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What London’s Reading Now: Amia Srinivasan and Frank Herbert top the list

·25-min read
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Each week we bring you a guide to the books flying off the shelves in London’s bookshops. This week’s bestselling top five includes a groundbreaking book about sex and a sci-fi classic.

The Right to Sex by Amia Srinivasan

This book by 36-year-old Oxford philosophy professor Amia Srinivasan is already being described as a landmark publication. It invites readers to rethink sex in the 21st century, moving beyond the focus on consent prompted by #MeToo and looking more broadly at gender, class, race and power.

Buy it here

Red Pill by Hari Kunzru

The narrator of this thought-provoking novel from Hari Kunzru, now out in paperback, falls down an internet wormhole into the world of the alt-right. Part thriller, part state-of-the-nation study, it’s the perfect read for anyone looking for an intelligent pageturner this summer.

Buy it here

Dune by Frank Herbert

Two words: Timothee Chalamet. The Hollywood starlet is about to star in a major adaptation of Dune, released in cinemas this October, prompting lots of Londoners to nab a copy of the book. Many consider it the greatest science fiction novel ever written, and its influence on the genre is immeasurable. And at 592 pages, it should keep you going nicely until it arrives on screens.

Buy it here

Renegade Snares by Ben Murphy and Carl Loben

Finally we can go out out and listen to VERY LOUD MUSIC again. Want to know more about the sounds that you’re shimmying to? This book, released in September and popular on pre-orders this week, promises to be the definitive read on drum and bass music.

Buy it here

Underbelly by Anna Whitehouse

Anna Whitehouse, AKA Mother Pukka founders Anna Whitehouse and Matt Farquharson, has been getting high praise. It’s the story of two mothers who meet at the school gates, one living a middle-class Instagram dream and the other struggling to keep food on the table; readers can’t put it down. The duo’s work has previously been described as “fantastically umsmug”.

Buy it here

What London’s Reading Now: August 6, 2021

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12 Bytes: How We Got Here. Where We Might Go Next by Jeanette Winterson

Will artificial intelligence control us or collaborate with us? That’s the question Jeanette Winterson is wrestling with in a new series of fascinating - if slightly scary - essays about the rise of robots. Our reviewer David Marsland says Winterson is a witty guide through all of the issues (and also has some great knowledge about sci-fi movies).

Buy it here

The Cult of We by Eliot Brown and Maureen Farell

What went wrong with WeWork? The start-up that wanted to reimagine the future of work was worth $47 billion at one point, and founder Adam Neumann had a set of devoted disciples. But it all went wrong, with Neumann parting ways with the company in 2019 and many left scratching their heads as to what happened. This gripping read charts its rise and fall and offers some answers.

Buy it here

The Appeal by Janice Hallett

This witty thriller is giving Richard Osmond’s Thursday Murder Club a run for its money in the cosy crime stakes, as it continues to charm readers. Hallett’s debut, set in a sleepy town where an am-dram production of All My Sons is in the works, is funny and full of twists. Amateur sleuths and thespians alike will love it.

Buy it here

A Town Called Solace by Mary Lawson

The Booker bounce continues, with this longlisted novel by Canadian author Mary Lawson rising up the charts. Set in 1970s Ontario, the novel explores three intertwined stories: an older sister gone missing, a new-to-town man visited by the police, and a woman who is reflecting on a tragedy as she nears the end of her life. Anne Tyler is a fan.

Buy it here

An Island by Karen Jennings

Also benefiting from its place on the Booker dozen is Karen Jennings’ novel about a lighthouse keeper on an isolated island, who has to contend with an unexpected visitor. Released by a small publisher with a print run of only 500 copies, it was a surprise inclusion - but happily its Booker nod means it’s now reaching many more readers.

