship with Anton Zwiebel begins to define Gustav’s life. Jewish and mercurial, a talented pianist tortured by nerves when he has to play in public, Anton fails to understand how deeply and irrevocably his life and Gustav’s are entwined. Rose Tremain’s novel asks the question, what does it do to a person, or to a country, to pursue an eternal quest for neutrality, and self-mastery, while all life’s hopes and passions continually press upon the borders and beat upon the gate.

My Name is Leon by Kit de Waal
Leon is nine, and has a perfect baby brother called Jake. They have gone to live with Maureen, who has fuzzy red hair like a halo, and a belly like Father Christmas. But the adults are threatening to give Jake to strangers, because Jake is white and Leon is not. As Leon struggles to cope with his anger, certain things can still make him smile – like Curly Wurlys, riding his bike fast downhill, burying his hands deep in the soil, hanging out with Tufty (who reminds him of his dad), and stealing enough coins so that one day he can rescue Jake and his mum. Evoking a Britain of the early eighties, My Name is Leon is a story of love, identity and learning to overcome unbearable loss. Of the fierce bond between siblings. And how – just when we least expect it – we somehow manage to find our way home.

The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead
Cora is a slave on a cotton plantation in Georgia. All the slaves lead a hellish existence, but Cora has it worse than most; she is an outcast even among her fellow Africans and she is approaching womanhood, where it is clear even greater pain awaits. When Caesar, a slave recently arrived from Virginia, tells her about the Underground Railroad, they take the perilous decision to escape to the North. Cora and Caesar’s first stop is South Carolina, in a city that initially seems like a haven. But its placid surface masks an infernal scheme designed for its unknowing black inhabitants. And even worse, Ridgeway, the relentless slave catcher sent to find Cora, is close on their heels. Forced to flee again, Cora embarks on a harrowing flight, state by state, seeking true freedom. As Whitehead brilliantly recreates the unique terrors for black people in the pre-Civil War era, his narrative seamlessly weaves the saga of America, from the brutal importation of Africans to the unfulfilled promises of the present day.

The Association of Small Bombs by Karan Mahajan
On a hot May day in 1996 a car bomb detonates in a Delhi marketplace. Just a ‘small’ bomb, but it is fatal for two Khurana school boys. Their friend Mansoor survives the blast bearing the physical and psychological effects of the bomb. After a failed stint at university in America, Mansoor returns to Delhi, where he becomes entangled with the mysterious and charismatic Ayub, a fearless young activist. Yet Mansoor isn’t the only one damaged by the bomb. Mr and Mrs Khurana are trapped in labyrinthine legal battles, desperate for justice to appease their grief. Young bomb maker Shockie, striving for the future independence of his Kashmiri homeland, is also in Delhi that day, and afterwards will be inextricably linked to the blast.

This Must be the Place by Maggie O’Farrell
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?

 

MYSTERY / THRILLER

Confessions by Kanae Minato
When Yuko Moriguchi’s four-year-old daughter died in the middle school where she teaches, everyone thought it was a tragic accident. It’s the last day of term, and Yuko’s last day at work. She tells her students that she has resigned because of what happened – but not for the reasons they think. Her daughter didn’t die in an accident. Her daughter was killed by two people in the class. Before Yuko leaves, she has a lesson to teach. But revenge has a way of spinning out of control, and Yuko’s last lecture is only the start of the story.

Out by Natsuo Kirino
In the Tokyo suburbs four women work the draining graveyard shift at a boxed-lunch factory. Burdened with chores and heavy debts and isolated from husbands and children, they all secretly dream of a way out of their dead-end lives. A young mother among them finally cracks and strangles her philandering, gambling husband then confesses her crime to Masako, the closest of her colleagues. For reasons of her own, Masako agrees to assist her friend and seeks the help of the other co-workers to dismember and dispose of the body. The body parts are discovered, the police start asking questions, but the women have far more dangerous enemies -a yakuza connected loan shark who discovers their secret and has a business proposition, and a ruthless nightclub owner the police are convinced is guilty of the murder. He has lost everything as a result of their crime and he is out for revenge.

The Wednesday Club by Kjell Westo
1938. Hitler’s expansionist policies are arousing both anger and admiration, not least in Helsinki’s Wednesday Club. The members of this relaxed gentleman’s club are old friends of lawyer Claes Thune. But this year it is apparent that the political unrest in Europe is having an effect on the cohesion of the group. Thune has recently divorced and is at something of a loss, running his law practice with no great enthusiasm. Luckily he has the assistance of an efficient new secretary, Matilda Wiik, but behind her polished exterior she is tormented by memories of the Finnish Civil War. One evening, with the Wednesday Club gathered in Thune’s office, she hears a voice she hoped she would never hear again. She is suddenly plunged back into the past. But this time she is no longer a helpless victim . . .

Before the Fall by Noah Hawley
Down-on-his-luck artist Scott Burroughs would usually take the ferry back to New York from Martha’s Vineyard, but he is unexpectedly offered a spare seat on the Bateman family’s private jet. Then just minutes after take-off, the plane crashes into the ocean and of the eight passengers and three crew, only Scott and the Batemans’ small son, JJ, are left alive. The extraordinary nature of their survival, combined with the fact that David Bateman was CEO of a populist TV news channel, means that Scott will not be returning to anonymity. Along with the orphaned boy, he is engulfed by a maelstrom of speculation, which soon overtakes the official investigation into the tragedy. Who else was on the plane? Was there a bomb, a missile? Who is Scott Burroughs?

Dodgers by Bill Beverly
Dodgers is the story of a young LA gang member named East, who is sent by his uncle along with some other teenage boys including East’s hothead younger brother to kill a key witness hiding out in Wisconsin. The journey takes East out of a city he’s never left and into an America that is entirely alien to him, ultimately forcing him to grapple with his place in the world and decide what kind of man he wants to become.

 

NON-FICTION

The Library: A World History by James W. P. Campbell
This spectacular book tells the story of the library as a distinct building type, all around the world. Throughout the ages, book collections have served to symbolize their owners culture and learning, and the wealthy and powerful have spent lavishly on buildings to house them. In its highest form the library became a total work of art, combining painting, sculpture, furniture and architecture into seamless, dramatic spaces. The finest libraries are repositories not just of books, but of learning, creativity and contemplation, they embody some of the highest achievements of humankind.

Nothing Ever Dies: Vietnam and the Memory of War by Viet Thanh Nguyen
All wars are fought twice, the first time on the battlefield, the second time in memory. From a kaleidoscope of cultural forms – novels, memoirs, cemeteries, monuments, films, photography, museum exhibits, video games, souvenirs, and more – Nothing Ever Dies brings a comprehensive vision of the war into sharp focus. At stake are ethical questions about how the war should be remembered by participants that include not only Americans and Vietnamese but also Laotians, Cambodians, South Koreans, and Southeast Asian Americans. Too often, memorials valorise the experience of one’s own people above all else, honoring their sacrifices while demonising the enemy or, most often, ignoring combatants and civilians on the other side altogether. Viet Thanh Nguyen provides penetrating interpretations of the way memories of the war help to enable future wars or struggle to prevent them. Nguyen offers a lesson for all wars by calling on us to recognize not only our shared humanity but our ever-present inhumanity. This is the only path to reconciliation with our foes, and with ourselves. Without reconciliation, war’s truth will be impossible to remember, and war’s trauma impossible to forget.

The Life Project: The Extraordinary Story of Our Ordinary Lives ( Presented ) by Helen Pearson
In March 1946, scientists began to track thousands of children born in one cold week. No one imagined that this would become the longest-running study of human development in the world, growing to encompass five generations of children. Today, they are some of the best-studied people on the planet, and the simple act of observing human life has changed the way we are born, schooled, parent and die. This is the tale of these studies and the remarkable discoveries that have come from them. Touching almost every person in Britain today, they are one of our best-kept secrets.

 

CHILDREN’S PICTURE BOOKS

How Rocket Learned to Read by Tad Hills
Learn to read with an irresistible dog named Rocket and his teacher, a little yellow bird. Follow along as Rocket masters the alphabet, sounds out words, and finally . . . learns to read all on his own!

Rocket Writes a Story by Tad Hills
Rocket loves books and he wants to make his own, but he can’t think of a story. Encouraged by the little yellow bird to look closely at the world around him for inspiration, Rocket sets out on a journey. Along the way he discovers small details that he has never noticed before, a timid baby owl who becomes his friend, and an idea for a story.

The Skunk by Mac Barnett
When a skunk first appears in the tuxedoed man’s doorway, it’s a strange but possibly harmless occurrence. But then the man finds the skunk following him, and the unlikely pair embark on an increasingly frantic chase through the city, from the streets to the opera house to the fairground. What does the skunk want? It’s not clear but soon the man has bought a new house in a new neighborhood to escape the little creature’s attention, only to find himself missing something…

 

CHILDREN’S FICTION

A Handful of Stars by Cynthia Lord
When Lily’s blind dog, Lucky, slips his collar and runs away across the wide-open blueberry barrens of eastern Maine, it’s Salma Santiago who manages to catch him. Salma, the daughter of migrant workers, is in the small town with her family for the blueberry-picking season. After their initial chance meeting, Salma and Lily bond over painting bee boxes for Lily’s grandfather, and Salma’s friendship transforms Lily’s summer. But when Salma decides to run in the upcoming Blueberry Queen pageant, they’ll have to face some tough truths about friendship and belonging. Should an outsider like Salma really participate in the pageant-and possibly win?

All About Sam by Lois Lowry
At last Sam, Anastasia Krupnik’s irrepressible little brother, gets a chance to tell his own story. From his first days at the hospital, through his Terrible Twos, to his first days at nursery school, we see what Sam is really like. But things are never quite like they seem. In the delivery room, Sam’s first words, “Don’t drop me,” are heard only as “Waaaaahhhh!” And even though he has a perfectly logical explanation for flushing his sister’s goldfish down the toilet, no one understands. From training pants to moving day to nursery school, Sam continually tries to unravel the mysteries of the world at large, facing each crisis and adventure head on and responding with his own brand of humor, candor, and naive insight.

 

YOUNG ADULT

Stupid Fast by Geoff Herbach
My name is Felton Reinstein, which is not a fast name. But last November, my voice finally dropped and I grew all this hair and then I got stupid fast. Fast like a donkey. Zing! Now they want me, the guy they used to call Squirrel Nut, to try out for the football team. With the jocks. But will that fix my mom? Make my brother stop dressing like a pirate? Most important, will it get me girls-especially Aleah? So I train. And I run. And I sneak off to Aleah’s house in the night. But deep down I know I can’t run forever. And I wonder what will happen when I finally have to stop.

