New Books May 2016


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.



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!

New Books April 2016


The Great Swindle by Pierre Lemaitre
October 1918: the war on the Western Front is all but over.  Desperate for one last chance of promotion, the ambitious Lieutenant Henri d’Aulnay Pradelle sends two scouts over the top, and secretly shoots them in the back to incite his men to heroic action once more.  This event sets in motion a series of devastating events that will inextricably bind together the fates and fortunes of Pradelle and the two soldiers who witness his crime.  After the war the two soldiers conspire to enact an audacious form of revenge against the country that abandoned them to penury and despair, with a scheme to swindle the whole of France on an epic scale.

All for Nothing by Walter Kempowski
Winter, January 1945. It is cold and dark, and the German army is retreating from the Russian advance.  Germans are fleeing the occupied territories in their thousands, in cars and carts and on foot.  But in a rural East Prussian manor house, the wealthy von Globig family tries to seal itself off from the world.  Protected by their privileged lifestyle from the deprivation and chaos around them, and caught in the grip of indecision, they make no preparations to leave, until a decision to harbour a stranger for the night begins their undoing.  All for Nothing is a devastating portrait of the self-delusions, complicities and denials of the German people as the Third Reich comes to an end.


Mystery / Thriller

The Killing of Bobbi Lomax by Cal Moriarty
Bobbi Lomax was the first to die, the bomb killed the prom queen on her own front lawn.  Just moments later one of the nails from the city’s second bomb forced its way into the brain of property investor Peter Gudsen, killing him almost instantly.  The third bomb didn’t quite kill Clark Houseman.  Hovering on the brink, the rare books dealer turns out to be Detectives Sinclair and Alvarez’s best hope of finding out what linked these unlikely victims, and who wanted them dead and why.  But can they find the bomber before he kills again?

After the Fire by Jane Casey
After a fire rips through a North London tower block, two bodies are found locked in an 11th floor flat.  But it is the third victim that ensures the presence of detective Maeve Kerrigan and the murder squad.  It appears that controversial MP Geoff Armstrong, trapped by the fire, chose to jump to his death rather than wait for rescue.  But what was such a right wing politician doing in the deprived, culturally diverse Maudling Estate?  As Maeve and her senior colleague, Derwent, pick through the wreckage, they uncover the secret world of the 11th floor, where everyone seems to have something to hide.

Close Your Eyes by Michael Robotham
A mother and her teenage daughter are found murdered in a remote farmhouse, one defiled by multiple stab wounds and the other left lying like Sleeping Beauty waiting for her Prince. Reluctantly, clinical psychologist Joe O’Loughlin is drawn into the investigation when a former student, calling himself ‘the Mindhunter’, jeopardises the police inquiry by leaking details to the media and stirring up public anger.  With no shortage of suspects and tempers beginning to fray, Joe discover links between these murders and a series of brutal attacks where his victims have been choked unconscious and had the letter ‘A’ carved into their foreheads.

The Reflection by Hugo Wilcken
Disturbed by a troubling phone call, Dr Manne isn’t himself when he’s called out by the police to evaluate a man suspected of psychosis.  But the man is perfectly calm, and insists he’s not who the police says he is.  Before he knows it, Manne is helping his patient escape from an unfamiliar psychiatric hospital that reminds him of a story he heard during the war, about a secret government medical testing programme…  After a careless slip on the subway leads to a horrific accident,  Manne wakes up in a hospital bed, and realizes his own identity is not as certain as he’d always believed. What kind of a hospital is he in, why can’t he leave, and who is the pretty young woman on the balcony, who he watches from his window?

A Cold Death in Amsterdam by Anja de Jager
Set in Amsterdam, the novel introduces Lotte Meerman, a Cold Case detective still recovering from the emotional devastation of her previous investigation.  A tip-off leads Lotte to an unresolved ten-year-old murder case in which her father was the lead detective.  When she discovers irregularities surrounding the original investigation that make him a suspect, she decides to cover for him.  She doesn’t tell her boss about the family connection and jeopardises her career by hiding evidence.  Now she has to find the real murderer before her acts are discovered, otherwise her father will go to jail and she will lose her job, the one thing in life she still takes pride in . . .

Tenacity: A Thriller by J. S. Law
A sailor hangs himself on board a naval submarine.  Although ruled a suicide Lieutenant Danielle Lewis, the Navy’s finest Special Branch investigator, knows the sailor’s wife was found brutally murdered only days before.  Now Dan must enter the cramped confines of HMS Tenacity to interrogate the tight-knit, male crew and determine if there’s a link.  Standing alone in the face of extreme hostility and with a possible killer on board, Dan soon realises that she may have to choose between the truth and her own survival.