Buy it here

What London’s Reading Now: July 30, 2021

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Vaxxers by Sarah Gilbert and Catherine Green

Wait, you mean Professor Sarah Gilbert and Dr Catherine Green not only helped to come up with a Coronavirus vaccine in less than 12 months, but they’ve managed to write a book about it as well? Unbelievably, it’s true. This is the inside story about what it took to come up with a jab to help fight a global pandemic. Read it before someone inevitably makes a film of it starring Benedict Cumberbatch.

Buy it here

My Child and Other Mistakes by Ellie Taylor

This blackly comic and relatable book by TV presenter and stand-up Ellie Taylor is a wry, honest look at the reality of motherhood. Read it if you’re preparing for parenthood, or just to enjoy Taylor’s funny writing about her ‘decision to have a baby when she doesn’t even like them’.

Buy it here

Stoke Newington: The Story of a Dissenting Village by Rab MacWilliam

You don’t have to be a resident of Stokey to find this book fascinating. Rab McWilliams charts the eclectic and often radical history of Stoke Newington, where famous residents have included Edgar Allan Poe, Mary Wollstonecraft, the Kray Twins and Harold Pinter.

Buy it here

No One Is Talking About This by Patricia Lockwood

The Booker longlist has already made an impact on the reads that Londoners are picking up this week. Patricia Lockwood’s unique debut, about a woman who becomes unexpectedly famous for her viral tweets, is already on the Woman’s Prize shortlist - and this week it made the Booker dozen too.

Buy it here

Great Circle by Maggie Shipstead

Also on the Booker longlist is this hefty pageturner about a female aviator, and the woman playing her in a Hollywood film years later. Shipstead’s ambitious, smart storytelling makes it a must-read this summer.

Buy it here

What London’s Reading Now: July 23, 2021

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You Are a Champion: How to Be the Best You Can Be by Marcus Rashford

While people in Manchester covered Marcus Rashford’s mural in messages of love, Londoners have been picking his book. The footballer/campaigner/national treasure recently published a self-help guide for young people to encourage them to believe in themselves, and it’s one of the most popular books in the capital this week.

Buy it here

Ghosted by Jenn Ashworth

In Jenn Ashworth’s fifth novel, a woman’s husband disappears without a trace - but she doesn’t notify the police until more than a month has passed. The reason for her delay is at the heart of this unsettling, mysterious book, which is laced with dark humour.

Buy it here

Landslide by Michael Wolff

Just how bonkers did things get in the final days of the Trump administration? Michael Wolff’s third book on the orange president offers a ringside seat to the chaos. You might have already blanked all that from your mind, but our reviewer Nick Curtis says the book also points out that, alongside the often unintentional comedy, there’s a lot about Trump’s influence that isn’t funny at all.

Buy it here

(M)otherhood: On the choices of being a woman by Pragya Agarwal

This wide-ranging study of motherhood combines vast research with Behavioural Scientist Pragya Agarwal’s own personal experiences. From the way that it has been used to control women’s bodies in history to the stigma still faced by some women who decide not to have children, it’s an incisive, modern overview of the challenges that remain.

Buy it here

The Startup Wife by Tahmima Anam

It’s not easy being a woman working in the dude-bro world of tech, something that the protagonist of this novel can vouch for. PhD student Asha comes up with a brilliant concept for a ground-breaking app, supported by her charismatic husband. The app is hugely successful - but Asha finds control slipping away from her in this satire on startup culture.

Buy it here

This list has been compiled with thanks to bookshop.org and Daunt Books

What London’s Reading Now: July 16, 2021

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Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid (Cornerstone, £14.99)

Taylor Jenkins Reid is the queen of addictive beach reads, and her latest is calling out to bookworms across the capital. Set in Malibu in the Eighties, the action takes place at the Riva family’s summer party; as their dad was a famous singer, everyone is gagging for an invite. Except by the end of the night, the mansion has gone up in flames. Big Little Lies meets Daphne du Maurier? We love it.

Buy it here

What White People Can Do Next by Emma Dabiri (Penguin, £7.99)

Following the racist abuse faced by England players after Sunday’s Euros final, Londoners are picking up this practical guide to how allyship and connections can help to combat racial injustice. Emma Dabiri’s bestselling book uses research and personal experiences to interrogate the intersections between racism and capitalism.