Nothing Special by Geoff Herbach
Andrew Reinstein has always believed he is destined for greatness. His brother is a star football player, his father was a champion tennis player, and his best friend is a genius musician. So, of course, Andrew will also be great. Until at age 16 he s confronted with the awful truth: he s not that good at anything. What follows is an impromptu road trip to Florida (aka desperate flight from all the talented people) and a bid for stardom (aka fronting a hotel rock band with escapees from a retirement community) as he searches for his place in the world.

I’m With Stupid by Geoff Herbach
Felton’s never been so great at stress to begin with, but this year…really, it could kill him. So he’s going to do it right. He’s going to make a list. What would he be if he weren’t a jock? He’ll try everything–comedian, partier, super student. But the list ends up giving him more trouble than clarity. Before Felton leaves his hometown forever, he must learn what he can’t control and what he can. He’ll have to figure out how to cast off the dark shadow of his father’s death and become his own man. And, most important of all, he must protect what he loves and who he loves, even if it sucks sometimes.

Highly Illogical Behavior by John Corey Whaley
Sixteen-year-old Solomon is agoraphobic. He hasn’t left the house in three years, which is fine by him. Ambitious Lisa desperately wants to get into the second-best psychology program for college (she’s being realistic). But how can she prove she deserves a spot there? Solomon is the answer. Determined to “fix” Sol, Lisa thrusts herself into his life, sitting through Star Trek marathons with him and introducing him to her charming boyfriend Clark. Soon, all three teens are far closer than they thought they’d be, and when their walls fall down, their friendships threaten to collapse, as well.

New Books September 2016

Fiction

The Shipping News by Annie Proulx
Quoyle, a third-rate newspaper hack, with a “head shaped like a crenshaw, no neck, reddish hair…features as bunched as kissed fingertips,” is wrenched violently out of his workaday life when his two-timing wife meets her just desserts.  An aunt convinces Quoyle and his two emotionally disturbed daughters to return with her to the starkly beautiful coastal landscape of their ancestral home in Newfoundland.  In this harsh place of cruel storms, a collapsing fishery, and chronic unemployment, the aunt sets up as a yacht upholsterer in nearby Killick-Claw, and Quoyle finds a job reporting the shipping news for the local weekly.  As the long winter closes its jaws of ice, each of the Quoyles confronts private demons, reels from catastrophe to minor triumph.  By the time of the spring storms Quoyle has learned how to gut cod, to escape from a pickle jar, and to tie a true lover’s knot.

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi
Effia and Esi are born into different villages in eighteenth-century Ghana. Effia is married off to an Englishman and lives in comfort in the palatial rooms of Cape Coast Castle. Unbeknownst to Effia, her sister, Esi, is imprisoned beneath her in the castle’s dungeons, sold with thousands of others into the Gold Coast’s booming slave trade, and shipped off to America, where her children and grandchildren will be raised in slavery. One thread follows Effia’s descendants through centuries of warfare in Ghana, as the Fante and Asante nations wrestle with the slave trade and British colonization.  The other thread follows Esi and her children into America.  From the plantations of the South to the Civil War and the Great Migration, from the coal mines of Pratt City, Alabama, to the jazz clubs and dope houses of twentieth-century Harlem, right up through the present day, Homegoing makes history visceral, and captures, with singular and stunning immediacy, how the memory of captivity came to be inscribed in the soul of a nation.

Soft in the Head by Marie-Sabine Roger
His mother calls him a worthless halfwit while his fellow drunks at the local bar ensure he’s the butt of all their jokes.  He spends his days whittling wood, counting pigeons and adding his own name to the list on the town war memorial.  So how could Germain possibly anticipate what a casual encounter on a park bench with eighty-five-year old Margueritte might mean?  That first conversation opens a door into a world Germain has never imagined—the world of books and ideas—and gives both him and Margueritte the chance of a happiness they thought had passed them by.

The Minor Outsider by Ted McDermott
Ed and Taylor, both aspiring young writers, fall in love during a summer of aimless drinking and partying in their university town of Missoula, Montana.  Lonely and looking for love, they connect despite their profound differences.  Ed is brooding, ambitious and self-destructive, living in denial of a mysterious tumour spreading from his limbs to his brain.  Beautiful Taylor is a pure soul, positive, full of hope and emotional generosity.  Their difficult relationship is intense and exciting yet doomed from the start, complicated further when Taylor falls pregnant.  As Ed resists the harmony she brings to his life, Taylor’s need to protect herself and their child, until a dramatic finale.

Siamese Tears by Claire Keefe-Fox
Blue-stocking Julie Gallet is an independent-minded Parisian who has made what her English mother describes as an imprudent match.  Following her husband to the Far East, she comes to stay with Michael Crawfurd, her British diplomat cousin and discovers a glittering city of golden spires and colonial intrigue as the Kingdom is caught between France’s territorial ambitions and England’s quest for supremacy and influence in Asia.  Resisting her family’s entreaties to return home, Julie settles in Bangkok, becomes a French teacher to the ladies of the Royal Court and becomes passionately involved in Siamese life and affairs.  Her frank and irreverent journal recounts her growing political awareness along with the awakening of her sensuality.  While Paris and London play a game of global chess with the Siamese as their pawns, both she and Michael find their national and personal loyalties tested.  Their lives and loves take unexpected turns, and Siam struggles to retain its independence against a ruthless and formidable opponent.  Blending fact and fiction, Siamese Tears is a faithful account of the events leading up to the Paknam incident in 1893 through the eyes of those who witnessed them.

The Brotherhood of Kaeng Khoi by Uthis Haemamool
Young Lap is unhappy with just about every one and everything, and the world seems to feel the same way towards him.  He gets one view from the father who dominates his life, and quite another from his mother, who communes with the Thai spirit world of ghosts and demons.  Lap Lae and Kaeng Khoi are high-strung and headstrong brothers from a dysfunctionat household in a small Thai town in the late twentieth century.  In the Brotherhood of Kaeng Khoi, after tracing their family origins we share their struggless as they grow towards adulthood in a mountain monastery in a treehouse in the woods with the girls next door.  Can they negotiate the traps, calamities, and misadventures to emerge with integrity and a clear sense of who they are, and how to move forward with their lives?

Mad Dog & Co by Chart Korbjitti
Thai hippiedom in its 1980s heyday. First serialised in a women’s magazine, yet another masterpiece by the author of 1982 SEA Write Award winning The Judgment and 1994 SEA Write Award winning Time.

The Naga’s Journey by Tew Bunnag
Set in modern-day Bangkok, The Naga’s Journey chronicles the unlikely friendship of three people from disparate backgrounds, thrown together by a dramatic event at the cremation of a notorious public figure.  The consequence of their response sets in motion their relationship and reveals a past, connected to the dead man, which each of them has tried to avoid confronting.  Throughout the novel lurks the dark presence of the Naga, the unpredictable and powerful element of water, potentially both nurturing and destructive.  The tale reaches its climax when Bangkok, a city degenerating morally as well as physically, is threatened by a massive flood, an event that ends in tragedy and catharsis for the three friends.  The tales ultimate message of hope and reconciliation will be an inspiration for all.

 

Mystery/ Thriller

The Midnight Watch by David Dyer
On a black night in April 1912, fifteen hundred passengers and crew perish as the Titanic slowly sinks beneath the freezing waters of the North Atlantic.  Charting the same perilous course through the icebergs is the SS Californian, close enough for her crew to see the eight white distress rockets fired by the Titanic.  Yet the Californian fails to act, and later her crew insist that they saw nothing.  As news of the disaster spreads throughout America, journalists begin a feeding frenzy, desperate for stories.  Reporter John Steadman senses blood as he fixates on the Californian and his investigation reveals a tense and perplexing relationship between the ship’s captain and second officer, who hold the secrets of what occurred that night.  Slowly he peels back the layers of deception, and his final, stunning revelation of what happened while the Titanic sank will either redeem the men of the Californian, or destroy them.

I Saw a Man by Owen Sheers
After the sudden loss of his wife, Michael Turner moves to London to start again.  Living on a quiet street in Hampstead, he develops a close bond with the Nelson family next door: Josh, Samantha and their two young daughters.  The friendship at first seems to offer the prospect of healing, but then a devastating event changes all their lives, and Michael finds himself bearing the burden of grief and a terrible secret.

Behind Dead Eyes by Howard Linskey
A corpse is found: its identity extinguished in the most shocking manner imaginable.  Detective Ian Bradshaw can’t catch the killer if no one can ID the victim.  Out there, somewhere, a missing young woman may hold the answers.  Journalist Helen Norton is about to uncover a massive criminal conspiracy but she just needs the final piece of the puzzle.  Soon, she will learn the price of the truth.  True-crime writer Tom Carney receives letters from a convicted murderer who insists he is innocent.  His argument is persuasive – but psychopaths are often said to be charming…

The Kept Woman by Karin Slaughter
A body of an ex-cop is discovered in an empty Atlanta warehouse.  Bloody footprints leading away from the scene reveal that another victim – a woman – has left the scene and vanished into thin air.  And, worst of all, the warehouse belongs to the city’s biggest, most politically-connected, most high-profile athlete – a local hero protected by the world’s most expensive lawyers.  Special Agent Will Trent has spent the last six months investigating on a brutal rape charge, but for Will – and also for Dr Sara Linton, the GBI’s newest medical examiner – the case is about to get even worse because an unexpected discovery at the scene reveals a personal link to Will’s troubled past.  The consequences will wreak havoc on his life and the lives of those he loves, those he works with, and those he pursues.  But Sara’s scene-of-the-crime diagnosis is that they only have a few hours to find the missing woman before she bleeds out . . .

Moskva by Jack Grimwood
Red Square, 1985. The naked body of a young man is left outside the walls of the Kremlin; frozen solid – like marble to the touch – missing the little finger from his right hand.  A week later, Alex Marston, the headstrong fifteen year old daughter of the British Ambassador disappears.  Army Intelligence Officer Tom Fox is asked to help find her but Russia is reluctant to give up the worst of her secrets.  As Fox’s investigation sees him dragged deeper towards the dark heart of a Soviet establishment determined to protect its own so his fears grow, with those of the girl’s father, for Alex’s safety.  And if Fox can’t find her soon, she looks likely to become the next victim of a sadistic killer whose story is bound tight to that of his country’s terrible past.

