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March 2015 Newsletter

FICTION

The Last Road Trip - By Gareth Crocker

lastFollowing the poignant death of a man they barely knew, four friends decide to make the most of what's left of their lives. Abandoning the humdrum routine of life at their retirement estate, they embark on a thousand-mile road trip that will take them from the furthest corner of the Kruger Park to the blazing stars of Sutherland for the biggest adventure of their lives and one last hurrah together. Along the way, they rediscover things about themselves that they thought had long since been lost. Above all, they discover that it's never too late to start living.

 

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry

fikryA.J. Fikry owns a failing bookshop. His wife has just died, in tragic circumstances. His rare and valuable first edition has been stolen. His life is a wreck. Amelia is a book rep, with a big heart, and a lonely life Maya is the baby who ends up on A.J.'s bookshop floor with a note. What happens in the bookshop that changes the lives of these seemingly normal but extraordinary characters? This is the story of how unexpected love can rescue you and bring you back to real life, in a world that you won't want to leave, with characters that you will come to love.

 

 

The Extraordinary Journey - By Romain Puértolas

51OnVqfWLArmed only with a counterfeit 100-Euro note, Ajatashatru the fakir arrives in Paris. His mission? To acquire a splendid new bed of nails. His destination? IKEA. Once there he finds an obliging wardrobe in which to lay his head, only to discover on waking that he is locked in and headed for England in the back of a truck. So begins a magnificent adventure for the intrepid fakir as he travels to Italy in a suitcase, writes a novel on a shirt, flees a revenge-crazed taxi driver, flies to Libya in a hot air balloon and finds love in the unlikeliest of places…

 

 

Mobile Library - By David Whitehouse

mobileTwelve-year-old Bobby Nusku is an archivist of his mother. He catalogues traces of her life and waits for her to return home. Bobby thinks that he's been left to face the world alone until he meets lonely single mother Val and her daughter Rosa. They spend a magical summer together, discovering the books in the mobile library where Val works as a cleaner. But as the summer draws to a close, Bobby finds himself in trouble and Val is in danger of losing her job. There's only one thing to do -- and so they take to the road in the mobile library...Quirky, dark, magical and full of heart, Mobile Library is both a tragicomic road trip and a celebration of the adventures that books can take us on. It's a love-letter to unlikely families and the stories that shaped us.

 

The Nightingale - By Kristin Hannah

nightDespite their differences, sisters Viann and Isabelle have always been close. Younger, bolder Isabelle lives in Paris while Viann is content with life in the French countryside with her husband Antoine and their daughter. But when the Second World War strikes, Antoine is sent off to fight and Viann finds herself isolated so Isabelle is sent by their father to help her. As the war progresses, the sisters' relationship and strength is tested. With life changing in unbelievably horrific ways, Viann and Isabelle will find themselves facing frightening situations and responding in ways they never thought possible as bravery and resistance take different forms in each of their actions.

 

The Book of Lost and Found - By Lucy Folley

lostIn many ways, my life has been rather like a record of the lost and found. Perhaps all lives are like that. It’s when life started in earnest. HERTFORDSHIRE, 1928. The paths of Tom and Alice collide against a haze of youthful, carefree exuberance. And so begins a love story that finds its feet by a lake one silvery moonlit evening. It’s when there were no happy endings. PARIS, 1939. Alice is living in the City of Light, but the pain of the last decade has already left its mark. There’s a shadow creeping across Europe when she and Thomas Stafford – now a world famous artist – find each other once more. It’s when the story begins. LONDON, 1986 Bequeathed an old portrait from her grandmother, Kate Darling uncovers a legacy that takes her to Corsica, Paris and beyond. And as the secrets of time fall away, a love story as epic as it is life-changing slowly reveals itself . . . Sweeping and heartrending – the perfect read for fans of Victoria Hislop and Kate Morton.

