August 2019 : New Titles
A personal selection from a plethora of titles …
I thought her debut, The Butcher’s Hook, was terrific. Sadly nothing to read yet, but this is set in rural Kent in the 1970s and the present day, it charts the consequences of an affair that a young mother had with a married man, and is told from the point of view of the mother, and her children.
Two Roads, £16.99, 8th August 2019, 9781473625174
A 30-year-old nurse is suddenly abandoned by her partner of 10 years, who leaves only a shopping list behind. She uses that list to tell her story, starting with six eggs, and learns that her identity is formed by her relationships to others—so who is she when she stands alone?
Doubleday, £12.99, 29th August 2019, 9780857526663
Johannes is an avid member of the Hitler Youth when he discovers that his parents are hiding a Jewish girl behind a false wall in their large house in Vienna. His initial horror turns to interest, and then obsession.
John Murray Publishers Ltd, £14.99, 6th August 2019, 9781529396348
This opens in 1988, with young historian Saul Adler, about to travel to Communist East Berlin, posing for a photograph on the Abbey Road crossing as a gift for his translator’s sister. Then he is hit by a car, which will change the trajectory of his life. A story about what we see and fail to see, says Penguin. I can’t wait to read it.
Hamish Hamilton Ltd, £14.99, 29th August 2019, 9780241268025
A 16-year-old boy leaves his Durham mining village in the summer after the Second World War and travels to Robin Hood’s Bay on the North Yorkshire coast, where he meets Dulcie, a worldly older woman with whom he forms an unlikely friendship. Bloomsbury is reissuing Myers’ backlist alongside this: The Gallows Pole (winner of the Walter Scott Prize), Beastings and Pig Iron.
Bloomsbury Circus, £16.99, 22nd August 2019, 9781526611314
Two storylines unfold. One is set over a single day in Arizona Territory, 1893, where frontierswoman Nora waits for the return of her husband, and her elder sons who have vanished after an argument. The other covers decades in the life of former outlaw Lurie Mattie. An extraordinary reimagining of the American West, which is as much about the land itself as it is about the people who eke a living from it.
Weidenfeld & Nicolson, £14.99, 13th August 2019, 9780297867067
First novel from the Dublin-based author which tells of a girl, Ada, raised (literally) by her father from the Ground, a patch of earth with birthing and healing properties. They spend their days healing human folk (Cures) until Ada begins a relationship with a local man.
Doubleday, £12.99, 8th August 2019, 9780857526779
A “major” debut for Faber, this follows lonely 26-year-old Ella, who falls into a mutual, overwhelming obsession with the wealthy Upper East side mother who hires her as a nanny. Author Stevens worked as a nanny for seven years in New York.
Faber & Faber, £12.99, 15th August 2019, 9780571349074
The “Reith Lectures” were founded in 1948 with the aim of enriching the intellectual and cultural life of the nation. Collecting the transcripts for the first time, this illuminating and classy-looking gift book, in the vein of Letters of Note, provides a chronicle of how much the world has changed over the past seven decades, charting Britain’s shifting values and place in the world. Recent lecturers include Hilary Mantel on how stories can bring the dead back to life, Grayson Perry on whether anything goes when it comes to art, and Stephen Hawking on why black holes aren’t black.
Headline Book Publishing, £20.00, 22nd August 2019, 9781472262288
From cameos and hidden motifs, through to clues, hidden meanings and movements in frame you may have missed, a cinematic treasure trove from the creator of alternative culture website Den of Geek.
Cassell Illustrated, £15.99, 6th August 2019, 9781788401272
I was an early champion of The Diary of a Bookseller, the first curmudgeonly chronicle from the owner of The Bookshop in Wigtown. Since then, the book has sold shedloads, and remarkably has also been translated into 20 languages, including Russian, Korean and French. It is also soon to be a major TV series. Part the Second is Shaun’s diary of 2015, and all our favourite characters are back, including Captain the cat, Nicky and the Death to Kindle mugs. Plus there’s a new Italian assistant nicknamed Granny. It’s like a north of the border Archers, but with better-read characters.
