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Animators Survival Kit

February 2017

We've four outstanding books to recommend this month, from a long-awaited novel from Paul Auster, to Neil Gaiman's take on Norse myths, a debut writer's evocative Western and Jake Arnott's delve into the eighteenth-century underworld. Something for everyone!

 

 

43214 3 2 1

Auster's first novel in seven years is so many things; a coming of age story, a love letter to New York City, an exploration of the momentous upheavals of the 1960s and an experiment in narrative, all the while striving to tell us something of the state of the nation, as it was then and as it is now. Did I mention it's also stonkingly readable? The long and breathless sentences reminded me of A Little Life or The Secret History, and Archie, the hero of his many lives, is an unforgettable character. This will be the literary event of the winter and deservedly so   what better way to spend those long, dark evenings?

Ed, Charing Cross Road

 

Published on 31st January

 

 

 

Norse MythologyNorse Mythology

Norse myths are woven throughout literature, from Tolkein to George R R Martin, and are the inspiration for Neil Gaiman's marvelous fiction. Now Gaiman is returning to the stories he has always loved to bring us his version of the adventures of Freya, Odin, Loki and Thor. This tremendous retelling of these stories of Gods and giants has a mythical allure that will entice you to read these epic, witty and passionate tales again and again.

Matt, Web Team

 

Published on 7th February

 

 

 

 

 

The Brittle StarThe Brittle Star

Don’t let its billing as a Western put you off this magnificent book: it transcends genre boundaries in the same way as Patrick deWitt’s The Sisters Brothers or even Cormac McCarthy in its brilliant evocation of the American West in the 1850s and 60s. It’s also a coming of age story, dealing with themes of loss, vengeance and survival, as young John Evert’s life changes course when his mother’s ranch is attacked and he is left for dead. A stunningly assured first novel with a big heart, it heralds the arrival of a significant new talent.

Frances, Web Team

 

Published on 9th February

Read our exclusive interview with Davina Langdale

 

 

 

 

The Fatal TreeThe Fatal Tree

A rollicking tale that throws you right into the heart of the eighteenth century demi-monde. Marvel at the scandalous tale of Edgworth Bess and wonder at the misdeeds of her associates. As the miscreants are punished for their crimes, ask yourself if you can't find some pity for their plight, even, dare I say, a little tenderness for those laid so low. Studded through with the flash language of the underworld, this is a dimber book indeed, my nabs!

Sarah, Web Team

 

Published on 23rd February

 

 

 

 

January 2017

Books We're Talking About is back this month with four astonishing debuts.

 

Read what our booksellers have to say about the books below.

 

 

Montpelier Parade by Karl Geary

This debut is huge on atmosphere and quietly compelling. It’s a coming of age novel in which Sonny’s dreams and hopes are at odds with what life seems to have  in store for him. He forces a change when he falls for an older woman, but the consequences go far beyond even his imaginings. With his striking, luminous prose, Geary is an author to watch.

Frances, Web Team

A pitch perfect portrayal of love, loss and teenage angst in 70s/80s
suburban Dublin. Turn up The Undertones and enjoy a brilliant new voice in
Irish writing.

Jasper, Buying Team

 

Read our interview with Karl Geary here.

 

 

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

A heart-breaking story that had me immersed from the first page. I was fascinated and completely stunned by the structure of this book. Across 14 chapters, Yaa skilfully tells a story spanning over 8 generations of a Ghanaian family, revealing slavery’s legacy from the 1800s up to today. Shocking, eye-opening and humble, this has become one of my favourite books. If you read only one book in 2017, make it this one! A masterpiece.

Sofia, Design Team

 

Read our interview with Yaa Gyasi here.

 

 

 

 

 

Sirens by Joseph Knox

Complex, urgent and genuinely gripping, Sirens is set to be one of the first breakout novels of 2017. The writing is crisp and precise; the characters dark, troubled and extremely well portrayed, and the tangled plot is perfectly managed to keep the reader puzzling and burning through the pages to the satisfying climax. Joseph Knox has made a very bold entrance into the world of crime fiction.

Gary Powell, Buying Team

 

Read Joseph Knox's blog about his musical influences here.

