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Must-reads for 2018

The Order of Time

Carlo Rovelli

THE SUNDAY TIMES NUMBER ONE BESTSELLER

'A dazzling book . . . the new Stephen Hawking' Sunday Times
'A joy to read. . . Rovelli writes easily, vividly and brilliantly' Guardian

The bestselling author of Seven Brief Lessons on Physics takes us on an enchanting, consoling journey to discover the meaning of time

'We are time. We are this space, this clearing opened by the traces of memory inside the connections between our neurons. We are memory. We are nostalgia. We are longing for a future that will not come.'

Time is a mystery that does not cease to puzzle us. Philosophers, artists and poets have long explored its meaning while scientists have found that its structure is different from the simple intuition we have of it. From Boltzmann to quantum theory, from Einstein to loop quantum gravity, our understanding of time has been undergoing radical transformations. Time flows at a different speed in different places, the past and the future differ far less than we might think, and the very notion of the present evaporates in the vast universe.

With his extraordinary charm and sense of wonder, bringing together science, philosophy and art, Carlo Rovelli unravels this mystery. Enlightening and consoling, The Order of Time shows that to understand ourselves we need to reflect on time -- and to understand time we need to reflect on ourselves.

Translated by Simon Carnell and Erica Segre

The Music Shop

Rachel Joyce

From the author of the world-wide bestseller, The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry:

' A beautiful novel, a tonic for the soul and a complete joy to read.' Joanna Cannon, author of The Trouble with Goats and Sheep.

1988. Frank owns a music shop. It is jam-packed with records of every speed, size and genre. Classical, jazz, punk – as long as it’s vinyl he sells it. Day after day Frank finds his customers the music they need.

Then into his life walks Ilse Brauchmann.

Ilse asks Frank to teach her about music. His instinct is to turn and run. And yet he is drawn to this strangely still, mysterious woman with her pea-green coat and her eyes as black as vinyl. But Ilse is not what she seems. And Frank has old wounds that threaten to re-open and a past he will never leave behind ...

'Hits all the right notes...a love story that’s as much about the silences between words as what is said – the spaces between people that can be filled with mystery, confusion and misunderstanding as well as hope." Observer

A BBC RADIO 4 'BOOK AT BEDTIME'.

All That Remains

Sue Black

SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER! Featured on BBC RADIO 4's Start the Week

‘One might expect [this book] to be a grim read but it absolutely isn’t. I found it invigorating!’ Andrew Marr

'A beautifully written memoir' Sunday Times.

'All That Remains provides a fascinating look at death - its causes, our attitudes toward it, the forensic scientist's way of analyzing it. A unique and thoroughly engaging book' Kathy Reichs


Sue Black confronts death every day. As Professor of Anatomy and Forensic Anthropology, she focuses on mortal remains in her lab, at burial sites, at scenes of violence, murder and criminal dismemberment, and when investigating mass fatalities due to war, accident or natural disaster. In All That Remains she reveals the many faces of death she has come to know, using key cases to explore how forensic science has developed, and what her work has taught her.

Do we expect a book about death to be sad? Macabre? Sue’s book is neither. There is tragedy, but there is also humour in stories as gripping as the best crime novel. Our own death will remain a great unknown. But as an expert witness from the final frontier, Sue Black is the wisest, most reassuring, most compelling of guides.

The Midnight Line

Lee Child

THE NUMBER ONE BESTSELLER NOW A RICHARD & JUDY BOOKCLUB 2018 PICK
Jack Reacher is having a bad day.
It would be a dumb idea to make it worse.
Reacher sees a West Point class ring in a pawn shop window. It’s tiny. It's a woman cadet’s graduation present to herself. Why would she give it up? Reacher was a West Pointer too, and he knows what she went through to get it.
All he wants is to find the woman.
He’ll have to go through bikers, cops, crooks, and low-life muscle.
If she’s ok, he’ll walk away. If she’s not … he’ll stop at nothing.
Best advice: stay out of his way.

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New releases on the shelves

The Girl Who Smiled Beads

Clemantine Wamariya (and others)

The New York Times bestseller

***As heard on BBC Radio 4 Woman's Hour, BBC Breakfast, and BBC Radio 5 Live***

A riveting tale of dislocation, survival, and the power of stories to break or save us

Clemantine Wamariya was six years old when her mother and father began to speak in whispers, when neighbours began to disappear, and when she heard the loud, ugly sounds her brother said were thunder. In 1994, she and her fifteen-year-old sister, Clare, fled the Rwandan massacre and spent the next six years wandering through seven African countries, searching for safety—perpetually hungry, imprisoned and abused, enduring and escaping refugee camps, finding unexpected kindness, witnessing inhuman cruelty. They did not know whether their parents were dead or alive.

