By Matthew Crow
Let me tell you a story, about a man I knew, and a man I know...Mr Baxter is ninety-four years old when he falls down his staircase and grudgingly finds himself resident at Melrose Gardens Retirement Home. Baxter is many things - raconteur, retired music teacher, rabble-rouser, bon viveur - but 'good patient' he is not. He had every intention of living his twilight years with wine, music and revelry; not tea, telly and Tramadol. Indeed, Melrose Gardens is his worst nightmare - until he meets Gregory. At only nineteen years of age, Greg has suffered a loss so heavy that he is in danger of giving up on life before he even gets going. Determined to save the boy, Baxter decides to enlist his help on a mission to pay tribute to his long-lost love, Thomas: the man with whom he found true happiness; the man he waved off to fight in a senseless war; the man who never returned. The best man he ever knew.With Gregory in tow Baxter sets out on a spirited escape from Melrose, bound for the war graves of Northern France. As Baxter shares his memories, the boy starts to see that life need not be a matter of mere endurance; that the world is huge and beautiful; that kindness is strength; and that the only way to honour the dead, is to live.Baxter's Requiem is a glorious celebration of life, love and seizing every last second we have while we're here.
By Brian McGilloway
'Brian McGilloway blends timeless values with ripped-from-the-headlines issues to produce some of the very best crime fiction being written today' Lee ChildA young man is found in a riverside park, his head bashed in with a rock. The only clue to his identity is an admission stamp for the local gay club. DS Lucy Black is called in to investigate. As Lucy delves into the community, tensions begin to rise as the man's death draws the attention of the local gay rights group to a hate-speech Pastor who, days earlier, had advocated the stoning of gay people and who refuses to retract his statement. Things become more complicated with the emergence of a far right group targeting immigrants in a local working-class estate. As their attacks escalate, Lucy and her boss, Tom Fleming, must also deal with the building power struggle between an old paramilitary commander and his deputy that threatens to further enflame an already volatile situation. Hatred and complicity abound in the days leading up to the Brexit vote in McGilloway's new Lucy Black thriller. Compelling and current, Bad Blood is an expertly crafted and acutely observed page-turner.'Set just before the Brexit vote, this book explores important questions of community and identity. McGilloway shies away from easy answers; instead he gives us a tense and beautifully-written crime novel that takes the reader into lives that aren't seen often enough' Ann Cleeves
By Mary Oliver
Maybe our world will grow kinder eventually.Maybe the desire to make something beautifulis the piece of God that is inside each of us.In this stunning collection, Mary Oliver returns to the imagery that has defined her life's work. Herons, sparrows, owls and kingfishers flit across the page in meditations on love, artistry and impermanence. Whether considering a bird's nest, the seeming patience of oak trees or the paintings of Franz Marc, Mary Oliver reminds us of the transformative power of attention and how much can be contained within the smallest moments.Blue Horses asks what it truly means to belong to this world and to live in it attuned to all its changes. 'To be human,' she shows us, 'is to sing your own song'.
By Krista Tippett
Peabody Award-winning broadcaster and National Humanities Medalist Krista Tippett has interviewed the most extraordinary voices examining the great questions of meaning for our time. The heart of her work on her national public radio program and podcast, On Being, has been to shine a light on people whose insights kindle in us a sense of wonder and courage. Scientists in a variety of fields; theologians from an array of faiths; poets, activists, and many others have all opened themselves up to Tippett's compassionate yet searching conversation. In Becoming Wise, Tippett distills the insights she has gleaned from this luminous conversation in its many dimensions into a coherent narrative journey, over time and from mind to mind. The book is a master class in living, curated by Tippett and accompanied by a delightfully ecumenical dream team of teaching faculty. The open questions and challenges of our time are intimate and civilizational all at once, Tippett says - definitions of when life begins and when death happens, of the meaning of community and family and identity, of our relationships to technology and through technology. The wisdom we seek emerges through the raw materials of the everyday. And the enduring question of what it means to be human has now become inextricable from the question of who we are to each other. This book offers a grounded and fiercely hopeful vision of humanity for this century - of personal growth but also renewed public life and human spiritual evolution. It insists on the possibility of a common life for this century marked by resilience and redemption, with beauty as a core moral value and civility and love as muscular practice. Krista Tippett's great gift, in her work and in Becoming Wise, is to avoid reductive simplifications but still find the golden threads that weave people and ideas together into a shimmering braid. One powerful common denominator of the lessons imparted to Tippett is the gift of presence, of the exhilaration of engagement with life for its own sake, not as a means to an end. But presence does not mean passivity or acceptance of the status quo. Indeed Tippett and her teachers are people whose work meets, and often drives, powerful forces of change alive in the world today. In the end, perhaps the greatest blessing conveyed by the lessons of spiritual genius Tippett harvests in Becoming Wise is the strength to meet the world where it really is, and then to make it better.