Too Close to Home - By Susan Lewis

closeJenna and Jack Moore have moved their family to Wales for a fresh start. For vivacious, happy-go-lucky fifteen-year-old Paige the future is full of promise.But suddenly everything changes. Paige becomes more and more withdrawn. The closeness she once shared with her mother a distant memory. It then becomes clear that Jack has secrets too. Preoccupied with her younger children, her husband’s fidelity and their fledgling publishing company, Jenna doesn’t realise the extent of her eldest daughter’s unhappiness until the unthinkable happens. And the nightmare is only just beginning…

 

NON - FICTION

The Looting Machine - By Tom Burgis

LOOTA shocking investigative journey into the way the resource trade wreaks havoc on Africa, ‘The Looting Machine’ explores the dark underbelly of the global economy. Africa: the world’s poorest continent and, arguably, its richest. While accounting for just 2 percent of global GDP, it is home to 15 per cent of the planet’s crude oil, 40 per cent of its gold and 80 per cent of its platinum. A third of the earth’s mineral deposits lie beneath its soil. But far from being a salvation, this buried treasure has been a curse.‘The Looting Machine’ takes you on a gripping and shocking journey through anonymous boardrooms and glittering headquarters to expose a new form of financialized colonialism. Africa’s booming growth is driven by the voracious hunger for natural resources from rapidly emerging economics such as China. But in the shadows a network of traders, bankers and corporate raiders has sprung up to grease the palms of venal local political elites. What is happening in Africa’s resource states is systematic looting. In country after country across the continent, the resource industry is tearing at the very fabric of society. But, like its victims, the beneficiaries of this looting machine have names.

Mission to South Africa - By Robin Renwick

missionAn insider’s blow-by-blow account of the release of Nelson Mandela and dismantling of apartheid by the ambassador who was in the midst of these events. Appointed to South Africa as Margaret Thatcher’s envoy, Lord Renwick became a personal friend of Nelson Mandela, FW de Klerk and Mangosuthu Buthelezi, acting as a trusted intermediary between them. He describes meetings with PW Botha, warning him against military attacks on the neighbouring countries and arguing for lives of the Sharpeville Six, as ‘like visiting Hitler in his bunker’. He persuaded Margaret Thatcher to descend on Windhoek in support of the Namibia agreement. His close relationship with FW de Klerk helped him to get international support for his reforms. On the eve of his epoch-making speech to Parliament of 2 February 1990, De Klerk told him: ‘You can tell your Prime Minister she will not be disappointed’. He paints a vivid portrait of Mandela (‘far wilier, and a bit less saintly than others have portrayed him’), describing his meetings with him immediately after his release, inviting him to his first meal in a restaurant in Johannesburg for 27 years, rehearsing him for his meeting with Margaret Thatcher – and telling Thatcher that she must not interrupt him! The iron lady warmed to her visitor, but told him to ‘stop all this nonsense about nationalisation’. The Mandela charm worked no less effectively on the Queen, who he took to calling ‘Elizabeth’ and persuaded to dance with him in the royal box in the Albert Hall.

Code Name: Johnny Walker - By Jim DeFelice

CODENight after night, he guided the U.S. Navy SEALs through Iraq's most dangerous regions. A translator operating under the code name "Johnny Walker," he risked his life on more than a thousand missions and became a legend in the U.S. special-ops community. But in the eyes of Iraq's terrorists and insurgents, he and his family were marked for death because he worked with the Americans. Fearing for Johnny's safety, the SEALs heroically took it upon themselves to bring him and his family to the United States. With inside details on SEAL operations and a deeply personal understanding of the tragic price paid by ordinary Iraqis, Code Name: Johnny Walker is a gripping and unforgettable true story that reveals a side of the war that has never been told before.

