The Waterstones Book Club

With the very best of last year’s hardback publishing now shifting format into paperback, May traditionally provides some hugely rich pickings.

For our new carefully-chosen Book Club selection, this year is no exception, with standout works from pedigree authors Pat Barker, Jonathan Coe and Louis de Bernières through to two impressive debuts we’d be delighted to put your way.

This week, we're reading...

Hitman Anders and the Meaning of It All

Hitman Anders and the Meaning of It All by Jonas Jonasson

Seven years ago, Jonas Jonasson’s exuberant debut The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared swept across Europe and quickly established itself as a mainstay of comic fiction in our shops. A similar feel for the fantastic bubbles through Jonasson’s now third book, Hitman Anders and the Meaning of It All, an absurdist romp through Sweden, where three highly unusual strangers embark on a lucrative new venture that may just involve a certain amount of assassination. When their key player however suddenly finds his faith in Jesus, a need for an audacious plan B only adds fuel to an already blazing fire…

Our spring Book Club

The Gracekeepers by Kirsty Logan

The Gracekeepers by Kirsty Logan

The Gracekeepers charts the narrative of two young women – one a dancer with an extraordinary floating circus, the other a sea-borne grave-tender, the gracekeeper of the title – who, despite their outward differences, seem intimately linked. Logan weaves a profound sense of the ocean’s wonder and dread together with ancient Celtic myth to create a properly original debut novel.

The Dust That Falls from Dreams by Louis de Bernières

The Dust That Falls From Dreams by Louis de Bernières

This is a hugely confident, charming and deeply moving book, befitting the singular talent who delivered Captain Corelli’s Mandolin back in the nineties. The sequence of terrible conflicts that defined the early stages of the twentieth century provides The Dust That Falls from Dreams its edge of continual, uncertain tragedy; three families – one Scottish, one American, one Anglo-French – torn apart by the horrors of war in France and Afghanistan, find equal moments of love and tenderness in a novel sensitively punctuated by a patchwork of letters, poems and diary extracts.

Noonday by Pat Barker

Noonday by Pat Barker

Noonday brings to a close the trilogy Pat Barker began with the earlier Life Class and Toby’s Room, two interwar novels foreshadowed by the devastating wartime events of the third. A besieged, blasted London provides an apocalyptic stage for our trio of sometime Slade artists, now consumed by home front activity, each searching for reason and meaning amongst the madness and violence.

Number 11 by Jonathan Coe

Jonathan Coe’s heightened sense of the absurd has provided us with some of our most savage satiric novels, notably 2001’s The Rotters’ Club and his reputation-establishing What a Carve Up! from which, two decades later, Number 11 arrives as an approximate sequel. Here Coe holds a very polished mirror to a disquietly disintegrating Britain, the proper rot heralded by the aftermath of the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Alison and Rachel, two young women attempting to find their way in the world, provide an effective counterpoint to the novel’s grimly-laconic parade of the idiotic and the hateful.

Early One Morning by Virginia Baily

Virginia Baily’s second novel neatly sidesteps the usual tropes for war-set novels with an intimate but swiftly-paced tale where one snap decision opens up a lifetime of consequence. Early One Morning moves between a battle-torn Rome and its comparative, cosmopolitan bliss of the seventies as Chiara Ravello is haunted by memories of Daniele, a boy saved from certain death by her own selflessness. Deeply wounded by Daniele’s subsequently troubled life, a telephone call prompts her to confront the shadows of her own past.

The Loney by Andrew Michael Hurley

The Loney by Andrew Michael Hurley

Originally published by Ray Russell’s specialist horror press Tartarus, Andrew Michael Hurley’s decidedly unsettling debut The Loney was one of those bookseller word-of-mouth novels that gathered momentum by the sheer merit of its writing, ultimately going on to bag the Costa First Novel Award for 2015. Deftly conjuring the rain-soaked wastes of the Lancashire coast, Catholic faith and the seemingly supernatural underpin a disturbing coming of age for a boy and his mentally disturbed brother.

Black Eyed Susans by Julia Heaberlin

Black Eyed Susans by Julia Heaberlin

Accomplished Texan author Julia Heaberlin expertly applies a sense of genuine, sinking dread to Black Eyed Susans, a thriller that soared to the top of our charts on its publication in March. For decades, serial killer survivor Tessa has been rebuilding her life following her near-fatal attack and now a man stands on trial for this and the murder of several other women. An efficient defence team however have other ideas, opening a door to Tessa’s past and some deeply uncomfortable secrets..

Previous Book Club books

Here at Waterstones we think long and hard to ensure our Book Club titles reflect the incredible breadth of British paperback publishing at its best. With this in mind, we’re quietly confident that any of our past Book Club titles will offer a genuinely compelling read.