Burn What Will Burn by C. B. McKenzie
Bob Reynolds doesn’t recognise the body in the creek, but he does recognise the danger of it.  He’s a newcomer to town and has so far kept his head down, mostly over the bar at the Crow’s Nest.  But he has other interests than drinking and spending his inheritance, including one that goes by the name Tammy Fay Smith and who may have caught the sheriff’s eye as well.  Bob Reynolds would rather pretend he never saw the body, but when it disappears he begins to doubt what little he knew about his secretive town, one that seems to become more unwelcoming by the day.  But he can’t just forget the body, despite the advice he’s given to do so, and despite the evidence to suggest that he might be disappearing along with it.

The Marriage Tree by Christopher G. Moore
It’s okay for Thais to believe in ghosts but why is Vincent Calvino seeing ghosts, and why are they so angry?  Calvino is haunted by a series of deaths in Rangoon and Bangkok, when he stumbles onto a new murder case but is it a new case, or an old one returned from the dead?  A murder investigation leads Calvino inside an underworld network smuggling Rohingya out of illegal camps and detention centers.  Calvino looks for the killer in the mystical Thai world of sword and marriage trees.

Crack Down by Christopher G. Moore
Post-coup Thailand is the setting as high tech competes with traditional power in a battle for hearts and minds.  It is a noir landscape where Calvino finds himself ambushed as casualties from this battle leave behind a mystery or two. Calvino enters a world of ancient maps, political graffiti, student protestors and murder.  The finger points at Calvino as the killer.  He searches for allies who will help him prove his innocence.

9 Gold Bullets by Christopher G. Moore
A priceless collection of 9 gold bullet coins issued during the Reign of Rama V has gone missing along with a Thai coin collector.  Local police find a link between the missing Thai coins and Calvino’s childhood friend, Josh Stein, who happens to be in Bangkok on an errand for his new Russian client. This old friend and his personal and business entanglements with the Russian underworld take Calvino back to New York, along with Pratt.  The gritty, dark vision of 9 Gold Bullets is tracked through the eyes of a Thai cop operating on a foreign turf, and a private eye expatriated long enough to find himself a stranger in his hometown.  As the intrigue behind the missing coins moves between New York and Bangkok, and the levels of deception increase, Calvino discovers the true nature of friendship and where he belongs.

The Postmistress of Nong Khai by Frank Hurst
Mike Rawlin, an ambitious Customs Intelligence officer, is posted to the British Embassy in Bangkok, where he is tasked with infiltrating a dangerous band of drug smugglers in the infamous and remote Golden Triangle.  With the help of the Thai police and an Australian counterpart, Mike tracks down a notorious Dutch drug lord, Bart Vanderpool, who he has been hunting for years.  Bart is masterminding an elaborate plot to smuggle heroin from the Golden Triangle to Britain.  After tapping Bart’s phone as part of his surveillance operation, Mike is introduced to Lek, a beautiful Thai Airways hostess, from the Mekong River city of Nong Khai, who has inside information about the drug ring.  With Lek’s help Mike steals ever closer to trapping Bart, but in the process Lek becomes the object of his desire and the two embark on an emotional affair.  Mike’s personal and professional values begin to disintegrate as his infatuation for her grows.  Mike’s investigation leads to a climatic ending in which he must choose between the woman he loves and the capture of a man he has been hunting for over ten years.

 

Non-Fiction

White Trash: The 400-Year Untold History of Class in America by Nancy Isenberg
Nancy Isenberg takes on our comforting myths about equality, uncovering the crucial legacy of the ever-present poor white trash.  The wretched and landless poor have existed from the time of the earliest British colonial settlement.  By the 1850s, the downtrodden included so-called clay eaters and sandhillers, known for prematurely aged children distinguished by their yellowish skin, ragged clothing, and listless minds.  Surveying political rhetoric and policy, popular literature and scientific theories over four hundred years, Isenberg upends assumptions about America s supposedly class-free society where liberty and hard work were meant to ensure real social mobility.  Poor whites were central to the rise of the Republican Party in the early nineteenth century, and the Civil War itself was fought over class issues nearly as much as it was fought over slavery.  Reconstruction pitted poor white trash against newly freed slaves, which factored in the rise of eugenics -a widely popular movement embraced by Theodore Roosevelt that targeted poor whites for sterilization.  “Marginalized as a class, white trash have always been at or near the center of major political debates over the character of the American identity.”

Love from Boy : Roald Dahl’s Letters to His Mother by Roald Dahl
A whimsical, witty, and revealing collection of the legendary children’s author and writer Roald Dahl’s letters written to his mother, spanning four decades from early childhood through Dahl’s travels to Africa, his career in the Royal Air Force, his work in post-war Washington, D.C., and Hollywood, and the books that made him a literary star.  While Dahl’s books remain bestselling favorites for all ages, Love from Boy provides an unprecedented glimpse of the author through his own eyes—a life punctuated by tragedy, creative stagnation, unexpected fame, and fantastic adventure.

 

Young Adult Books

Rescued by Eliot Schrefer
Raja has been raised in captivity. Not behind the bars of a zoo, but within the confines of an American home. He was stolen when he was young to be someone’s pet but now he’s grown up and is about to be sent away again, to a place from which there will be no return.  John grew up with Raja.  The orangutan was his friend, his brother — never his pet.  When John’s parents split up and he moved across the country, he left Raja behind.  There’s one last chance to save Raja but it will force John to confront his fractured family and the captivity he’s imposed on himself all of these years.

 

Children’s Picture Books

One Word from Sophia by Jim Averbeck
Sophia tries varied techniques to get the giraffe she wants more than anything in this playfully illustrated story about the nuances of negotiation.  Sophia has one true desire for her birthday but she has Four Big Problems in the way: Mom, Dad, Uncle Conrad and Grand-mama.  Will her presentations, proposals, and pie charts convince them otherwise?

The Grumpy Pets by Kristine A. Lombardi
Billy’s not like the other kids.  He’s a bit moody, a bit cranky, a bit grumpy.  In hopes of cheering him up, his mom takes him and his sister to the animal rescue one Saturday morning.  All the animals are cute and playful, but they’re a little too happy for Billy’s taste.  When Billy wanders into another section of the store, however, he stumbles across a different group of animals awaiting adoption.  These pets are grouchy and scruffy.  In fact, they seem downright grumpy—just like Billy!  He catches the eye of a particularly grumpy pup—could this be the friend Billy has been looking for?

The Blue Whale by Jenni Desmond
The Blue Whale draws children into the life and world of this enormous whale by situating facts within a familiar context that is fun and engaging.  Here, readers are given the actual size of an eye right on the page, and we are informed how understand this whale’s body size in relation to trucks, cars, milk bottles, and hippos!  With an accurate and engaging text, fully vetted by a blue whale expert, and lyrically lovely illustrations, it invites children in and holds their attention.

 

Children’s Fiction Books

Gooseberry Park by Cynthia Rylant
Stumpy Squirrel has just settled into a new nest in a magnificent pin oak in Gooseberry Park. It is the perfect spot for her babies to be born! When they arrive healthy and strong, Stump’s three good friends–a Labrador retriever, a wise hermit crab, and a bat who eats Chinese food–are thrilled.  But after a terrible ice storm destroys the pin oak, Stumpy disappears.  It takes a special combination of courage, humor, and tenacity for Stumpy’s friends to rescue her babies and bring her home again.

The Remarkable Journey of Charlie Price by Jennifer Maschari
Ever since twelve-year-old Charlie Price’s mom died, he feels like his world has been split into two parts. Before included stargazing and Mathletes and Saturday scavenger hunts with his family. After means a dad who’s completely checked out, comically bad dinners, and grief group that’s anything but helpful. It seems like losing Mom meant losing everything else he loved, too. Just when Charlie thinks things can’t get any worse, his sister, Imogen, starts acting erratically—missing school and making up lies about their mother. But everything changes when one day he follows her down a secret passageway in the middle of her bedroom and sees for himself.

Raymie Nightingale by Kate DiCamillo
Raymie Clarke has come to realize that everything, absolutely everything, depends on her.  And she has a plan.  If Raymie can win the Little Miss Central Florida Tire competition, then her father, who left town two days ago with a dental hygienist, will see Raymie’s picture in the paper and (maybe) come home.  To win, not only does Raymie have to do good deeds and learn how to twirl a baton; she also has to contend with the wispy, frequently fainting Louisiana Elefante, who has a show-business background, and the fiery, stubborn Beverly Tapinski, who’s determined to sabotage the contest.  But as the competition approaches, loneliness, loss, and unanswerable questions draw the three girls into an unlikely friendship — and challenge each of them to come to the rescue in unexpected ways.

 

New Books August 2016

Fiction

Madonna in a Fur Coat by Ali Sabahattin
A shy young man leaves his home in rural Turkey to learn a trade in 1920s Berlin. The city’s crowded streets, thriving arts scene, passionate politics and seedy cabarets provide the backdrop for a chance meeting with a woman, which will haunt him for the rest of his life.

The Queue by Basma Abdel Aziz
In a surreal, but familiar, vision of modern day Egypt, a centralized authority known as ‘the Gate’ has risen to power in the aftermath of’ a failed popular uprising. Citizens are required to obtain permission from the Gate in order to take care of even the most basic of their daily affairs, yet the Gate never opens, and the queue in front of it grows longer. Citizens from all walks of life mix and wait in the sun including Yehia, a man who was shot during the Events and is waiting for permission to remove the bullet. Yehia’s health steadily declines, while officials refuse to assist him. Tarek, the principled doctor tending to Yehia’s case, must decide whether to follow protocol as he has always done, or to disobey the law and risk his career to operate on Yehia and save his life.

The Pier Falls by Mark Haddon
The tales in Mark Haddon’s lyrical and uncompromising new collection take many forms—Victorian adventure story, science fiction, morality tale, contemporary realism—but they all showcase his virtuoso gifts as a stylist and the deep well of empathy that made his three bestselling novels so compelling. The characters here are often isolated physically or estranged from their families, yet they yearn for connection. The stories become a meditation on the essential aloneness of the human condition but also on the connections, however tenuous and imperfect, that link people to one another.

The Bones of Grace by Tahmima Anam
On the eve of her departure to find the bones of the walking whale—the fossil that provides a missing link in our evolution—Zubaida Haque falls in love with Elijah Strong, a man she meets in a darkened concert hall in Boston. Their connection is immediate and intense, despite their differences.  When a twist of fate sends her back to her hometown, the force of society compels her to marry her childhood best friend and settle into a traditional Bangladeshi life. While her family is pleased by her obedience, Zubaida seethes with discontent. Desperate to finally free herself from her familial constraints, she moves to Chittagong to work on a documentary film about the infamous beaches where ships are destroyed, and their remains salvaged by locals who depend on the goods for their survival. As she witnesses a ship being torn down to its bones, this woman torn between the social mores of her two homes—Bangladesh and America—will be forced to strip away the vestiges of her own life . . . and make a choice from which she can never turn back.