Buy it here

More Than a Woman by Caitlin Moran (Ebury, £8.99)

A decade ago, Caitlin Moran’s How to be a Woman helped kick start a more mainstream discussion of feminism. The follow-up, now out in paperback, looks at where we are ten years on, and the fresh challenges faced by women in their forties.

Buy it here

The Paper Palace by Miranda Cowley Heller (Penguin, £14.99)

It’s no surprise that the debut novel from Miranda Cowley Heller has a cracking story at its heart - she was an exec at HBO for years, working on classic shows like The Sopranos and The Wire. Exploring the story of Elle Bishop’s summer at her Cape Cod holiday home, and the dark secret she’s holding inside, it’s a top tier page turner. In her review, Susannah Butter describes it as a prestige TV box set waiting to happen: “It is easy to see The Paper Palace as a TV show. It has strong Big Little Lies energy.”

Buy it here

We Need to Talk About Money by Otegha Uwagba (HarperCollins, £14.99)

Part commentary, part memoir, Otegha Uwagba’s new book explores one of our biggest remaining conversational taboos: money. From getting a payrise to paying the rent, it’s the book you need to read if you want to start changing your relationship with money - and thinking more deeply about why it’s so hard to discuss.

Buy it here

What London’s Reading Now: July 9, 2021

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A Manual for Being Human by Dr Sophie Mort (Simon & Schuster, £14.99)

Hands up if you’re feeling a bit funny at the moment? After the year we’ve just had, you might be finding it hard to navigate the return to normality. Step up, Dr Sophie Mort. Her new book is a practical guide to looking after your mental health and understanding yourself better, so it’s easier to cope with anxious moments. It couldn’t have arrived at a better time.

Buy it here

Apeirogon by Colum McCann (Bloomsbury. £8.99)

Colum McCann’s novel about an unlikely friendship between two fathers in Jerusalem, both of whom have lost their daughters, has been on prize shortlists all over the place. Described by the New York Times as “an empathy machine”, it’s the literary heavyweight summer read of choice for Londoners all over the city.

Buy it here

An A-Z of Pasta by Rachel Roddy (Penguin, £25)

Love pasta so much that you want to cook it and read essays about it? We’re with you. Hooray, then, for this tribute to our beloved carby friend by award-winning food writer Rachel Roddy. It contains 100 recipes, from classics to the more newfangled, as well as essays about the history and culture of Italian cuisine.

Buy it here

The Authority Gap by Mary Ann Sieghart (Transworld , £16.99)

Why are women still so underestimated? This new book speaks to heavy-hitters from Booker Prize winner Bernardine Evaristo to Supreme Court judge Baroness Hale, to try and get to the bottom of one big question: why are women not taken as seriously as men?

Buy it here

Rebuild: How to Thrive in the New Kindness Economy by Mary Portas (Transworld, £14.99)

The pandemic changed everything, and now we’re all thinking about how to build back better. That’s the concern at the heart of this new book from queen of the high street Mary Portas, who writes about how businesses can thrive in a time of changing consumer habits. Her theory is that it’s no longer just about simply buying - but about creating a brand that people want to buy into.

Buy it here

This list has been compiled with thanks to bookshop.org

What London’s Reading Now: July 2, 2021

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The Promise by Damon Galgut (Chatto & Windus, £16.99)

The latest novel from two-time Booker-shortlistee Damon Galgut has been garnering some pretty ecstatic praise from critics and authors alike. “The most important book of the last ten years”, “astonishing” and “a literary masterpiece” are just three of the choice bouquets thrown its way. It tells the story of a white family in South Africa who have broken a promise made to a black woman who worked for them, and copies are flying off the shelves across the capital.

Buy it here

What Artists Wear by Charlie Porter (Penguin, £14.99)

Feeling uninspired after a year of working in your trackies? This new book from critic and curator Charlie Porter looks at the sartorial choices of artists including Yayoi Kusama, Yves Klein, Andy Warhol and Cindy Sherman, to explore the creative possibilities in the clothes we wear.