The Soul of Discretion by Susan Hill
Simon Serrailler faces his most dangerous challenge yet.  Going undercover, he must leave town immediately, change his identity and sever all contact with friends and family.  More importantly though, he must inhabit the mind of the worst kind of criminal.  But can he do so without losing everything?

A Question of Identity by Susan Hill
One snowy night in the cathedral city of Lafferton, an old woman is dragged from her bed and strangled with a length of flex.  DCS Simon Serrailler and his team search desperately for clues to her murderer.  All they know is that the killer will strike again, and will once more leave the same tell-tale signature.  Then they track down a name: Alan Keyes. But Alan Keyes has no birth certificate, no address, no job, no family, no passport, no dental records.  Nothing.  Their killer does not exist.



Ardennes 1944: Hitler’s Last Gamble by Antony Beevor
On 16 December 1944, Hitler launched his ‘last gamble’ in the snow-covered forests and gorges of the Ardennes on the Belgian/German border.  Although Hitler’s generals were doubtful of success, younger officers and NCOs were desperate to believe that their homes and families could be saved from the vengeful Red Army approaching from the east.  The Ardennes offensive became the greatest battle of the war in western Europe.  In January 1945, when the Red Army launched its onslaught towards Berlin, the once-feared German war machine was revealed to be broken beyond repair and the Ardennes was the battle which finally broke the Wehrmacht.

Blood and Earth: Modern Slavery, Ecocide, and the Secret to Saving the World by Kevin Bales
A powerful and captivating examination of two entwined global crises: environmental destruction and human trafficking and an inspiring, bold plan for how we can solve them.
A leading expert on modern-day slavery, Kevin Bales has traveled to some of the world’s most dangerous places documenting and battling human trafficking.  In the course of his reporting, Bales began to notice that where slavery existed, so did massive, unchecked environmental destruction.  But why?  Bales set off to find the answer in a fascinating and moving journey that took him into the lives of modern-day slaves and along a supply chain that leads directly to the cellphones in our pockets.

My Kitchen Year: 136 Recipes that Saved My Life by Ruth Reichl
My Kitchen Year follows the change of seasons as Ruth Reichl heals through the simple pleasures of cooking after the abrupt closing of Gourmet magazine.  Each dish Reichl prepares for herself and for her family and friends represents a life’s passion for food: a blistering ma po tofu that shakes Reichl out of the blues; slow-cooked beef, wine and onion stew that fills the kitchen with rich aromas; a rhubarb sundae to signal the arrival of spring.  Part cookbook, part personal narrative, part paean to the household gods, My Kitchen Year reveals Reichl’s most treasured recipes, to be shared over and over again with those we love.

The Romanovs: 1613-1918 by Simon Sebag Montefiore
The Romanovs were the most successful dynasty of modern times, ruling a sixth of the world’s surface. How did one family turn a war-ruined principality into the world’s greatest empire? And how did they lose it all?  This is the intimate story of twenty tsars and tsarinas, some touched by genius, some by madness, but all inspired by holy autocracy and imperial ambition. Montefiore’s gripping chronicle reveals their secret world of unlimited power and ruthless empire-building, overshadowed by palace conspiracy, family rivalries, sexual decadence and wild extravagance, and peopled by a cast of adventurers, courtesans, revolutionaries and poets, from Ivan the Terrible to Tolstoy, from Queen Victoria to Lenin.

Elephant Complex: Travels in Sri Lanka by John Gimlette
Sri Lanka is a small island with a long, violent and enthralling history. Home to thousands of wild elephants, this is a place where natural beauty has endured, indifferent to human tragedy.  Journeying through its many regions – some haunted by war, many rarely seen by our eyes – award-winning travel writer John Gimlette interviews ex-presidents and cricketers, tea planters and terrorists, negotiating the complex relationships of Sinhalese, Tamil and Muslim communities and the more sinister forms of tourism.  As he walks in the steps of old conquerors, follows the secret paths of elephants and marches alongside pilgrims, Gimlette seeks the soul of a country that is struggling to free itself from trauma and embody an identity to match its vitality, its power and its people.


Children’s Picture Books

Elmer and the Flood by David McKee
Rain or no rain, Elmer is going for a walk. After being cooped up in a cave with his herd, he longs for a bit of fresh air and some peace and quiet. But peace and quiet is going to have to wait because when Elmer goes outside, he discovers the rain has caused a flood. Can brave Elmer work out a way to save a stranded young elephant?