When Clemantine was twelve, she and her sister were granted refugee status in the United States, where she embarked on another journey, ultimately graduating from Yale. Yet the years of being treated as less than human, of going hungry and seeing death, could not be erased. She felt at the same time six years old and one hundred years old.

In The Girl Who Smiled Beads, Clemantine provokes us to look beyond the label of ‘victim’ and recognize the power of the imagination to transcend even the most profound injuries and aftershocks. Devastating yet beautiful, and bracingly original, it is a powerful testament to her commitment to constructing a life on her own terms.

Our Kind of Cruelty

Araminta Hall

Passion. Obsession. Murder.

‘Simply one of the most disturbing thrillers I’ve read in years. In short I loved it, right down to the utterly chilling final line’ – Gillian Flynn, author of GONE GIRL
_________________________________

Mike and Verity have a special game. The Crave.

They play it to prove what they already know: that Verity loves Mike. That she needs Mike.

Even though she’s marrying another man.

Now Mike knows that the stakes of their private game are rising.

This time, someone has to die…
_________________________________

'A propulsive and addictive study of the darkness of obsessive love. I was completely gripped from the first word to the last.' LISA JEWELL

'As merciless a thriller as I’ve ever read. Astonishingly dark and sensationally accomplished.’ AJ FINN, author of The Woman in the Window

A tense intelligent thriller that kept me gripped and guessing until the last page – and thinking long after that.ERIN KELLY

A taut, fascinating psychological thriller. Original and powerful. Be prepared for questions to linger in your head for a long time afterward.’ JULIA HEABERLIN

Toxic love, obsession, and the unflinching unravelling of a mind. Scarily plausible, a great read.’ ALI LAND

'Chilling. Disturbing. Addictive. I couldn't put this down.' EMMA FLINT

'Like watching a slow motion car-crash through splayed fingers' TAMMY COHEN

An addictive dive into dangerous, extreme obsession. A must-read’ JULIA CROUCH

'the orchestration of suspense is masterly' FINANCIAL TIMES

'disturbing and thrilling' DAILY MAIL

'This brilliant, thought-provoking thriller will keep you up at night' BEST MAGAZINE

'Darkly addictive, this is set to be one of the most talked-about thrillers of the year' HEAT MAGAZINE

'I devoured this gripping, unsettling, and brilliantly constructed thriller in one gulp' WOMAN AND HOME

The House Swap

Rebecca Fleet

‘I read The House Swap in one breathless sitting. Dark, smart, sexy, gripping, totally brilliant.’ Erin Kelly, author of He Said She Said

'Sinister and compelling' Woman & Home

'You'll be whipping through the pages' Stylist

**********

‘No one lives this way unless they want to hide something.’

When Caroline and Francis receive an offer to house swap, they jump at the chance for a week away from home. After the difficulties of the past few years, they’ve worked hard to rebuild their marriage for their son’s sake; now they want to reconnect as a couple.

On arrival, they find a house that is stark and sinister in its emptiness – it’s hard to imagine what kind of person lives here. Then, gradually, Caroline begins to uncover some signs of life – signs of her life. The flowers in the bathroom or the music in the CD player might seem innocent to her husband but to her they are anything but. It seems the person they have swapped with is someone she used to know; someone she’s desperate to leave in her past.

But that person is now in her home – and they want to make sure she’ll never forget . . .

**********

‘This is very much a heart-thumping, read-in-one-sitting story, and absolutely delivers on its smart and original hook’ Heat

‘A fantastic thriller – dead-on domestic noir, full of tension and surprises. I loved it.’ Lee Child

‘An enthralling thriller that lives up to its chilling premise.’ Renee Knight, author of Disclaimer

‘Rebecca Fleet has created a perfectly contained cast of credible characters in a story so intriguing that you will be guessing right up to the last page. And it’s beautifully written too. I loved this book.’ Liz Nugent, author of Lying in Wait

Aristotle’s Way

Edith Hall

‘Wonderful and timely … Hugely recommended’ STEPHEN FRY

What do you and an ancient philosopher have in common? It turns out much more than you might think…

Aristotle was an extraordinary thinker, perhaps the greatest in history. Yet he was preoccupied by an ordinary question: how to be happy. His deepest belief was that we can all be happy in a meaningful, sustained way – and he led by example.

