Little Deaths by Emma Flint

Set in the mid-1960s, ‘Little Deaths Emma FlintLittle Deaths’ by Emma Flint tells the story of Ruth Malone, a 26-year-old recently divorced single mother whose two young children Cindy and Frankie go missing from their home in Queens, New York. After they are both found dead in separate locations days later, it doesn’t take long for the police to suspect that Ruth had something to do with their disappearance. However, in the absence of any hard evidence, they draw their conclusions purely from what they consider to be her stylish appearance and unconventional behaviour following the murders. Meanwhile, local journalist Pete Wonicke becomes determined to prove Ruth’s innocence. Continue reading

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The Power by Naomi Alderman

The Power Naomi AldermanOne of the books which kept cropping up frequently in lots of end-of-year book lists last month was ‘The Power’ by Naomi Alderman and so it got bumped up my TBR list as one of my not-very-festive Christmas holiday reads. The main concept of Alderman’s fourth novel explores what would or could happen in a world where women become more powerful than men in every sense. Due to a mutation caused by a nerve agent used during the Second World War, teenage girls develop the ability to release electrical jolts through their fingertips which can be either harmless or strong enough to kill people. The “power” eventually spreads and although it is initially used by women as a deterrent against violent and abusive men who have oppressed them, it has far-reaching implications beyond that. Continue reading

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New Books Coming Soon in 2017

A new year means new books are coming! Here is a selection of books I will be looking out for which are due to be published in the United Kingdom in 2017:

The Nix Nathan HillThe early months of the year tend to be when lots of debut novels are plugged heavily by publishers. The Nix by Nathan Hill has been a big success in the United States drawing comparisons with everyone from Jeffrey Eugenides to David Foster Wallace and is out this month in the UK. See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt is another high-profile debut due in May billed as a historical murder mystery while Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders is the long-awaited first novel from the prolific short story writer and is a fictional re-imagining of events following the death of Abraham Lincoln’s son Willie. Continue reading

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Behind the Scenes at the Museum by Kate Atkinson

Behind the Scenes at the Museum Kate Atkinson‘Behind the Scenes at the Museum’ is Kate Atkinson’s debut novel first published in 1995 and narrated by Ruby Lennox born in 1952 to a middle-class family who live above a pet shop in York. The plot alternates between chapters recounting significant events in Ruby’s childhood during the 1950s and 1960s and extended “footnotes” about the earlier generations of her family told in non-chronological order. Most significantly, the story of what happened to Ruby’s great-grandmother Alice has implications for the whole family for many years to come.  Continue reading

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My Books of the Year 2016

I have read some excellent books in 2016 both new and not-quite-so-new. Here is a selection of my favourite reads of 2016:

Favourite fiction 

The Tidal Zone Sarah MossMy reading has been dominated by female authors more than ever this year. This isn’t something I deliberately set out to achieve but it is fantastic to see so many brilliant books written by women getting widespread attention. I highly recommend The Tidal Zone by Sarah Moss and The Wonder by Emma Donoghue which could be possible contenders for next year’s Wellcome Book Prize awarded to a fiction or non-fiction book about health or medicine.

This Must Be The Place Maggie O'FarrellI really enjoyed The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry which is one of the most original historical novels I have read in a long time while other recent favourites with a more modern setting include Swing Time by Zadie Smith, the Brexit-themed Autumn by Ali Smith and This Must Be The Place by Maggie O’Farrell. Continue reading

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Another Day in the Death of America by Gary Younge

Another Day in the Death of America Gary Younge‘Another Day in the Death of America’ by Gary Younge examines the stories of the ten children and teenagers who are known to have died on a single day in the United States as a result of gun violence. Younge picked Saturday 23rd November 2013 at random which happened to be the day after the 50th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy’s assassination and less than a year after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings in Connecticut. A tragic portrait of gun culture in contemporary America emerges from the harrowing stories behind each fatal shooting.  Continue reading

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His Bloody Project by Graeme Macrae Burnet

His Bloody Project Graeme Macrae BurnetShortlisted for this year’s Man Booker Prize, ‘His Bloody Project’ by Graeme Macrae Burnet tells the story of seventeen-year-old Roderick Macrae, accused of committing three brutal murders in a remote village in the Scottish Highlands in 1869. Presented as a series of documents “discovered” by the author whilst researching his family history, the first half of the book consists of Roddy’s written statement in which he confesses to the crimes and gives his version of events leading up to the murders followed by an account of the trial and verdict. The identity of one of the victims is revealed at the beginning to be local constable Lachlan Mackenzie while the other two remain a mystery until the event itself occurs. Continue reading

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