The Bangkok Asset
By John Burdett
In his latest case, Sonchai is paired with young, female inspector Krom. Like him, she's an outsider on the police force, but she is socially savyy and a technological prodigy. In the midst of a typhoon they witness a deadly demonstration of super-human strength from a man who is seemingly controlled by a CIA operative. Could the Americans really have figured out a way to create some sort of super-soldier who is both physically and psychologically enhanced? Are they testing it, or him, on Thai soil? And why is everyone, from the Bangkok police to the international community, so eager to turn a blind eye? The case will take Sonchai to a hidden Cambodian jungle compound for aging American vets where he will discover exactly how far a government will go to protect its very worst secrets - both past and present. It is also a case that will shake Sonchai's world to its very foundation and may finally force him to confront his lost father.
By William Finnegan
WINNER OF THE PULITZER PRIZE FOR BIOGRAPHY 2016WINNER OF THE 2016 WILLIAM HILL SPORTS BOOK OF THE YEAR PRIZESurfing only looks like a sport. To devotees, it is something else entirely: a beautiful addiction, a mental and physical study, a passionate way of life. William Finnegan first started surfing as a young boy in California and Hawaii. Barbarian Days is his immersive memoir of a life spent travelling the world chasing waves through the South Pacific, Australia, Asia, Africa and beyond. Finnegan describes the edgy yet enduring brotherhood forged among the swell of the surf; and recalling his own apprenticeship to the world's most famous and challenging waves, he considers the intense relationship formed between man, board and water.Barbarian Days is an old-school adventure story, a social history, an extraordinary exploration of one man's gradual mastering of an exacting and little-understood art. It is a memoir of dangerous obsession and enchantment.
By Brigid Kemmerer
TOO MANY SECRETS, NOT ENOUGH TIMENick Merrick is supposed to be the level-headed one. The peacemaker. Since it's just him and his three hotheaded brothers against the world, that's a survival tactic. But now he's got problems even his brothers can't help him survive.His so-called girlfriend, Quinn, is going from fast to crazy. Meanwhile, Quinn's friend Adam, a dancer, is throwing Nick off-balance, forcing him to recognize a truth he'd rather keep hidden.He can feel it - the atmosphere is sizzling. Danger is on the way. But whatever happens next, Nick is tarting to find out that sometimes there's you can do to keep the peace.
The Barnum Museum
By Steven Millhauser
The Barnum Museum is a combination waxworks, masked ball, and circus sideshow masquerading as a collection of short stories. Within its pages, note such sights as: a study of the motives and strategies used by the participants in the game of Clue, including the seduction of Miss Scarlet by Colonel Mustard; the Barnum Museum, a fantastic, monstrous landmark so compelling that an entire town finds its citizens gradually and inexorably disappearing into it; a bored dilettante who constructs an imaginary woman - and loses her to an imaginary man! - and a legendary magician so skilled at sleight-of-hand that he is pursued by police for the crime of erasing the line between the real and the conjured.
Blood Will Out
By Walter Kirn
In the summer of 1998, Walter Kirn - then a young novelist struggling with fatherhood and a dissolving marriage - set out on a peculiar, fateful errand: to personally deliver a crippled hunting dog from an animal shelter in Montana to the New York apartment of one Clark Rockefeller, a secretive young banker and art collector. Thus began a fifteen-year relationship that drew Kirn deep into the fun-house world of an outlandish, eccentric son of privilege who, one day, would be shockingly unmasked as a brazen serial impostor and brutal double-murderer.This is a one-of-a-kind story of an innocent man duped by a real-life Mr Ripley, taking us on a bizarre and haunting journey from the private club rooms of Manhattan to the courtrooms and prisons of Los Angeles.
