We have a constantly shifting collection of new and second-hand books in stock. Pop into the shop or give us a call to see what we have in and to order. Below are our choices for this month.
Three Summers by Margarita Liberaki
‘That summer we bought big straw hats. Maria’s had cherries around the rim, Infanta’s had forget-me-nots, and mine had poppies as red as fire. . .’
Three Summers is a warm and tender tale of three sisters growing up in the countryside near Athens before the Second World War. Living in a ramshackle old house with their divorced mother are flirtatious, hot-headed Maria, beautiful but distant Infanta, and dreamy and rebellious Katerina, through whose eyes the story is mostly observed. Over three summers, the girls share and keep secrets, fall in and out of love, try to understand the strange ways of adults and decide what kind of adults they hope to become.
The Service by Frankie Miren
Lori works illegally in a rented flat in central London, living in fear of police raids which could mean losing her small daughter and her dream of a new life.
Freya is a student who finds she can make far more money as an escort than she could in an office; life, after all, is already a tangle of madness and dissociation.
And Paula is a journalist whose long-term campaign against prostitution has brought her some strange bedfellows.
After a shock change to the law, with brothels being raided by the authorities, lives across the country are fractured. As a threat from Lori’s past begins to catch up with her, the three women are increasingly, inevitably drawn into each other’s orbit
The Service is a powerful and challenging novel about women’s bodies, sex and relationships, mental health, entitlement, authenticity, privilege and power – as shocking as any dystopia, but touching and deeply humane.
Three Rooms by Jo Hamya
“A woman must have money and a room of one’s own.” So said Virginia Woolf in her classic A Room of One’s Own, but in this scrupulously observed, gorgeously wrought debut novel, Jo Hamya pushes that adage powerfully into the twenty-first century, to a generation of people living in rented rooms. What a woman needs now is an apartment of her own, the ultimate mark of financial stability, unattainable for many.
Set in one year, Three Rooms follows a young woman as she moves from a rented room at Oxford, where she’s working as a research assistant; to a stranger’s sofa, all she can afford as a copyediting temp at a society magazine; to her childhood home, where she’s been forced to return, jobless, even a room of her own out of reach. As politics shift to nationalism, the streets fill with protestors, and news drip-feeds into her phone, she struggles to live a meaningful life on her own terms, unsure if she’ll ever be able to afford to do so.
Lyonesse by Penelope Shuttle
After seeing the Scilly Isles from a small plane at a low altitude – flying over the Wolf Lighthouse - and then visiting the recent Sunken Cities exhibition at the British Museum, imagination and memory played their part in joining the Lyonesse dots together for her, prompting what she calls ‘a spontaneous inundation of approaches to the theme, images, soundings of Lyonesse’.
As she writes in a preface to this book: ‘The universality of loss, both of physical cities and of the human experience erased from the record, enhanced the resource of Lyonesse in my writing. Lyonesse is a place of paradox. It is real, had historical existence. It is also an imaginary region for exploring depths. It holds grief for many kinds of loss… The poems seek re-wilding of a city where human loss interconnects with mythic loss; myth is rooted in the real.’
We Need to Talk About Money by Otegha Uwagba
An extraordinarily candid personal account of the ups and downs wrought by money, We Need To Talk About Money is a vital exploration of stories and issues that will be familiar to most. This is a book about toxic workplaces and misogynist men, about getting payrises and getting evicted. About class and privilege and racism and beauty. About shame and pride, compulsion and fear.
In unpicking the shroud of secrecy surrounding money – who has it, how they got it, and how it shapes our lives – this boldly honest account of one woman’s journey upturns countless social conventions, and uncovers some startling truths about our complex relationships with money in the process.
Nice Racism by Robin Diangelo
In Nice Racism, her follow-up work to White Fragility, the author draws on her background as a sociologist and over 25 years working as an anti-racist educator, picks up where White Fragility left off and moves the conversation forward.
Writing directly to white people as a white person, DiAngelo identifies many common white racial patterns and breaks down how well-intentioned white people unknowingly perpetuate racial harm.
