NetGalley UK’s Top Ten Books, July 2016
July’s selection is perhaps even more eclectic than usual, taking in a Booker-Prize winner, a cookery book for inspiring young chefs, a hot YA title, a tale of escape from brutality, and several novels of considerable intrigue.
Our Book of the Month is Dirt Road, the return of James Kelman, perhaps one of Britain’s most innovative and important post-war writers. It’s a moving and brilliantly insightful tale of fathers and sons and we really can’t recommend it highly enough!
Book of the Month
James Kelman won the Booker Prize in 1994 for his novel How Late it was, How Late – an uncompromising, dark, yet often mordantly funny tale of a man driven to the very pits of despair. Dirt Road is less visceral, but just as affecting. Murdo and his broken, battered father Tom leave their Scottish home for a trip to the deep south of America. On the road, they discover where the hopes of youth can conquer the fears of age – and how the bonds of love can be both a salvation and a curse. This is a major novel exploring the brevity of life, the agonising demands of love, and the lure of the open road.
Already one of the hottest properties even before publication, Dan Vyleta’s Smoke is set to become one of the biggest novels of the year – and with Stylist saying it fills the ‘hole left by both Harry Potter and Philip Pullman’s Northern Lights. Yes, really.’ you can see why. In a world where sins and lies appears like smoke rising from the body, Thomas and Charlie are kept at an exclusive school away from such pollution. But then they go to London, and what they see there changes them forever…
I See You
I Let You Go was one of 2015’s most exciting and well-received thriller debuts, and this follow-up more than delivers the same page-turning delights. One afternoon, Zoe Walker is reading the newspaper when she sees a picture of herself buried amongst the adverts. There is a web address and a phone number and nothing more. Everyone says she is being paranoid – but what it if she’s not? What if someone is watching every move she makes?
A beautiful, vivid and deeply moving story about a refugee boy who has spent his entire life living in a detention centre, The Bone Sparrow introduces us to Subhi and his constricted, limited life. Subhi measures himself by how tall he is against the fence – he is now 19 fence diamonds high – and beyond those diamonds lies freedom, and also a boy called Jimmie. Their very different lives lead to a friendship which will make both question their own pasts – and futures.
Paris Mon Amour
In this exceptional debut, Isabel Costello – the host of the Literary Sofa blog – explores what happens when a seemingly ideal relationship is shattered by the discovery of infidelity. Beautifully told through the boulevards and arrondissements of the City of Light, Paris Mon Amour is a sensual novel about inescapable desire and devastating betrayals, about a woman caught between two men, and what happens when there is no way obvious way out.
The Girl Who Beat Isis
Farida Khalaf & Andrea C. Hoffmann
In August 2014, Farida, like any ordinary teenage girl, was enjoying the summer holidays before her last year at school. But school never reconvened: her village was an ISIS target and she was abducted. With courage, clear eyes and determination, Farida confronts the atrocities she faced, and the moment when she and five others escaped their tormentors. Her account of her journey to safety is an important and astonishingly moving true life story, and one that is impossible to forget.
Chatto & Windus
This is a rare-bird of a book, one that is both hugely exciting as well as being highly emotionally charged. It is the true story of Keggie Carew’s father – a left-handed stutterer who was parachuted behind enemy lines to raise resistance during the Second World War – whose wit and dazzling charm is now slightly dimmed by memory loss. The story of his life – and the life Keggie and her father share – is superbly recreated in this very special memoir.
Old Street Publishing
The Chrysalis is a psychologically acute and penetrating novel of the things we would do for love. An old woman, Marianne, is shuffling towards death in a care home – but carrying a deeply held secret. Haunted by the events of one fatal night in an idyllic French town, she decides to take a trip there – and sets off with her carer on an adventure that will affect the present as much as the past.
Everything Love Is
EU, AU & UK Edition
From the author of the much- loved The Night Rainbow comes another elegantly written, haunting and gripping tale of love and secrets. Baptiste Molino has devoted his life to other people’s happiness, living quietly in a boat in Toulouse. And then two women, one a client, the other a waitress, stir in him the pangs of love – and bring him to confront the truth of his past. Compelling and vivid.
The World In My Kitchen
Sally Brown & Kate Morris
This is an ingenious, fun and incredibly clever cookbook – one that not only includes delicious recipes, but also lots of activities and tasks for children of all ages to ensure that they grow up with a love of cooking good food. The head chef/sous chef idea is great, as adults do the more complex parts, while the kids do the fun bits. A perfect book to have in the kitchen!