In this handbook to his timeless teachings, Professor Edith Hall shows how ancient thinking is precisely what we need today, even if you don’t know your Odyssey from your Iliad. In ten practical lessons we come to understand more about our own characters and how to make good decisions. We learn how to do well in an interview, how to choose a partner and life-long friends, and how to face death or bereavement.

Life deals the same challenges – in Ancient Greece or the modern world. Aristotle’s way is not to apply rules – it’s about engaging with the texture of existence, and striding purposefully towards a life well lived.

This is advice that won’t go out of fashion.

If you've loved watching The Woman in White...

The Odd Women

George Gissing (and others)

Virginia and Alice Madden are 'odd women', growing old alone in Victorian England with no prospect of finding love. Forced into poverty by the sudden death of their father, they lead lives of quiet desperation in a genteel boarding house in London. Meanwhile, their younger sister Monica, struggles to endure a loveless marriage she agreed to as her only escape from spinsterhood. But when the Maddens meet an old friend, Rhoda Nunn, they are soon made aware of the depth of their oppression. Astonishingly ahead of its time, The Odd Women is a pioneering work of early feminism. Gissing's depiction of the daring feminist Rhoda Nunn, it is an unflinching portrayal of one woman's struggle to reconcile her own desires with her deepest principles.

Jane Eyre

Charlotte Brontë

The Penguin English Library Edition of Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

'The more solitary, the more friendless, the more unsustained I am, the more I will respect myself'

Passionate, poetic and revolutionary, Jane Eyre is a novel of naked emotional power. Its story of a defiant, fiercely intelligent woman who refuses to accept her appointed place in society - and instead finds love on her own terms - has become famous as one of the greatest romances ever written, but it is also a brooding Gothic mystery, a profound depiction of character and a transformative work of the imagination.

The Penguin English Library - 100 editions of the best fiction in English, from the eighteenth century and the very first novels to the beginning of the First World War.

The Haunted Hotel

Wilkie Collins

An eminent doctor is visited by a desperate woman with a question: am I evil, or insane?

When the letters from Italian servant to his wife in London suddenly cease, she is convinced he has been murdered.

In the darkened bedroom of a mouldering palazzo by the Grand Canal, an English lord sickens and suddenly dies.

How are these little mysteries connected? Spend the night in Room 14 of Venice’s finest hotel, and find out the truth – if you dare…

INCLUDES THE GHOST STORY ‘THE DREAM WOMAN’

The Turn of the Screw

Henry James (and others)

A chilling ghost story, wrought with tantalising ambiguity, Henry James's The Turn of the Screw is edited with an introduction and notes by David Bromwich in Penguin Classics.

In what Henry James called a 'trap for the unwary', The Turn of the Screw tells of a nameless young governess sent to a country house to take charge of two orphans, Miles and Flora. Unsettled by a dark foreboding of menace within the house, she soon comes to believe that something malevolent is stalking the children in her care. But is the threat to her young charges really a malign and ghostly presence or something else entirely? The Turn of the Screw is James's great masterpiece of haunting atmosphere and unbearable tension and has influenced subsequent ghost stories and films such as The Innocents, starring Deborah Kerr, and The Others, starring Nicole Kidman.

This Penguin Classics edition contains a chronology, further reading, notes and an introduction by David Bromwich examining the dark ambiguity of James's work and the inseparability of narrative from point-of-view.

Henry James (1843-1916) son of a prominent theologian, and brother to the philosopher William James, was one of the most celebrated novelists of the fin-de-siècle. In addition to many short stories, plays, books of criticism, biography and autobiography, and much travel writing, he wrote some twenty novels. His novella Daisy Miller (1878) established him as a literary figure on both sides of the Atlantic, and his other novels in Penguin Classics include Washington Square (1880), The Portrait of a Lady (1881), The Awkward Age (1899), The Wings of the Dove (1902), The Ambassadors (1903) and The Golden Bowl (1904).

If you enjoyed The Turn of the Screw, you might like Edgar Allen Poe's The Fall of the House of Usher, also available in Penguin Classics.

'A most wonderful, lurid, poisonous little tale'
Oscar Wilde

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