 

 

 

 

 

Little Deaths by Emma Flint

A slow-burning tale of obsession, lust and murder; Little Deaths is a phenomenal tale about Ruth, and the night her children vanish. What follows will keep you gripped page after page, as we slowly discover the truth about Ruth. Is she innocent, a liar or a murderess? Emma Flint's debut novel is stylish, moving and a literary gem that will unnerve you from the very start.

Matt, Buying team

 

Read our interview with Emma Flint here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

October

 

We’ve a fabulous bunch of titles for October’s Books We’re Talking About.

 

Nell Zink, WallcreeperWallcreeper

 

This month see the paperback release of Nell Zink’s Wallcreeper, which comes thoroughly recommend by our booksellers:

The Wallcreeper is the literary equivalent of a knockout punch: one unrelenting arc of brilliance. From the first sentence to the final full stop the reader hurtles through a cacophony of hilarity, sex and birdwatching...a heady combination! Nell Zink's sustained energy and wit are a rare thing, a bell ringing clearly above the literary landscape. A thorough treat. You deserve it!

Drew

 

The most refreshing thing I read last year and one of the funniest too. If an off-the-wall tale of love, sex and birdwatching doesn't sound like your thing, then just take it from me: the razor-sharp writing will allay any fears you might have.

Ed

 

Zink’s new novel Nicotine is also out this month; read our exclusive interview with her here.

 

 

 

Colson Whitehead, Underground railroadThe Underground Railroad

 

Our other fiction title this month is Colson Whitehead’s Underground Railroad. As well as being longlisted for the National Book Award in the USA it has also been chosen for Oprah’s Book Club. It’s proven a powerful read here too:

The heart of this breathtaking novel is Cora. Her terrifying escape and flight through pre-Civil War America pursued by slave catchers is the story not just of one slave, but of the brutality on which a whole country was built. It's so timely, and so emotionally powerful, and it continues to haunt me.

Heather

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bruce Springsteen, Born to RunBorn to Run

 

Bruce Springsteen’s autobiography, Born to Run, is surely the most hotly anticipated music memoir of the year!

Bruce (The Boss) Springsteen now joins the acclaimed ranks of musicians who have penned wonderful memoirs: Patti Smith, Bob Dylan and Woody Guthrie. Not a bad list. There's much to love here: a multitude of anecdotes relating to songs, childhood, endless tours combined with a mythical sense of America where the epic and the everyday blur. The musician's memoir is something long sought after for the devoted fan, and ten years after falling in love with Bruce Springsteen on Darkness on the Edge of Town, Born to Run was absolutely worth the wait.

Drew

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Good Immigrant

 

The Good Immigrant

 

Our second non-fiction title this month is The Good Immigrant. This collection of essays has been collecting huge amounts of praise, and rightly so.

 

Everyone in the country should read this collection of 21 essays on what it's like to be a person of colour in Britain today, edited by author Nikesh Shukla. Fierce and hilarious and devastating and tender and uncomfortable and necessary and brave, and I've just got 21 new heroes.

Gavin

 

Watch our interview, above, with Nikesh Shukla, the editor of this eye-opening collection.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

September

 

The Lesser Bohemians

This September's selection of Books We're Taking About includes Eimear McBride's stunning second novel, The Lesser Bohemians.

This book is attracting huge amounts of praise from our booksellers across the company:

The Lesser Bohemians seizes you from its first fragile opening sentences and keeps hold of you, guiding you through an expertly crafted novel, experimenting with the use of language and exploring how we see sexuality. This book is about love, in all its forms, loss and the ways we cope with the world around us and how we choose to escape it. 

Matt B, Birmingham Grand Central

 

Told in the same stream-of-consciousness style that was the hallmark of McBride’s debut, A Girl is a Half-formed Thing, this brave and intimate novel charts an affair between a young drama student newly arrived in London from Ireland and an older actor. Full of sex and passion, guilt and shame, this is a heady and memorable reading experience that will leave you longing for more. 

Frances, Web Team

 

Read our exclusive interview with Eimear here.

 

Ian McEwan with signed copies of NutshellNutshell

Ian McEwan's latest novel, Nutshell, is told from an unusual perspective: that of an unborn child still in the womb. To celebrate his latest work, our Birmingham booksellers have made Ian McEwan their Author Spotlight this month.

 

Here's Ian when he popped in to sign copies of Nutshell for us. The Signed First Edition can be found here and in our Charing Cross Road shop.

