June 2017 : New Titles
A personal selection from a plethora of titles …
Part of Pushkin’s lovely Japanese novella series this is a quixotic tale about first love featuring a boy with a crush on a lady who works in a supermarket.
Pushkin Press, £7.99, 16th March 2017, 9781782273301
A young cycle courier is sent from London to Norway to pick up a stuffed owl for a mysterious client. McGrandle is a senior producer on the BBC national news and graduate of the Faber Academy.
Sandstone Press Ltd, £8.99, 15th June 2017, 9781910985687
Fourth Estate Ltd, £16.99, 1st June 2017, 9780008221676
Australia, 1945, and a struggling sheep farm in New South Wales takes on two Italian POWs to help with the work as all able-bodied men have enlisted. The daughter of the house is drawn to one of them. A love story inspired by the author’s own grandmother.
Chatto & Windus, £12.99, 8th June 2017, 9781784741341
After her much-loved Booker Prize-winning debut The God of Small Things, Arundhati Roy appeared to renounce fiction altogether. But here, 20 years later, is her second. It begins with a birth in Shahjahanabad, the walled city of Old Delhi, where to a mother’s shock her baby has both male and female genitalia. The baby, named Aftab, grows up to decide she is Anjum and joins a community of Hijras. The politics of modern India will shape Anjum’s life, as it does all the outcasts and misfits in Roy’s sweeping novel.
Hamish Hamilton Ltd, £18.99, 6th June 2017, 9780241303979
Set in Kew Gardens over a calendar year this reveals the stories of five strangers, linked together by the mysterious death of one woman. An exploration of love, grief, nature and the supernatural as intricately plotted as origami, says Bloomsbury.
Bloomsbury Publishing PLC, £16.99, 15th June 2017, 9781408878637
The renowned historian and travel writer teams up with the BBC TV and radio journalist (and author of the terrific Sophia) to present a comprehensive and authoritative multi-faceted history of the Koh-i-Noor diamond. Given to Queen Victoria by the 10-year-old Maharajah of the Punjab in 1849, the jewel then entered a fog of mythology based on Delhi bazaar gossip from which the authors aim to rescue it. Demythologised it may be, but it remains a glittering tale of greed, murder, torture and colonialism. There’s something forever irresistible about diamonds.
Bloomsbury Publishing PLC, £14.99, 15th June 2017, 9781408888841
First major biography in over 60 years of the founder of the British Museum who gave his name to Sloane Square, Sloane Street (and therefore Sloane Rangers too), and Hans Crescent. A young doctor from Northern Ireland who became physician to the king, he was an important figure in the history of collecting, and in 18th-century intellectual and social life.
Allen Lane, £25.00, 1st June 2017, 9781846146572
Dorling Kindersley £14.99, 1st June 2017, 9780241289396
In this “part battle cry, part love song, part elegy”, Engel traces the American invasion of our language from the early days of the New World, via the influence of Edison, the dance hall and the talkies, right up to the Apple and Microsoft-dominated present day. Fall, fries, movie, yeah, betcha and hassle are among the Americanisms to which he objects.
Profile Books Ltd, £16.99, 15th June 2017, 9781781256688
From the stomach-churning scope of Henry VIII’s enormous food intake to the anatomy of a Spitfire, an infographic guide to the best bits of Blighty, from prehistoric times to the information age.
Summersdale Publishers, £9.99, 8th June 2017, 9781786850294
Cookbook which aims to become your spice Sherpa by navigating you through the simple ancient formulas of the Indian kitchen that are second nature to billions via 80 recipes. Katona’s Spice Tree is the striking and clever infographic at the book’s heart, illustrating the three-spice formulas that enable you to cook perfect, authentic curries.
Ebury Press, £20.00, 15th June 2017, 9781785035470
Allen Lane, £20.00, 29th June 2017, 9780241275597
Pale Rider: The Spanish Flu of 1918 and How it Changed the World
Billed as “the true story of the 20th century’s greatest killer”, a history of the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918-20 which is estimated to have killed between 50 and 100 million people globally. Spinney draws on the latest research in virology, psychology, economics and more to give due prominence to a catastrophe that changed humanity for decades but is mostly regarded as a footnote to World War One.