2017 War With Russia by General Sir Richard Shirreff
Closely modeled on his NATO experience of war gaming future conflicts, 2017 War With Russia is a chilling account of where we are heading if we fail to recognize the threat posed by the Russian president and shows how war with Russia could erupt with the bloodiest and most appalling consequences if the necessary steps are not taken urgently.

 

Mystery/Thriller

Journey to Munich by Jacqueline Winspear
It’s early 1938, and Maisie Dobbs is back in England. On a fine yet chilly morning, as she walks towards Fitzroy Square she is intercepted by members of the Secret Service. The German government has agreed to release a British subject from prison, but only if he is handed over to a family member. Because the man’s wife is bedridden and his daughter has been killed in an accident, the Secret Service wants Maisie—who bears a striking resemblance to the daughter—to retrieve the man from Dachau, on the outskirts of Munich.

Six Four by Hideo Yokoyama
For five days in January 1989, the parents of a seven-year-old Tokyo schoolgirl sat and listened to the demands of their daughter’s kidnapper. They would never learn his identity. They would never see their daughter again. For the fourteen years that followed, the Japanese public would never forget the botched investigation that became known as ‘Six Four’.  In late 2002, the press officer attached to the police department in question confronted an anomaly in the case. He could never imagine what he would uncover and he would never have looked if he’d known what he would find.

The North Water by Ian McGuire
Henry Drax is a harpooner on the Volunteer, a Yorkshire whaler bound for the rich hunting waters of the arctic circle. Also aboard for the first time is Patrick Sumner, an ex-army surgeon with a shattered reputation, no money, and no better option than to sail as the ship’s medic on this violent, filthy, and ill-fated voyage. The discovery of something evil in the hold rouses Sumner to action. As the confrontation between the two men plays out amid the freezing darkness of an arctic winter, the fateful question arises: who will survive until spring?

Real Tigers by Mick Herron
Slough House is the MI5 branch where disgraced operatives are reassigned after they’ve messed up too badly to be trusted with real intelligence work. When one of their own is kidnapped and held for ransom, the agents of Slough House must defeat the odds, overturning all expectations of their competence, to breach the top-notch security of MI5’s intelligence headquarters, Regent’s Park, and steal valuable intel in exchange for their comrade’s safety. The kidnapping is only the tip of the iceberg, however—the agents uncover a larger web of intrigue that involves not only a group of private mercenaries but the highest authorities in the Secret Service. After years spent as the lowest on the totem pole, the Slow Horses suddenly find themselves caught in the midst of a conspiracy that threatens not only the future of Slough House, but of MI5 itself.

A Rising Man by Abir Mukherjee
Captain Sam Wyndham, former Scotland Yard detective, is a new arrival to Calcutta. Desperately seeking a fresh start after his experiences during the Great War, Wyndham has been recruited to head up a new post in the police force where is caught up in a murder investigation that will take him into the dark underbelly of the British Raj. A senior official has been murdered, and a note left in his mouth warns the British to quit India: or else. With rising political dissent and the stability of the Raj under threat, Wyndham and his two new colleagues – arrogant Inspector Digby and British-educated, but Indian-born Sergeant Banerjee – embark on an investigation that will take them from the luxurious parlours of wealthy British traders to the seedy opium dens of the city.

A Midsummer’s Equation by Keigo Higashino
Manabu Yukawa, the physicist known as “Detective Galileo,” has traveled to Hari Cove, a once-popular summer resort town that has fallen on hard times. He is there to speak at a conference on a planned underwater mining operation, which has sharply divided the town. The night after the tense panel discussion, one of the resort’s guests is found dead on the seashore at the base of the local cliffs. The local police at first believe it was a simple accident, but when they discover that the victim was a former policeman and that the cause of death was carbon monoxide poisoning, they begin to suspect he was murdered, and his body tossed off the cliff to misdirect the police. As the police try to uncover where Tsukahara was killed and why, Yukawa finds himself enmeshed in yet another confounding case of murder.

 

Non-Fiction

The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu: And Their Race to Save the World’s Most Precious Manuscripts by Joshua Hammer
In the 1980s, a young adventurer and collector for a government library, Abdel Kader Haidara, journeyed across the Sahara Desert and along the Niger River, tracking down and salvaging tens of thousands of ancient Islamic and secular manuscripts that had fallen into obscurity. The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu tells the incredible story of how Haidara, a mild-mannered archivist and historian from the legendary city of Timbuktu, later became one of the world’s greatest and most brazen smugglers. In 2012, thousands of Al Qaeda militants from northwest Africa seized control of most of Mali, including Timbuktu. They imposed Sharia law and threatened to destroy the great manuscripts. As the militants tightened their control over Timbuktu, Haidara organized a dangerous operation to sneak all 350,000 volumes out of the city to the safety of southern Mali.

The Black Door: Spies, Secret Intelligence and British Prime Ministers by Richard James Aldrich & Rory Cormac
The Black Door’ explores the evolving relationship between successive British prime ministers and the intelligence agencies. At the beginning of the 20th Century the British intelligence system was underfunded and lacked influence in government. But as the new millennium dawned, intelligence had become so integral to policy that it was used to make the case for war. Now, covert action is incorporated seamlessly into government policy, and the Prime Minister is kept constantly updated by intelligence agencies. But how did intelligence come to influence our government so completely? ‘The Black Door’ explores the murkier corridors of No. 10 Downing Street, chronicling the relationships between intelligence agencies and the Prime Ministers of the last century.

East West Street: On the Origins of Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity by Philippe Sands
As the author uncovered, clue by clue, the deliberately obscured story of his grandfather’s mysterious life, and of his mother’s journey as a child surviving Nazi occupation, Sands searched further into the history of the city of Lemberg in the Ukraine and realized that his own field of humanitarian law had been forged by two men—Rafael Lemkin and Hersch Lauterpacht—each of whom had studied law at Lviv University in the city of his grandfather’s birth, each considered to be the father of the modern human rights movement, and each, at parallel times, forging diametrically opposite, revolutionary concepts of humanitarian law that had changed the world. In this extraordinary and resonant book, Sands looks at who these two very private men were, and at how and why, coming from similar Jewish backgrounds and the same city, studying at the same university, each developed the theory he did, showing how each man dedicated this period of his life to having his legal concept—“genocide” and “crimes against humanity”—as a centerpiece for the prosecution of Nazi war criminals.

The Gene: An Intimate History by Siddhartha Mukherjee
Siddhartha Mukherjee has a written a biography of the gene as deft, brilliant, and illuminating as his extraordinarily successful biography of cancer. Weaving science, social history, and personal narrative to tell us the story of one of the most important conceptual breakthroughs of modern times, Mukherjee animates the quest to understand human heredity and its surprising influence on our lives, personalities, identities, fates, and choices. Throughout the narrative, the story of Mukherjee’s own family—with its tragic and bewildering history of mental illness—cuts like a bright, red line, reminding us of the many questions that hang over our ability to translate the science of genetics from the laboratory to the real world. He describes the centuries of research and experimentation—from Aristotle and Pythagoras to Mendel and Darwin, from Boveri and Morgan to Crick, Watson and Franklin, all the way through the revolutionary twenty-first century innovators who mapped the human genome.

And Then All Hell Broke Loose: Two Decades in the Middle East by Richard Engel
Based on two decades of reporting, NBC’s chief foreign correspondent’s riveting story of the Middle East revolutions, the Arab Spring, war, and terrorism seen up-close—sometimes dangerously so. Over two decades Engel has been under fire, blown out of hotel beds, taken hostage. He has watched Mubarak and Morsi in Egypt arrested and condemned, reported from Jerusalem, been through the Lebanese war, covered the whole shooting match in Iraq, interviewed Libyan rebels who toppled Gaddafi, reported from Syria as Al-Qaeda stepped in, was kidnapped in the Syrian crosscurrents of fighting. He goes into Afghanistan with the Taliban and to Iraq with ISIS. In the page-turning And Then All Hell Broke Loose, he shares his adventure tale.

Wish Lanterns: Young Lives in New China by Alec Ash
This is the generation that will change China. The youth, over 320 million of them in their teens and twenties, more than the population of the USA. Born after Mao, with no memory of Tiananmen, they are destined to transform both their nation and the world. These millennials, offspring of the one-child policy, face fierce competition to succeed. Pressure starts young, and their road isn’t easy. Wish Lanterns follows the lives of six young Chinese. Dahai is a military child and netizen; ‘Fred’ is a daughter of the Party. Lucifer is an aspiring superstar; Snail a country migrant addicted to online games. Xiaoxiao is a hipster from the freezing north; Mia a rebel from Xinjiang in the far west. Through individual stories, Wish Lanterns shows with empathy and insight the challenges and dreams that will define China’s future global impact.

 

Children’s Fiction

A Boy Called Christmas by Matt Haig
Eleven-year-old Nikolas—nicknamed “Christmas”—has received only one toy in his life: a doll carved out of a turnip. But he’s happy with his turnip doll, because it came from his parents, who love him. Then one day his father goes missing, and Nikolas must travel to the North Pole to save him. Along the way, Nikolas befriends a surly reindeer, bests a troublesome troll, and discovers a hidden world of enchantment in the frozen village of Elfhelm. But the elves of Elfhelm have troubles of their own: Christmas spirit and goodwill are at an all-time low, and Nikolas may be the only person who can fix things—if only he can reach his father before it’s too late. . .

Jacky Ha-Ha by James Patterson
With her irresistible urge to tell a joke in every situation–even when she really, really shouldn’t–twelve-year-old Jacky Ha-Ha loves to make people laugh. And cracking wise helps distract her from thinking about not-so-funny things in her life, like her mom serving in a dangerous, faraway war, and a dad who’s hardly ever home. But no matter how much fun Jacky has, she can’t seem to escape her worries. So one starlit night, she makes a promise to keep her family together…even if she has to give up the one thing that makes her happy. But can she stop being Jacky Ha-Ha, if that’s who she really is?

The Island of Dr. Libris by Chris Grabenstein
What if your favorite characters came to life? Billy’s spending the summer in a lakeside cabin that belongs to the mysterious Dr. Libris. But something strange is going on. Besides the security cameras everywhere, there’s Dr. Libris’s private bookcase. Whenever Billy opens the books inside, he can hear sounds coming from the island in the middle of the lake. The clash of swords. The twang of arrows. Sometimes he can even feel the ground shaking. It’s almost as if the stories he’s reading are coming to life! But that’s impossible . . . isn’t it?