DiAngelo explains how spiritual white progressives seeking community by co-opting Indigenous and other groups’ rituals create separation, not connection. She challenges the ideology of individualism and explains why it is OK to generalize about white people, and she demonstrates how white people who experience other oppressions still benefit from systemic racism. Writing candidly about her own missteps and struggles, she models a path forward, encouraging white readers to continually face their complicity and embrace courage, lifelong commitment, and accountability.
100 Boyfriends by Brontez Purnell
An irreverent, sensitive, and inimitable look at gay dysfunction through the eyes of a cult hero
It’s like that saying, ‘Where god closes a door, he opens a window, ‘ but in this particular case the window was on the fifth floor and the house was on fire.
Transgressive, foulmouthed, and devastatingly funny, Brontez Purnell’s 100 Boyfriends is a revelatory spiral into the imperfect lives of queer men desperately fighting–and often losing–the urge to self-sabotage. His characters solicit sex on their lunch breaks, expose themselves to racist neighbors, sleep with their coworker’s husbands, rub Preparation H on their hungover eyes, and, in an uproarious epilogue, take a punk band on a disastrous tour of Europe. They also travel to claim inheritances, push past personal trauma, and cultivate community while living on the margins of a white supremacist, heteronormative society.
Real Estate by Deborah Levy
Following the international critical acclaim of The Cost of Living, this final volume of Deborah Levy’s ‘Living Autobiography’ is an exhilarating, thought-provoking and boldly intimate meditation on home and the spectres that haunt it.
‘I began to wonder what myself and all unwritten and unseen women would possess in their property portfolios at the end of their lives. Literally, her physical property and possessions, and then everything else she valued, though it might not be valued by society. What might she claim, own, discard and bequeath? Or is she the real estate, owned by patriarchy? In this sense, Real Estate is a tricky business. We rent it and buy it, sell and inherit it – but we must also knock it down.’
Surrogate by Susan Spindler
THERE’S NOTHING LIKE A MOTHER’S LOVE…
Ruth Furnival is a successful television executive with a perfect life: a nice house in London, a lawyer husband and two grown-up daughters. But at 54, with an empty nest and the menopause behind her, she feels restless and dissatisfied.
After multiple rounds of failed IVF, her eldest daughter Lauren has been told that the only chance for her and her husband to have their own child is surrogacy. Overwhelmed by the expense, they have run out of options. So when Ruth discovers that, with the right dose of hormones, she could carry their baby, out of desperation they agree.
Buoyed up by her sense of purpose, Ruth’s life disintegrates around her as the pregnancy progresses: her husband moves out, her TV company is near bankruptcy and Lauren can’t contain her corrosive envy. Isolated and alone in the pregnancy, Ruth starts to unravel…
The Foghorn’s Lament by Jennifer Lucy Allan
A truly unusual and strangely revealing lens through which to view music and history and the dark life of the sea’ Brian Eno
What does the foghorn sound like?
It sounds huge. It rattles. It rattles you. It is a booming, lonely sound echoing into the vastness of the sea. When Jennifer Lucy Allan hears the foghorn’s colossal bellow for the first time, it marks the beginning of an obsession and a journey deep into the history of a sound that has carved out the identity and the landscape of coastlines around the world, from Scotland to San Francisco.
Within its sound is a maritime history of shipwrecks and lighthouse keepers, the story and science of our industrial past, and urban myths relaying tales of foghorns in speaker stacks, blasting out for coastal raves.
An odyssey told through the people who battled the sea and the sound, who lived with it and loathed it, and one woman’s intrepid voyage through the howling loneliness of nature.
yes yes more more by Anna Wood
Two schoolgirls in Bolton take acid just before their English class. A film journalist shares tea and a KitKat with Marcel Proust, more or less, during a long train journey. An afterparty turns into a crime scene. Colleagues, maybe in love, have lunch and don’t quite talk about their relationship. A woman flees to New Orleans and finds unexpected treasures there.
In her electric debut, Anna Wood skips through the decades of a woman’s life, meeting friends, lovers, shapeshifters and doppelgangers along the way. Pleasures and regrets pile up, time becomes non-linear, characters stumble and shimmy through moments of rupture, horror and joy.
