/Summer Reading

Summer Reads

We’ve picked out favourite Summer Reads so that you can pick up a great book, switch off from the world, and relax into a great read… whatever the weather…

*UPDATE ON MONDAY 8TH JUNE 2020*

From Monday 8th June both of our bookshops will re-open. Please see new opening hours below. Our Cow’s Lane shop will continue to offer a post-out and click & collect service for web orders. Click & Collect is available Mon-Sat 11.30am-6pm once we have notified you that your order is ready for collection.

  • Lara Feigel's first novel, The Group, is a fiercely intelligent, revealing novel about a group of female friends turning forty. Who has children and who doesn't? Whose marriages are working, whose aren't, and who has embarked on completely different models of sexuality and relationships? Who has managed to fulfil their promise, whose life has foundered and what do they think about it, either way? The Group takes its cue from Mary McCarthy's frank, absorbing novel about a group of female graduates. The relations between men and women may be different now but, in the age of Me Too, they're equally fraught. This is an engrossing portrait of contemporary female life and friendship, and a thrillingly intimate and acute take on female character in an age that may or may not have been changed by feminism in its different strands. 'A very funny and brilliant book. Feigel does a thorough and virtuosic job of describing the dilemmas of contemporary middle-class women' Rachel Cusk. ISBN 9781529305005
  • 1924. Blinded in an attack in the aftermath of Irish independence, Rose Raven is living quietly with her brother. When she discovers he's involved in anti-government propaganda, she tells no one, even her lover Rudy. When Ultan dies, Rose is the only person who knows where the shameful truth is hidden. Charting the dangerous first years of the Irish Free State, the novel tells the story of Rose's secrets, every one of them a risk to the success of the new Ireland. ISBN 9781913207205
  • In an old wooden sloop, Philip Marsden plots a course north from his home in Cornwall. He is sailing for the Summer Isles, a small archipelago near the top of Scotland that holds for him a deep and personal significance. On the way, he must navigate the west coast of Ireland and the Inner Hebrides. Through the people he meets and the tales he uncovers, Marsden builds up a haunting picture of these shores - of imaginary islands and the Celtic otherworld, of the ageless draw of the west, of the life of the sea and perennial loss - and the redemptive power of the imagination. The Summer Isles is an unforgettable account of the search for actual places, invented places, and those places in between that shape the lives of individuals and entire nations. ISBN 9781783783007
  • In 1985, Yale Tishman, the development director for an art gallery in Chicago, is about to pull off an amazing coup: bringing an extraordinary collection of 1920s paintings as a gift to the gallery. Yet as his career begins to flourish, the carnage of the AIDs epidemic grows around him. One by one, his friends are dying and after his friend Nico's funeral, he finds his partner is infected, and that he might even have the virus himself. The only person he has left is Fiona, Nico's little sister. Thirty years later, Fiona is in Paris tracking down her estranged daughter who disappeared into a cult. While staying with an old friend, a famous photographer who documented the Chicago epidemic, she finds herself finally grappling with the devastating ways the AIDS crisis affected her life and her relationship with her daughter. Yale and Fiona's stories unfold in incredibly moving and sometimes surprising ways, as both struggle to find goodness in the face of disaster. ISBN 9780708899120
  • The bold and boundlessly original debut novel from the Oscar-winning screenwriter of Being John Malkovich, Adaptation and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. B. Rosenberger Rosenberg, neurotic and underappreciated film critic (failed academic, filmmaker, paramour, shoe salesman who sleeps in a sock drawer), stumbles upon a hitherto unseen film by an enigmatic outsider - a three-month-long stop-motion masterpiece that took its reclusive auteur ninety years to complete. Convinced that the film will change his career trajectory and rock the world of cinema to its core, that it might possibly be the greatest movie ever made, B. knows that it is his mission to show it to the rest of humanity. The only problem: the film is destroyed, leaving him the sole witness to its inadvertently ephemeral genius. All that's left is a single