Buy it here

Unwell Women: A Journey Through Medicine And Myth in a Man-Made World by Elinor Cleghorn (Orion, £16.99)

It took historian Elinor Cleghorn seven years of pain and pointless doctors appointments to finally be given a diagnosis of Lupus. It inspired her to write a book about the ways that women have been failed by medicine throughout history, from an obsession with ‘hysteria’ to poor treatment of conditions like endometriosis. It’s an important - and infuriating - read.

Buy it here

Filthy Animals by Brandon Taylor (Daunt Books Publishing, £9.99)

Brandon Taylor follows up his Booker-shortlisted campus novel debut, Real Life, with a blistering set of short stories that London can’t seem to put down. Our reviewer Claire Allfree said Taylor is as good as writing about the microtensions in millennial relationships as Sally Rooney, so it’s easy to see why.

Buy it here

Get Your Play On by Coralie Sleap with Laura Bayliss (Harper Collins, £16.99)

If you feel like life is all work and no play, you should probably read this book. It promises to help us get back in touch with our imaginations, harness our inner child, and learn how to live a more playful - and therefore less boring - existence. It suggests activities to bring the fun back into our lives, along with scientific evidence that play makes us less stressed.

Buy it here

This list has been compiled with thanks to bookshop.org and Daunt Books

What London’s Reading Now: June 25, 2021

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The Queer Bible: Essays edited by Jack Guinness (HarperCollins, £20)

Based on the website queerbible.com, founded by writer and model Jack Guinness, this book brings together a starry array of queer icons writing about their own queer icons. Elton John writes a tribute to Divine; Graham Norton pays homage to Armistead Maupin; Paris Lees pens an ode to Edward Enninful. That’s to name a few, and there are lots of lovely illustrations to accompany it all.

Buy it here

Love After Love by Ingrid Persaud (Faber and Faber, £8.99)

Ingrid Persaud turned heads with her award-winning short story The Sweet Sop, and has followed it up with an equally celebrated debut novel, which won the 2020 Costa First Novel Award. It follows an unconventional, makeshift family — a widowed mother, her son, and a lodger — whose union falls apart after some drunken revelations.

Buy it here

Cut Short: Youth Violence, Loss and Hope in the City by Ciaran Thapar (Penguin, £16.98)

Britain is in the midst of a youth violence epidemic, and it affects us all. That’s the message of this sobering book, which follows the lives of real-life people affected by the ongoing tragedy, speaks to experts about what needs to be done, and offers fresh hope for a better world — change that is undeniably needed.

Buy it here

Hey You! by Dapo Adeola (Penguin Random House Children’s UK, £7.99)

A beautifully realised book, helmed by illustrator Dapo Adeola and featuring a number of other excellent artists, this is a portrait of the Black experience while growing up. From the pain of systemic racism to the hope of the future, it’s an honest but largely uplifting read, aimed at children particularly.

Buy it here

My Name Is Why by Lemn Sissay (Canongate, £9.99)

Poet Lemn Sissay has ascended to national treasure status in the last few years, partly due to an absolute stonker of a Desert Island Discs episode, but mainly just because he is pretty great. His extraordinarily moving memoir about his difficult early years, which saw him rejected by the family that adopted him and put into care, is now out in paperback and is rightly being read by Londoners all over the capital.

Buy it here

What London’s Reading Now: June 18, 2021

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Small Pleasures by Clare Chambers (Orion, £8.99)

Clare Chambers was on the verge of giving up her career as a novelist, until she heard the story of a woman who claimed to have had a virgin birth. After publishing several books to acclaim but modest sales, she saw the idea as one last roll of the dice - and the result, Small Pleasures, went on to become a massive word-of-mouth success. Set in humid 1950s London suburbia, it’s a huge pleasure of a book - deliriously unputdownable. Thank god she didn’t give up.