The Boy Who Lost Fairyland
By Catherynne M. Valente
When a young troll named Hawthorn is stolen from Fairyland by the Golden Wind, he becomes a changeling - a human boy - in the strange city of Chicago, a place no less bizarre and magical than Fairyland when seen through trollish eyes.Left with a human family, Hawthorn struggles with his troll nature and his changeling fate. But when he turns twelve, he stumbles upon a way back home, to a Fairyland much changed from the one he remembers.Soon, Hawthorn finds himself at the centre of a changeling revolution - until he comes face to face with a beautiful young Scientiste with very big, very red assistant . . . With The Boy Who Lost Fairyland, Catherynne M. Valente's wisdom and wit will continue to charm readers of all ages.
Being Brooke Simmons
By Karen Clarke
Abby Archer, a smart and savvy woman who refuses taken in by celebrity culture, becomes fascinated with it-girl and media darling Brooke Simmons after she falls into a coma following a car crash. Her loyal security-guard-turned-lover Nick Lawson is implicated in the accident, someone Abby met just days before. One day Abby begins to feel unwell, and is shocked to see the face looking back at her in the mirror is no longer her own, but that of Brooke Simmons . . .
Believe No One
By A.D. Garrett
Forensic expert Professor Nick Fennimore has engineered lectures in Chicago and St Louis - a ploy to get to Detective Chief Inspector Kate Simms. She's in the United States on sabbatical with St Louis PD, and he's keen to see her again. Simms is working with a 'method swap' team, reviewing cold cases, sharing expertise. But Simms came to the US to escape the fallout from their previous case - the last thing she needs is Fennimore complicating her life.A call for help from a sheriff's deputy in Oklahoma seems like a welcome distraction for the professor - until he hears the details: a mother dead, her child gone - echoes of Fennimore's own tragedy.Nine-year-old Red, adventuring in Oklahoma's backwoods, has no clue that he and his mom are in the killer's sights. Back in St Louis, investigators discover a pattern: victims - all of them young mothers - dumped along a 600 mile stretch of I-44. The Oklahoma and St Louis investigations converge, uncovering serial murders across two continents and two decades. Under pressure, the killer begins to unravel, and when a fresh body surfaces, the race is on to catch the I-44 killer and save the boy.
The Broken Places
By Ace Atkins
A year after becoming sheriff, Quinn Colson is faced with the release of an infamous murderer from prison. Jamey Dixon comes back to Jericho preaching redemption, and some believe him; but for the victim's family, the only thought is revenge.Another group who doesn't believe him-the men in prison from Dixon's last job, an armored car robbery. They're sure he's gone back to grab the hidden money, so they do the only thing they can: break out and head straight to Jericho themselves.Colson and his deputy, Lillie, know they've got their work cut out for them. But they don't count on one more unwelcome visitor: a tornado that causes havoc just as events come to a head. Communications are down, the roads are impassable-and the rule of law is just about to snap.
By Roxane Gay
'Pink is my favourite colour. I used to say my favourite colour was black to be cool, but it is pink - all shades of pink. If I have an accessory, it is probably pink. I read Vogue, and I'm not doing it ironically, though it might seem that way. I once live-tweeted the September issue.'In these funny and insightful essays, Roxane Gay takes us through the journey of her evolution as a woman (Sweet Valley High) of colour (The Help) while also taking readers on a ride through culture of the last few years (Girls, Django in Chains) and commenting on the state of feminism today (abortion, Chris Brown). The portrait that emerges is not only one of an incredibly insightful woman continually growing to understand herself and our society, but also one of our culture.Bad Feminist is a sharp, funny and sincere look at the ways in which the culture we consume becomes who we are, and an inspiring call-to-arms of all the ways we still need to do better.