frame from which B. must somehow attempt to recall the work of art that just might be the last great hope of civilization. Thus begins a mind-boggling journey through the hilarious nightmarescape of a psyche as lushly Kafkaesque as it is atrophied by the relentless spew of Twitter. Desperate to impose order on an increasingly nonsensical existence, trapped in a self-imposed prison of aspirational victimhood and degeneratively inclusive language, B. scrambles to re-create the lost masterwork while attempting to keep pace with an ever-fracturing culture of "likes" and arbitrary denunciations that are simultaneously his bete noire and his raison d'etre. A searing indictment of the modern world, Antkind is a richly layered meditation on art, time, memory, identity, comedy, and the very nature of existence itself - the grain of truth at the heart of every joke. ISBN 9780008319489
  • We're all something else inside... 1952. Standing in a cold Suffolk field with her family, six-year-old Mary Ward has a revelation: I am not Mary. That is a mistake. I am not a girl. I'm a boy. So begins Mary's heroic struggle to change gender. Moving from the claustrophobic rural community of the 1950s to London in the swinging Sixties and beyond to the glitter of America in the Seventies, Sacred Country is the story of a journey to find a place of safety and fulfilment in a savage and confusing world. 'There are few writers out there with the dexterity or emotional intelligence to rival that of the great Rose Tremain' Irish Times. ISBN 9781784705923
  • 1957, south-east suburbs of London. Jean Swinney is a feature writer on a local paper, disappointed in love and - on the brink of forty - living a limited existence with her truculent mother. When a young Swiss woman, Gretchen Tilbury, contacts the paper to claim that her daughter is the result of a virgin birth, it is down to Jean to discover whether she is a miracle or a fraud. But the more she investigates, the more her life becomes strangely (and not unpleasantly) intertwined with that of the Tilburys: Gretchen herself, her husband Howard - with his dry wit and gentle disposition - and her charming daughter Margaret. But they are the subject of the story Jean is researching for the newspaper, a story that increasingly seems to be causing dark ripples across all their lives. And yet Jean cannot bring herself to discard the chance of finally having a taste of happiness. But there will be a price to pay - and it will be unbearable. 'This is one of the most tender, beautiful books I have ever read. Please, please order it now. I honestly don't want you to be without it. It is exquisite' Lucy Mangan. 'Will draw you in from the first page and keep you gripped until the very end' Ruth Hogan. ISBN 9781474613897
  • The acclaimed author of Gods of Jade and Shadow returns with a mesmerising feminist re-imagining of Gothic fantasy, in which a young socialite discovers the haunting secrets of a beautiful old mansion in 1950s Mexico. "He is trying to poison me. You must come for me, Noemi. You have to save me." When glamorous socialite Noemi Taboada receives a frantic letter from her newly-wed cousin begging to be rescued from a mysterious doom, it's clear something is desperately amiss. Catalina has always had a flair for the dramatic, but her claims that her husband is poisoning her and her visions of restless ghosts seem remarkable, even for her. Noemi's chic gowns and perfect lipstick are more suited to cocktail parties than amateur sleuthing, but she immediately heads to High Place, a remote mansion in the Mexican countryside, determined to discover what is so affecting her cousin. Tough and smart, she possesses an indomitable will, and she is not afraid: not of her cousin's new husband, who is both menacing and alluring; not of his father, the ancient patriarch who seems to be fascinated by Noemi; and not of the house itself, which begins to invade Noemi's dreams with visions of blood and doom. Her only ally in this inhospitable abode is the family's youngest son. Shy and gentle, he seems to want to help, but might also be hiding dark knowledge of his family's past. For there are many secrets behind the walls of High Place. The family's once colossal wealth and faded mining empire kept them from prying eyes, but as Noemi digs deeper she unearths stories of violence and madness. And Noemi, mesmerized by the terrifying yet seductive world of High Place, may soon find it impossible to leave this enigmatic house behind... ISBN 9781529402674
