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I take these titles from a number of sources, including the highlighted books on The Bookseller, my own knowledge of authors to watch, and various lists around the web, and while I can’t claim to have read them, they definitely seem to have merit — or, at least, buzz. Unless indicated otherwise, descriptions are taken from Goodreads, Amazon, or the publisher’s site.
From Holmes to Sherlock: The Story of the Men and Women Who Created an Icon, by Mattias Bostrom, translated by Michael Gallagher (1st August, UK and US, non fiction)
In From Holmes to Sherlock, Swedish author and Sherlock Holmes expert Mattias Bostrom recreates the full story behind the legend for the first time. From a young Arthur Conan Doyle sitting in a Scottish lecture hall taking notes on his medical professor’s powers of observation to the pair of modern-day fans who brainstormed the idea behind the TV sensation Sherlock, from the publishing world’s first literary agent to the Georgian princess who showed up at the Conan Doyle estate and altered a legacy, the narrative follows the men and women who have created and perpetuated the myth. It includes tales of unexpected fortune, accidental romance, and inheritances gone awry, and tells of the actors, writers, readers, and other players who have transformed Sherlock Holmes from the gentleman amateur of the Victorian era to the odd genius of today.
Freshers, by Tim Ellen and Lucy Ivison (3rd August, UK, YA)
Uni beckons. Phoebe can’t wait to be a fresher – especially since her crush from school will be there too. She’ll be totally different at Uni: cooler, prettier, smarter … the perfect potential girlfriend. She’ll reinvent herself completely. But Luke’s oblivious, still reeling from the fallout of the break-up with his ex. Thrown head first into a world of new friends, parties and social media disasters – can Phoebe and Luke survive the year, let alone find each other?
Is Monogamy Dead?: Rethinking Relationships in the 21st Century, by Rosie Wilby (3rd August, UK and US, essays/humour)
In early 2013, comedian Rosie Wilby found herself at a crossroads with everything she’d ever believed about romantic relationships. When people asked, ‘who’s the love of your life?’ there was no simple answer. Did they mean her former flatmate who she’d experienced the most ecstatic, heady, yet ultimately doomed, fling with? Or did they mean the deep, lasting companionate partnerships that gave her a sense of belonging and family? Surely, most human beings need both. Mixing humour, heartache and science, Is Monogamy Dead? details Rosie’s very personal quest to find out why Western society is clinging to a concept that doesn’t work that well for some of us and is laden with ambiguous assumptions.
Tip of the Tongue: Reflections on Language and Meaning, by Peter Brook (10th August, UK, non fiction)
In Tip of the Tongue, legendary theatre-maker Peter Brook takes a charming, playful and wise look at topics such as the subtle yet telling differences between French and English, and the many levels on which we can appreciate the works of Shakespeare. Brook also revisits his seminal concept of the ’empty space’, considering how theatre and the world have changed over the span of his long and distinguished career.
I Thought There Would Be Cake, by Katharine Welby Roberts (17th August, UK, memoir/non-fiction)
Growing up, Katharine Welby-Roberts imagined that being an adult was one big party. But depression, anxiety and crippling self-doubt led her to alienate herself from others. To replay events and encounters as nightmares. Occasionally, to be unable to leave the house. Aware of the cacophony of voices in her head, Katharine invites us to join her as she journeys to the depths of her soul. Here, with instinctive honesty and humour, she confronts the parts of her story that hinder her most. As she charts a course that offers ways of coping with everyday issues, we are encouraged to embrace our own self-worth. To recognize the value of our existence. To let ourselves be loved. Exactly as we are.
Friend of My Youth, by Amit Chaudhuri (24th August, UK, literary fiction)
In Friend of My Youth, a novelist named Amit Chaudhuri visits his childhood home of Bombay. The city, reeling from the impact of the 2008 terrorist attacks, weighs heavily on his mind, as does the unexpected absence of his childhood friend Ramu, a drifting, opaque figure who is Amit’s last remaining connection to the city he once called home. Amit Chaudhuri’s new novel is about geographical, historical and personal change. It asks a question we all grapple with in our lives: what does it mean to exist in both the past and the present?