 

Young Adult

Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater (The Raven Cycle, Book 3)
Blue Sargent has found things. For the first time in her life, she has friends she can trust, a group to which she can belong. The Raven Boys have taken her in as one of their own. Their problems have become hers, and her problems have become theirs. The trick with found things, though, is how easily they can be lost. Friends can betray. Mothers can disappear. Visions can mislead. Certainties can unravel.

The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater (The Raven Cycle, Book 4)
All her life, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love’s death. She doesn’t believe in true love and never thought this would be a problem, but as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.

New Books July 2016

Fiction

For Two Thousand Years by Mihail Sebastian
A young Jewish student in Romania tries to make sense of a world that has decided he doesn’t belong.  Spending his days walking the streets and his nights drinking and gambling, meeting revolutionaries, zealots, lovers and libertines, he adjusts his eyes to the darkness that falls over Europe, and threatens to destroy him.  Mihail Sebastian’s 1934 masterpiece, now translated into English for the first time, was written amid the anti-Semitism which would force him out of his career and turn his friends and colleagues against him.

The Death of an Owl by Paul Torday
Andrew Landford is driving home one night, along a dark country lane, when a barn owl flies into his windscreen. It is an accident, nothing more. However Andrew is in line to be the country’s next prime minister and he has recently been appointed to a parliamentary committee concerned with the Wildlife and Countryside Act. Barn Owls are protected species, and it is a crime to kill one.  If Andrew acknowledges that he has killed the owl, he could be risking his political career.  With Andrew in the car is his old Oxford friend and political adviser, Charles Fryerne.  Charles has just joined the team that is masterminding Andrew’s route to the Tory Party leadership, and from there to No 10 Downing Street.  But the death of the owl threatens to destroy not only Andrew’s career, but everything that Charles has worked for too.  Should they come clean, or hide the story and hope it goes away?

A Hero of France by Alan Furst
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 resistance – 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.

Heat & Light by Jennifer Haigh
Forty years ago, Bakerton coal fueled the country.  Then the mines closed, and the town wore away like a bar of soap.  Now Bakerton has been granted a surprise third act: it sits squarely atop the Marcellus Shale, a massive deposit of natural gas.  Prison guard Rich Devlin leases his mineral rights to finance his dream of farming.  He doesn’t count on the truck traffic and nonstop noise, his brother’s skepticism or the paranoia of his wife, Shelby, who insists the water smells strange and is poisoning their frail daughter.  Meanwhile his neighbors, organic dairy farmers Mack and Rena, hold out against the drilling—until a passionate environmental activist disrupts their lives.

 

Mystery/ Thriller

A Siege of Bitterns by Steve Burrows
Newly appointed police inspector Domenic Jejeune doesn’t mind ruffling a few feathers.  The problem is Jejeune doesn’t really want to be a detective at all; he much prefers watching birds.  Recently reassigned to the small Norfolk town of Saltmarsh, located in the heart of Britain’s premier birding country, Jejeune’s two worlds collide with the grisly murder of a prominent ecological activist. His ambitious police superintendent foresees a blaze of welcome publicity, although doubts soon emerge when Jejeune’s best theory involves a feud over birdwatching lists. A second murder does little to bolster confidence.  Jejeune must call on all his birding knowhow to solve the mystery and deal with unwelcome public acclaim, the mistrust of colleagues and his own insecurities.

The Crow Girl by Erik Axl Sund
It starts with just one body – tortured, mummified and then discarded.  Its discovery reveals a nightmare world of hidden lives.  Of lost identities, secret rituals and brutal exploitation, where nobody can be trusted.  This is the darkest, most complex case the police have ever seen.  This is the world of the Crow Girl.

The Accidental Agent by Andrew Rosenheim
A long and deadly conflict seems inevitable, unless there is a breakthrough in the development of a ‘Super Weapon’. The British and Americans are working feverishly to harness the terrifying power of the atom, convinced the Germans are also making a nuclear bomb. Science is mobilised for war.  In Chicago, Special Agent James Nessheim has resigned from the FBI, but then his former Bureau boss comes to call. A top-secret nuclear program at the University of Chicago has been infiltrated; Nessheim agrees to go undercover to help track down the spy, joining the team of legendary physicist Enrico Fermi.  Out of the blue, an old flame re-enters Nessheim’s life. But Stacey Madison’s Communist past worries Nessheim’s superiors, and complicates his assignment. As his personal and professional lives collide, Nessheim discovers an unexpected conspiracy that threatens to sabotage America’s efforts to win the war.

Ten Days by Gillian Slovo
In this gripping thriller, a death at police hands has repercussions far beyond one family plunged into grief.  As violence erupts in the middle of a stifling heatwave, a dead man becomes a useful tactic (or an urgent threat) in political games at the highest level. So while lives are at risk in Cathy Mason’s estate, across London in Westminster, careers are being made, or ruined.  From a Home Secretary’s attempts to unseat a Prime Minister, to a new Met Police Commissioner fighting for his job, to families torn apart.

Shot Through the Heart by Isabelle Grey
When a lone shooter claims the lives of five people on Christmas Day before turning the gun on himself, it’s up to DI Grace Fisher to find out, not who did it, but why and how.  Tracing the illegal weapon and its deadly load of homemade bullets, she soon uncovers a toxic web of police corruption, personal vendettas and revenge. But when the enemy is within, who will believe her?  As threats to her safety mount up and the strain of secrecy begins to wreck her friendships, Grace must decide how far she wants to pursue justice – and at what cost.

The Travelers by Chris Pavone
Meet Will Rhodes: travel writer, recently married, barely solvent, his idealism rapidly giving way to disillusionment and the worry that he’s living the wrong life. Then one night in Argentina a beautiful woman makes him an offer he can’t refuse. Soon Will’s bad choices – and dark secrets – take him across Europe, from a Bordeaux chateau to a midnight raid in Paris, from a Dublin dive-bar to a mega-yacht in the Mediterranean and an isolated cabin perched on the cliffs of Iceland.  As Will is drawn further into a tangled web of international intrigue, it becomes clear that the network of deception ensnaring him is part of an immense and deadly conspiracy with terrifying global implications – and that the people closest to him may pose the greatest threat of all.

 

Non-Fiction

A Rage for Order: the Middle East in Turmoil, from Tahrir Square to ISIS by Robert Forsyth Worth
A Rage for Order tracks the tormented legacy of what was once called the Arab Spring. Distinguished New York Times correspondent Robert F. Worth introduces a riveting cast of characters. We meet a Libyan rebel who must decide whether to kill the torturer who murdered his brother; a Yemeni farmer who lives in servitude to a poetry-writing, dungeon-operating chieftain; two young Syrian women whose close friendship devolves into enmity as their sects go to war; and an Egyptian doctor who is caught between his loyalty to the Muslim Brotherhood and his hopes for a new, tolerant democracy. In a final chapter, Worth tells the moving story of the two eighty-something statesmen whose unlikely camaraderie allowed Tunisia to escape its neighbors’ worst fates. Combining dramatic storytelling with an original analysis of the Arab world today, Worth captures the psychological and actual civil wars raging throughout the Middle East and explains how the dream of an Arab renaissance gave way to a new age of discord.

Burma ’44: the Battle that Turned Britain’s War in the East by James Holland
In February 1944, a rag-tag collection of clerks, drivers, doctors, muleteers, and other base troops, stiffened by a few dogged Yorkshiremen and a handful of tank crews managed to hold out against some of the finest infantry in the Japanese Army, and then defeat them in what was one of the most astonishing battles of the Second World War.  What became know as The Defence of the Admin Box, fought amongst the paddy fields and jungle of Northern Arakan over a fifteen-day period, turned the battle for Burma. Not only was it the first decisive victory for British troops against the Japanese, more significantly, it demonstrated how the Japanese could be defeated. The lessons learned in this tiny and otherwise insignificant corner of the Far East, set up the campaign in Burma that would follow, as General Slim’s Fourteenth Army finally turned defeat into victory.

The Gates of Europe: a History of Ukraine by Serhii Plokhy
At the western edge of the Eurasian steppe, caught between Central Europe, Russia, and the Middle East, Ukraine has long been the meeting place of empires – Roman to Ottoman, Habsburg to Russian – that left their imprint on the landscape, the language and the people. The frontier between Islam and Christianity created a class of ferocious warriors known as the Cossacks, while the encounter between the Catholic and Orthodox churches led to a religious tradition that bridges Western and Eastern Christianity. Ukraine has been a home to millions of Jews, serving as the birthplace of Hassidism – and as one of the killing fields of the Holocaust.  Award-winning historian Serhii Plokhy examines the history of Ukraine’s search for its identity, bringing together some of the major figures in Ukrainian history along with the heroes of the Maidan protests of 2013 and 2014, who embody the current struggle over Ukraine’s future.

Benjamin Franklin in London: The British Life of America’s Founding Father by George Goodwin
For the great majority of his long life, Benjamin Franklin was a loyal British royalist. In 1757, having made his fortune in Philadelphia and established his fame as a renowned experimental scientist, he crossed the Atlantic to live as a gentleman in the heaving metropolis of London.  There he mixed with both the brilliant and the powerful.  The early 1760s saw Britain’s elevation to global superpower status with victory in the Seven Years War and the succession of the young, active George III.  These two events brought a sharp new edge to political competition in London and redefined the relationship between Britain and its colonies.  They would profoundly affect Franklin himself, eventually placing him in opposition with his ambitious son William.  Though Franklin long sought to prevent the break with Great Britain, his own actions would finally help cause that very event.  On the eve of the American War of Independence, Franklin fled arrest and escaped by sea.  He would never return to London.

Where the Dead Pause, and the Japanese Say Goodbye : a Journey by Marie Mutsuki Mockett
Marie Mutsuki Mockett’s family owns a Buddhist temple 25 miles from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.  In March 2011, after the earthquake and tsunami, radiation levels prohibited the burial of her Japanese grandfather’s bones.  As Japan mourned thousands of people lost in the disaster, Mockett also grieved for her American father, who had died unexpectedly.  Seeking consolation, Mockett is guided by a colourful cast of Zen priests and ordinary Japanese who perform rituals that disturb, haunt and finally uplift her. Her journey leads her into the radiation zone in an intricate white hazmat suit; to Eiheiji, a school for Zen Buddhist monks; on a visit to a Crab Lady and Fuzzy-Headed Priest’s temple on Mount Doom; and into the “thick dark” of the subterranean labyrinth under Kiyomizu temple, among other twists and turns.  From the ecstasy of a cherry blossom festival in the radiation zone to the ghosts inhabiting chopsticks, Mockett writes of both the earthly and the sublime with extraordinary sensitivity.  Her unpretentious and engaging voice makes her the kind of companion a reader wants to stay with wherever she goes, even into the heart of grief itself.

