New Books July 2017

Fiction

The Ministry of Utmost Happiness by Arundhati Roy
The Ministry of Utmost Happiness takes us on an intimate journey of many years across the Indian subcontinent—from the cramped neighborhoods of Old Delhi and the roads of the new city to the mountains and valleys of Kashmir and beyond, where war is peace and peace is war.  The tale begins with Anjum—who used to be Aftab—unrolling a threadbare Persian carpet in a city graveyard she calls home. We encounter the odd, unforgettable Tilo and the men who loved her—including Musa, sweetheart and ex-sweetheart, lover and ex-lover; their fates are as entwined as their arms used to be and always will be. We meet Tilo’s landlord, a former suitor, now an intelligence officer posted to Kabul. And then we meet the two Miss Jebeens: the first a child born in Srinagar and buried in its overcrowded Martyrs’ Graveyard; the second found at midnight, abandoned on a concrete sidewalk in the heart of New Delhi. As this ravishing, deeply humane novel braids these lives together, it reinvents what a novel can do and can be.

Miss Burma by Charmaine Craig
Miss Burma tells the story of modern-day Burma through the eyes of Benny and Khin, husband and wife, and their daughter Louisa. After attending school in Calcutta, Benny settles in Rangoon, then part of the British Empire, and falls in love with Khin, a woman who is part of a long-persecuted ethnic minority group, the Karen. World War II comes to Southeast Asia, and Benny and Khin must go into hiding in the eastern part of the country during the Japanese Occupation, beginning a journey that will lead them to change the country’s history. After the war, the British authorities make a deal with the Burman nationalists, led by Aung San, whose party gains control of the country. When Aung San is assassinated, his successor ignores the pleas for self-government of the Karen people and other ethnic groups, and in doing so sets off what will become the longest-running civil war in recorded history. Benny and Khin’s eldest child, Louisa, has a danger-filled, tempestuous childhood and reaches prominence as Burma’s first beauty queen soon before the country falls to dictatorship. As Louisa navigates her newfound fame, she is forced to reckon with her family’s past, the West’s ongoing covert dealings in her country, and her own loyalty to the cause of the Karen people.

The Unseen by Roy Jacobsen
Ingrid Barrøy is born on an island that bears her name – a holdfast for a single family, their livestock, their crops, their hopes and dreams. Her father dreams of building a quay that will connect them to the mainland, but closer ties to the wider world come at a price. Her mother has her own dreams – more children, a smaller island, a different life – and there is one question Ingrid must never ask her. Island life is hard, a living scratched from the dirt or trawled from the sea, so when Ingrid comes of age, she is sent to the mainland to work for one of the wealthy families on the coast. But Norway too is waking up to a wider world, a modern world that is capricious and can be cruel. Tragedy strikes, and Ingrid must fight to protect the home she thought she had left behind.

Men Without Women: Stories by Haruki Murakami
Across seven tales, Haruki Murakami brings his powers of observation to bear on the lives of men who, in their own ways, find themselves alone. Here are vanishing cats and smoky bars, lonely hearts and mysterious women, baseball and the Beatles, woven together to tell stories that speak to us all.

 

Mystery / Thriller

The Ice by Laline Paull
It’s the day after tomorrow and the Arctic sea ice has melted. While global business carves up the new frontier, cruise ships race each other to ever-rarer wildlife sightings. The passengers of the Vanir have come seeking a polar bear. What they find is even more astonishing: a dead body. It is Tom Harding, lost in an accident three years ago and now revealed by the melting ice of Midgard glacier. Tom had come to Midgard to help launch the new venture of his best friend of thirty years, Sean Cawson, a man whose business relies on discretion and powerful connections – and who was the last person to see him alive. Their friendship had been forged by a shared obsession with Arctic exploration. And although Tom’s need to save the world often clashed with Sean’s desire to conquer it, Sean has always believed that underneath it all, they shared the same goals. But as the inquest into Tom’s death begins, the choices made by both men – in love and in life – are put on the stand. And when cracks appear in the foundations of Sean’s glamorous world, he is forced to question what price he has really paid for a seat at the establishment’s table.

Let the Dead Speak by Jane Casey
Eighteen-year-old Chloe Emery returns to her West London home one day to find the house covered in blood and Kate, her mother, gone. There may not be a body, but everything else points to murder. Maeve Kerrigan is young, ambitious and determined to prove she’s up to her new role as detective sergeant. She suspects Chloe is holding something back, but best friend Bethany Norris won’t let Maeve get close. What exactly is Bethany protecting Chloe from? As the team dig deeper into the residents of Valerian Road, no one is above suspicion. All Maeve needs is one person to talk, but that’s not going to happen because even in a case of murder, some secrets are too terrible to share.