Written with warmth, wit and swagger, these stories glide from acutely observed comic dialogue to giddy surrealism and quiet heartbreak, and always there is music – pop songs as tiny portals into another world. Yes Yes More More is packed with friendship, memory, sexuality, love, and the radical possibilities of pleasure
The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman (exclusive indie edition!)
Four septuagenarians with a few tricks up their sleeves
A female cop with her first big case
A brutal murder
The Thursday Murder Club
In a peaceful retirement village, four unlikely friends meet weekly in the Jigsaw Room to discuss unsolved crimes; together they call themselves The Thursday Murder Club. Elizabeth, Joyce, Ibrahim and Ron might be pushing eighty but they still have a few tricks up their sleeves.
When a local developer is found dead with a mysterious photograph left next to the body, the Thursday Murder Club suddenly find themselves in the middle of their first live case. As the bodies begin to pile up, can our unorthodox but brilliant gang catch the killer, before it’s too late?
Detransition, Baby by Torrey Peters
Reese almost had it all: a loving relationship with Amy, an apartment in New York City, a job she didn’t hate. She had scraped together what previous generations of trans women could only dream of: a life of mundane, bourgeois comforts. The only thing missing was a child. But then her girlfriend, Amy, detransitioned and became Ames, and everything fell apart. Now Reese is caught in a self-destructive pattern: avoiding her loneliness by sleeping with married men.
Ames isn’t happy either. He thought detransitioning to live as a man would make life easier, but that decision cost him his relationship with Reese—and losing her meant losing his only family. Even though their romance is over, he longs to find a way back to her. When Ames’s boss and lover, Katrina, reveals that she’s pregnant with his baby—and that she’s not sure whether she wants to keep it—Ames wonders if this is the chance he’s been waiting for. Could the three of them form some kind of unconventional family—and raise the baby together?
This provocative debut is about what happens at the emotional, messy, vulnerable corners of womanhood that platitudes and good intentions can’t reach. Torrey Peters brilliantly and fearlessly navigates the most dangerous taboos around gender, sex, and relationships, gifting us a thrillingly original, witty, and deeply moving novel.
Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell
Drawing on Maggie O’Farrell’s long-term fascination with the little-known story behind Shakespeare’s most enigmatic play, HAMNET is a luminous portrait of a marriage, at its heart the loss of a beloved child.
Warwickshire in the 1580s. Agnes is a woman as feared as she is sought after for her unusual gifts. She settles with her husband in Henley street, Stratford, and has three children: a daughter, Susanna, and then twins, Hamnet and Judith. The boy, Hamnet, dies in 1596, aged eleven. Four years or so later, the husband writes a play called Hamlet.
Dreamland by Rosa Rankin-Gee
In the coastal resort of Margate, hotels lie empty and sun-faded ‘For Sale’ signs line the streets. The sea is higher – it’s higher everywhere – and those who can are moving inland. A young girl called Chance, however, is just arriving.
Chance’s family is one of many offered a cash grant to move out of London – and so she, her mother Jas and brother JD relocate to the seaside, just as the country edges towards vertiginous change.
In their new home, they find space and wide skies, a world away from the cramped bedsits they’ve lived in up until now. But challenges swiftly mount. JD’s business partner, Kole, has a violent, charismatic energy that whirlpools around him and threatens to draw in the whole family. And when Chance comes across Franky, a girl her age she has never seen before – well-spoken and wearing sunscreen – something catches in the air between them. Their fates are bound: a connection that is immediate, unshakeable, and, in a time when social divides have never cut sharper, dangerous.
Set in a future unsettlingly close to home, against a backdrop of soaring inequality and creeping political extremism, Rankin-Gee demonstrates, with cinematic pace and deep humanity, the enduring power of love and hope in a world spinning out of control
Peace Talks by Tim Finch
Edvard Behrens is a senior diplomat of some repute, highly regarded for his work on international peace negotiations. Under his arbitration, unimaginable atrocities are coolly dissected; invisible and ancient lines, grown taut and frayed with conflict, redrawn.