 

Children’s Picture Books

Malala: A Brave Girl from Pakistan by Jeanette Winter
Iqbal: A Brave Boy from Pakistan by Jeanette Winter
Meet two brave young heroes of Pakistan who stood up for the right to freedom and education in these inspirational nonfiction picture books from acclaimed author-illustrator Jeanette Winter. One country: Pakistan. Two children: Iqbal Masih and Malala Yousafzai. Each was unafraid to speak out. He, against inhumane child slavery in the carpet trade. She, for the right of girls to attend school. Both were shot by those who disagreed with them-he in 1995, she in 2012. Iqbal was killed instantly; Malala miraculously survived and continues to speak out around the world. The stories of these two courageous children whose bravery transcended their youth are an inspiration to all.

Goldie Socks and the Three Libearians by Jackie Mims Hopkins
Deep in an enchanted forest, a little girl named Goldie Socks finds a storybook cottage. When she looks inside, she finds shelves and shelves filled with books. As she searches for one that is just right and a comfy place to read it, Mama, Papa and Baby Libearian discover that someone has been in their house!

To the Sea by Cale Atkinson
Sometimes Tim feels invisible at school-until one day, when Tim meets Sam. But Sam isn’t just any new friend: he’s a blue whale, and he can’t find his way home! Returning Sam to the sea is hard work, but Tim is determined to help. After all, it’s not every day you meet a new friend!

 

Children’s Fiction Books

Esperanza Rising by Pam Munoz Ryan  
Esperanza Ortega possesses all the treasures a young girl could want: fancy dresses, a beautiful home filled with servants in Aguascalientes, Mexico, and the promise of one day rising to Mama’s position and presiding over all of Rancho de las Rosas. Tragedy shatters that dream, forcing Esperanza and Mama to flee to California and settle in a Mexican farm labor camp. There, Esperanza must confront the challenges of hard labor, acceptance by her own people, and economic difficulties brought on by the Great Depression, while learning the value of family and community.

Salt in His Shoes: Michael Jordan in Pursuit of a Dream by Deloris & Roslyn
The mere mention of the name conjures up visions of basketball played at its absolute best. But as a child, Michael almost gave up on his hoop dreams, all because he feared he’d never grow tall enough to play the game that would one day make him famous. That’s when his mother and father stepped in and shared the invaluable lesson of what really goes into the making of a champion — patience, determination, and hard work.

Clementine by Sara Pennypacker
Clementine tries to help out her friend Margaret, but ends up in a lot of trouble for it. Things get worse each day of the week, until finally she’s worried that Margaret is right: Clementine’s parents might consider her “the hard one” in the family. They’re up to something mysterious…are they thinking they’d be better off if they only had her little vegetable-named brother…”the easy one”?

 

Young Adult

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
Blue has spent the majority of her sixteen years being told that if she kisses her true love, he will die. When Blue meets Gansey’s spirit on the corpse road she knows there is only one reason why – either he is her true love or she has killed him. Determined to find out the truth, Blue becomes involved with the Raven Boys, four boys from the local private school (lead by Gansey) who are on a quest to discover Glendower – a lost ancient Welsh King who is buried somewhere along the Virginia ley line. Whoever finds him will be granted a supernatural favour. Never before has Blue felt such magic around her. But is Gansey her true love? She can’t imagine a time she would feel like that, and she is adamant not to be the reason for his death. Where will fate lead them? …

The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater
Now that the ley lines around Cabeswater have been woken, nothing for Blue and Gansey will be the same. Ronan is falling more and more deeply into his dreams … and his dreams are intruding more and more into waking life. Gansey is needed at home, and is struggling to stay in Aglionby. And Adam? He’s made some new friends. Friends that are looking for some of the same pieces of the puzzle that Gansey, Blue, and Ronan are after. Great power is at stake, and someone must be willing to wield it.

This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen
Remy is a cynic when it comes to love. Let down by her absent musician dad and witness to her mother’s four failed marriages, she doesn’t intend ever to let anyone that close. So when Dexter comes crashing into her life, why is it suddenly so hard for Remy to follow her own rules? He’s everything she hates: messy, disorganised, impulsive, and worst of all, a musician like her absent father…

New Books June 2016

Fiction

Mãn by Kim Thúy
Mãn has three mothers: the one who gives birth to her in wartime, the nun who plucks her from a vegetable garden, and her beloved Maman, who becomes a spy to survive. Seeking security for her grown daughter, Maman finds Mãn a husband – a lonely Vietnamese restaurateur who lives in Montreal.  Thrown into a new world, Mãn discovers her natural talent as a chef.  She and her husband seem to drift along, but when she encounters a married chef in Paris, everything changes in the instant of a fleeting touch, and Mãn discovers the all-encompassing obsession and ever-present dangers of a love affair.

Beauty is a Wound by Eka Kurniawan
One storm swept afternoon, after twenty-one years of being dead, the beautiful Indonesian prostitute Dewi Ayu rise from her grave to avenge a curse placed on her family. Amidst the orange groves and starfruit trees, her children and grandchildren have been living out lives of violence, incest, murder, madness and heartbreak. They are creatures of breathtaking beauty – all but one of them, whose ugliness in unparalleled. And Beauty is her name.

River of Ink by Paul M.M. Cooper
All Asanka knows is poetry. From his humble village beginnings in the great island kingdom of Lanka, he has risen to the prestigious position of court poet and now delights in his life of ease. But when Kalinga Magha arrives upon Lanka’s shores, Asanka’s world is changed beyond imagining. Violent, hubristic and unpredictable, Magha usurps the throne, laying waste to all who stand in his way. To Asanka’s horror, Magha tasks him with the translation of an epic Sanskrit poem, which the king believes will have a civilising effect on his subjects, soothing their discontent and snuffing out the fires of rebellion he suspects are igniting across the island. Asanka has always believed that poetry makes nothing happen, but as each new chapter he writes is disseminated through the land and lines on the page become cries in the street, his belief and his loyalties are challenged. And, as Magha circles ever closer to the things Asanka treasures most, the poet will discover that true power lies not at the point of a sword, but in the tip of a pen.

Orhan’s Inheritance by Aline Ohanesian
When Orhan’s brilliant and eccentric grandfather, who built a dynasty out of making kilim rugs, is found dead, submerged in a vat of dye, Orhan inherits the decades – old business. But his grandfather has left the family estate to a stranger thousands of miles away, Seda, an aging woman in a retirement home in Los Angeles. Over time, Orhan begins to unearth the story that eighty-seven-year-old Seda so closely guards-a story that, if it’s told, has the power to undo the legacy upon which Orhan’s family is built and could unravel Orhan’s own future.

Hunting the Eagles (Eagles of Rome book 2) by Ben Kane
AD 14: Five long years have passed since the annihilation of three legions in the wilds of Germania. Although the bones of 15,000 soldiers now moulder in the Teutoburg Forest, not all the Romans were slain in the bloody ambush.  Demoted, battle-scarred and hell-bent on revenge, Centurion Tullus and his legionaries begin their fightback. Ranged against them is the charismatic chieftan Arminius, who is gathering thousands of hostile tribesmen, and determined to crush the Romans for a second time.  The eagle belonging to Tullus’ old legion is still in enemy hands, but as the Romans’ reprisals take their army deep into German tribal lands, he remains convinced that it is within reach. But Arminius and his warriors are perilously close.

The Yid by Paul Goldberg
Moscow, February 1953. A week before Stalin’s death his final pogrom, “one that would forever rid the Motherland of the vermin,” is in full swing. Three government goons arrive in the middle of the night to arrest Solomon Shimonovich Levinson, an actor from the defunct State Jewish Theater. But Levinson, though an old man, is a veteran of past wars, and his shocking response to the intruders sets in motion a series of events both zany and deadly as he proceeds to assemble a ragtag group to help him enact a mad-brilliant plot: the assassination of a tyrant.

Thus Bad Begins by Javier Marias
As a young man, Juan de Vere takes a job that will haunt him for the rest of his life. Eduardo Muriel is a famous film director – urbane, discreet, irreproachable – an irresistible idol to a young man. Muriel’s wife Beatriz is a soft, ripe woman who slips through her husband’s home like an unwanted ghost, finding solace in other beds. And on the periphery of all their lives stands Dr Jorge Van Vechten, a shadowy family friend implicated in unsavoury rumours that Muriel cannot bear to pursue himself – rumours he asks Juan to investigate instead. But as Juan draws closer to the truth, he uncovers more questions, ones his employer has not asked and would rather not answer.

Cometh the Hour (The Clifton Chronicles book 6) by Jeffrey Archer
Cometh the Hour opens with the reading of a suicide note, which has devastating consequences for Harry and Emma Clifton, Giles Barrington and Lady Virginia. Giles must decide if he should withdraw from politics and try to rescue Karin, the woman he loves, from behind the Iron Curtain. But is Karin truly in love with him, or is she a spy? Lady Virginia is facing bankruptcy, and can see no way out of her financial problems, until she is introduced to the hapless Cyrus T. Grant III from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, who’s in England to see his horse run at Royal Ascot. Sebastian Clifton is now the Chief Executive of Farthings Bank and a workaholic, whose personal life is thrown into disarray when he falls for Priya, a beautiful Indian girl. Meanwhile Sebastian’s rivals are still plotting to bring him and his chairman Hakim Bishara down, so they can take over Farthings.

 

Mystery / Thriller

The Long Room by Francesca Kay
When Stephen Donaldson joins the Institute, he anticipates excitement, romance and new status. Instead he gets the tape-recorded conversations of ancient communists and ineffectual revolutionaries, until the day he is assigned a new case: the ultra-secret PHOENIX. Is PHOENIX really working for a foreign power? Stephen hardly cares; it is the voice of the target’s wife that mesmerizes him. Dangerously in love, and lonely, Stephen sets himself up for a vertiginous fall that will forever change his life.

The Hollow Men by Rob McCarthy
Dr Harry Kent is a former Army medic, hospital registrar, police surgeon, drug addict and defender of anyone the world would rather brush aside.  Solomon Idris has taken eight people hostage in a chicken takeaway, and is demanding a lawyer and a BBC reporter.  Harry is sent in to treat the clearly ill teenager…before the siege goes horribly wrong.  When Solomon’s life is put in danger again from the safety of a critical care ward, it becomes clear he knows something people will kill to protect.  Determined to uncover the secret that drove the boy to such desperate action, Harry soon realises that someone in the medical world, someone he may even know, has broken the doctors’ commandment ‘do no harm’ many times over.