You Don’t Know Me by Imran Mahmood
An unnamed defendant stands accused of murder. Just before the closing speeches, the young man sacks his lawyer, and decides to give his own defence speech. He tells us that his barrister told him to leave some things out. Sometimes, the truth can be too difficult to explain, or believe. But he thinks that if he’s going to go down for life, he might as well go down telling the truth. There are eight pieces of evidence against him. As he talks us through them one by one, his life is in our hands. We, the reader (member of the jury) must keep an open mind till we hear the end of his story. His defence raises many questions but at the end of the speeches, only one matters: Did he do it?

The Awkward Squad by Sophie Henaff
Suspended from her job as a promising police officer for firing “one bullet too many”, Anne Capestan is expecting the worst when she is summoned to H.Q. to learn her fate. Instead, she is surprised to be told that she is to head up a new police squad, working on solving old cold cases. Though relieved to still have a job, Capestan is not overjoyed by the prospect of her new role. Even less so when she meets her new team: a crowd of misfits, troublemakers and problem cases, none of whom are fit for purpose and yet none of whom can be fired. But from this inauspicious start, investigating the cold cases throws up a number a number of strange mysteries for Capestan and her team: was the old lady murdered seven years ago really just the victim of a botched robbery? Who was behind the dead sailor discovered in the Seine with three gunshot wounds? And why does there seem to be a curious link with a ferry that was shipwrecked off the Florida coast many years previously?

Sympathy for the Devil by William Shaw
She made a profit from her youth. She’s not beautiful anymore – but now she will be young forever. Called away from his pregnant girlfriend, Detective Sergeant Cathal Breen knows the sight of the murdered prostitute will be with him all his life. But this is what he does: he finds killers. Helen Tozer, more than most, understands why. The girl they called Julie Teenager had a client list full of suspects – all rich, powerful and protected. Someone warns off the beat coppers; someone disturbs the crime scene. When Breen gets a phone call from MI6, he fears just how protected his suspect is. These are dangerous waters, where Russian spies hide. Then Helen, with her unstoppable copper’s instinct and fierce moral sense, dives into the investigation. And Breen knows he has more to lose than ever before. He is about to become a father. He can have no sympathy for the devil.

 

Children’s Picture Books

Daddy Long Legs by Nadine Brun-Cosme
Daddy drives Matthew to kindergarten in his old green car. “See you this afternoon,” says Daddy, as he kisses him goodbye. But Matthew stops him from leaving and asks, “What if, this afternoon, the old green car doesn’t start”? Thus begins a series of what-ifs that Matthew poses in response to every one of Daddy’s ideas about how he will manage to return and fetch him, each one more fantastic than the last: he’ll come by tractor, by teddy bear, by the wings of birds, by a tiny boat, even by dragon! Finally, Daddy says he’ll use his own two long legs, the ultimate reassurance that he’ll come back for Matthew, no matter what!

The Frog in the Well by Alvin Tresselt
Once upon a time there was a frog who lived at the bottom of a well. The well was the frog’s whole world, until the day the well ran dry and the bugs began to disappear. What was happening to the world, the frog wondered, and what could he do? The hungry frog decided he must hop to the top of the well to see what he could of the end of the world. Conquering his fear, he peered out, and what did he see? Trees, flowers, meadows, marshes, and all kinds of end-of-the-world creatures! Entranced, the little frog ventured forth to find out more about the world outside his own.

The Fog by Kyo Maclear
Warble is a small yellow warbler who lives on the beautiful island of Icyland, where he pursues his hobby of human watching. But on a warm day, a deep fog rolls in and obscures his view. The rest of the birds don’t seem to notice the fog or the other changes Warble observes on the island. The more the fog is ignored, the more it spreads. When a Red-hooded Spectacled Female (Juvenile) appears, Warble discovers that he’s not the only one who notices the fog. Will they be able to find others who can see it too? And is the fog here to stay?

 

Children’s Fiction Book

Dragon’s Green: Worldquake Book One by Scarlett Thomas
Effie Truelove believes in magic, as does her grandfather Griffin although he refuses to do any magic, let alone teach Effie how to use it. After a mysterious incident leaves Griffin close to death, Effie is given an unusual silver ring and told she must look after her grandfather’s library of rare and powerful books. But then the books fall into the hands of shady scholar Leonard Levar, and Effie is propelled into the most dangerous adventure of her life. Now, Effie and her friends—nerdy Maximilian, rugby-mad Wolf, helpful Lexy, and eccentric Raven—must discover their true powers if they are to get the books back. And Effie alone will have to travel to the Otherworld, where she will uncover the true meaning of the strange old book called Dragon’s Green.

 

Children’s Non-Fiction

Margaret and the Moon by Dean Robbins and Lucy Knisley
Margaret Hamilton loved numbers as a young girl. She knew how many miles it was to the moon (and how many back). She loved studying algebra and geometry and calculus and using math to solve problems in the outside world. Soon math led her to MIT and then to helping NASA put a man on the moon! She handwrote code that would allow the spacecraft’s computer to solve any problems it might encounter. Apollo 8. Apollo 9. Apollo 10. Apollo 11. Without her code, none of those missions could have been completed.