Buy it here

Burning the Books: A History of Knowledge Under Attack by Richard Ovenden (Hodder & Stoughton, £10.99)

No, this isn’t an academic study of Jeanette Winterson’s recent Twitter post, but an extensive history of those who have sought to destroy written records. From books to historical documents, why have people tried to erase certain writings - and who are the people that stop them? Ovenden, who runs the Bodleian Libraries in Oxford, looks back at 3,000 years of history, from the Dead Sea Scrolls to Donald Trump’s tweets.

Buy it here

Piranesi by Susanna Clarke (Bloomsbury, £14.99)

Over fifteen years since her doorstop of a debut, Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell, Susanna Clarke’s second novel is a slimmer, more mysterious affair. Set in a dreamlike world with endless rooms and corridors, Piranesi explores the house alone - except for twice a week, when a man called The Other appears. The novel is on the shortlist for this year’s Women’s Prize, which has pushed back its winners announcement to September due to the lockdown easing delay.

Buy it here

Agent Sonya by Ben Macintyre (Penguin. £8.99)

Ben Macintyre’s latest gripping spy biography is keeping Londoners occupied on these hot summer days. Telling the story of Ursula Kuczynski Burton (code name: Sonya), her story is fascinating, not least because she juggled her top level secret operations with being a wife and mother, switching from baking scones to passing on intel about making an atomic bomb. James Bond could never.

Buy it here

This list has been compiled with thanks to bookshop.org

What London’s Reading Now: June 11, 2021

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Sorrow and Bliss by Meg Mason (Orion, £14.99)

You know that book that only comes along every so often, that seems to unite everyone who has read it in a sort of delirious fervour? Sorrow and Bliss is that book. Bound to be this month’s word-of-mouth hit, it follows Martha’s quest to try and be a normal adult human while living with a mental illness. It’s utterly compelling and darkly funny: the book you have to read this summer.

Buy it here

The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett (Little Brown, £8.99)

Brit Bennett’s highly acclaimed second novel about black twins who follow very different paths is hotly tipped to pick up the Women’s Prize next week. Desiree stays in their small Southern town to bring up her daughter, while Stella leaves her sister behind and forges a new identity, passing as white. Expect to see this book, now out in paperback, on sun loungers and Instagram feeds everywhere this summer - a brilliant pageturner with vital things to say about family and identity.

Buy it here

Four Thousand Weeks by Oliver Burkeman (Vintage, £16.99)

If you feel like you never have enough time, you’re probably right. According to writer Oliver Burkeman, we’ve all got about four thousand weeks on average. His latest book is all about re-framing the amount of time we have, so you can stop freaking out about how little you have and start working on how to use it constructively.

Buy it here

A Field Guide to Larking by Lara Maiklem (Bloomsbury, £14.99)

Life hasn’t been much of a lark lately, so time to swot up on larking. Following the success of her previous book, Mudlarking, Maiklem teaches us how to find treasures in our surroundings, from beaches to fields, and even in our home. And you can keep track of your finds - there’s space in the book to note things down.

Buy it here

Assembly by Natasha Brown (Penguin, £12.99)

It may be just 100 pages long, but Natasha Brown’s debut novel arrives with a wave of admirers. Telling the story of a young Black British woman whose successful career in banking is disrupted by racism and a cancer diagnosis, it has been compared to Virginia Woolf’s Mrs Dalloway.

Buy it here

This list has been compiled with thanks to bookshop.org

What London’s Reading Now: June 4, 2021

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Conversations on Love by Natasha Lunn (Penguin, £14.99)

Got questions about love? How we find it, how we keep it, and what to do without it? This collection of interviews conducted by journalist Natasha Lunn might just hold the answers. Lunn speaks to authors and experts — from Roxane Gay and Lisa Taddeo to Dolly Alderton and Alain de Botton — and delves into a myriad of topics: parenthood, loneliness, change, vulnerability and beyond.