  • A candid exploration of the state of outrage in our culture, and how we can channel it back into the fights that matter, from presenter and DJ Ashley 'Dotty' Charles. Ours is a society where many exploit the outrage of others in order to gain power - and we all too quickly take the bait. But by shouting about everything, we are in fact creating a world where outrage is without consequence. There is still much to be outraged by in our final frontier, but in order to enact change and become more effective online, we must learn to channel our responses. This is the essential guide to living through the age of outrage. 'Funny, nuanced and wonderful' Jon Ronson. ISBN 9781526625663
  • Broadcaster and classicist Natalie Haynes retells the story of the Trojan War from an all-female perspective. "This was never the story of one woman, or two. It was the story of all of them They have waited to have their story told, and I will make them wait no longer. In the early hours of the morning, Creusa wakes to find her beloved Troy engulfed in flames. Ten seemingly endless years of brutal conflict between the Greeks and the Trojans are over, and Troy has fallen. Over the next few hours, the only life she has ever known will turn to ash. The devastating consequences of the fall of Troy stretch from Mount Olympus to Mount Ida, from the citadel of Troy to the distant Greek islands, and across the oceans and sky in between. Arising from this are the individual tales of the women embroiled in the lead-up to and the aftermath of that legendary war, as well as the feud and the fatal decisions that started it all. Powerfully told from an all-female perspective, A Thousand Ships gives voices to the women, girls, and goddesses who, for so long, were kept silent. Paperback edition published 23rd July 2020 - Pre-order Now. ISBN 9781509836208
  • At the age of seventeen, after a childhood in a foster family followed by six years in care homes, Norman Greenwood was given his birth certificate. He learned that his real name was not Norman. It was Lemn Sissay. He was British and Ethiopian. And he learned that his mother had been pleading for his safe return to her since his birth. This is Lemn's story: a story of neglect and determination, misfortune and hope, cruelty and triumph. Sissay reflects on his childhood, self-expression and Britishness, and in doing so explores the institutional care system, race, family and the meaning of home. Written with all the lyricism and power you would expect from one of the nation's best-loved poets, this moving, frank and timely memoir is the result of a life spent asking questions, and a celebration of the redemptive power of creativity. ISBN 9781786892362
  • Walking upright on two feet is a uniquely human skill. It defines us as a species. It enabled us to walk out of Africa and to spread as far as Alaska and Australia. It freed our hands and freed our minds. 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? In this hymn to walking, neuroscientist Shane O'Mara invites us to marvel at the benefits it confers on our bodies and minds. In Praise of Walking celebrates this miraculous ability. Incredibly, it is a skill that has its evolutionary origins millions of years ago, under the sea. And the latest research is only now revealing how the brain and nervous system performs the mechanical magic of balancing, navigating a crowded city, or running our inner GPS system. Walking is good for our muscles and posture; it helps to protect and repair organs, and can slow or turn back the ageing of our brains. With our minds in motion we think more creatively, our mood improves and stress levels fall. Walking together to achieve a shared purpose is also a social glue that has contributed to our survival as a species. As our lives become increasingly sedentary, we risk all this. We must start walking again, whether it's up a mountain, down to the park, or simply to school and work. We, and our societies, will be better for it. Paperback Published 23rd July 2020 - Pre-order Now. ISBN 9781784707576
  • We spend our whole lives in one body and yet most of us have practically no idea how it works and what goes on inside it. The idea of the book is simply to try to understand the extraordinary contraption that is us. Bill Bryson sets off to explore the human body, how it functions and its remarkable ability to heal itself. Full of extraordinary facts and astonishing stories - The Body: A Guide for Occupants is a brilliant, often very funny attempt to understand the miracle of our physical and neurological make up. A wonderful successor to A Short History of Nearly Everything, this new book is an instant classic. It will have you marvelling at the form you occupy, and celebrating the genius of your existence, time and time again. 