Highlights for May 2016

02:46



Hard to believe we're already in May but here we are and there's a ton of new books to make it a great month. Usually I get lost in fiction but here are a couple of non-fiction titles here to break the mould. If you're looking for just a couple of recommendations this month then This Must Be The Place by Maggie O'Farrell and Girls on Fire by Robin Wasserman are both unmissable.



This is not a cautionary tale about too much - or the wrong kind - of fucking. This is not a story of bad things happening to bad girls. I say this because I know you, Dex, and I know how you think. I'm going to tell you a story, and this time, it will be the truth.

Hannah Dexter is a nobody, ridiculed at school by golden girl Nikki Drummond and bored at home. But in their junior year of high school, Nikki's boyfriend walks into the woods and shoots himself. In the wake of the suicide, Hannah finds herself befriending new girl Lacey and soon the pair are inseparable, bonded by their shared hatred of Nikki. Lacey transforms good girl Hannah into Dex, a Doc Marten and Kurt Cobain fan, who is up for any challenge Lacey throws at her. The two girls bring their combined wills to bear on the community in which they live; unconcerned by the mounting discomfort that their lust for chaos and rebellion causes the inhabitants of their parochial small town, they think they are invulnerable.

 But Lacey has a secret, about life before her better half, and it's a secret that will change everything...
(Full review to come but in brief...OMG buy this now!)



It's summer when Elm Hill lido opens, having stood empty for years. For Natalie Steele - wife, mother, teacher - it offers freedom from the tightly controlled routines of work and family. Especially when it leads her to Lara Channing, a charismatic former actress with a lavish bohemian lifestyle, who seems all too happy to invite Natalie into her elite circle.

Soon Natalie is spending long days at the pool, socializing with new friends and basking in a popularity she didn't know she'd been missing. Real life, and the person she used to be, begins to feel very far away. 

But is such a change in fortunes too good to be true? Why are dark memories of a summer long ago now threatening to surface? And, without realizing, could Natalie have been swept dangerously out of her depth?

5th MayAn expedition to Mars goes terribly wrong. A seaside pier collapses. A thirty-stone man is confined to his living room. One woman is abandoned on a tiny island in the middle of the ocean. Another woman is saved from drowning. Two boys discover a gun in a shoebox. A group of explorers find a cave of unimaginable size deep in the Amazon jungle. A man shoots a stranger in the chest on Christmas Eve. 
In this first collection of stories by the author of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time Mark Haddon demonstrates two things: first that he is a master of the short form (several of the stories have been longlisted for prizes), second that his imagination is even darker than we had thought.

Plum Kettle does her best not to be noticed, because when you're fat, to be noticed is to be judged. Or mocked. Or worse. But when a mysterious woman starts following her, Plum finds herself involved with an underground community of women who live life on their own terms. At the same time, a dangerous guerrilla group called "Jennifer" begins to terrorize a world that mistreats women. As Plum grapples with her personal struggles, she becomes entangled in a sinister plot, the consequences of which are explosive.Part coming-of-age story, part revenge fantasy, Dietland is a bold, original and funny debut that takes on the beauty industry, gender equality and our weight loss obsession - from the inside out, and with fists flying.

The brilliant new novel from the Orange Prize-winning author of We Need to Talk about Kevin. / It is 2029.
The Mandibles have been counting on a sizable fortune filtering down when their 97-year-old patriarch dies. Yet America’s soaring national debt has grown so enormous that it can never be repaid. Under siege from an upstart international currency, the dollar is in meltdown. A bloodless world war will wipe out the savings of millions of American families. 
Their inheritance turned to ash, each family member must contend with disappointment, but also – as the effects of the downturn start to hit – the challenge of sheer survival. 
Recently affluent Avery is petulant that she can’t buy olive oil, while her sister Florence is forced to absorb strays into her increasingly cramped household. As their father Carter fumes at having to care for his demented stepmother now that a nursing home is too expensive, his sister Nollie, an expat author, returns from abroad at 73 to a country that’s unrecognizable. 
Perhaps only Florence’s oddball teenage son Willing, an economics autodidact, can save this formerly august American family from the streets.