Buy it here

Absorbed by Kylie Whitehead (Cinder House, £9.99)

An exploration of female insecurity, this novel from Kylie Whitehead follows Alison, a budding novelist who’s given up on her writing dreams and settled on a boring office job. Worried that she’s losing anything at all remarkable about her own life and concerned that her boyfriend is slipping away from her, she absorbs him. It’s an eerie take on the all-consuming nature of romantic relationships.

Buy it here

The Other Black Girl by Zakiya Dalila Harris (Bloomsbury, £14.99)

A swirl of social commentary and thrilling mystery, this buzzed-about debut novel from Zakiya Dalila Harris follows Nella, a Black publishing assistant in an otherwise all-white office. When Hazel, another Black employee, joins the company, Nella thinks she’s finally found an ally — but then the dynamics begin to shift, and things take a turn for the worse.

Buy it here

Cut from the Same Cloth? Muslim Women on Life in Britain, edited by Sabeena Akhtar (Unbound, £9.99)

Giving hijab-wearing Muslim women a platform to speak about everything from faith and politics to education and pop culture, this book brings together essays by 21 writers of all ages. It busts stereotypes, deconstructing the two-dimensional depictions of hijabis, and asks that “we, as a society, stop with the hijab-splaining and make space for the women who know”.

Buy it here

This list has been compiled with thanks to bookshop.org

What London’s Reading Now: May 28 2021

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Real Estate by Deborah Levy (Hamish Hamilton, £10.99)

Deborah Levy’s ‘living autobiography’ series, full of sage-like wisdom about life and evocative descriptions of food and travel, has garnered a cult following - and for good reason. The final instalment offers elegant reflections on home and the things we own; you’ll whizz through it and then want to read the whole thing again.

Buy it here

What It Feels Like For a Girl by Paris Lees (Penguin, £20)

Set to be one of this summer’s must-reads, Paris Lees’ debut book is a coming-of-age memoir about her early life in the East Midlands. Written in Nottingham dialect, it’s a story of growing up in a small town, with deliciously evocative tales of Noughties nights out.

Buy it here

Empire of Pain by Patrick Radden Keefe (Pan Macmillan, £20)

Journalist Patrick Radden Keefe’s Say Nothing, about a mysterious murder during The Troubles, was vital and unputdownable reading. For his next book, he turns his attention to the Sackler dynasty and its involvement with manufacturing the drug OxyContin - a painkiller that played a major role in the devastating opioid addiction crisis. This is unflinching reporting of a story that will grip and disturb you.

Buy it here

How the One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House by Cherie Jones (Headline, £16.99)

This debut novel from Cherie Jones made the shortlist for the Women’s Prize for Fiction (the winner will be revealed on July 7). It’s set on a beautiful beach in Barbados, but this paradise is not all it seems - this is a startling tale of murder, violence and poverty from an important new voice.

Buy it here

The Secret to Superhuman Strength by Alison Bechdel (Jonathan Cape, £16.99)

It’s been an almost ten year wait for a new book from pioneering graphic novelist Alison Bechdel. Her two previous books explored her relationship with her parents, and now the woman behind the Bechdel Test (aka a short and snappy way of finding out if your film is sexist) takes a look at her lifelong obsession with exercise.

Buy it here

This list has been compiled with thanks to bookshop.org and Daunt Books

What London’s Reading Now: 21 May 2021

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(Publisher handouts)

Slug by Hollie McNish (Little, Brown, £14.99)

In this briskly enjoyable prose and poetry collection, McNish plunges in at the deep end, covering a range of subjects from masturbation to menstruation, from periods to parenting. Writing about her late grandmother brings tear while her poem Nobody Told Me, about the awfulness of being a teenage girl - remember - is quite something.

Buy it here

One: Pot, Pan, Planet: A Greener Way to Cook for You, Your Family and the Planet by Anna Jones (HarperCollins, £26)

It’s all about fruit and veg, with the occasional indulgent splash of coconut milk or exotic spice. Mainly though, it’s sticking to seasonal and British, eliminating waste and remembering to compost. Pictures are gorgeously drained-down and recipes are simple.