By Mark Evans
Based on the beloved Radio 4 series, BLEAK EXPECTATIONS recounts the remarkable adventures of young Pip Bin as he tries to make his way in a world made all horrible by the machinations of his cruel guardian, Mr Gently Benevolent. Grim circumstances, mistaken identities, nightmarish court-cases, ridiculous names, convenient coincidences to resolve plot problems, over-sentimental death scenes and lots and lots of adjectives: Bleak Expectations is a novel like Charles Dickens might have written after far too much gin.
Bleak Expectations: A Tantalizing Taster
By Mark Evans
Hearing Bleak Expectations on the radio is a splendidly satisfying experience, but now you can get even more thrills, spills, words and added paper! Bleak Expectations the novel will shortly be available for purchase in all literature emporiums of good repute.Bleak Expectations recounts the remarkable adventures of young Pip Bin as he tries to make his way in a world made all horrible by the machinations of his cruel guardian, Mr. Gently Benevolent.WEEP! As Pip is sent to Britain's nastiest boarding school, St Bastard's.GASP! As our hero suffers misfortunes such as prison, poverty, the workhouse and at least one close relative dying.SIGH! As Pip finds love with London's most eligible frail beauty, Miss Flora Dies-Early.FIND A TENTERHOOK AND SIT ON IT! As everything climaxes in a massive fight-and-wedding-filled finale.Grim circumstances, mistaken identities, nightmarish court-cases, ridiculous names, convenient coincidences to resolve plot problems, over-sentimental death scenes and lots and lots of adjectives: Bleak Expectations is a novel like Charles Dickens might have written after far too much gin.
By Jennifer Egan
'Close your eyes and slowly count backward from ten.'America, the near future. A young spy on a mission logs her observations. The result is an intense thriller, and a minute dissection of the experience of a woman whose beauty is also her camouflage, for whom control relies on submission: a woman whose success - whose life - depends on being seen and not seen.Originally published online via Twitter by @NYerFiction, Jennifer Egan's first new fiction since the phenomenal success of A Visit From the Goon Squad is a taut, compulsive work of unrelenting genius.
The Birds of the Air
By Alice Thomas Ellis
Mary felt rather like someone for whom a marriage was being arranged by people who doubted the suitability of the match but could think of no seemly way of retiring. Her family and friends behaved like outsiders privy to a secret and dubious courtship, treating her with an arch, considered and wholly unnatural care, whispering together and falling silent when they remembered her sitting by the window and possibly listening.Mary Marsh has lost her only child, but rather than allow her peace in which to grieve, her mother cajoles her into participating in a proper family Christmas. As the various guests arrive, Mary's sister Barbara, Barbara's children and husband, Barbara's lover, Barbara's husband's lover ("the Thrush"), Vera and Dennis the neighbors, a grown cat and a kitten, the house descends into farcical chaos.
By Christopher Buckley
Outraged over the mounting Social Security debt, Cassandra Devine, a charismatic 29-year-old blogger and member of Generation Whatever, incites massive cultural warfare when she politely suggests that Baby Boomers be given government incentives to kill themselves by age 75. Her modest proposal catches fire with millions of citizens, chief among them "an ambitious senator seeking the presidency." With the help of Washington's greatest spin doctor, the blogger and the politician try to ride the issue of euthanasia for Boomers (called "transitioning") all the way to the White House,over the objections of the Religious Right, and of course, the Baby Boomers, who are deeply offended by demonstrations on the golf courses of their retirement resorts.
By Maria Sveland
On a miserable January morning Sarah is sitting on a plane to Tenerife - dickheads' destination of choice - for a week-long getaway. She's just realised that she's very angry and becoming a bitter bitch, despite being just thirty years old. With her on the plane she has a copy of Erica Jong's Fear of Flying and wishes it were 1975 instead of 2005.Sarah never intended for things to turn out the way they have: she just dreamed of love like everyone else. But now she's sitting here, thinking about all the injustices she's suffered. Thinking about how thoroughly fooled she was by the promise of love - the one that makes us want to start a family. Thinking about all the women she knows who, like her, were drained of all their energy by family hell - an inheritance passed down directly from generation to generation, from her restless mother's eczema-covered dishpan hands to her own nervous over-achiever complex.Angry and candid, Bitter Bitch is an uncompromising novel, at the heart of which is one of the most important women's issues: how can we ever have an egalitarian society when we can't even live in equality with those we love?