Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee
At last, this long-awaited and much publicised book is here! The discovery of the novel was announced in February and hailed as the literary sensation of the decade.One of the revelations in the new book is that the much-loved character of Atticus Finch is painted a racist "bigot".
The novel is set during the mid-1950s and features many of the characters from To Kill a Mockingbird some twenty years later. Scout (Jean Louise Finch) has returned to Maycomb from New York to visit her father Atticus. She is forced to grapple with issues both personal and political as she tries to understand both her father's attitude toward society, and her own feelings about the place where she was born and spent her childhood.
In The Guardian, Mark Lawson said of the novel: 'Teachers of American literature have been handed a fascinating potential course comparing and contrasting the pair, while there is clearly opportunity for a new movie of To Kill a Mockingbird combining the two genres most beloved by modern Hollywood - remake and sequel - within a structure of interlocking flashbacks that are the most fashionable form of movie narrative. Until then, Go Set a Watchman shakes the settled view of both an author and her novel. And, unless another surprise for readers lies somewhere in her files, this publication intensifies the regret that Harper Lee published so little.'
Book of the Week
Long Time No See by Hannah Lowe
Hannah Lowe's father "Chick", a half-Chinese, half-black Jamaican immigrant, worked long hours at night to support his family - except Chick was no ordinary working man. A legendary gambler, he would vanish into the shadows of East London to win at cards or dice, returning in daylight to greet the daughter whose love and respect he courted. In this poignant memoir, Lowe calls forth the unstable world of card sharps, confidence men and small-time criminals that eventually took its toll on Chick.She also evokes her father's Jamaica, where he learned his formidable skills, and her own coming of age in a changing Britain. Long Time No See speaks eloquently of love and its absence, regret and compassion, and the struggle to know oneself.
Book at Bedtime
The Mark and the Void by Paul Murray
This is a comic masterpiece about love, art, greed and the banking crisis, from the author of Skippy Dies Workaholic. French banker Claude is so busy making money from Ireland's economic crisis he has no time for romance. Then he meets mysterious writer Paul, who says he wants to put Claude in a book. Next thing Claude knows, he's falling in love with beautiful Greek waitress, Augustina. But can an investment banker be turned into a romantic hero, even with a writer on his side? And is Paul actually on Claude's side at all? And why is Claude's new boss staking all of their money on losing propositions? Is anyone in this whole town telling the truth? Praise for Skippy Dies: "A triumph." (Sunday Times). "A masterpiece." (Metro).
If you are interested in Afghanistan, look out for this definitive book on the war there by award-winning journalist Christina Lamb, which will be published on January 1st 2015. How did the war in Afghanistan go so terribly wrong? This shocking account provides answers that will surprise even the experts. An unmissable account of the conflict that has dominated foreign affairs since 9/11. Crouched in a ditch in Helmand, with Taliban gunfire exploding around her, Christina Lamb found herself wondering what the British troops at her side were achieving.Twenty years earlier, she had cowered in a ditch in nearby Kandahar, only that time under Russian fire, and alongside Afghans who later became Taliban. Today, the war in Afghanistan - at one point hailed by the US as 'a breathtaking success' - has sucked in 140,000 troops. Meanwhile, 70 per cent of terror plots are believed to originate in neighbouring Pakistan.How did this happen? Lamb travels both countries seeking answers. She visits Hamid Karzai's palace in Kabul, where she finds him pacing a walled garden with snipers on the roof and two baby deer for company. In Herat, she meets a group of women writers who risked their lives under the Taliban, and are once again living in fear.In Peshawar, she discovers mosques openly raising money to fight Americans, while in Quetta she encounters Taliban ministers openly recruiting fighters. In Karachi, she spends days with Benazir Bhutto, whose dream of saving Pakistan would end in tragedy. Lamb's riveting account reveals a textbook case of how not to run a war. It is a tale of international confusion, competing military operations, civilian casualties and payoffs. But the real problem is Pakistan, whose dictator takes billions of dollars of US aid even as the country's intelligence agencies help to train enemies of the West. With unparalleled access to key players, from top officials in Washington, London, Islamabad and Kabul, to Taliban and Pakistani spies, Christina Lamb traces the Afghan conflict back to the 1980s, when the CIA decided to use Islam as a rallying cry against the Soviet invaders.Unflinching and insightful, this account of the West's involvement in Afghanistan is vital reading for anyone who wants to understand the mistakes and misjudgements that cost so many lives.
These are the books that were most popular with our customers last week......
1. Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee
2. The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters
3. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
4. Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and his Years of Pilgrimage by Haruki Murakami
5. How to be Both by Ali Smith
6. The Swiss Spy by Alex Gerlis
7. The Children Act by Ian McEwan
8. The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell
9. Not Single Spies by Robin Duval
10. Ardennes 1944: Hitler's Last Gamble by Antony Beevor
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.