Modern Love, Ancient Ancestors
Presenting Your Books of the Month for March
Debuts lead the way this month, with all but one of our choices introducing brand new voices, ranging from the sublime millennial challenges of Sally Rooney’s award-winning Conversations with Friends to the labyrinthine secrets of Venice in Philip Gwynne Jones’ The Venetian Game. Amongst them, our YA-orientated ‘Waterstones Loves’ strand makes a welcome return with Tomi Adeyemi’s Children of Blood and Bone: we feel it’s something very special.
Fiction Book of the Month
‘This novel,’ remarked the Daily Mail, ‘is the best I’ve read on what it means to be young and female right now.’ Bobbi and Frances; sometime friends, sometime lovers, two young students now on summer sojourn from Trinity College Dublin. Their equilibrium is suddenly knocked from its axis by photographer Melissa and her actor husband Nick. Two abruptly become four, Bobbi drawn to Melissa, Frances caught in the orbit of the older man; Conversations with Friends is the document of the aftermath.
Sally Rooney’s shrewd, wickedly funny debut scored her the Sunday Times/Peters Fraser and Dunlop Young Writer of the Year Prize 2017 and the mantle as the fresh voice of the millennial generation.
Non-Fiction Book of the Month
The cephalopods; squids, octopus, cuttlefish, animal brains separated from our own by 500 million years of evolution. Why then is their perception of the world so aligned with our own, with octopus making tools from shells, playfully shooting out aquarium lights with jets of water and leading divers by the hand to explore their environment?
Philosopher and diver Peter Godfrey-Smith shines a beguiling light on these magnificent creatures, revealing mesmeric parallels between our behaviour and theirs. At question is the basic evolution of consciousness and our own hubris: if faced with truly remarkable, but entirely alien intelligence, would we even recognise it?
Thriller of the Month
Perfect for those who drink in the urbane, dangerous delights of Donna Leon and Joseph Kanon. Our destination is beautiful Venice, where expat Nathan Sutherland – both translator and Honorary Consul - suddenly finds himself drawn into a dark game of low theft and high art. The wealthy and vindictive Moro brothers play puppet master from their elegant shadows, forcing Sutherland to draw deep on his guile and understanding of the city to sever their strings.
A faultless debut from an author who lives and breathes Venice; the next Nathan Sutherland adventure, Vengeance in Venice, is available to pre-order now and is published in April.
Children's Book of the Month
A truly ground-breaking work of fiction, destined to become a future classic, The Hate U Give is a gripping, fierce and unflinching novel of one girl’s struggle for justice. Inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, the story belongs to sixteen-year-old Starr, a young girl split between two worlds who finds herself the witness to a fatal tragedy. Powerful and unforgettable, her story exposes divisions of class, racial inequality and the misuse of power, opening up a fault line that lies at the very heart of modern America.
All our bookselling instincts tell us Children of Blood and Bone is a book apart. Posted to YouTube, author Tomi Adeyemi’s surge of tearful joy at seeing her debut in the flesh instantly went viral, lending something very real and important to the long journey of her novel finally finding print.
This is a tale brimming with courage, injustice, magic and star-crossed love, as young Zélie comes to terms with the extraordinary gifts she has been forced to keep hidden and the revenge that burns in her heart. With sweeping, prescient themes of race and heritage, Children of Blood and Bone is poised to be the breakout YA hit of 2018.
Scottish Book of the Month
Larchfield is the story of outsiders. In the now stands Dora, a poet, pregnant and newly married, a woman on the threshold of a new life on the west coast of Scotland. In the past hovers the figure of W.H. Auden, for whom Helensburgh was the site of exile.
In Polly Clark’s vivid fictional debut, Dora’s growing sense of isolation finds her reaching out across the decades to this powerful kindred spirit, suffocated by the reality of her relationship and her inability to find a place in her community. Deftly split between the present and Auden’s life as a teacher in the 1930s, Larchfield is a powerful exploration of the spirit’s survival, even when all is at its darkest.