'What I learned is that we are infinitely more complex and wondrous, and often more mysterious, than I had ever suspected. There really is no story more amazing than the story of us.' Bill Bryson Three decades later, Rose Simmons is seeking answers about her mother, who disappeared when she was a baby. Having learned that the last person to see her was Constance Holden, a reclusive novelist who withdrew from public life at the peak of her fame, Rose is drawn to the door of Connie's imposing house in search of a confession. From the million-copy bestselling author of The Miniaturist and The Muse, The Confession is a luminous, powerful and deeply moving novel about secrets and storytelling, motherhood and friendship, and how we lose and find ourselves. Paperback published 21st July 2020 - Pre-order Now. ISBN 9780552779906
  • No terrorist group has deployed a nerve agent in a civilian area or used a radioactive mini-bomb in London. The Kremlin has done both. Shadow State is a gripping investigative account of how Russia's spies helped elect Donald Trump, backed Brexit, murdered enemies and threatened the very basis of western democracy. The operatives come in disguise. They pose as toursits, journalists and businessmen. Utterly ruthless, sometimes bungling and always ambitious, they roam from Salisbury to Helsinki, Ukraine to the Central African Republican, London to Washington. SHADOW STATE is a riveting and alarming investigation into those spies and the way Russia has used them to wage an increasingly bold war in the UK and beyond. The Kremlin has attempted to reshape politics in their own mould; the future of Western democracy is at stake as a result. ISBN 9781783352050
  • It's a belief that unites the left and right, psychologists and philosophers, writers and historians. It drives the headlines that surround us and the laws that touch our lives. From Machiavelli to Hobbes, Freud to Dawkins, the roots of this belief have sunk deep into Western thought. Human beings, we're taught, are by nature selfish and governed by self-interest. Humankind makes a new argument: that it is realistic, as well as revolutionary, to assume that people are good. The instinct to cooperate rather than compete, trust rather than distrust, has an evolutionary basis going right back to the beginning of Homo sapiens. By thinking the worst of others, we bring out the worst in our politics and economics too. In this major book, internationally bestselling author Rutger Bregman takes some of the world's most famous studies and events and reframes them, providing a new perspective on the last 200,000 years of human history. From the real-life Lord of the Flies to the Blitz, a Siberian fox farm to an infamous New York murder, Stanley Milgram's Yale shock machine to the Stanford prison experiment, Bregman shows how believing in human kindness and altruism can be a new way to think - and act as the foundation for achieving true change in our society. ISBN 9781408898949
  • From the acclaimed author of Stories of Your Life and Others - the basis for the Academy Award nominated film Arrival - comes a groundbreaking second collection of short fiction: nine stunningly original, provocative, and poignant stories. In 'The Merchant and the Alchemist's Gate', a portal through time forces a fabric-seller in ancient Baghdad to grapple with past mistakes and the temptation of second chances. In the epistolary 'Exhalation', an alien scientist makes a shocking discovery with ramifications not just for his own people, but for all of reality. And in 'The Lifecycle of Software Objects', a woman cares for an artificial intelligence over twenty years, elevating a faddish digital pet into what might be a true living being. Also included are two previously unpublished stories: 'Omphalos' and 'Anxiety Is the Dizziness of Freedom'. In Exhalation, Ted Chiang wrestles with the oldest questions on earth - What is the nature of the universe? What does it mean to be human? - and ones that no one else has even imagined. And, each in its own way, the stories prove that complex and thoughtful science fiction can rise to new heights of beauty, meaning, and compassion. Published 23rd July 2020 - Pre-order Now. ISBN 9781529014495