Meet Daniel Sullivan, a man with a complicated life. A New Yorker living in the wilds of Ireland, he has children he never sees in California, a father he loathes in Brooklyn and a wife, Claudette, who is a reclusive ex-film star given to shooting at anyone who ventures up their driveway. 
He is also about to find out something about a woman he lost touch with twenty years ago, and this discovery will send him off-course, far away from wife and home. Will his love for Claudette be enough to bring him back?
Maggie O'Farrell's seventh novel is a dazzling, intimate epic about who we leave behind and who we become as we search for our place in the world.


Twitter. Facebook. Whatsapp. Google Maps. Every day you share everything about yourself - where you go, what you eat, what you buy, what you think - online. Sometimes you do it on purpose. Usually you do it without even realizing it. At the end of the day, everything from your shoe-size to your credit limit is out there. Your greatest joys, your darkest moments. Your deepest secrets.
If someone wants to know everything about you, all they have to do is look.
But what happens when someone starts spilling state secrets? For politician Bethany Leherer and programmer Danielle Farr, that's not just an interesting thought-experiment. An online celebrity called sic_girl has started telling the world too much about Bethany and Dani, from their jobs and lives to their most intimate secrets. There's just one problem: sic_girl doesn't exist. She's an construct, a program used to test code. Now Dani and Bethany must race against the clock to find out who's controlling sic_girl and why... before she destroys the privacy of everyone in the UK.

Following on from their multi-million selling diet books, THE HAIRY DIETERS, THE HAIRY DIETERS EAT FOR LIFE and THE HAIRY DIETERS: GOOD EATING, the Hairy Bikers are back with more delicious low-cal recipes, that can all be made under 30 minutes. THE HAIRY DIETERS: FAST FOOD is jam-packed with tasty recipes for breakfast and brunch, soups, salads, mains and snacks, including Spicy Sweetcorn Fritters, Pasta with Chilli Prawns, Chicken Tagine and Instant Sorbet with Frozen Berries. Si King and Dave Myers, aka the Hairy Bikers, have been entertaining and feeding Britain with their unique blend of delicious recipes, cheeky humour and motorbike enthusiasm for years now. The Hairy Dieters books have sold over 2 million copies in the UK, and their fourth book is set to make healthy eating even easier. Si King and Dave Myers are the nation's favourite food heroes. The stars of numerous TV cookery series, they represent all that is good-hearted and loved about food.
(I have every one of these Hairy Dieters books and they are excellent for someone like me who adores food but wants to be more aware of their intake without strict calorie counting.)

In downtown Chicago, a young woman named Esther Vaughan disappears from her apartment without a trace. A haunting letter addressed to My Dearest is found among her possessions, leaving her friend and roommate Quinn Collins to wonder where Esther is and whether or not she's the person Quinn thought she knew. Meanwhile, in a small Michigan harbour town an hour outside Chicago, a mysterious woman appears in the quiet coffee shop where 18 year old Alex Gallo works as a dishwasher. He is immediately drawn to her charm and beauty, but what starts as an innocent crush quickly spirals into something far more dark and sinister.


Frustrated that your busy schedule of Smashing the Patriarchy doesn't include arts and crafts? Hoping to avenge yourself on phallic-shaped objects like colored pencils? Look no further than The Feminist Activity Book! It has everything you need to usher in an era of gender-equal prosperity. Featuring such activities as Feminist All-Star Trading Cards, Birth Control Bingo, How to Mix the Perfect Womanhattan, or Anti-Sexism Merit Badges, The Feminist Activity Book will fuel your feminist rage and bring you one step closer to an egalitarian utopia, or whatever.



If I've missed something that you're looking forward to coming out this month then don't hesitate to let me know in the comments!

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1 comments

  1. Great list!
    GIRLS ON FIRE is fantastic. Really enjoyed that one.
    I just finished Matthew Blakstad's short story prequel to SOCKPUPPET, FALLEN ANGEL, which was really interesting and piqued my interest for the novel.
    Got Lionel Shriver's, too, as it looked pretty interesting and I've never read anything by him.

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