The Boer War - By Martin Bossenbroek

boerThe Anglo-Boer War (1899–1902) is one of the most intriguing conflicts of modern history. In this award-winning book, Martin Bossenbroek brings a new perspective to this chapter of South African history, critically examining the involvement of the Netherlands in the war. Unlike other accounts, the author explores the war primarily through the experiences of three men uniquely active during the bloody conflict. They are Willem Leyds, the Dutch lawyer who was to become the South African Republic state secretary and eventual European envoy Winston Churchill, then a British war-reporter; and Deneys Reitz, the young Boer commando. The vivid and engaging experiences of these three men enable a more personal and nuanced story of the war to be told, and at the same time offer a fresh approach to a conflict that shaped the nation-state of South Africa. This English edition, masterfully translated from the Dutch by Yvette Rosenberg, follows Jacana Media’s publication of the Afrikaans translation of the book in October 2014 (Die Boereoorlog). The book was first published in the Netherlands in 2013, where it was a bestseller and went on to be shortlisted for the preeminent AKO Literature Prize and win the National Dutch History Prize 2013. Both the English and Afrikaans volumes serve to cement the critical acclaim already received by Mr Bossenbroek in his homeland and offer the South African reader the chance to savour his storytelling powers.

Leaving Before the Rains Come - By Alexandra Fuller

leavingLeaving Before the Rains Come begins with the dreadful first years of the American financial crisis when Fuller’s delicate balance between American pragmatism and African fatalism, the linchpin of her unorthodox marriage—irrevocably fails. Recalling her unusual courtship in Zambia elephant attacks on the first date, sick with malaria on the wedding day Fuller struggles to understand her younger self as she overcomes her current misfortunes. Fuller soon realizes what is missing from her life is something that was always there: the brash and uncompromising ways of her father, the man who warned his daughter that "the problem with most people is that they want to be alive for as long as possible without having any idea whatsoever how to live." Fuller’s father "Tim Fuller of No Fixed Abode" as he first introduced himself to his future wife was a man who regretted nothing and wanted less, even after fighting harder and losing more than most men could bear. Leaving Before the Rains Come showcases Fuller at the peak of her abilities, threading panoramic vistas with her deepest revelations as a fully grown woman and mother. Fuller reveals how, after spending a lifetime fearfully waiting for someone to show up and save her, she discovered that, in the end, we all simply have to save ourselves.An unforgettable book, Leaving Before the Rains Come is a story of sorrow grounded in the tragic grandeur and rueful joy only to be found in Fuller’s Africa.

Laughing all the Way to the Mosque - Zarqa Nawaz

laughingBeing a practicing Muslim in the West is sometimes challenging, sometimes rewarding and sometimes downright absurd. How do you explain why Eid never falls on the same date each year; why it is that Halal butchers also sell teapots and alarm clocks; how do you make clear to the plumber that it's essential the toilet is installed within sitting-arm's reach of the tap? Zarqa Nawaz has seen and done it all. And it's not always easy to get things right with the community either: Zarqa tells of being asked to leave the DBW (Dead Body Washing) committee after making unsuitable remarks; of undertaking the momentous trip to Mecca with her husband, without the children, thinking (most incorrectly) that it will also be a nice time to have uninterrupted sex; of doing the unthinkable, and creating Little Mosque on the Prairie, a successful TV sitcom about that very (horrified, then proud) community. You have to laugh.

Naked and Marooned - By Ed Stafford

naked‘I stood on the beach truly alone for the first time. I would not see another person for sixty days. I was on an uninhabited tropical island and I had nothing with me to help me survive. No food, no equipment, no knife and not even any clothes. All I had was my camera kit so that I could intimately record my self-inflicted sentence.’ What if you were abandoned on a tropical island with no food or water, no basic equipment, not even a knife, and no clothes – could you survive? Extreme adventurer Ed Stafford isn’t sure, but he’s about to find out as he pushes himself to the limit in this gripping and inspirational test of human survival. For sixty days, with only his explorer’s instinct and a video camera to record his experiences, Ed faces the ultimate feat of physical and mental endurance. He confronts blazing heat and brutal loneliness; eats snails to escape starvation and battles illness, dehydration and fatigue in what is his most dangerous, and at times life-threatening, challenge to date.