Buy it here

The Anthropocene Reviewed by John Green (Ebury, £16.99)

We are living in an age of hyper-acceleration, also known as the Anthropocene, characterised by continuous change, from pandemics to global warming. Best known for his hit novel, The Fault In Our Stars, Green analyses how we can best cope, by ‘reviewing’ products from Dr Pepper to Canada Goose, and their impact on the planet.

The Baby Is Mine by Oyinkan Braithwaite (Atlantic, £1)

Set in Lagos, like her last novel, The Baby is Mine reimagines an Old Testament tale in a 2020 context. Part drama, part thriller, it is a gripping distillation of Braithwaite’s distinctive brand of comic domestic noir. Quick Reads is an adult literacy initiative; for every copy purchased up to July 31st, another is gifted to a less assured reader.

Buy it here

Editor’s Choice: The Pursuit of Love: With Love in a Cold Climate and The Blessing by Nancy Mitford (Penguin, £10.99)

If you’ve only just discovered Nancy Mitford’s frothy acid-laced humour and affectionate take-down of the upper-classes in England between the wars courtesy of the BBC adaptation of The Pursuit of Love, treat yourself to this triple whammy. Orfully amusing, but also with an edge of sadness about the fleeting nature of love.

Buy it here

What London’s Reading Now: 14 May 2021

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(Friday_reading_14.5.21.jpg)

Waypoints: A Journey on Foot by Rob Martineau (Cape, £16.99 )

At the age of 27, Martineau, a lawyer in London, quit his job and embarked on a 1,000 mile walk with a backpack through West Africa, from Accra to Ouidah on the Beninese Coast. This is his story, beautifully-written, of how his pilgrimage of sorts changed him forever.

Buy it here

Material Girls: Why Reality Matters for Feminism by Kathleen Stock (Little Brown, £16.99)

Stock tackles several key axioms of trans activism, from the idea that everyone has an inner gender identity that might not match our biological sex to the pressure on people to acknowledge and legally protect gender identity instead of biological sex. Clear-sighted.

Buy it here

What London’s Reading Now: 7 May 2021

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What White People Can Do Next: From Allyship to Coalition by Emma Dabiri (Penguin, £8)

From the Irish Nigerian author of Don’t Touch My Hair comes this essay which challenges the whole genre of anti-racism books that have become the new darlings of the publishing industry. Putting black squares on your website just doesn’t cut it. Buy it here

Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro (Faber, £20)

Klara, an artificial friend - ie a robot - to young Josie, is curious to learn more about the strange world around her, including the complex emotions of humans. Set in an imaginary futuristic city somewhere in the US, the Nobel Prize winner’s seventh novel packs a devastating emotional punch with gentle determination. Buy it here

Detransition, Baby by Torrey Peters(Serpent’s Tail, £14.99)

Could this be the most unconventional love story ever written? Reese, a trans woman breaks up with her girlfriend, Amy, also trans, who then detransitions, only to impregnate his boss, Katrina; when Katrina becomes pregnant, Reese has the chance to become a mother. Long listed, albeit controversially, for this year’s Woman’s Prize. Buy it here

Letters to Camondo by Edmund de Waal (Chatto, £14.99)

Following the success of his bestselling The Hare with Amber Eyes, de Waal imagines through a series of made-up letters to Count Moïse de Camando, the lives and turbulent times of the count and his family, as he wanders through their treasure-filled Parisian palace, the Musee Nissim de Camondo, unchanged since 1936. Buy it here

Editor’s Choice: Bear by Marian Engel (Daunt, £9.99)

Hailed as an erotic masterpiece when it was first published in the 1970s, this Canadian feminist tale, published in the UK for the first time, about a woman having sex with a bear in the wilds of northern Ontario, is completely nutty but oddly beguiling. Buy it here

This list has been compiled with thanks to bookshop.org and Daunt Books

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