Note: Patreon subscribers get access to these monthly posts at the beginning rather than the end of the month. To join them, click here! Having said that, since this is a strange time, the world is topsy-turvy, people are hungry for books, and authors need us more than ever, this month I’m sending it out to everyone early.
Happy Newish Month, dear Readers!
It’s a strange time for everyone, including the publishing industry. Lots of publishing dates have been pushed to this autumn or even 2021, so I only have a few recommendations this month.
I know the authors of these new releases would really appreciate your support — it’s rough having a book out right now. Yes, I am giving you permission to spend money on books by calling it a public service.
Wherever you can, please use bookshop.org to buy books published in the US — you’ll be supporting independent bookshops, who really need you right now. Besides, that other big online store is “de-prioritising books”, which means that you’ll get them much more slowly. For UK published books, Blackwells.com is the way forward. Plus, if you follow my links, you’ll be sending a few affiliate pennies my way, too, which is much appreciated — and is at no extra cost to you.
Anywayyyy, on with the show!
I take the titles for these monthly posts 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 all, they definitely seem to have merit — or, at least, buzz. Unless indicated otherwise, descriptions are taken from Goodreads, Amazon, or the publisher’s site.
The most reliable place to find UK books in the original British English and at the date at which they come out in the UK is blackwells.com, which has free international delivery, including to the US. (If you follow my link and most of the links in this post, you’ll also be generating a few pennies to support the podcast, and I really appreciate that!) You might also have some luck with wordery.com, as well as bookdepository.com, which is owned by Amazon.
Also, you may be able to find some of these books as audiobooks on Libro.fm — enter code BRITLIT to get your first 3 books for less than $5 each!
The Lizard by Dugald Bruce-Lockhart (UK, hardback 28th April, UK and US audio 7th May 2020, literary fiction)
Obsessed with his ex-girlfriend, Alistair Haston heads off to Greece, where she is on holiday. Mugged on the harbour side in Paros, he is robbed of everything. So when Ricky, a charming Aussie, shows up and offers Alistair a job recruiting tourists to pose for his wealthy boss, Heinrich, a charismatic, German artist, Alistair accepts. He soon realises that it is more than just painting that Heinrich has in mind.
Swept away on a tide of wild parties, wild sex, fine food and drugs, Haston sheds his reserve and throws himself headlong into the pursuit of pleasure. Until the body of a missing tourist is found and the finger of blame points to Haston. His world collapses. Arrested but allowed to escape, the body count piles up, and Haston finds himself on the run by land and sea on a journey more breathtaking and more frightening than his wildest dreams.
The Cabinet of Calm, by Paul Anthony Jones (UK, 14th May, non-fiction)
The Cabinet of Calm has been designed to be picked up whenever you need a moment of serenity. Just select the emotion listed that reflects whatever you’re feeling and you’ll be offered a matching linguistic remedy: fifty-one soothing words for troubled times.
From ‘melorism’ to ‘stound’, ‘carpe noctem’ to ‘opsimathy’, these kind words – alongside their definitions and their stories – will bring peace, comfort and delight, and provide fresh hope.
Written with a lightness of touch, The Cabinet of Calm shows us that we’re not alone. Like language, our emotions are universal: someone else has felt like this before and so there’s a word to help, whatever the challenge.
So much more than a book of words, The Cabinet of Calm will soothe your soul and ease your mind. It’s the perfect gift.
Heat Stroke, by Hazel Barkworth (UK 28th May 2020, literary thriller)
They meet at school. He is wild and fascinating. He understands her like no one else can. Theirs is a love story that was never supposed to happen.
It would be fair to assume this book is about fifteen-year-old Lily, who disappears at the beginning of a stifling, sultry summer. But this isn’t the story you think you’re reading…
Heatstroke is an intense exploration of crossed boundaries, power and betrayal, and the dark lengths people will go to in the name of love.
For Emily, by Katherine Slee (UK, 28th May, women’s fiction)
A little dedication goes a long way. That’s why Catriona Robinson, the country’s favourite children’s author, always dedicated her books to those who touched her life the most – not least Emily, her reclusive granddaughter.
Emily never thought too much about these dedications. But when Catriona dies unexpectedly, each one becomes a cryptic clue in a breadcrumb trail that apparently leads to her lost, unpublished manuscript.
It’s a mystery only Emily can solve. But to do so she will have to walk in her grandmother’s footsteps, into the wider world she’s spent her whole life hiding away from . . .
The High Moments, by Sara-Ella Ozbek (UK and US audio and ebook, 28th May, UK paperback, 17th September, literary fiction)
Scarlett makes mistakes – over and over again.
She’s not perfect, she has a tricky relationship with her mother and is desperate for people to like her.
She repeatedly goes back to the people that hurt her, no matter how badly.
She moves to London with no plan (of course), but manages to land a job at a modelling agency. Finally, she’s getting her life on track, but the fashion industry is a murkier place than she had imagined.
She changes herself to please others.
Just as she starts to find her place, Scarlett’s life begins to spiral. But at least people know her, she is starting to become someone. And surely it’s better to be someone – even if it’s someone you hate?