Jonathan Cape Ltd, £20.00, 1st June 2017, 9781910702376
Billed as the essential guide to understanding the real economics behind the idea of a universal basic income, a policy being increasingly adopted. Standing is co-founder of the Basic Income Earth Network. Also out this month in similar vein, Universal Basic Income: Pennies from Heaven by Paul O’Brien (History Press, 1845883676).
Pelican, £8.99, 4th May 2017, 9780141985480
Fresh from a creative writing masters at Boston University, Stevens is given the opportunity to spend three months in a location of her choice in order to write her novel. Deciding to venture as far from her comfort zone as possible, she chooses a winter sojourn on Bleaker Island (official population: two) in the Falklands archipelago, a blasted treeless place of penguins, whale skeletons, sinister birds of prey, tumultuous seas and almost constant howling winds. The number of words she plans to write daily is more than double the number of calories she has budgeted to eat. Her food supply comes in packets, Wi-Fi is virtually non-existent, and she has but one physical book (Bleak House) and one film (“Eat, Pray, Love”) to sustain her. By the end of her stay on Bleaker, however, isolation has done interesting things to her, and equally interesting things to her novel. I wolfed this wholly original part-memoir, part travelogue, part short story collection in one sitting, and adored it. As well as being funny, edgy, confiding, and ever so slightly horrifying, it’s also a fascinating reflection on writing: how it is taught, and how it is learned. And you’ll never look at a potato-or a Ferrero Rocher chocolate-in quite the same way again.
Picador, £12.99, 1st June 2017, 9781509824410
The lives of four university friends diverge as they enter their thirties. “Irresistible,” said the New York Times, and I really enjoyed it; a lovely, quality summer read.
Picador, £7.99, 1st June 2017, 9781509814725
Drabble’s story of ageing Fran questions what makes a good life and a good death. “With its echoes of Simone de Beauvoir and Samuel Beckett, this quiet meditation on old age seethes with apocalyptic intent . . . Brilliant,” said the Guardian.
Canongate, £8.99, 17th June 2017, 9781782118336
The Man Booker-shortlisted exploration of womanhood through the stories of a mother and a daughter. Penguin is also reissuing Levy’s The Unloved.
Penguin , £8.99, 17th June 2017, 9780241968031
The digital publisher explores how, in a world flooded by data, curation has become crucial in order to make sense of the world.
Piatkus Books, £9.99, 1st June 2017, 9780349408712
The life story of the young Irishman who inspired the Beatles song “A Day in the Life”.
Picador, £9.99, 1st June 2017, 9781509800049
The author of Veni Vidi Vici, which has sold over 25,000 copies to date, according to Atlantic, takes a tour through the Latin roots of the English language.
Atlantic Books, £9.99, 1st June 2017, 9781782399339
A history of paper and how it has shaped the world over the past two millennia, as we prepare to go “paperless”.
WW Norton & Co, £12.99, 23rd June 2017, 9780393353709
As someone with a terrible sense of direction who relies wholeheartedly (and happily) on their satnav, Pinpoint has worried me enough about what I’m doing to my brain that I’ve been trying to cope without my GPS for the past few weeks.
Granta Books, £9.99, 1st June 2017, 9781847087096
The “Newsnight” legend reflects on his four-decade career. “Funny, sad and revealing,” said the Times.
William Collins, £8.99, 1st June 2017, 9780008128333
Testimonies from the women who lived in Paris under occupation during the Second World War, from spies to Nazi wives, from native Parisiennes to Americans, aristocrats and artists. Sebba is the author of That Woman, a biography of Wallis Simpson that hit the Sunday Times charts and has, according to W&N, sold 33,000 hardbacks, 12,000 trade paperbacks and 60,000 mass-market paperbacks to date. This latest is a mesmerising dive into life in an occupied city, repeatedly throwing up the question of how, surrounded by morally grey options, we ourselves might act.
Phoenix (an Imprint of The Orion Publishing Group Ltd ), £9.99, 8th June 2017, 9781780226613