Costa Book of the Year
A children's novel has been named Costa Book of the Year for only the second time in the prize's history.
The judges said Frances Hardinge's Victorian murder mystery The Lie Tree would "grip readers of all ages". Hardinge beat bookmakers' favourite, debut author Andrew Michael Hurley's gothic horror The Loney, to win the £30,000 prize. The previous children's novel to win was Philip Pullman's The Amber Spyglass in 2002.
The Lie Tree is a wonderfully evocative and atmospheric novel by Frances Hardinge, award-winning author of Cuckoo Song and Fly By Night. 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. The girl 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 ...
Book of the Week
City of Thorns by Ben Rawlence
To the charity workers, Dadaab refugee camp is a humanitarian crisis; to the Kenyan government, it is a 'nursery for terrorists'; to the western media, it is a dangerous no-go area; but to its half a million residents, it is their last resort. Situated hundreds of miles from any other settlement, deep within the inhospitable desert of northern Kenya where only thorn bushes grow, Dadaab is a city like no other. Its buildings are made from mud, sticks or plastic, its entire economy is grey, and its citizens survive on rations and luck. Over the course of four years, Ben Rawlence became a first-hand witness to a strange and desperate limbo-land, getting to know many of those who have come there seeking sanctuary. Among them are Guled, a former child soldier who lives for football; Nisho, who scrapes an existence by pushing a wheelbarrow and dreaming of riches; Tawane, the indomitable youth leader; and schoolgirl Kheyro, whose future hangs upon her education. In City of Thorns, Rawlence interweaves the stories of nine individuals to show what life is like in the camp and to sketch the wider political forces that keep the refugees trapped there. Lucid, vivid and illuminating, here is an urgent human story with deep international repercussions, brought to life through the people who call Dadaab home.
Book at Bedtime
Orlando by Virginia Woolf
As his tale begins, Orlando is a passionate young nobleman whose days are spent in rowdy revelry, filled with the colourful delights of Queen Elizabeth's court. By the close, he will have transformed into a modern, thirty-six-year-old woman and three centuries will have passed. Orlando will witness the making of history from its edge, dressing in the flamboyant fashions of each day, following passing customs, and socialising with celebrated artists and writers. Orlando's journey will also be an internal one - he is an impulsive poet who learns patience in matters of the heart, and a woman who knows what it is to be a man. Virginia Woolf's most unusual and fantastic creation, Orlando is a funny, exuberant tale that examines the very nature of sexuality.
Award-winning reporter Emily Dugan's Finding Home follows the tumultuous lives of a group of immigrants, all facing intense challenges in their quest to live in the UK. Syrian refugee Emad set up the Free Syrian League and worked illegally in the UK to pay for his mother to be smuggled across the Mediterranean on a perilous trip from Turkey. Even if she survives the journey, Emad knows it will be an uphill struggle to get her into Britain. Australian therapist Harley risks deportation despite serving the NHS for ten years and being told by the Home Office she could stay. Teaching assistant Klaudia is one of thousands of Polish people now living in Boston, Lincolnshire - a microcosm of poorly managed migration. Aderonke, a leading Manchester LGBT activist, lives in a tiny B&B room in Salford with her girlfriend, Happiness, and faces deportation and persecution. Dugan's timely and acutely observed book reveals the intense personal dramas of ordinary men and women as they struggle to find somewhere to call home. It shows that migration is not about numbers, votes or opinions: it is about people.
These are the books that were most popular with our customers last week......
1. A God in Ruins by Kate Atkinson
2. Disclaimer by Renne Knight
3. Lean in 15 by Joe Wicks
4. The Year of Marvellous Ways by Sarah Winman
5. The Secret Life of Ealing Studios by Robert Sellers
6. The 8-Week Blood Sugar Diet by Dr Michael Mosley
7. Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig
8. The Versions of Us by Laura Barnett
9. In Bitter Chill by Sarah Ward
10. The Green Road by Anne Enright
If you would like to read any of these books, please send us a message from our contacts page, and we will reserve a copy for you.
Far from the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy
'I shall do one thing in this life - one thing for certain - that is, love you, and long for you, and keep wanting you till I die.' Gabriel Oak is only one of three suitors for the hand of the beautiful and spirited Bathsheba Everdene. He must compete with the dashing young soldier Sergeant Troy and respectable, middle-aged Farmer Boldwood. And while their fates depend upon the choice Bathsheba makes, she discovers the terrible consequences of an inconstant heart. Far from the Madding Crowd was the first of Hardy's novels to give the name of Wessex to the landscape of south-west England, and the first to gain him widespread popularity as a novelist. Set against the backdrop of the unchanging natural cycle of the year, the story both upholds and questions rural values with a startlingly modern sensibility.