  • In rural Virginia, Young and Pak Yoo run an experimental medical treatment device known as the Miracle Submarine: a pressurized oxygen chamber that patients enter for "dives", used as an alternative therapy for conditions including autism or infertility. But when the Miracle Submarine mysteriously explodes, killing two people, a dramatic murder trial upends the Yoos' small community. Who or what caused the explosion? Was it the mother of one of the patients, who claimed to be sick that day but was smoking down by the creek? Or was it Young and Pak themselves, hoping to cash in on a big insurance payment and send their daughter to college? The ensuing trial uncovers unimaginable secrets from that night - trysts in the woods, mysterious notes, child-abuse charges - as well as tense rivalries and alliances among a group of people driven to extraordinary degrees of desperation and sacrifice. 'A marvel, a taut courtroom thriller that ultimately tells the most human story imaginable, a story of good intentions and reckless passions. Compelling, generous, at once empathetic and unsparing... the perfect novel for these chaotic times in which we live' Laura Lippman. ISBN 9781529335415
  • The mysterious, brutal, and calculating Kim Jong Un has risen to become the unchallenged dictator of a nuclear rogue state. He now possesses weaponry capable of threatening America and its allies, and his actions have already significantly changed global politics. It's believed that Kim Jong Un is in his thirties, only a few years into what will likely be decades of leadership. He is in the news almost every day, and yet we still know almost nothing about him and how he became the supreme leader of the hermit kingdom. Former CIA analyst and North Korea expert Jung H. Pak reveals the explosive story of Kim Jong Il's third son: the spoilt and impetuous child, the mediocre student, the ruthless murderer, the shrewd grand strategist. This title has moved publication to 4th August 2020 - Pre-order Now! ISBN 9781786077165
  • Leena is too young to feel stuck. Eileen is too old to start over. Maybe it's time for The Switch... Ordered to take a two-month sabbatical after blowing a big presentation at work, Leena escapes to her grandmother Eileen's house for some overdue rest. Newly single and about to turn eighty, Eileen would like a second chance at love. But her tiny Yorkshire village doesn't offer many eligible gentlemen. So Leena proposes a solution: a two-month swap. Eileen can live in London and look for love, and Leena will look after everything in rural Yorkshire. But with a rabble of unruly OAPs to contend with, as well as the annoyingly perfect - and distractingly handsome - local schoolteacher, Leena learns that switching lives isn't straightforward. Back in London, Eileen is a huge hit with her new neighbours, and with the online dating scene. But is her perfect match nearer to home than she first thought? ISBN 9781787475007
  • The upstart firm Foundryside is struggling to make it. Orso Igancio and his star employee, former thief Sancia Grado, are accomplishing brilliant things with scriving, the magical art of encoding sentience into everyday objects, but it's not enough. The massive merchant houses of Tevanne won't tolerate competition, and they're willing to do anything to crush Foundryside. But even the merchant houses of Tevanne might have met their match. An immensely powerful and deadly entity has been resurrected in the shadows of Tevanne, one that's not interested in wealth or trade routes: a hierophant, one of the ancient practitioners of scriving. And he has a great fascination for Foundryside, and its employees - especially Sancia. Now Sancia and the rest of Foundryside must race to combat this new menace, which means understanding the origins of scriving itself - before the hierophant burns Tevanne to the ground. 'A refreshing look at magic from one of the smartest writers I know'- Peter V. Brett. ISBN 9781786487896
  • Humans are born to dance. And in today's sedentary world, we would all benefit from doing more of it. Science shows that just ten minutes of dancing provides a thorough work out for the body and brain, raising the heartbeat to cause a release of feel-good endorphins, connecting us to our emotions and reducing our stress levels. Dancing quite simply makes us feel more alive. Dr Peter Lovatt, a former professional dancer turned dance psychologist, has spent the past two decades studying why we dance and what it does for us, and is on a personal mission to make dancing as natural an activity in our daily lives as walking or drinking coffee. Filled with fascinating case studies from his research as well as great stories from dance history, The Dance Cure will inspire even those who think they "can't dance" to turn the music on, get up on the floor and dance themselves happy. "Peter has brilliantly put into words what I have felt my whole dancing life: that the power of dance can liberate and change all our lives." Darcey Bussell. ISBN 9781780724119
