Three amazing reads witnessed in the 1st person.....

Three fantastic reads which are written in the, often bizarre, perspective of the protagonist, one has lost his memory, one is a time traveller and one hears in colour......

 

 Sand by Wolfgang Herrndorf

Image for Sand 

 

 

This novel was originally published in 2011 and has recently been re-published by Pushkin press.

 

This book had me immediately engaged with its dark humour and quirky characters. the richly described plot is multilayered and overly complicated giving it the feel of a Cohen Brothers' film - which I loved.

 

The story revolves around a desert town in an unnamed African country in the aftermath of the Munich attacks at the 1972 Olympic Games. We find ourselves embroiled in a crime thriller which we are trying to unravel through the eyes of the protagonist who has woken up in the desert with a head injury and no recollection of who he is, what his name is, or how he came to be in the desert. The story is vivid, occasionally brutal and often surreal it races along at dizzying pace and is not resolved until the very end.

 

Unfortunately Herrndorf's writing career was very short. His most commercially successful novel 'Why we Took the Car' was published in the UK in 2010 and Sand, his second novel, was published in 2011 and was shortlisted for the German Book Prize. Herrndorf was diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2010, and sadly committed suicide in 2013.

 

I would highly recommend this novel to anyone who likes plots verging on the surreal with quirky characters and devilishly clever story telling. For all its bazaar overtones, this story makes thoughtful probes on the very basics of what makes us human.

 

 

  Kindred  by Octavia E Butler

 

 Image for Kindred : The ground-breaking masterpiece

 

Another re-released novel. Kindred was first published in 1979 has been newly released and reads as fresh and relevant as it would if it was written today. Like Sand, Kindred is somewhat of a cross-genre novel. Butler is a science fiction writer but using time travel in this story which covers issues of race, gender, and slavery. Told in the first person Dana is a black writer living in modern day New York who finds herself linked in time with a young boy - Rufus, son of a slave owner, living in 1819 in the antebellum south.

 

Rufus has a troubled childhood and whenever he feel in danger he 'summons' Dana from the future to help him. As Dana's visits to the past become more frequent she stays in the past on get and longer and forges relationships with the women of the slave plantation. I enjoyed the way the story gives thought provoking consideration to the dynamics of racism and slavery but combines this with a fast paced time travel adventure. A brilliant con read.

 

Octavia Butler was an influential American SciFi writer and was well known for exploring issues of race and gender in her novels.

 

Butler died in 2006 aged 58 after suffering a stroke

 

 

 The Colour of Bee Larkham's Murder - Sarah J Harris

 

 

 Image for The Colour of Bee Larkham's Murder : An Extraordinary, Gripping and Uplifting Debut

 

 

This is the story a murder which takes place in a quiet urban street. A key witness is a thirteen year old neighbour - Jasper. The only problem is Jasper is autistic and has synaesthesia. We have to piece together the events through Jasper's vivid and utterly unique perception of the world, where he reveals what he saw by painting the sounds of his experience.

 

Synaesthesia is a condition where people experience words and sounds as colours. Reading Jasper's first person account of what happened to his neighbour as he tried to piece together what happened gives a very unique and quirky take on what would otherwise be a straight forward crime thriller.

 

This is Sarah J Harris's debut novel.

 

 

Interesting fact - Nabokov had synaesthesia - read his colourful textured alphabet here 

https://www.brainpickings.org/2018/05/15/nabokov-synesthesia

 

 

Summer Reading - what's new this month...

Looking for something slightly different to read this month? we've put together one or two of the new releases that caught our eye.....

 The End We Start From - Megan Hunter

Image for The End We Start FromFor lovers of dystopian fiction - or those who have enjoyed The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Attwood, and The Power by Naomi Aldman, this new novel from Megan Hunter is an interesting and thought provoking read.

Startlingly beautiful, Megan Hunter's The End We Start From is a gripping novel that paints an imagined future as realistic as it is frightening. And yet, though the country is falling apart around them, this family's world - of new life and new hope - sings with love.

 

Whistle in the Dark - Emma Healey

Image for Whistle in the Dark

From the writer of bestselling debut novel Elizabeth is Missing comes Whistle in the Dark... How do you rescue someone who has already been found?Jen's fifteen-year-old daughter goes missing for four agonizing days. When Lana is found, unharmed, in the middle of the desolate countryside, everyone thinks the worst is over. But Lana refuses to tell anyone what happened, and the police think the case is closed. The once-happy, loving family returns to London, where things start to fall apart. Lana begins acting strangely: refusing to go to school, and sleeping with the light on.

