Related to: 'John Connolly Q & A'

Sceptre

CoDex 1962

Sjón
Authors:
Sjón

'A masterpiece . . . I challenge any author to top it!' Sigridur Alberstsdottir, Icelandic National Broadcasting Service.Jósef Loewe can recall the moment of his birth in August, 1962 and everything that has happened since - or so he claims to the woman listening to the tale of his life . . .A love story He begins with his father, Leo, a starving Jewish fugitive in World War II Germany. In a small-town guesthouse, Leo discovers a kindred spirit in the maid who nurses him back to health; together they shape a piece of clay into a baby.A crime story Leo escapes to Iceland with the clay boy inside a hatbox, only to become embroiled in a murder mystery. It is not until 1962 that his son Jósef can be born.A science-fiction story In modern-day Reykjavík, a middle-aged Jósef attracts the interest of a rapacious geneticist. Now, what lies behind Jósef's tale emerges. And as the story of genesis comes full circle, we glimpse the dangerous path ahead for humankind. In this epic novel, Sjón has woven ancient and modern material into a singular masterpiece - encompassing genre fiction, history, theology, folklore, expressionist film, poetry, comic strips, myth, drama and, of course, the rich tradition of Icelandic storytelling.

Hodder & Stoughton

Puppy Versus Kitten

Andy Riley
Authors:
Andy Riley

TWO PETS. ONE HOUSE. NO CLUE.'I'm a long term fan of what Andy Riley does with a pen and paper, and this is another sheer delight for the eyeballs. I ROFL'ed, then LOL'ed as the kids no longer say' AISLING BEA* * * * * *FROM the Emmy-winning creator of the immensely successful (and darkly humorous) Bunny Suicides series, comes a brand new cartoon creation, featuring a bright-eyed puppy and a philosophical kitten navigating the ins and outs of life together.Puppy Versus Kitten is the illustrated story of two adorable little creatures that have been plonked into the world knowing absolutely nothing about it. As expected, Kitten tries to use its intelligence to figure out situations, while Puppy, a much stupider creature, discovers its world by charging around and doing what comes to it naturally. Living together under one roof, they clash as they encounter one another for the first time. Kitty outsmarts Puppy over and over again, but then, they meet the humans ...

Two Roads

Blackout

Sarah Hepola
Authors:
Sarah Hepola

A raw, vivid and ultimately uplifting memoir of addiction and recovery from the Salon.com personal essays editor, in the spirit of Drinking: A Love Story and Wild.For Sarah Hepola, alcohol was 'the gasoline of all adventure'. She spent her evenings at cocktail parties and dark bars where she proudly stayed till last call. Drinking felt like freedom, part of her birthright as a strong, enlightened twenty-first-century woman.But there was a price. She often blacked out, waking up with a blank space where four hours should be. Mornings became detective work on her own life. What did I say last night? How did I meet that guy? She apologized for things she couldn't remember doing, as though she were cleaning up after an evil twin. Publicly, she covered her shame with self-deprecating jokes, and her career flourished, but as the blackouts accumulated, she could no longer avoid a sinking truth. The fuel she thought she needed was draining her spirit instead.A memoir of unblinking honesty and poignant, laugh-out-loud humor, BLACKOUT is the story of a woman stumbling into a new kind of adventure-the sober life she never wanted. Shining a light into her blackouts, she discovers the person she buried, as well as the confidence, intimacy, and creativity she once believed came only from a bottle. Her tale will resonate with anyone who has been forced to reinvent themselves or struggled in the face of necessary change. It's about giving up the thing you cherish most-but getting yourself back in return.