 

Once again Ian McEwan demonstrates why he is the master of contemporary English fiction with this bold novel told from inside the womb, as an unborn baby listens in on the plot to murder his father. Concise, sharp, and surprising, Nutshell is unlike any murder-thriller novel you may have read before, the language is crisp, yet luxurious, with every word exactly where it should be. 

Gary, Buying Team

 

 

Grief is the Thing With Feathers

Grief is the Thing With Feathers was one of last year's most haunting and lyrical books. With the paperback release this month it is a perfect to time to read it if you've not already done so. We interviewed the author, Max Porter, when the hardback was published. Watch the video below and read our exclusive interview with him here. It also gathered lots of praise from our team:

This beautiful small gem of a book packs a mighty punch: a father and his two sons struggle to come to terms with the loss of their wife and mother until their despair is tempered by the arrival of the mysterious Crow. Told in spare, poetic language, it perfectly captures the sadness and madness and confusion of death and its grief-filled aftermath. But amid the darkness is also humour – and hope. 

Frances, Web Team

 

\

 

Homo Deus

In non-fiction, we had to talk about the new book by Yuval Noah Harari, Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow. Harari's Sapiens told the story of our past, Homo Deus gives us a glimpse of our future.

 

To coincide with the publication of Homo Deus on September 8th, we have an exclusive blog by Yuval and an extract from his mindblowing book.

 

Harari will be in our Charing Cross Road shop on Monday 31st October. For more information and to book tickets click here.

 

 

 

 

 

February 2017

4 3 2 1
(Hardback)
Paul Auster
 
On March 3, 1947, in the maternity ward of Beth Israel Hospital in Newark, New Jersey, Archibald Isaac Ferguson, the one and only child of Rose and Stanley Ferguson, is...
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Norse Mythology
(Hardback)
Neil Gaiman
 
The great Norse myths are woven into the fabric of our storytelling - from Tolkien, Alan Garner and Rosemary Sutcliff to Game of Thrones and Marvel Comics. They are...
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The Brittle Star: An Epic Story of ...
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Davina Langdale
 
The epic story of a young man's unquenchable spirit, perfect for fans of Cormac McCarthy and True Grit.
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The Fatal Tree
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Jake Arnott
A seductive, clever tale of crime, punishment and love among thieves set in 1720s London - Jake Arnott does for the 18th century what he did for the 1960s in...
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January 2017

Montpelier Parade
(Hardback)
Karl Geary
 
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Homegoing
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Yaa Gyasi
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£9.99
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Sirens
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Joseph Knox
 
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Little Deaths
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Emma Flint
 
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2016

The Wallcreeper
(Paperback)
Nell Zink
 
'Heady and rambunctious ... Wake up, this book says: in its plot lines, in its humour, in its philosophical underpinnings and political agenda. I'll pay it the highest compliment it...
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£7.99
 
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The Underground Railroad
(Hardback)
Colson Whitehead
 
From prize-winning, bestselling author Colson Whitehead, a magnificent, wrenching, thrilling tour de force chronicling a young slave's adventures as she makes a desperate bid for freedom in the antebellum South
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£14.99
 
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Born to Run
(Hardback)
Bruce Springsteen
 
A revelatory memoir by a legendary rock star, Bruce Springsteen's BORN TO RUN will be the book of 2016.
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The Good Immigrant
(Hardback)
Nikesh Shukla
Bringing together 21 black, Asian and minority ethnic voices emerging in Britain today, this book explores why immigrants come to the UK, why they stay and what it means to...
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The Lesser Bohemians
(Hardback)
Eimear McBride
 
An eighteen-year-old Irish girl arrives in London to study drama and falls violently in love with an older actor. This older man has a disturbing past that the young girl...
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Nutshell
(Hardback)
Ian McEwan
 
Trudy has betrayed her husband, John. She's still in the marital home - a dilapidated, priceless London townhouse - but not with John. Instead, she's with his brother, the profoundly...
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Grief is the Thing with Feathers
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Max Porter
 
In a London flat, two young boys face the unbearable sadness of their mother's sudden death. Their father, a Ted Hughes scholar and scruffy romantic, imagines a future of well-meaning...
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Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow
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Yuval Noah Harari
 
Examines our future with the author's trademark blend of science, history, philosophy and every discipline in between. This book explores the projects, dreams and nightmares that will shape the twenty-first...
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