In her powerful memoir All the Young Men, Ruth Coker Burks shares her experiences of caring for men with HIV and AIDS in the highly conservative1980s Arkansas. From helping them to find accommodation and work to taking care of their funeral arrangements, she forged deep friendships with those she looked after – often young gay men, shunned and vilified by their community, including their own families. In this exclusive piece, Coker Burks discusses the importance of bringing joy and hope in the middle of a desperate situation and why she decided now was the time to finally share her story.
As the BBC's North America Editor, Jon Sopel has been following the turbulence and trauma of the Trump administration for the past few years. His diary of the remarkable 2020 US election, UnPresidented, is a fascinating insider's insight into the madness and mayhem of the campaign trail. In this exclusive piece, Jon relects on recent events - including the storming of the Capitol by Trump supporters - and the waning power of the most divisive of US Presidents.
Such a Fun Age, our January Fiction Book of the Month, is an exhilarating and razor-sharp exploration of race, class and the blindfolds of privilege that the well-intentioned white liberal elite can never quite shake off. In this interview, the author Kiley Reid talks about her novel, the transactional relationships that play a key role in it, and why her favourite books tend to be those that open up questions rather than offer answers.
Posted on 8th Jan, 2021 by Anna Orhanen
In his new novel The Octopus Man, Jasper Gibson– the author of A Bright Moon For Fools (2013) and the co-founder of the UK's largest comedy site The Poke – maps the tentacled story of a once-brilliant law student who, seeking to silence the voice in his head, partakes in an experimental drug trial. At once compassionate, witty and humane, it is a novel peppered with piercing observations on the British mental health system and our society's fixation with 'normality'. In this exclusive piece, Gibson talks about how the idea for The Octopus Man was born and recommends five novels, each of which explores mental health issues in a unique and powerful way.
Posted on 6th Jan, 2021 by Mark Skinner
Lesley Parr wrote The Valley of Lost Secrets to reflect the values and environments of her working-class childhood in South Wales. In this exclusive piece, the author of the Waterstones Children's Book of the Month for January picks her favourite children's books that feature working-class children and communities.
Posted on 6th Jan, 2021 by Anna Orhanen
With a family held captive by their father and a mystery that refuses to bow to convention at its heart, Romy Hausmann's Dear Child, Our Thriller of the Month for January, marries a tightly-plotted page-turner with a uniquely haunting study in familial trauma and identity. In this exclusive piece, Hausmann discusses three books on families that have made a lasting impression on her.
Posted on 5th Jan, 2021 by Anna Orhanen
In her timely and powerfully argued book How to Do Nothing, American author, artist and educator Jenny Odell formulates a clear and insightful action plan for moving away from 'the attention economy' and finding alternatives to the capitalist narratives of efficiency and progress. We are delighted to share the Introduction from How to Do Nothing with the readers of our blog.
Posted on 7th Jan, 2021 by Anna Orhanen
A milestone is Japanese detective fiction by one of its great masters, Yukito Ayatsuji’s The Decagon House Murders is a dazzling tribute to Golden Age crime. Now available for the first time in English translation by Ho-Ling Wong, this superbly plotted puzzle-novel revolves around a group of mystery-minded university students who travel onto an island with a sinister history. In this exclusive piece, Wong writes about the real-life Kyoto University Mystery Club, to which Ayatsuji belonged and which inspired him in shaping his debut that became a cult classic.
John le Carré, who died on the 13th of December aged 89, was one of the towering figures of post-war British fiction. In this piece, we look back on the impeccable literary career of a writer who elevated the humble spy story into a work of art.
Posted on 28th Dec, 2020 by Mark Skinner
With new books from Liz Pichon, Julia Donaldson and Jacqueline Wilson on the horizon, 2021 is shaping up to be an exceptional year for children's literature. From picture books to Young Adult novels, here is our pick of the top titles to look out for.
Posted on 11th Dec, 2020 by Mark Skinner
Douglas Stuart's Shuggie Bain has proven a hugely popular winner of this year's Booker Prize with many acclaiming the tough-but-tender debut as a modern classic. Iain Macleod, a bookseller at our Glasgow Sauchiehall Street shop, has been in contact with Douglas since the spring; ever since he devoured a proof copy of Shuggie Bain in one sitting in fact. Combining some of Douglas's favourite authors with his own vast bookselling expertise, Iain has selected ten books that carry a little of Shuggie's - and Glasgow's - spirit within their compelling pages.
Posted on 28th Dec, 2020 by Mark Skinner
A new year requires a brand new 'to be read' pile and, if you are a lover of non-fiction, this is where we can really help. Covering everything from climate change to vegan cookery and World War II to Francis Bacon, here is our pick of the non-fiction highlights of 2021.
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