The Little Gardener by Emily Hughes
There was once a little gardener and his garden meant everything to him. He worked hard, very hard, but he was just too little (or at least he felt he was). In this beautifully gentle tale Emily Hughes, the celebrated author of Wild, departs from the larger than life Wild-girl of her debut to pursue a little-r than life Gardener, in a tale that teaches us just how important it is to persist and try, no matter what the odds. With ever delicately woven tapestries of illustrated magic, Hughes once again transports us to a world not unlike our own, but still brimming with fantasy and wonder.

Have You Seen Elephant? by David Barrow
Elephant wants to play hide and seek. See if you can help the others find him?he’s very good!

What the Ladybird Heard Next by Julia Donaldson
Those crafty robbers Hefty Hugh and Lanky Len are out of jail, and they’re heading back to the farm with another cunning plan to cause trouble. They’ve been stealing eggs from the fat red hen, but now they’re setting their sights higher and are planning to steal the fat red hen herself! Fortunately the quiet, clever ladybird is on their trail, and she and her farm animal friends have a plan of their own.


Children’s Fiction

Katy by Jacqueline Wilson
When Katy falls off her swing and breaks her spine, her whole life is turned topsy-turvy.  Before her accident, Katy and her step-mother, Izzie, weren’t exactly the best of friends, but the accident means that Izzie has to give up her job, and both of them being at home all day helps each of them to be more friendly towards the other. When Katy goes back to school, it isn’t very nice in the beginning as she has to use a wheel chair because her legs are paralysed.  Then, in a PE lesson, she gets a chance to do sports in her wheel chair, and she realises that everything isn’t so bad after all…



The Lie Tree by ​Frances Hardinge
Faith’s father has been found dead under mysterious circumstances, and as she is searching through his belongings for clues she discovers a strange tree. The tree only grows healthy and bears fruit if you whisper a lie to it. The fruit of the tree, when eaten, will deliver a hidden truth to the person who consumes it. The bigger the lie, the more people who believe it, the bigger the truth that is uncovered.  Faith realizes that she is good at lying and that the tree might hold the key to her father’s murder, so she begins to spread untruths far and wide across her small island community. But as her tales spiral out of control, she discovers that where lies seduce, truths shatter . . .


New Books March 2016


The Mark and the Void by Paul Murray
While marooned at his banking job in the bewilderingly damp and insular realm known as Ireland, Claude Martingale is approached by a down-on-his-luck author, Paul, looking for his next great subject. Claude finds that his life gets steadily more exciting under Paul’s fictionalizing influence; he even falls in love with a beautiful waitress. But Paul’s plan is not what it seems and neither is Claude’s employer, the Investment Bank of Torabundo, which swells through dodgy takeovers and derivatives trading until you can probably guess how that shakes out.

Yuki Chan in Bronte Country by Mick Jackson
Yukiko tragically lost her mother ten years ago. After visiting her sister in London, she goes on the run, and heads for Haworth, West Yorkshire, the last place her mother visited before her death. Against a cold, winter, Yorkshire landscape, Yuki has to tackle the mystery of her mother’s death, her burgeoning friendship with a local girl, the allure of the Brontes and her own sister’s wrath.

The Noise of Time by Julian Barnes
A brief novelised account of the life of the Russian composer Dmitri Shostakovich.  1936: Shostakovich, just thirty, fears for his livelihood and his life. Stalin, hitherto a distant figure, has taken a sudden interest in his work and denounced his latest opera.  For years to come he will be held fast under the thumb of despotism: made to represent Soviet values at a cultural conference in New York City, forced into joining the Party, and compelled, constantly, to weigh appeasing those in power against the integrity of his music.

My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout
Lucy’s mother, to whom she hasn’t spoken for many years, comes to see her. Gentle gossip about people from Lucy’s childhood in Amgash, Illinois, seems to reconnect them, but just below the surface lie the tension and longing that have informed every aspect of Lucy’s life: her escape from her troubled family, her desire to become a writer, her marriage, her love for her two daughters.


Reclaming Conversation: The Power of Talk in a Digital Age by Sherry Turkle
Renowned media scholar Sherry Turkle investigates how a flight from conversation undermines our relationships, creativity, and productivity—and why reclaiming face-to-face conversation can help us regain lost ground.

The Secret War: Spies, Codes and Guerrillas 1939-1945 by Max Hastings
Packed with insight and terrific spy stories, this masterly book looks at the secret war on a global basis, bringing together the British, American, German, Russian and Japanese histories. It examines the espionage and intelligence machines of all sides in World War II, and the impact of spies, code-breakers and partisan operations on events.