Profile Books Ltd, £16.99, 29th August 2019, 9781788162302
Award-winning wine writer with an illustrated guide to the world of wine, grape by grape, written with wit and humour. There are fun infographics which show you how to read the world’s major wine labels, and an introductory guide to wine and food pairings.
Hardie Grant Books (UK), £12.99, 22nd August 2019, 9781784882488
Written like a non-fiction thriller, an account, based on MI5 files, of how the West’s nuclear secrets were betrayed to the Soviet Union. Trinity was the code name for the test explosion of the atomic bomb in New Mexico, and the betrayer was Karl Fuchs, who passed information about the bomb to the Soviet Union.
Allen Lane, £25.00, 1st August 2019, 9780241309834
Telling the story of Enoch Powell’s political life from the 1950s onwards, this intellectual biography goes beyond a fixation on the “Rivers of Blood” speech, I’m told, and pays particular attention to the revealing inconsistencies in his thought.
Oxford University Press, £20.00, 5th September 2019, 9780198747147
Over half the world’s population is bilingual, and yet few of us understand what lies behind this complex ability. The neuropsychologist author who has devised many studies on the subject, and raised a bilingual son in Barcelona, explains how the bilingual brain works, and the impact of bilingualism on everyday life.
Allen Lane, £20.00, 30th January 2020, 9780241391518
A few days before the start of the Second World War, spymaster Thomas Kendrick arrived at the Tower of London to trial a top-secret operation: German prisoners’ cells were to be bugged, and their private conversations recorded. Fry records the inner workings of this bugging operation in the second book in her trilogy about British intelligence in the Second World War.
Yale University Press, £18.99, 27th August 2019, 9780300238600
There’s a link between our current political instability and our childhood attachment to teddy bears, says psychology professor Hood, of this intriguing-sounding exploration of our irrational need to own stuff. He also has ideas about how we can stop buying into this need.
Allen Lane, £20.00, 29th August 2019, 9780241409954
Published to coincide with the 80th anniversary of the outbreak of the Second World War, an infographic history of the conflict in more than 60 themes, from the rise of the Far Right in pre-war Europe to evolving military tactics, to its financial and human costs.
Thames & Hudson Ltd, £29.95, 29th August 2019, 9780500022924
Publishing to coincide with the release of the 25th film featuring 007, a collection of rare and unseen images from the making of the Bond films, taken by the Daily Mirror photographers who were granted exclusive access to the Pinewood sets, back in the day.
The History Press Ltd, £12.99, 1st August 2019, 9780750990752
We put one foot in front of the other without thinking, yet how many of us know how we do that, or appreciate the advantages it gives us? O’Mara, a neuroscientist at Trinity College Dublin, does, and in this paean to perambulation, he invites us to marvel at the benefits it confers on us. Incredibly, he explains, walking has its evolutionary origins millions of years ago under the sea, but as we all become increasingly sedentary, we risk the remarkable things it does for us, from protecting and repairing our organs, to improving mood and relieving stress.
The Bodley Head Ltd, £16.99, 13th June 2019, 9781847925015
In this age of obfuscation, Runciman’s weekly podcast “Talking Politics” has become my go-to source of thoughtful reflection on current affairs. In this illuminating book, he tackles the limitations of high office and looks at how the characters and histories of those who have achieved it defined their successes and failures while in power. Among those whose leadership styles he scrutinises are Margaret Thatcher, Bill Clinton, Tony Blair, Barack Obama, Theresa May and Donald Trump, providing us with a potential blueprint for the kind of good leadership we are currently sorely lacking.
Profile Books Ltd, £14.99, 29th August 2019, 9781788163330
Rundell’s acclaimed children’s novels have moved to the top of my to-read pile now I’ve delighted in this polemical charm of an essay about how kids’ fiction, with its “unabashed emotion and playfulness”, can awaken old hungers in us, and create new perspectives. Sometimes in life, she argues, “adults must hasten to children’s books to be reminded of what we have left to us, whenever we need to start all over again”. Such books say: “The world is huge. They say: hope counts for something. They say: bravery will matter, wit will matter, empathy will matter, love will matter.”