  • From the critically-acclaimed author of PRINCE OF THORNS and RED SISTER comes a chilling new epic fantasy series. Only when it's darkest can you see the stars. East of the Black Rock, out on the ice, lies a hole down which broken children are thrown. On the vastness of the ice there is no room for individuals. No one survives alone. To resist the cold, to endure the months of night when even the air itself begins to freeze, requires a special breed. Variation is dangerous, difference is fatal. And Yaz is different. Torn from her family, from the boy she thought she would spend her life with, Yaz has to carve a new path for herself in a world whose existence she never suspected. A world full of danger. Beneath the ice, Yaz will learn that Abeth is older and stranger than she had ever imagined. She will learn that her weaknesses are another kind of strength. And she will learn to challenge the cruel arithmetic of survival that has always governed her people. Only when it's darkest can you see the stars... 'If you like dark you will love Mark Lawrence. And when the light breaks through and it all makes sense, the contrast is gorgeous' ROBIN HOBB. ISBN 9780008284763
  • To everyone else, Terri White appeared to be living the dream, named one of Folio's Top Women in US Media and accruing further awards for the magazines she was editing. In reality, she was rapidly skidding towards a mental health crisis that would land her in a locked psychiatric ward as her past caught up with her. As well as growing up in a household in poverty, Terri endured sexual and physical abuse at the hands of a number of her mother's partners. Her success defied all expectations, but the greater the disparity between her outer achievements and inner demons, the more she struggled to hold everything together. Coming Undone is Terri's documentation of her unravelling, and her precarious navigation back from a life in pieces. 'BREATHTAKING' Dolly Alderton, 'REMARKABLE' Marian Keyes. ISBN 9781786896780
  • Painstakingly restored from Tolkien's manuscripts and presented for the first time as a standalone work, the epic tale of The Fall of Gondolin will reunite fans of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings with Elves and Men, Balrogs, Dragons and Orcs and the rich landscape and creatures unique to Tolkien's Middle-earth. In the Tale of The Fall of Gondolin are two of the greatest powers in the world. There is Morgoth of the uttermost evil, unseen in this story but ruling over a vast military power from his fortress of Angband. Deeply opposed to Morgoth is Ulmo, second in might only to Manwe, chief of the Valar. Central to this enmity of the gods is the city of Gondolin, beautiful but undiscoverable. It was built and peopled by Noldorin Elves who, when they dwelt in Valinor, the land of the gods, rebelled against their rule and fled to Middle-earth. Turgon King of Gondolin is hated and feared above all his enemies by Morgoth, who seeks in vain to discover the marvellously hidden city, while the gods in Valinor in heated debate largely refuse to intervene in support of Ulmo's desires and designs. Into this world comes Tuor, cousin of Turin, the instrument of Ulmo's designs. Guided unseen by him Tuor sets out from the land of his birth on the fearful journey to Gondolin, and in one of the most arresting moments in the history of Middle-earth the sea-god himself appears to him, rising out of the ocean in the midst of a storm. In Gondolin he becomes great; he is wedded to Idril, Turgon's daughter, and their son is Earendel, whose birth and profound importance in days to come is foreseen by Ulmo. At last comes the terrible ending. Morgoth learns through an act of supreme treachery all that he needs to mount a devastating attack on the city, with Balrogs and dragons and numberless Orcs. After a minutely observed account of the fall of Gondolin, the tale ends with the escape of Tuor and Idril, with the child Earendel, looking back from a cleft in the mountains as they flee southward, at the blazing wreckage of their city. They were journeying into a new story, the Tale of Earendel, which Tolkien never wrote, but which is sketched out in this book from other sources. Following his presentation of Beren and Luthien Christopher Tolkien has used the same 'history in sequence' mode in the writing of this edition of The Fall of Gondolin. In the words of J.R.R. Tolkien, it was 'the first real story of this imaginary world' and, together with Beren and Luthien and The Children of Hurin, he regarded it as one of the three 'Great Tales' of the Elder Days. ISBN 9780008302801
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