Rendezvous at the Russian Tea Rooms by Paul Willetts
Set in blacked-out London during the ominous lull before the Blitz, this true story centres on Tyler Kent, a debonair encryption specialist at the US Embassy – who also happens to be a Soviet mole. He becomes romantically entangled with Anna Wolkoff, a Russian fashion designer and Nazi spy. Together they steal the coded telegrams between President Roosevelt and Winston Churchill: if revealed, these messages would change the outcome of the war. The brilliant but eccentric British spymaster Maxwell Knight infiltrates the glamorous circle of fascist conspirators gathering in the Russian Tea Rooms, just a stone’s throw from South Kensington tube station.

The New Yorker Book of the 50’s: Story of a Decade Edited by Henry Finder
A look back at the 1950s chronicles the tensions and innovations that lay behind the decade’s more placid surface during a time of prosperity and contradiction.

The Invention of Nature: Alexander von Humboldt’s New World by Andrea Wulf
Alexander von Humboldt (1769-1859) is the great lost scientist: more things are named after him than anyone else. His colourful adventures read like something out of a Boy’s Own story.  Taking us on a fantastic voyage in his footsteps – racing across anthrax-infected Russia or mapping tropical rivers alive with crocodiles – Andrea Wulf shows why his life and ideas remain so important today. Humboldt predicted human-induced climate change as early as 1800, and ‘The Invention of Nature’ traces his ideas as they go on to revolutionize and shape science, conservation, nature writing, politics, art and the theory of evolution.

The Travellers’s Year: 365 Days of Travel Writing in Diaries, Journals & Letters by Travis Elborough & Nick Rennison
An anthology of extracts from diaries, journals and letters, two or three for each day of the year, on the subject of travel and exploration. The extracts convey men and women’s experiences of travel and discovery from the sixteenth to the early twenty-first centuries, with an emphasis on the period 1750-1950, the classic era of both European exploration and diary-writing. The authors of the pieces range from famous explorers such as Captains Cook and Scott to modern travel writers journeying through the contemporary world, from people who pushed back the boundaries of geographical knowledge to people who wrote about what they did on their summer holidays.

Mystery / Thriller

All Dressed in White by Mary Higgins Clark & Alafair Burke
In present-day New York City, Laurie Moran realizes a missing bride is the perfect cold case for her investigative television series, Under Suspicion. She and her team set out to recreate the night of the disappearance at the Florida resort, hoping to shed new light on the mystery as the series has done in past episodes. Laurie and Under Suspicion host Alex Buckley quickly realize everyone has a theory about why Amanda vanished into thin air. One thing is certain: whoever was behind Amanda’s disappearance plans to keep the truth hidden “until death do they part.

She Who was No More by Pierre Boileau & Thomas Narcejac
Every Saturday evening, travelling salesman Ferdinand Ravinel returns to his wife, Mireille, who waits patiently for him at home. But Ferdinand has another lover, Lucienne, an ambitious doctor, and together the adulterers have devised a murderous plan. Drugging Mireille, the pair drown her in a bathtub, but in the morning, before the “accidental” death can be discovered, the corpse is gone-so begins the unraveling of Ferdinand’s plot, and his sanity.

Death Trap by Dreda Say Mitchell
Teenager Nikki Bell is the only witness to the brutal murder of two members of her family and their cleaner. But the murder isn’t a one-off. It’s part of a bigger, more violent attack planned on affluent families in the area and now Nikki, as the only living witness, is a dangerous threat to the well-orchestrated scheme. As the net draws tighter around the killers, DI Rio Wray must do whatever it takes to keep Nikki alive.

The Mulberry Bush by Charles McCarry
Falling in love with a famous Argentinean revolutionary’s daughter who he hopes will further his ambition to exact revenge against the handlers who ended his father’s career years earlier, a maverick spy is caught in a web of deceit with ties to the Cold War.

Even Dogs in the Wild by Ian Rankin
Detective Inspector Siobhan Clarke is investigating a death during a robbery when a note is found indicating it may not have been a random attack. When a local gangster receives an identical message, Clarke decides that her old adversary John Rebus may be able to help.

Young Adult

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
When high school student Clay Jenkins receives a box in the mail containing thirteen cassette tapes recorded by his classmate Hannah, who committed suicide, he spends a bewildering and heartbreaking night crisscrossing their town, listening to Hannah’s voice recounting the events leading up to her death.