The Other Side of Silence by Philip Kerr
Bernie Gunther, our sardonic former Berlin homicide detective and unwilling SS officer, is now living on the French Riviera. It is 1956 and Bernie is the go-to guy at the Grand-Hotel du Cap-Ferrat, the man you turn to for touring tips or if you need a fourth for bridge. A local writer, Somerset Maugham, needs someone to fill the fourth seat in a regular game, and it turns out that he needs professional advice. Maugham is being blackmailed and the people now blackmailing him are spies.

In the Cold Dark Ground by Stuart MacBride
Sergeant Logan McRae is in trouble. His missing-persons investigation has just turned up a body in the woods – naked, hands tied behind its back, and a bin bag duct-taped over its head. The Major Investigation Team charges up from Aberdeen, under the beady eye of Logan’s ex-boss Detective Chief Inspector Steel. And, as usual, she wants him to do her job for her.  But it’s not going to be easy: a new Superintendent is on her way up from the Serious Organised Crime Task Force, hell-bent on making Logan’s life miserable; Professional Standards are gunning for Steel; and Wee Hamish Mowat, head of Aberdeen’s criminal underbelly, is dying – leaving rival gangs from all over the UK eying his territory.

Good Girls Don’t Die by Isabelle Grey
Accused of grassing up a fellow officer and driven brutally out of home and job, Grace Fisher is thankful to survive some dark times and find haven with the Major Investigation Team in Essex.  One female student is missing, last seen at a popular bar in Colchester. When a second student, also out drinking, is murdered and left grotesquely posed, the case becomes headline news.  Someone is leaking disturbing details to a tabloid crime reporter.  With another victim, and under siege by the media, the murder enquiry hits a dead end.

The Blood Strand by Chris Ould
Having left the Faroes as a child, Jan Reyna is now a British police detective, and the islands are foreign to him. But he is drawn back when his estranged father is found unconscious with a shotgun by his side and someone else’s blood at the scene. Then a man’s body is washed up on an isolated beach. Is Reyna’s father responsible? Looking for answers, Reyna falls in with local detective Hjalti Hentze. But as the stakes get higher and Reyna learns more about his family and the truth behind his mother’s flight from the Faroes, he must decide whether to stay, or to forsake the strange, windswept islands for good.

 

Non-Fiction

The Moth Snowstorm: Nature and Joy by Michael McCarthy
Nature has many gifts for us, but perhaps the greatest of them all is joy; the intense delight we can take in the natural world, in its beauty, in the wonder it can offer us, in the peace it can provide.  Michael McCarthy, one of Britain’s leading writers on the environment, proposes this joy as a defence of a natural world which is ever more threatened, and which, he argues, is inadequately served by the two defences put forward hitherto: sustainable development and the recognition of ecosystem services.  It presents not only a new way of looking at the world around us, but blends with it a remarkable and moving memoir of childhood trauma from which love of the natural world emerged.

Spain in Our Hearts: Americans in the Spanish Civil War, 1936-1939 by Adam Hochschild
From the moment it began in 1936, the Spanish Civil War became the political question of the age. Millions of people around the world felt passionately that rapidly advancing fascism must be halted in Spain; if not there, where? Volunteers from dozens of other countries went to help defend the Spanish Republic.  Hochschild has discovered some less familiar yet far more compelling characters who reveal the full tragedy and importance of the war including a nineteen-year-old Kentucky woman, who came to wartime Spain on her honeymoon; a young man who left his Pennsylvania college and became the first American casualty in the battle for Madrid; and a Texas oilman who covertly violated US law and sold Franco most of the fuel for his army.  There are Britons in Hochschild’s cast of characters as well: a London sculptor who fought with the American battalion; a Cambridge man who joined Franco’s army and found himself fighting against the Americans; and a third is someone whose experience of combat in Spain had a profound effect on his life, George Orwell.

The Serengeti Rules: The Quest to Discover How Life Works and Why It Matters by Sean B. Carroll
How does life work? How does nature produce the right numbers of zebras and lions on the African savanna, or fish in the ocean? How do our bodies produce the right numbers of cells in our organs and bloodstream? In The Serengeti Rules, award-winning biologist and author Sean Carroll tells the stories of the pioneering scientists who sought the answers to such simple yet profoundly important questions. Carroll recounts how our deep knowledge of the rules and logic of the human body has spurred the advent of revolutionary life-saving medicines, and makes the compelling case that it is now time to use the Serengeti Rules to heal our ailing planet.

Left of Boom: How a Young CIA Case Officer Penetrated the Taliban and Al-Qaeda by Douglas Laux & Ralph Pezzullo
On September 11, 2001, Doug Laux was a freshman in college, on the path to becoming a doctor. But with the fall of the Twin Towers came a turning point in his life. After graduating he joined the Central Intelligence Agency, determined to get himself to Afghanistan.  Dropped into a remote region of Afghanistan, he received his baptism by fire.  Doug confounded his peers by dressing like a native and mastering the local dialect, making contact and building sources within several deadly terrorist networks. His new approach resulted in unprecedented successes, including uncovering the largest IED network in the world, responsible for killing hundreds of US soldiers.  His double life was building to an explosive resolution, with repercussions that would have far reaching consequences.

 

Children’s Fiction

Number the Stars by Lois Lowry
Ten-year-old Annemarie Johansen and her best friend Ellen Rosen often think of life before the war. It’s now 1943 and their life in Copenhagen is filled with school, food shortages, and the Nazi soldiers marching through town. When the Jews of Denmark are “relocated,” Ellen moves in with the Johansens and pretends to be one of the family. Soon Annemarie is asked to go on a dangerous mission to save Ellen’s life.

Wonder by R.J. Palacio
August Pullman wants to be an ordinary ten-year-old.  But Auggie is far from ordinary. Ordinary kids don’t make other ordinary kids run away screaming in playgrounds or get stared at wherever they go.  Born with a terrible facial abnormality, Auggie has been home-schooled by his parents his whole life, in an attempt to protect him from the cruelty of the outside world. Now, for the first time, he’s being sent to a real school – and he’s dreading it. All he wants is to be accepted – but can he convince his new classmates that he’s just like them, underneath it all?

Children’s Picture Books

The Jungle Book: Mowgli’s Rainy Day by Brittany Rubiano
Mowgli loves life in the Jungle. He gets to swing from trees, run through tall grass, and swim in rivers. He has many friends, like his playful brother wolf cubs, the spirited flying squirrels, and the honest rhinos. Best of all, he has Bagheera, the wise panther, and Baloo, the fun-loving bear.  One day a great storm comes to the Jungle. Fortunately, Bagheera and Baloo know just what Mowgli should do. The only problem is they have two very different ideas–take shelter and dance in the rain. How will the man-cub spend his rainy day?

Waiting by Kevin Henkes
What are you waiting for? An owl, a puppy, a bear, a rabbit, and a pig sit happily on a windowsill, waiting for something amazing to happen. The owl is waiting for the moon. The pig is waiting for the rain. The bear is waiting for the wind. The puppy is waiting for the snow. And the rabbit is just looking out the window because he likes to wait! What will happen? Will patience win in the end? Or someday will the friends stop waiting and do something unexpected?

The Story of Peppa Pig by Scholastic
The Story of Peppa Pig is a tale of a loveable, slightly bossy little piggy, named Peppa.  Discover what happens when Mummy Pig, Daddy Pig, Peppa and George move to the little house on the hill and find out just how much Peppa loves those muddy puddles!

Stick and Stone by Beth Ferry
When Stick rescues Stone from a prickly situation with a Pinecone, the pair becomes fast friends. But when Stick gets stuck, can Stone return the favor? Author Beth Ferry makes a memorable debut with a warm, rhyming text that includes a subtle anti-bullying message even the youngest reader will understand.

City Dog, Country Frog by Mo Willems
In spring, when City Dog runs free in the country for the first time, he spots Country Frog sitting on a rock, waiting for a friend. “You’ll do,” Frog says, and together they play Country Frog games. In summer, they meet again and play City Dog games. Through the seasons, whenever City Dog visits the country he runs straight for Country Frog’s rock. In winter, things change for City Dog and Country Frog. Come spring, friendship blooms again, a little different this time.

Happy Pig Day! by Mo Willems
Piggie celebrates her favorite day of the year! But will Gerald the Elephant be included in the festivities?

A Big Guy Took My Ball! by Mo Willems
Piggie is devastated when a big guy takes her ball! Gerald is big, too…but is he big enough to help his best friend?

 

New Books May 2016

Fiction

At the Edge of the Orchard by Tracy Chevalier
1838: James and Sadie Goodenough have settled where their wagon got stuck – in the muddy, stagnant swamps of northwest Ohio.  They work relentlessly to tame their patch of land so they can cultivate the fifty apple trees required to stake their claim on the property.  James loves the apples, reminders of an easier life back in Connecticut; while Sadie prefers the applejack they make, an alcoholic refuge from brutal frontier life.  1853: Their youngest child Robert is wandering through Gold Rush California, restless and haunted by the broken family he left behind.  In the redwood and giant sequoia groves he finds some solace, collecting seeds for a naturalist who sells plants from the new world to the gardeners of England.  When Robert’s past makes an unexpected appearance he must decide whether to strike out again or stake his own claim to a home at last.

Not Out of Hate by Ma Ma Lay
Not Out of Hate is the first Burmese novel to be translated into English and published outside of Myanmar.  Set in pre-World War II Burmese society, the story centers on the relationship and marriage of seventeen-year-old Way Way with U Saw Han, a much older Burmese agent for a British trading company.  The subtle but deep misunderstandings they experience mirror the cultural confrontation of Eastern and Western values in modern society, still evident in Burmese life today.

Mightier than the Sword: Clifton Chronicles Book 5 by Jeffrey Archer
Bestselling novelist Harry Clifton’s on a mission to free a fellow author who’s imprisoned in Siberia-even if doing so puts Harry’s own life, and life’s work, in danger.  Meanwhile, his wife Emma, chairman of Barrington Shipping, is facing the repercussions of an IRA bombing on the Buckingham.  In London, Harry and Emma’s son, Sebastian, is quickly making a name for himself at Farthing’s Bank, but the despicable Adrian Sloane is only interested in one thing: Sebastian’s ruin.  Sir Giles Barrington, now a minister of the Crown, looks set for even higher office-until a diplomatic failure in Berlin threatens his prospects.

The Ballroom by Anna Hope
England, 1911. At Sharston Asylum, men and women are separated by thick walls and barred windows.  But on Friday nights, they are allowed to mingle in the asylum’s magnificent ballroom.  Amid this heady ambience, John Mulligan and Ella Fay first meet.  Despite their grim circumstances, the unlikely pair strikes up a tenuous courtship.  During the week, he writes letters smuggled to her in secret, unaware that Ella cannot read.  She enlists a friend to read them aloud and gains resolve from the force of John’s words, each sentence a stirring incantation. And, of course, there’s always the promise of the ballroom.  Then one of them receives an unexpected opportunity to leave Sharston for good.