 

Shoe Dog : A Memoir by the Creator of NIKE - Phil Knight

 Image for Shoe Dog : A Memoir by the Creator of NIKE fresh out of business school, Phil Knight borrowed $50 from his father and created a company with a simple mission: import high-quality, low-cost athletic shoes from Japan. Selling the shoes from the boot of his car, Knight grossed $8000 in his first year.

A memoir rich with insight, humour and hard-won wisdom, this book is also studded with lessons - about building something from scratch, overcoming adversity, and ultimately leaving your mark on the world.

 

How Not To Be A Boy -  Robert Webb

Image for How Not To Be a BoyTHE NUMBER ONE SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER

Lots of coverage in the press for this very timely memoir from Robert Webb.

An honest account of how he tried to follow the rules for being a man: Don't cry. Drink beer. Play rough. Don't talk about feelings. Looking back over his life he asks whether these rules are actually any use. To anyone.

 

 

 

The Colour of the Sun - David Almond

Image for The Colour of the SunThis is a moving, funny and inspirational novel from the bestselling author of Skellig. "The day is long, the world is wide, you're young and free." One hot summer morning, Davie steps boldly out of his front door. The world he enters is very familiar - the little Tyneside town that has always been his home - but as the day passes, it becomes ever more mysterious.

David Almond says: 'I guess it embodies my constant astonishment at being alive in this beautiful, weird, extraordinary world.'

Signed copies are available in the shop

  

 

Ella on the Outside - Cath Howe

Image for Ella on the OutsideElla is the new girl at school. She doesn't know anyone and she doesn't have any friends. And she has a terrible secret.

Ella can't believe her luck when Lydia, the most popular girl in school, decides to be her new best friend - but what does Lydia really want? And what does it all have to do with Molly, the quiet, shy girl who won't talk to anyone? A gripping story of lies, friendship, and blackmail...

Square - Mac Barnett - illustrated by Ella is the new girl at school. She doesn't know anyone and she doesn't have any friends. And she has a terrible secret.

Ella can't believe her luck when Lydia, the most popular girl in school, decides to be her new best friend - but what does Lydia really want? And what does it all have to do with Molly, the quiet, shy girl who won't talk to anyone?A gripping story of lies, friendship, and blackmail...

 

 

Night Shift - Debi Gliori

Image for Night ShiftThe mental health of young people is quite rightly receiving a lot of media coverage at the moment. We think Debi Gliori's beautifully illustrated new book gives a simple insight into the overwhelming world of depression which words can often fail to reach. Drawn from her own experiences with depression.

Interest age - 13-14. 

 

Read more ...

Spring into reading!

A Space on the Shelf

2018 is our year of celebrating women in print.

 

It already proving to be a big year for women with  a whole array of books celebrating the 100 anniversary of the winning of the right for (some) women to vote and the 200 year anniversary  of  the publication of Frankenstein by Mary Shelley.  

We have a dedicated book shelf to showcase the wide range of women's writing and we will be promoting events throughout the year. We will also be supporting Feminist Book Fortnight, 17th - 30th June -  watch this space for more details!

 Coming up in February

 Saturday 3rd February 3.00pm

Image for Below Zero  Our Teen Readers are meeting to discuss Below Zero by Dan Smith - Dan will be answering their questions live via Skype in the shop.

 

Wednesday 7th February 7.30pm

Image for Sirens  The book club meets to discuss Sirens by Joseph Knox 7.30pm in the shop. All welcome!

 

Saturday 10th February 2.00pm

 Image for Sky Song Young Bookworms are meeting in the shop to chat about Sky Song by Abi Elphinstone - Abi will be live by Skype to talk about the book and answer any questions.

 

Read more ...

New this Month ...

Image for Three Things About Elsie

 

 

Image for The Ice : A Gripping Thriller for Our Times from the Bailey's Shortlisted Author of the Bees

 

 

 

Image for Reservoir 13 : Winner of the 2017 Costa Novel Award paperback out on 25th January 2018

 

 

Children's Fiction for January 2018

Image for The Explorer : WINNER OF THE COSTA CHILDREN'S BOOK AWARD 2017

 

Image for Sky Song

Image for The Legend of Rock, Paper, Scissors

 

Non-Fiction Releases for January 2018

Image for Why We Sleep : The New Science of Sleep and Dreams

 

Image for Fragile Lives : A Heart Surgeon's Stories of Life and Death on the Operating Table

 

Page 1 of 3