I Will Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson
Jude and her brother, Noah, are incredibly close twins. At thirteen, isolated Noah draws constantly and is falling in love with the charismatic boy next door, while daredevil Jude surfs and cliff-dives and wears red-red lipstick and does the talking for both of them. But three years later, Jude and Noah are barely speaking. Something has happened to wreck the twins in different and divisive ways. The early years are Noah’s story to tell. The later years are Jude’s. What the twins don’t realize is that they each have only half the story.

The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey
Cassie Sullivan, the survivor of an alien invasion, must rescue her young brother from the enemy with help from a boy who may be one of them.

Children’s Books

When I’m Feeling Series: Happy, Sad, Lonely and Jealous by Trace Moroney
This series of books is a great way to start conversations about emotions with your preschooler.

Peppa Pig: The Story of Prince George by Mandy Archer
Mummy Pig tells Peppa and George the bedtime story of a brave prince who saves a princess from a dragon.

Four Books of Thea Stilton and the Thea sisters by Geronimo Stilton
The “Thea Sisters” are five students at Mouseford Academy who want to become journalists just like their idol and mentor, Thea Stilton. Follow the Thea Sisters’ adventures in these graphic novels.

The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes
In winning a medal she is no longer there to receive, a tight-lipped little Polish girl teaches her classmates a lesson.



New Books February 2016


Public Library and Other Stories by Ali Smith
The collection of stories is about what we do with books and what they do with us: how they travel with us; how they shock us, change us, challenge us, banish time while making us older, wiser and ageless all at once; how they remind us to pay attention to the world we make.

The Secret Chord by Geraldine Brooks
Traces the arc of King David’s journey from obscurity to fame, from shepherd to soldier, from hero to traitor, from beloved king to murderous despot and into his remorseful and diminished dotage.

Kauthar by Meike Ziervogel
Lydia’s London life lacks purpose. Her discovery of mystical Islam, with its Arabic language and Shia rituals, offers her a new beginning. Lydia becomes Kauthar. When she falls in love with Rafiq, an Iraqi-born doctor, her life appears complete. Then Rafiq decides to return to war-torn Baghdad. For Kauthar love of God replaces love of her husband.

Submission by Michel Houellebecq
In a near-future France, Francois, a middle-aged academic, is watching his life slowly dwindle to nothing.  As the 2022 Presidential election approaches, two candidates emerge as favourites: Marine Le Pen of the Front National, and Muhammed Ben Abbes of the nascent Muslim Fraternity. Forming a controversial alliance with the mainstream parties, Ben Abbes sweeps to power, and overnight the country is transformed. Islamic law comes into force: women are veiled, polygamy is encouraged and, for Francois, life is set on a new course. Submission is both a devastating satire and a profound meditation on isolation, faith and love.



Mindset: How You Can Fulfil Your Potential by Carol S. Dweck
Reveals how established attitudes affect all aspects of one’s life, explains the differences between fixed and growth mindsets, and stresses the need to be open to change in order to achieve fulfillment and success.

Blood, Dreams and Gold: The Changing Face of Burma by Richard Cockett
A timely study of Burma which helps to explain the political reforms of the past few years, their historic context and the challenges which lie ahead.

A History of Thailand by Christopher Baker & Pasuk Phongpaichit
This edition (3th edition) focus on Thailand’s recent political, social and economic developments, covering the coup of 2006, the violet street politics of May 2010, and the landmark election of 2011 and its aftermath.

John Le Carre: The Biography by Adam Sisman
The definitive, fascinating biography of one of the world’s most famous living writers, a man whose own true history has long been hidden behind the fictional world of his books.

The Rise of the Robot: Technology and the Threat of Mass Unemployment by Martin Ford
Education and hard work will no longer guarantee success for huge numbers of people as technology advances. Now it’s time to consider solutions and there are very few proposals on the table. Rise of the Robots presents one idea, the basic income model, with clarity and force.


Mystery / Thriller

The Golden Scales: A Makana Mystery by Parker Bilal
Makana, a former police inspector who fled from Sudan to Cairo, lives on a rickety Nile houseboat. When the notorious and powerful Saad Hanafi hires him to track down a missing person, Makana is in no position to refuse him. Hanafi is the owner of Cairo’s star-studded football team; his most valuable player has just vanished and Adil Romario’s disappearance threatens to bring down not only Hanafi’s private empire but the entire country.

Slade House by David Mitchell
Follows the narrative of five different people who disappear through a mysterious door in an unassuming alleyway that leads to Slade House, owned by a peculiar brother and sister, and vanish completely from the outside world.