The Theoretical Foot by M.F.K. Fisher
It is late-summer idyll at the Swiss farmhouse of Tim and Sara, where guests have gathered at ease on the terrace next to the burbling fountain in which baby lettuces are being washed, there to enjoy the food and wine served them by this stylish American couple.  But all around these seemingly fortunate people, the forces of darkness are gathering: The year is 1939 and the paradise Tim and Sara have made is being besieged from within as Tim is about to suffer the first of the circulatory attacks that will cause him to lose his leg to amputation.

When Robert Lescher died in 2012 an unpublished manuscript of M.F.K. Fisher’s was discovered neatly packed in the one of the literary agent’s signature red boxes.  The Theoretical Foot is the master stylist’s first novel, published more than 20 years after her death.

The Sorrow of War: A Novel of North Vietnam by Bao Ninh
The Sorrow of War opens with a depiction of soldiers on a postwar mission to collect the bones of fallen comrades for reburial.  Thus begins the non-linear narrative by Kien, a North Vietnamese soldier during the Vietnam War, chronicling his loss of innocence, his love, and his anguish at the memories of war.  Kien rides in the truck searching for the remains of fallen soldiers and undergoes a series of flashbacks that tie the novel together.  The main theme tying these flashbacks together is the love affair between Kien and his childhood sweetheart, Phuong.

Mr. Splitfoot by Samantha Hunt
Ruth and Nat are orphans, packed into a house full of abandoned children run by a religious fanatic.  To entertain their siblings, they channel the dead.  Decades later, Ruth’s niece, Cora, finds herself accidentally pregnant.  After years of absence, Aunt Ruth appears, mute and full of intention.  She is on a mysterious mission, leading Cora on an odyssey across the entire state of New York on foot.  Where is Ruth taking them?  Where has she been?  And who — or what — has she hidden in the woods at the end of the road?

 

Mystery / Thriller

The Undesired by Yrsa Sigurdardottir
Aldis hates working in a juvenile detention centre in rural Iceland.  The boys are unruly, the owners are unpleasant, and there are strange noises at night. And then two of the inmates die…  Decades later, single father Odinn is looking into alleged abuse at the centre. The more he finds out, though, the more it seems the odd events of the 1970s are linked to the accident that killed his ex-wife.  Was her death something more sinister?

The Woman Who Ran by Sam Baker
Helen Graham is a new arrival in a tiny Yorkshire village, renting dilapidated Wildfell Hall.  The villagers are intensely curious – what makes her so jumpy and why is she so evasive?  Their interest is Helen’s worst nightmare.  Looking over her shoulder every day, she tries to piece together her past before it can catch up with her.  With everything she knows in fragments, from her marriage to her career as a war photographer, how can she work out who to trust and what to believe?  Most days she can barely remember who she is…

Exposure by Helen Dunmore
It’s London, 1960.  The Cold War is at its height, and a spy may be a friend or neighbor, colleague or lover.  Two colleagues, Giles Holloway and Simon Callington, face a terrible dilemma over a missing top-secret file.  At the end of a suburban garden, in the pouring rain, Simon’s wife, Lily, buries a briefcase containing the file deep in the earth.  She believes that in doing so she is protecting her family.  What she will learn is that no one is immune from betrayal or the devastating consequences of exposure.

Salvation of a Saint by Keigo Higashino
Yoshitaka, who was about to leave his marriage and his wife, is poisoned by arsenic-laced coffee and dies.  His wife, Ayane, is the logical suspect―except that she was hundreds of miles away when he was murdered.  The lead detective is immediately smitten with her and refuses to believe that she could have had anything to do with the crime.  His assistant, Kaoru Utsumi, however, is convinced Ayane is guilty. While Utsumi’s instincts tell her one thing, the facts of the case are another matter.  So she does what her boss has done for years when stymied―she calls upon Professor Manabu Yukawa.  But even the brilliant mind of Dr. Yukawa has trouble with this one, and he must somehow find a way to solve an impossible murder and capture a very real, very deadly murderer.

The Balkan Trilogy by Olivia Manning
The Balkan Trilogy is the story of a marriage and of a war, a vast, teeming, and complex masterpiece in which Olivia Manning brings the uncertainty and adventure of civilian existence under political and military siege to vibrant life.  At the heart of the trilogy are newlyweds Guy and Harriet Pringle, who arrive in Bucharest—the so-called Paris of the East—in the fall of 1939, just weeks after the German invasion of Poland.  Guy, an Englishman teaching at the university, is as wantonly gregarious as his wife is introverted, and Harriet is shocked to discover that she must share her adored husband with a wide circle of friends and acquaintances.  Romania joins the Axis, and before long German soldiers overrun the capital. The Pringles flee south to Greece, part of a group of refugees made up of White Russians, journalists, con artists, and dignitaries.  In Athens, however, the couple will face a new challenge of their own, as great in its way as the still-expanding theater of war.

 

Non-Fiction

33 Days by Leon Werth
In June of 1940, Leon Werth and his wife fled Paris before the advancing Nazis Army.  33 Days is his eyewitness account of that experience, one of the largest civilian displacements in history.  Encouraged to write 33 Days by his dear friend, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, author ofThe Little Prince, Werth finished the manuscript while in hiding in the Jura mountains.  Saint-Exupéry smuggled the manuscript out of Nazi-occupied France, wrote an introduction to the work and arranged for its publication in the United States by Brentanos.  The publication never came to pass, and Werth’s manuscript would disappear for more than fifty years until the first French edition, in 1992.  After more than seventy years, 33 Days appears—complete and as it was fully intended.

Their Promised Land by Ian Buruma
During the almost six years England was at war with Nazi Germany, Winifred and Bernard Schlesinger were, like so many others, thoroughly sundered from each other. Their only recourse was to write letters back and forth. The thousands of letters between them were part of an inheritance that ultimately came into the hands of their grandson, Ian Buruma, who has woven his own voice in with theirs to provide the context and counterpoint necessary to bring to life, not just a remarkable marriage, but a class, and an age.  Winifred and Bernard inherited the high European cultural ideals and attitudes that came of being born into prosperous German-Jewish émigré families.  At its heart, Their Promised Land is the story of cultural assimilation. The Schlesingers were very British in the way their relatives in Germany were very German, until Hitler destroyed that option. The problems of being Jewish and facing anti-Semitism even in the country they loved were met with a kind of stoic discretion.  As the shadows of war lengthened again, the Schlesingers mounted a remarkable effort to rescue twelve Jewish children from the Nazis and see to their upkeep in England.

When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi
At the age of thirty-six, on the verge of completing a decade’s worth of training as a neurosurgeon, Paul Kalanithi was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer. One day he was a doctor treating the dying, and the next he was a patient struggling to live.  When Breath Becomes Air chronicles his transformation from a naïve medical student “possessed,” as he wrote, “by the question of what, given that all organisms die, makes a virtuous and meaningful life” into a neurosurgeon at Stanford working in the brain, the most critical place for human identity, and finally into a patient and new father confronting his own mortality.

1946: the Making of the Modern World by Victor Sebestyen
A powerful, revelatory book about the year that would signal the beginning of the Cold War, the end of the British Empire, and the beginning of the rivalry between the United States and the USSR.  Victor Sebestyen reveals the events of 1946 by chronologically framing what was taking place in Europe, the Middle East, and Asia, with seminal decisions made by heads of state that would profoundly change the old order forever.  Whether it was the July 22 bombing of the King David Hotel in Jerusalem, the July 25 Bikini Atoll underwater atomic bomb test, or the August 16 Great Calcutta Killings in India, 1946 was a year of seismic and dramatic events.

 

Children’s Picture Books

The Night Gardener by Terry & Eric Fan
One day, William discovers that the tree outside his window has been sculpted into a wise owl. In the following days, more topiaries appear, and each one is more beautiful than the last. Soon, William’s gray little town is full of color and life. And though the mysterious night gardener disappears as suddenly as he appeared, William—and his town—are changed forever.

Tokyo Digs a Garden by Jon-Erik Lappano
Tokyo lives in a small house between giant buildings with his family and his cat, Kevin.  For years, highways and skyscrapers have been built up around the family’s house where once there were hills and trees.  One day, an old woman offers Tokyo seeds, telling him they will grow into whatever he wishes.  Tokyo and his grandfather are astonished when the seeds grow into a forest so lush that it takes over the entire city overnight.  Soon the whole city has gone wild, with animals roaming where cars once drove.  But is this a problem to be surmounted, or a new way of living to be embraced?

Peppa Goes Swimming by Neville Astley
Peppa and George are going swimming, but George is a bit scared.  How will Mummy and Daddy pig ever convince him to get in the pool?

Peppa Pig and the Busy Day at School by Neville Astley
Peppa is having a busy day at school learning numbers and letters, painting, making music, and playing outside.  Peppa can’t wait for Special Talent time, but her excitement turns to worry when all three of her special talents are chosen by others!  Luckily, Peppa can revert to her true specialty: jumping in muddy puddles!”

The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires
Award-winning author and illustrator Ashley Spires has created a charming picture book about an unnamed girl and her very best friend, who happens to be a dog. The girl has a wonderful idea.  She is going to make the most MAGNIFICENT thing!  She knows just how it will look and how it will work.  But making her magnificent thing is anything but easy, and the girl tries and fails, repeatedly.  Eventually, the girl gets really, really mad and she quits.  But after her dog convinces her to take a walk, she comes back to her project with renewed enthusiasm and manages to get it just right.

My Hand by Satoshi Kitamura
Kitamura introduces us to the wonders of something as simple as your hand – it can push, it can pull.  It can paint, it can pat.  And when your hand has a bad habit, it can pick your nose!

Smelly Louie by Catherine Rayner
Louie the dog has just had a bath – and he is NOT happy about it.  He smells all wrong. Determined to get his Special Smell back, he goes on a hunt for it and meets lots of smelly things along the way – a fox, some interesting dustbins and a marvellously muddy puddle to roll in.  Will he ever get his smell back?  And, more importantly, will he be able to keep it this time…?

 

Children’s Fiction

The Cloud Castle by Thea Stilton
The Thea Sisters have received an urgent message from their friend Will Mystery.  The magical Land of Clouds is in danger.  The mouselets must find out why the clouds are disappearing!  Once they enter the kingdom through Mount Everest, the mice meet fairies, elves, and unicorns on their way to the majestic Cloud Castle.  But who can the Thea Sisters count on to help solve the mystery?  It’s an incredible journey to restore harmony to this enchanted land!