Bloomsbury Publishing PLC, £5.00, 8th August 2019, 9781526610072
“Page-turning” new biography of Ben-Gurion, Israel’s founder and longest serving prime minister, casting him in a new light, and revealing the complex character behind the myth.
Head of Zeus, £30.00, 1st August 2019, 9781789544626
This true Cold War espionage thriller centres on the ultra-secret Berlin Tunnel, dug in the mid-1950s from the US sector in Berlin to the Soviet sector, enabling the CIA and the British intelligence services to tap into critical KGB and Soviet communications. George Blake, a trusted British officer was privy to every part of the plan, but was later revealed to be a double agent. Vogel investigates how much the Soviets actually knew about the tunnel.
John Murray Publishers Ltd, £25.00, 4th July 2019, 9781473647480
Paperbacks : Fiction
Vintage is reissuing all of Amis’ novels throughout 2019 to mark the author’s 70th birthday.
Vintage, £8.99, 13th August 2003, 9780099455424
The Guardian said this first novel by the 27-year-old Tasmanian author, in which a young man decides to build a coffin for his sister, who then runs for her life, was “delightful”.
Atlantic Books, £8.99, 1st August 2019, 9781786496294
Vintage is embarking on a “major” rejacketing of Graham Greene, to coincide with centenary celebrations including a season of Greene films at the BFI.
Vintage Classics, £8.99, 7th October 2004, 9780099478447
Reissued alongside Fear is the Key and Where Eagles Dare as the first stage in a “major” repackaging of MacLean backlist titles.
HarperCollins Publishers Ltd, £8.99, 19th September 2019, 9780008337292
Decades after two teenagers danced together in 1944, a body is found in the sands of the fictitious Northern Irish town of Morne. The Guardian said this was “a captivating tale about secrets, repression and the falsity of history”; Faber says it falls between dark literary fiction and intelligent crime.
Faber & Faber, £8.99, 1st August 2019, 9780571331611
A writer arrives in a New South Wales town where a hotel is run for no patrons, a radio station broadcasts to no listeners, and a bus runs a route with no passengers. “Engaging, provoking,” said the Guardian.
Faber & Faber, £8.99, 1st August 2019, 9780571345625
Nora and her husband Charlie live in an enviable New York neighbourhood. They’re happy enough, although Charlie’s foibles are increasingly grating for Nora. Then their neighbour commits a horrific act of violence and their little haven turns into a potent symbol of a divided city. “Mesmerising. Quindlen makes her characters so richly alive, so believable, that it’s impossible not to feel every doubt and dream they harbour,” said the New York Times.
Scribner UK, £8.99, 8th August 2019, 9781471174438
Paperbacks : Non-fiction
A tour of the 20 most-spoken languages in the world, and why they stand out amid the world’s 6,500 tongues. By the author of Lingo.
Profile Books Ltd, £9.99, 1st August 2019, 9781781256411
An exploration of blood, called “astonishing” by the Guardian.
Granta Books, £9.99, 1st August 2019, 9781846276149
An exploration of why language can’t be tamed, and those who tried to “improve” it.
Economist Books, £8.99, 1st August 2019, 9781781258071
A new history of the US, one of BBC History magazine’s best books of last year.
Princeton University Press, £22.00, 27th August 2019, 9780691196879
How anyone can write well, and enjoy good writing.
Penguin Books Ltd, £9.99, 14th November 2019, 9780241978511
This analysis of Stalin’s wartime correspondence with Churchill and Roosevelt was an FT book of the year in hardback, and well reviewed elsewhere (the Sunday Telegraph called it “masterful”). The paperback has a new look.
Yale University Press, £12.99, 27th August 2019, 9780300247657