The Tattoo Murder Case by Akimitsu Takagi
A Japanese mystery set in 1947 Tokyo featuring Kenzo Matsushita, a young doctor who has an affair with a married woman with a tattooed torso. One day he finds her murdered, the torso missing, and sets out to find the killer. A look at the art of tattooing in Japan where it is banned.

The Informer by Akimitsu Takagi
A Japanese novel on an industrial spy assigned to obtain a formula from a company. On the verge of success, having worked himself into the owner’s good graces and the arms of his wife, the owner is murdered and the spy’s problems begin.

The English Spy by Daniel Silva
The wayward son of Israeli intelligence, Gabriel Allon is plunged into a high stakes game of murder, espionage, and corruption after a beautiful young British woman vanishes on the island of Corsica, which threatens to destroy a prime minister’s career.


Young Adult

The Game of Lives by James Dashner
Michael and his friends, Sarah and Bryson, must stop the Mortality Doctrine and those behind it now as the fate of humanity is in the balance.

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
Six dangerous outcasts. One impossible heist. Kaz’s crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction if they don’t kill each other first.


Children’s Books

Grandpa’s Great Escape by David Walliams
An exquisite portrait of the bond between a small boy and his beloved Grandpa – this book takes readers on an incredible journey with Spitfires over London and Great Escapes through the city in a high octane adventure full of comedy and heart.

Book Scavenger by Jennifer Chambliss Bertman
For twelve-year-old Emily, the best thing about moving to San Francisco is that it’s the home city of her literary idol: Garrison Griswold, book publisher and creator of the online sensation Book Scavenger (a game where books are hidden in cities all over the country and clues to find them are revealed through puzzles). Upon her arrival, however, Emily learns that Griswold has been attacked and is now in a coma, and no one knows anything about the epic new game he had been poised to launch. Then Emily and her new friend James discover an odd book, which they come to believe is from Griswold himself, and might contain the only copy of his mysterious new game.

Listen, Slowly by Thanhha Lai
A California girl born and raised, Mai can’t wait to spend her vacation at the beach. Instead, she has to travel to Vietnam with her grandmother, who is going back to find out what really happened to her husband during the Vietnam War. Mai’s parents think this trip will be a great opportunity for their out-of-touch daughter to learn more about her culture. But to Mai, those are their roots, not her own. Vietnam is hot, smelly, and the last place she wants to be. Besides barely speaking the language, she doesn’t know the geography, the local customs, or even her distant relatives. To survive her trip, Mai must find a balance between her two completely different worlds.


Children’s Picture Books

The Year of the Monkey by Oliver Chin
2016 is the Year of the Monkey, the eleventh adventure in the popular annual series Tales from the Chinese Zodiac. Max is the son of the legendary Monkey King. Succeeding at school is not easy, but luckily playing in the gym is! Can Max forge his own claim to fame?

When I’m Feeling Angry by Trace Moroney
When you’re feeling angry you feel like you’re going explode. It’s okay to be angry sometimes, as long as you don’t hurt anyone.  What do you do when your child is feeling angry? In ‘Notes for Parents’ at the back of the book, a child psychologist offers some helpful insights.

When I’m Feeling Scared by Trace Moroney
Most people are scared of something, like spiders, thunderstorms, or being alone in the dark. But things often aren’t as scary as they seem.  What do you do when your child is feeling scared? In ‘Notes for Parents’ at the back of the book, a child psychologist offers some helpful insights.

There’s a Bear on My Chair by Ross Collins
A bear has settled in his favourite chair and that chair just isn’t big enough for two. Mouse tries all kinds of tactics to move the pesky Bear but nothing works and poor Mouse gives up. Once Mouse has gone, Bear gets up and walks home. But what’s that? Is that a Mouse in Bear’s house?!

Nicky Goes to the Doctor by Richard Scarry
Richard Scarry brings his unmistakable characters on a first visit to the doctor. Nicky Bunny learns about the steps of a checkup and how to stay healthy. A perfect way to introduce a little one to this new experience!”

Betsy Goes to the Doctor by Helen Stephens
Betsy has a sore ear, and when Mummy takes her to the doctor for the first time, she feels a bit worried. Luckily she finds a friend in the waiting room.

New Books January 2016


Golden Age by Jane Smiley
A conclusion to the “Last Hundred Years” trilogy finds a new generation of Langdons tackling the unique economic, social, cultural, and political challenges of the 1980s and beyond.  After a hundred years of personal change and U.S. history, filled with words unsaid and moments lost, Golden Age brings to a magnificent conclusion the century-long portrait of one unforgettable family.