Love in Time of Contempt - By Joanne Fedler

loveIn Love in the Time of Contempt Joanne Fedler won’t tell you how to be the ‘perfect’ parent. She’s not a psychologist or an academic. But she is the mother of two teenagers, and she knows how it feels to be the parent of someone sprouting hair, zits and attitude all over the place.

 

 

 

The Man Who Couldn't Stop - By David Adam

the manHave you ever had a strange urge to jump from a tall building, or steer your car into oncoming traffic? You are not alone. In this captivating fusion of science, history and personal memoir, writer David Adam explores the weird thoughts that exist within every mind, and how they drive millions of us towards obsessions and compulsions. David has suffered from OCD for twenty years, and The Man Who Couldn't Stop is his unflinchingly honest attempt to understand the condition and his experiences. What might lead an Ethiopian schoolgirl to eat a wall of her house, piece by piece; or a pair of brothers to die beneath an avalanche of household junk that they had compulsively hoarded? At what point does a harmless idea, a snowflake in a clear summer sky, become a blinding blizzard of unwanted thoughts? Drawing on the latest research on the brain, as well as historical accounts of patients and their treatments, this is a book that will challenge the way you think about what is normal, and what is mental illness.Told with fierce clarity, humour and urgent lyricism, this extraordinary book is both the haunting story of a personal nightmare, and a fascinating doorway into the darkest corners of our minds.

Sweet - By Sam Linsell

91T7tvXFL  SL1500 Sweet – a word that in the culinary realm evokes thoughts of decadence, irresistible deliciousness, indulgence and yes, taste-bud bliss. Those treats we crave when we’re happy, sad or in in need of a pick-me-up, and which make the world feel like a wonderful place. The dizzy array of sweet temptations that Sam Linsell presents in Sweet will make your head spin and take you back to that state of excited contemplation you experienced as a child before a birthday party. But unlike the sweet treats of childhood, many a traditional offering has been given an adult twist. All you need to do is yield to temptation and move into the kitchen.

CHILDRENS FICTION

0 - 7 YEARS

The Great Balloon Hullaballoo - By Peter Bently

greatWhen Simon the squirrel's mum sends him off to the shop, Simon decides to fly to the moon in Old Uncle Somerset's hot air balloon in search of cheese. Shopping in outer space is very exciting, but proves to be a bit of a distraction.

 

The Great Dog Bottom Swap - By Peter Bently

great dogThe day has arrived for the Dogs' Summer Ball. The event is so high class in fact, that each dog must remove their bottom before they are allowed inside the hall. But in the middle of all the frivolity something unexpected happens and the dogs have to make a hasty exit . . . with or without the correct bottom.

 

The Bedtime Bear - By Ian Whybrow

bedtimeBedtime isn't bedtime without a bear, but who knows where the Bedtime Bear spends his day? With flaps to lift, wheels to turn and a pop-up on every spread, follow one little bear's adventures on his whacky way to bed! This is a fantastic new larger format paperback edition of the classic pop-up book, with an eye-catching new foiled cover.

 

The Tickle Book - By Ian Whybrow

ticklePull the tabs and lift the flaps and discover how very tickly a book can be. Watch the Ticklemonster in action, tickling his animal friends at every opportunity: monkeys in the train, pigs on the farm, penguins playing and bears in bed.

8 - 12 YEARS

Ruby Goldberg's Bright Idea - By Anna Humphrey

rubyTen-year-old Ruby Goldberg is determined to win her school science fair and beat her nemesis Dominic Robinson. She’s snagged second place for the last two years, and she’s set on claiming first prize. The only trouble is that Ruby has no ideas. When her grandfather’s beloved basset hound dies, Ruby thinks of the perfect thing that will cheer him up and win her first place an innovative, state of the art, not to be duplicated Ruby Goldberg invention! Before long Ruby is so busy working on her idea that she ignores everything else in her life, including her best friend, Penny. And what started out as simple turns into something much more complicated! Can Ruby get her priorities and her project in order before it’s too late?