Two Roads

Love and Treasure

Ayelet Waldman
Authors:
Ayelet Waldman

'AN AMBITIOUS, PERCEPTIVE NOVEL' GUARDIAN'A WONDERFULLY IMAGINATIVE WRITER' WASHINGTON POSTA fugitive train loaded with the plunder of a doomed people. A dazzling jewelled pendant in the form of a stylized peacock. And three men - an American infantry captain in World War II, an Israeli-born dealer in art stolen by the Nazis, and a pioneering psychiatrist in fin-de-siecle Budapest - who find their carefully-wrought lives turned upside-down by three fierce women, each locked in a struggle against her own history and the history of our times. And at the centre of Love and Treasure, nested like a photograph hidden in a locket, a mystery: where does the worth of a people and its treasures truly lie? What is the value of a gift, when giver and recipient have been lost - of a love offering when the beloved is no more?In an intricately constructed narrative that is by turns funny and tragic, thrilling and harrowing, with all the expertise and narrative drive that readers have come to expect from her work, Waldman traces the unlikely journey, from 1914 Budapest to post-war Salzburg to present-day New York, of the peacock pendant whose significance changes - token of friendship, love-offering, unlucky talisman - with the changes of fortune undergone by her characters as they find themselves caught up in the ebb and flow of modern European history.Spanning continents and a hundred years of turbulent history, encompassing war and revolution, the history of art, feminism and psychoanalysis, depicting the range of human feeling from the darkness of a shattered Europe to the ordinary heartbreaks of a contemporary New York woman, Love and Treasure marks the full maturity of a remarkable writer.

Mulholland Books

The Saint in Action

Leslie Charteris
Authors:
Leslie Charteris
Nicholas Brealey Publishing

50 Philosophy Classics

Tom Butler-Bowdon
Authors:
Tom Butler-Bowdon
Hodder Paperbacks

Lost Angel

Mandasue Heller
Authors:
Mandasue Heller

It's a world where crime is almost respectable - until passion ignites a disaster.Things start going wrong the day Johnny Conroy meets Ruth Hynes. He just wants to show his mates that he can pull hard-man Frankie Hynes' daughter, but before he knows it he is part of the Hynes family. And the Hynes family business, which is stealing cars. And there is no way he is ever going to get out of the marriage or the business alive . . . The only good thing in their hellhole of a marriage is his daughter Angel, as nice as her name and as innocent. And the only thing keeping Johnny sane is his secret life.But then Angel grows up and meets Johnny's new employee Ryan. He loves Angel - but the family secrets involve him, too. And they are about to explode.

Sceptre

Song Yet Sung

James Mcbride
Authors:
James Mcbride

In the tense days before the American Civil War, in the swamplands of the Maryland shore, a wounded slave girl and her visions of the future tear a community apart in a riveting drama of hope and redemption. Kidnappings, gunfights and chases ensue in this extraordinary story of violence, tragic triumph, and unexpected kindness.

Sceptre

Jewels: A Secret History

Victoria Finlay
Authors:
Victoria Finlay

Throughout history the desire for jewels has made and destroyed individual, families and even empires. Today, despite our ability to manufacture synthetics, gemstones still hold their appeal. Victoria Finlay investigates why in her extraordinary journey to uncover the hidden world of precious stones.The starting point is a sapphire given to her by her parents that was harvested, not by a miner as she had imagined but by men in muddy loincloths trawling a warm stream in Sri Lanka. The extraordinary travels in JEWELS: A SECRET HISTORY take her cycling along the Baltic Amber Route, down the emerald mines of Afghanistan.As we learn from a ruby trader in Burma, the more precious a jewel, the greater the human cost of acquiring it, and JEWELS: A SECRET HISTORY also explores the human histories of gemstones. Along the way we learn from Victoria, a qualified gemologist, how to grade a pearl, what New Age 'crystal therapy' is about, and why one of the rarest sapphires in the world is orange.Victoria Finlay's unique blending of travelogue and narrative history ensures that this book, the first for the general reader, will be as unforgettable as the stones themselves.

Chapter One

A MOST WANTED MAN, by John le Carré

Read the first chapter of John le Carré's A MOST WANTED MAN.

Extract

GRACE WILLIAMS SAYS IT LOUD, by Emma Henderson

Read an excerpt of Emma Henderson's GRACE WILLIAMS SAYS IT ALL, shortlisted for the Orange Prize 2011.

Chapter One: The House of Punk Sleep

WIDE AWAKE, by Patricia Morrisroe

Read an excerpt of the first chapter of Patricia Morrisroe's brilliant memoir about insomnia, WIDE AWAKE.