The Story of a New Name by Elena Ferrante
(Neapolitan series book 3)
While marriage appears to have imprisoned Lila, Elena continues her journey of self-discovery.  The two young women share a complex and evolving bond that brings them close at times, and drives them apart at others.  With this complicated and meticulously portrayed friendship at the centre of their emotional lives, the two girls mature into women.

The Story of the Lost Child by Elena Ferrante
(Neapolitan series book 4)
Elena and Lila are adults; life’s great discoveries have been made, its vagaries and losses have been suffered.  Through it all, the women’s friendship remains the gravitational center of their lives.



Stalin’s Englishman: The Lives of Guy Burgess by Andrew Lownie
The extraordinary true story of Guy Burgess, the man at the heart of the Cambridge Spy Ring and a linchpin of Cold War espionage.

Pacific: The Ocean of the Future by Simon Winchester
Traveling the circumference of the truly gigantic Pacific, Simon Winchester tells the story of the world’s largest body of water, and in matters economic, political and military the ocean of the future.

1944: FDR and the Year that Changed History by Jay Winik
It was not inevitable that World War II would end as it did, or that it would even end well.  1944 was a year that could have stymied the Allies and cemented Hitler’s waning power.  Instead, it saved those democracies but with a fateful cost.

The House by the Lake: A Story of Germany by Thomas Harding
A portrait of twentieth century Germany seen through the prism of a house which was lived in, and lost, by five different families.

Zinky Boys: Soviet Voices from the Afghanistan War by Svetlana Alexievich (2015 Nobel Prize for Literature)
Zinky Boys presents the candid and affecting testimony of the officers and grunts, nurses and prostitutes, mothers, sons, and daughters who describe the war and its lasting effects.

The Goddess Pose by Michelle Goldberg
The life of the incredible woman who brought yoga to the West.

The Art of Forgery by Noah Charney
Explores and investigating the motivations of the artists and criminals who have faked great works of art, and in doing so conned the public and the art establishment alike.


Mystery / Thriller

Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith
When a mysterious package is delivered to Robin Ellacott, she is horrified to discover that it contains a woman’s severed leg.  Her boss, private detective Cormoran Strike, is less surprised but no less alarmed. There are four people from his past who he thinks could be responsible – and Strike knows that any one of them is capable of sustained and unspeakable brutality.

Dogstar Rising by Parker Bilal
When the Coptic community of Cairo is implicated in a series of child murders in the summer of 2001, Sudanese private investigator Makana fears an increase in religious tensions and identifies links to a woman with a dangerous secret.

The Ghost Runner by Parker Bilal
It is 2002 and Private Investigator Makana is shaken out of his grief when a routine surveillance job leads him to the horrific murder of a teenage girl.  In a country where honour killings are commonplace and the authorities turn a blind eye, Makana determines to track down the perpetrator.   He travels into the desert heart of Egypt to solve a series of brutal murders and explore the shifting sands of the past.

The Dungeon House by Martin Edwards
Twenty years ago the wealthy Whiteley’s called it home, but not a happy one.  Malcolm Whiteley had begun to disintegrate under financial and emotional pressures.  He suspected various men in their social circle of being his wife’s lover.

The Moth Catcher by Ann Cleeves
This case was different from anything Vera had ever worked before.  Two bodies, connected but not lying together.  As Vera is drawn into the claustrophobic world of this increasingly strange community, she realizes that there may be deadly secrets trapped here.

Inspector Imanishi Investigates by Seichō Matsumoto
The corpse of an unknown provincial is discovered under the rails of a train in a Tokyo station, and Detective Imanishi is assigned to the case.


Young Adult

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
Cath is a Simon Snow fan. Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan, but for Cath, being a fan is her life. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids.  Now, as they start college but not as roommates, Cath fears she is not ready to live without Wren holding her hand.  Is she ready to start living her own life, writing her own stories?

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
Set over the course of one school year in 1986, this is the story of two star-crossed misfits–smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try.