Writing Magic - By Gail Levine

writingIn Writing Magic, Newbery Honor author Gail Carson Levine shares her tricks of the trade. She shows how you can get terrific ideas for stories, invent great beginnings and endings, write sparkling dialogue, develop memorable characters—and much, much more. She advises you about what to do when you feel stuck—and how to use helpful criticism. Best of all, she offers writing exercises that will set your imagination on fire. With humor, honesty, and wisdom, Gail Carson Levine shows you that you, too, can make magic with your writing.

The Myster of the Lion's Tail - By Harper Paris

greetingEthan, Ella, and their parents travel to the Maasai Mara in Kenya where they stay in a cabin and venture out on safaris every day in search of The Big Five game animals—the African elephant, the Cape buffalo, the leopard, the rhinoceros, and, of course, the lion. The kids are so excited when they see four of the five animals within the first few days, but where are the lions? Both Ethan and Ella could swear they’ve seen a lion’s tail poking out from behind a tree, but they cannot seem to find the animal itself! Then, the twins talk to a boy and girl who live in the Maasai Mara. The locals give Ethan and Ella some clues about spotting lions. With a little help and some good detective work, the twins discover a whole lion family on their last day in Kenya!

The Forbidden Library - By Django Wexler

forbiddenWhen Alice's father goes down in a shipwreck, she is sent to live with her uncle Geryon--an uncle she's never heard of and knows nothing about. He lives in an enormous manor with a massive library that is off-limits to Alice. But then she meets a talking cat. And even for a rule-follower, when a talking cat sneaks you into a forbidden library and introduces you to an arrogant boy who dares you to open a book, it's hard to resist. Especially if you're a reader to begin with. Soon Alice finds herself INSIDE the book, and the only way out is to defeat the creature imprisoned within.

 

Paws and Whiskers - By Jacqueline Wilson

pawsThis special anthology features the very best stories about cats and dogs from the world of children's literature, chosen by bestselling author and Battersea Cats and Dogs Home patron Jacqueline Wilson. Includes a brand new story by Jacqueline herself, Leonie's Pet Cat, as well as extracts from treasured classics such as The Hundred and One Dalmatians by Dodie Smith and Gobbolino the Witch's Cat by Ursula Moray Williams, and from modern favourite writers such as Anne Fine and Patrick Ness. The book also features personal new pieces from many authors about their own treasured pets, with contributions from Michael Morpurgo, Philip Pullman, Malorie Blackman and more. This is a collection to enjoy and share for many years.

TEEN - FICTION

Playlist for the Dead - By Michelle Falkoff

playlistPart mystery, part love story, and part coming-of-age tale in the vein of The Perks of Being a Wallflower and The Spectacular Now. There was a party. There was a fight. The next morning, Sam's best friend, Hayden, was dead. And all he left Sam was a playlist of songs and a suicide note: For Sam—listen and you'll understand. To figure out what happened, Sam has to rely on the playlist and his own memory. But the more he listens, the more he realizes that his memory isn't as reliable as he thought. And it might only be by taking out his earbuds and opening his eyes to the people around him that he'll finally be able to piece together his best friend's story. And maybe have a chance to change his own.

Russian Roulette - By Anthony Horowitz

russianAn international contract killer has been given his orders. His next target is a fourteen-year-old spy ...Alex Rider. The man's name is Yassen Gregorovich. He knows Alex well. The two of them share a secret from the past. As he considers his next mission, Yassen remembers the forces that turned him from an ordinary schoolboy into a hired assassin. What is it that makes someone choose to do evil? What would it take to make them kill? This thrilling adventure will be the deadliest yet...

The Last Leaves Falling - By Sarah Benwell

leavesAnd these are they. My final moments. They say a warrior must always be mindful of death, but I never imagined that it would find me like this . . . Japanese teenager, Sora, is diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease). Lonely and isolated, Sora turns to the ancient wisdom of the samurai for guidance and comfort. But he also finds hope in the present; through the internet he finds friends that see him, not just his illness. This is a story of friendship and acceptance, and testing strength in an uncertain future.

 

 

 

 

Published in Newsletter Archive