In his latest post, Edvard has been sent a nondescript resort hotel in the Tyrol. High up on this mountain, the air is bright and clear. When he isn’t working, Edvard reads, walks, listens to music. He confides in no one – no one but his wife Anna. Anna, who he loves with all his heart; Anna, always present and yet forever absent.
Honest, honourable, tragic, witty, wise, an unforgettable novel of love, loss, and the human longing for peace, Peace Talks maps the darkest and most tender territories of the human heart.
The Lamplighters by Emma Stonex
Cornwall, 1972. Three keepers vanish from a remote lighthouse, miles from the shore. The entrance door is locked from the inside. The clocks have stopped. The Principal Keeper’s weather log describes a mighty storm, but the skies have been clear all week.
What happened to those three men, out on the tower? The heavy sea whispers their names. The tide shifts beneath the swell, drowning ghosts. Can their secrets ever be recovered from the waves?
Twenty years later, the women they left behind are still struggling to move on. Helen, Jenny and Michelle should have been united by the tragedy, but instead it drove them apart. And then a writer approaches them. He wants to give them a chance to tell their side of the story. But only in confronting their darkest fears can the truth begin to surface . . .
Spring Cannot Be Cancelled: David Hockney in Normandy by Martin Gayford
Spring Cannot Be Cancelled is an uplifting manifesto that affirms art’s capacity to divert and inspire. It is based on a wealth of new conversations and correspondence between Hockney and art critic Martin Gayford, his long-time friend and collaborator. Their exchanges are illustrated by a selection of Hockney’s new Normandy drawings and paintings alongside works by Van Gogh, Monet, Bruegel, and others. We see how Hockney is propelled ever forward by his infectious enthusiasms and sense of wonder. A lifelong contrarian, he has been in the public eye for sixty years, yet remains entirely unconcerned by the view of critics or even history. He is utterly absorbed by his four acres of northern France and by the themes that have fascinated him for decades: light, color, space, perception, water, trees. He has much to teach us, not only about how to see . . . but about how to live.
The Louder I Will Sing
by Lee Lawrence
What would you do if the people you trusted to uphold the law committed a crime against you? Who would you turn to? And how long would you fight them for?
On 28th September 1985, Lee Lawrence’s mother Cherry Groce was wrongly shot by police during a raid on her Brixton home. The bullet shattered her spine and she never walked again. In the chaos that followed, 11-year-old Lee watched in horror as the News falsely pronounced his mother dead. In Brixton, already a powder keg because of the deep racism that the community was experiencing, it was the spark needed to trigger two days of rioting that saw buildings brought down by petrol bombs, cars torched and shops looted.
But for Lee, it was a spark that lit a flame that would burn for the next 30 years as he fought to get the police to recognise their wrongdoing. His life had changed forever: he was now his mother’s carer, he had seen first-hand the prejudice that existed in his country, and he was at the mercy of a society that was working against him. And yet that flame – for justice, for peace, for change – kept him going.
The Louder I Will Sing is a powerful, compelling and uplifting memoir about growing up in modern Britain as a young Black man. It’s a story both of people and politics, of the underlying racism beneath many of our most important institutions, but also the positive power that hope, faith and love can bring in response.
Piranesi by Susanna Clarke
Piranesi’s house is no ordinary building: its rooms are infinite, its corridors endless, its walls are lined with thousands upon thousands of statues, each one different from all the others. Within the labyrinth of halls an ocean is imprisoned; waves thunder up staircases, rooms are flooded in an instant. But Piranesi is not afraid; he understands the tides as he understands the pattern of the labyrinth itself. He lives to explore the house.
There is one other person in the house—a man called The Other, who visits Piranesi twice a week and asks for help with research into A Great and Secret Knowledge. But as Piranesi explores, evidence emerges of another person, and a terrible truth begins to unravel, revealing a world beyond the one Piranesi has always known.
For readers of Neil Gaiman’s The Ocean at the End of the Lane and fans of Madeline Miller’s Circe, Piranesi introduces an astonishing new world, an infinite labyrinth, full of startling images and surreal beauty, haunted by the tides and the clouds.