Chapter One

COLD GRAVE by Kathryn Fox

Read the first chapter of Kathryn Fox's latest thriller, COLD GRAVE.

Chapter One

SUNNYSIDE, by Glen David Gold

Read the first chapter of Glen David Gold's SUNNYSIDE.

Chapter One

COME SUNDAY, by Isla Morley

Read the first chapter of Isla Morley's COME SUNDAY.

First Chapter

THE SUMMER WITHOUT MEN, By Siri Hustvedt

Read the first chapter of Siri Hustvedt's THE SUMMER WITHOUT MEN.

by Howard Sounes

Amy Winehouse, and the 27 Club

Julie Corbin on losing someone close and her new book NOW THAT YOU'RE GONE.

Author Julie Corbin explores sibling relationships and our mechanisms for coping with loss in her fourth novel NOW THAT YOU'RE GONE . . .

Chapter One

UNEXPECTED LESSONS IN LOVE, by Bernardine Bishop

Read the first chapter of Bernardine Bishop's new book, UNEXPECTED LESSONS IN LOVE, published by John Murray in January 2013.

JA Kerley's introduction to The Saint

I intended to write this introduction wearing my scholar’s cloak, with an academically freighted deconstruction utilizing references to Conan Doyle, Sir Walter Scott, the chivalric code and inevitably, Freud. The erudition of my arguments and analyses would not only elucidate the psycho-ontological motivations behind Simon Templar, but make me look pretty damn smart as well. Then I picked up one of my ancient copies of Saint stories, selected ‘The Wonderful War’, and read about a banana republic invaded by one man with a delicious vision for justice. I smiled a lot and laughed aloud almost as often. I re-read passages to be tickled yet again. I set the book aside when finished, but had back it in my hands within an hour. In short, I read with the giddy joy of a thirteen-year-old. Which makes perfect sense, since I was thirteen when I met the Saint. A reader leaning heavily toward the mystery/ suspense genre, I had early immersion in the Bobbsey Twins, Seckatary Hawkins, and the Hardy Boys. I had read them to tatters when my father appeared in my bedroom one evening. ‘I think you’ll like these stories,’ he said, bearing The First Saint Omnibus. ‘They concern a man named Simon Templar, the Saint. They’re more sophisticated than you’re used to, and certainly racier, but I suspect you’ll enjoy that aspect.’ With those cryptic words he set the book in my palms and retreated, singing an odd song about the bells of Hell. Hoping my old man had not gone fully round the bend, I opened the book and, in my own way, have never closed it. I have read all the Saint sagas, including the three gems in Featuring the Saint, at least a dozen times each. If there is anything I as a writer have taken from my father’s prescient gift – and I’ve taken as much from Leslie Charteris as from John D. MacDonald, Robert Parker and James Lee Burke – it is that a good hero always has a moral code (though it might not be yours or mine), the innocent must be protected, and when the bad get a comeuppance, it should fit the crime. Oh . . . and beautiful women never detract from a story. ‘The Wonderful War’ is an all-time favourite, boasting nearly all of the hallmarks of a Saint mini-epic: a comely lady, a masterful plan, a Saintly versification, racy quotes regarding the actress and the Bishop, and The Song. Per a good Saint yarn, the malefactors are suitably venal and unattractive and – perhaps most irritating to Simon Templar – rude. All that’s missing is an appearance by Inspector Teal, though I suspect he might not be much at home in a South American bananocracy. And what grand invention is the country of Pasala . . . Charteris’s setting is a rip-roaringly comic and deviously accurate caricature of the era and locale. The world stops for siesta. The army is five hundred strong, with a general or colonel for every nine men. The navy consists of . . . well, you get the idea. The Saint stories are not for analysis, I realize, at least not by me. Not for deconstruction or preconstruction or anything akin to psychobabble. They’re simply masterworks of delight, asking only that you pick up the pages of a champion storyteller, hold your breath, and step within. You don’t analyse joy, you revel in it. Jack Kerley