Children’s Books

Ice in the Jungle by Ariane Hofmann-Maniyar
How to Catch a Star by Oliver Jeffers
In a Village by the Sea by Muon Van
Millions of Cats by Wanda Gag
Wanted! Ralfy Rabbit, Book Burglar by Emily MacKenzie
Pip and Posy: The Big Balloon by Axel Scheffler
Elmer’s Treasury by David McKee
Poka & Mia by Kitty Crowther
The Never Girl Series Books 1 – 4 by Kiki Thorpe
Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Old School by Jeff Kinney
Korean Children’s Favorite Stories by So-un Kim


New Books December 2015

Fortune Smiles by Adam Johnson
The Heart Goes Last by Margaret Atwood
Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights by Salman Rushdie
The Last Pilot by Benjamin Johncock
My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante
Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay by Elena Ferrante
Landfalls by Naomi J. Williams
In the Dark by Mai Jia
Noonday by Pat Barker

Sikkim: Requiem for a Himalayan Kingdom by Andrew Duff
Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life by William Finnegan
The Theft of Memory: Losing My Father, One Day at a Time by Jonathan Kozol
Life’s Greatest Secret: The Race to Crack the Genetic Code by Matthew Cobb
The Wright Brothers by David McCullough
The White Road: A Pilgrimage of Sorts by Edmund de Waal

Mystery / Thriller
The Tokyo Zodiac Murders by Soji Shimada
Journey Under the Midnight Sun by Keigo Higashino

Children’s Book
Franklin’s Thanksgiving by Paulette Bourgeois
Pot-san’s Tabletop Tales by Satoshi Kitamura
How to Catch a Star by Oliver Jeffers
The Crocodile Under the Bed by Judith Kerr
The Adventures of Beekle by Dan Santat
Does My Goldfish Know Who I am? by Gemma Elwin Harris
Peppa Pig and the Lost Christmas List by Neville Astley
The Runaway Santa by Anne Margaret Lewis
The Green Bicycle by Haifaa Al Mansour

Circus Mirandus by Cassie Beasley
Magnus Chase and the Sword of Summer by Rick Riordan

New Books November 2015


Eagles at War by Ben Kane
All Together Now by Gill Hornby
The Incarnations by Susan Barker
The Book of Memory by Petina Gappah
The Book of Aron by Jim Shepard
Wind/Pinball by Haruki Murakami
The Last Summer of the Water Strider by Tim Lott
Something to Hide by Deborah Moggach
The Year of the Runaways by Sunjeev Sahota
The Three-Body Problem by Liu Cixin


A Poor Collector’s Guide to Buying Great Art by Erling Kagge
Midnight’s Furies: The Deadly Legacy of India’s Partition by Nisid Hajari
Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
Deep South: Four Seasons on Back Roads by Paul Theroux
The Last Act of Love: The Story of My Brother and His Sister by Cathy Rentzenbrink

Mystery / Thriller

No Other Darkness by Sarah Hilary
The Girl in the Spider’s Web by David Lagercrantz
Post Mortem by Kate London
The Living and the Dead in Winsford by Hakan Nesser


Pretty Salma:  A Little Red Riding Hood Story from Africa by Niki Daly
A Visit to a Space Station: Fantasy Field Trips by Claire Throp
Rita’s Rhino by Tony Ross
Serafina and the Black Cloak by Robert Beatty
Who was Mark Twain? by April Jones Prince
Tiny Creatures by Nicola Davies
What Pet Should I Get? by Dr. Seuss
Drawing Cartoons by Anna Milbourne
Jedi Academy: The Phantom Bully by Jeffrey Brown

New Books October 2015


Our Souls at Night by Kent Haruf
The All Saints’ Day Lovers by Juan Gabriel Vasquez
The Festival of Insignificance by Milan Kundera
Meursault Investigation by Kamel Daoud
The Seventh Day by Yu Hua
The Bamboo Stalk by Saud Alsanousi
Ideal by Ayn Rand
The Marriage of Opposites by Alice Hoffman


Towards the Flame: Empire, War and the End of Tsarist Russia by D.C.B. Lieven
No Better Friend: One Man, One Dog, and Their Incredible Story of Courage and Survival in World War II by Robert Weintraub
The Shepherd’s Life: A Tale of the Lake District by James Rebanks
Daughters of the Samurai: A Journey from East to West and Back by Janice P. Nimura
Jimmy Carter: A Full Life by Jimmy Carter
On the Move by Oliver Sack
The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat by Oliver Sack
The Crossing by Samar Yazbek
Destiny to Imagination by Prateep Kochabua
20th Century Photography by Museum Ludwig
The World Atlas of Street Photography by Jackie Higgins
50 Photos You Should Know by Brad Finger
The Essential Photography Workbook: The Beginner’s Guide to Creating Impressive Digital Photos by Stephen & Joan Dantzig
Our World Now by Reuters
In Focus by National Geographic Society

Mystery / Thriller

The Ides of April by Lindsey Davis
Enemies At Home by Lindsey Davis
Pretty Is by Maggie Mitchell
Oblivion by Arnaldur Indridason


Otter Loves Halloween! by Sam Garton
Carl’s Halloween by Alexandra Day


Four by Veronica Roth