Every Word is a Bird We Teach to Sing: Encounters with the Mysteries & Meanings of Language, by Daniel Tammet (24th August, UK, memoir/essay)
Tammet goes back in time to explore the numeric language of his autistic childhood; he looks at the music and patterns that words make, and how languages evolve and are translated. He meets one of the world’s most accomplished lip readers in Canada, learns how endangered languages like Manx are being revived and corresponds with native speakers of Esperanto in their mother tongue. From the art of translation to the lyricism of sign language, Every Word is a Bird We Teach to Sing is a fascinating journey through the world of words, letters, stories and meanings, and an extraordinary testament to the stunning range of Tammet’s literary and polyglot talents.
Orderly Britain: How Britain Has Resolved Everyday Problems, From Dog Fouling to Double Parking, by Andrew Ward and Tim Newburn (24th August, UK, non fiction)
Written in an accessible style, full of quirky tales, this book provides an unusual approach to recent British social history. We read about social-order problems, boiling-point incidents, and the emergence of new expectations and control systems through our chosen topics. Through accessible, intriguing, prosaic tales – the hounding of beatniks in Cornwall in the 1960s, the banning of dogs from Burnley parks in the 1970s, the London parking crisis of the 1980s, the Naked Rambler in the 2000s – Orderly Britain reflects on the deeper sociological roots of our changing social order.
Pop Stars in My Pantry: A Memoir of Pop Mags and Clubbing in the 1980s, by Paul Simper (24th August, UK, memoir)
Author, columnist and TV writer Paul Simper had a front-row seat at one of pop stardom’s most exciting shows: the 1980s. His memoir, Pop Stars in My Pantry, is an account of a wide-eyed, wet-behind-the-ears lad from Wiltshire landing in London just as the capital’s club scene went into orbit. As a pop writer and fellow clubber, he had unique access to the artists who would become the biggest pop acts of the decade.
Writing Diverse Characters For Fiction, TV or Film: An Essential Guide for Authors and Script Writers, by Lucy V. Hay (24th August, UK, US eBook only, non fiction)
How to Write Diverse Characters discusses issues of race, disability, sexuality and transgender people with specific reference to characterisation – not only in movies and TV, but also novel writing. Writers have to catch up. Knowing not only what makes a ‘good’ diverse character doesn’t always cut it; they need to know what agents, publishers, producers, filmmakers and commissioners are looking for – and why. This book gives writers the tools to create three dimensional, authentic characters … who just happen to be diverse.
Living the Dream, by Lauren Berry (15th August, upmarket women’s fiction)
A cheeky, charming debut about twentysomething best friends in London navigating their careers and love lives past post-collegiate turmoil and into adulthood with lots of pints along the way.
The Party, by Elizabeth Day (15th August, literary fiction)
Martin has a secret. He knows something about Ben, something he will never tell. It is a secret that will bind the two of them together for the best part of 25 years. At Ben’s 40th birthday party, the great and the good of British society are gathering to celebrate in a haze of champagne, drugs and glamour. Amid the hundreds of guests – the politicians, the celebrities, the old-money and newly rich – Martin feels that disturbing pang of not-quite belonging. His wife, Lucy, has her reservations too. There is disquiet in the air. But Ben wouldn’t do anything to damage their friendship. Would he?
The Doll Funeral, by Kate Hamer (15th August, thriller)
On Ruby’s thirteenth birthday, a wish she didn’t even know she had suddenly comes true: the couple who raised her aren’t her parents at all. Her real mother and father are out there somewhere, and Ruby becomes determined to find them. Venturing into the forest with nothing but a suitcase and the company of her only true friend—the imaginary Shadow Boy—Ruby discovers a group of siblings who live alone in the woods. The children take her in, and while they offer the closest Ruby’s ever had to a family, Ruby begins to suspect that they might need her even more than she needs them. And it’s not always clear what’s real and what’s not—or who’s trying to help her and who might be a threat.
You Don’t Know Me but I Know You, by Rebecca Barrow (29th August, YA)
There’s a box in the back of Audrey’s closet that she rarely thinks about. Inside is a letter, seventeen years old, from a mother she’s never met, handed to her by the woman she’s called Mom her whole life. Being adopted, though, is just one piece in the puzzle of Audrey’s life—the picture painstakingly put together by Audrey herself, full of all the people and pursuits that make her who she is. But when Audrey realizes that she’s pregnant, she feels something—a tightly sealed box in the closet corners of her heart—crack open, spilling her dormant fears and unanswered questions all over the life she loves.