Pandora’s Jar: Women in the Greek Myths by Natalie Haynes
The Greek myths are one of the most important cultural foundation-stones of the modern world.
Stories of gods and monsters are the mainstay of epic poetry and Greek tragedy, from Homer to Virgil to from Aeschylus to Sophocles and Euripides. And still, today, a wealth of novels, plays and films draw their inspiration from stories first told almost three thousand years ago. But modern tellers of Greek myth have usually been men, and have routinely shown little interest in telling women’s stories.
Now, in Pandora’s Jar, Natalie Haynes – broadcaster, writer and passionate classicist – redresses this imbalance. Taking Greek creation myths as her starting point and then retelling the four great mythic sagas: the Trojan War, the Royal House of Thebes, Jason and the Argonauts, Heracles, she puts the female characters on equal footing with their menfolk. The result is a vivid and powerful account of the deeds – and misdeeds – of Hera, Aphrodite, Athene and Circe. And away from the goddesses of Mount Olympus it is Helen, Clytemnestra, Jocasta, Antigone and Medea who sing from these pages, not Paris, Agamemnon, Orestes or Jason.
Homeland Elegies by Ayad Akhtar
“Passionate, disturbing, unputdownable.” – Salman Rushdie
A deeply personal work about hope and identity in a nation coming apart at the seams, Homeland Elegies blends fact and fiction to tell an epic story of belonging and dispossession in the world that 9/11 made. Part family drama, part social essay, part picaresque adventure — at its heart, it is the story of a father, a son, and the country they both call home.
Akhtar forges a new narrative voice to capture a country in which debt has ruined countless lives and our ideals have been sacrificed to the gods of finance, where a TV personality is president and immigrants live in fear, and where the nation’s unhealed wounds of 9/11 wreak havoc around the world. Akhtar attempts to make sense of it all through the lens of a story about one family, from a heartland town in America to palatial suites in Central Europe to guerilla lookouts in the mountains of Afghanistan, and spares no one — least of all himself — in the process.
Endless Fortune by Ify Adenuga
How do you go from being a penniless student in a foreign country to becoming the mother of four of the most successful creatives working in Great Britain today?
In 1980, Ify exchanged war-torn Nigeria for the strange streets of London. Having overcome death, hunger and extreme poverty, she has to start a new life as a working-class immigrant and student in an environment far removed from her own in a city brimming with hostility. Ify meets her husband Joseph, a Yoruba man in 1981 at a bingo hall in east London where both were working migrants. After the birth of their children the couple returned to education before setting up their own businesses. Together they raised their children in the tough working-class area of Tottenham and encouraged them to explore their artistic instincts against the backdrop of sometimes violent situations and harsh environments.
Ify’s powerful memoir is the first book of it’s kind from the mother of four highly successful British creatives to examine the experience of the African diaspora from a personal perspective. Hugely inspirational, Ify explores what it takes to survive the cultural, social and political chasm between your place of birth and another land entirely – and to thrive in this new culture and country.
Reynard the Fox by Anne Louise Avery
Reynard – a subversive, dashing, anarchic, aristocratic, witty fox from the watery lowlands of medieval East Flanders – is in trouble. He has been summoned to the court of King Noble the Lion, charged with all manner of crimes and misdemeanours. How will he pit his wits against his accusers – greedy Bruin the Bear, pretentious Courtoys the Hound or dark and dangerous Isengrim the Wolf – to escape the gallows? Reynard was once the most popular and beloved character in European folklore, as familiar as Robin Hood, King Arthur or Cinderella. His character spoke eloquently for the unvoiced and disenfranchised, but also amused and delighted the elite, capturing hearts and minds across borders and societal classes for centuries. Based on William Caxton’s bestselling 1481 English translation of the Middle Dutch, but expanded with new interpretations, innovative language and characterisation, this edition is an imaginative retelling of the Reynard story. With its themes of protest, resistance and duplicity fronted by a personable, anti-heroic Fox making his way in a dangerous and cruel world, this gripping tale is as relevant and controversial today as it was in the fifteenth century.