One Month On – 29 October 2022

Almost one month in and we have celebrated Dylan Thomas night, are celebrating Halloween and find ourselves preparing for Christmas. If you missed Dylan Thomas night on 27th October, don’t panic; it’s always the perfect day to begin reading his work. Ideally whilst enjoying a slice of bara brith and a snifter of Penderyn whisky.

Dominating the celebrations has of course been the arrival of many stunning books. Here’s a small taster:

Liberation Day by George Saunders: we are so excited finally to have our hands on this new collection of subversive short stories, which examine how we live, through absurd and tender lenses.

Didn’t Nobody Give a Shit What Happened to Carlotta by James Hannaham: of course, it’s ridiculous to claim that something is the book of the year. As if you can pick one book. But this may be the book of the year. Carlotta, a trans woman, has just been released from a men’s prison. Over the course of one weekend, we meet a huge cast of characters in Brooklyn and follow Carlotta as she re-enters the outside world.

The Golden Mole and Other Living Treasure by Katherine Rundell: the shimmering golden cover is as spectacular as the writing. Rundell explores all that is wondrous in the world from the wombat to the hermit crab to the narwhal and, even, the human.

Fen, Bog and Swamp by Annie Proulx: what are the top five books you’ve read on peatland? … I’ll admit this has been a gap in my reading. As with her novels, Proulx’s writing shows an urgent concern for the Earth, taking us on a journey from the fens of 16th century England to the now ravaged Amazon rainforest.

Faith, Hope and Carnage by Nick Cave and Seán O’Hagan: the title promises and delivers all three through conversations between Cave and O’Hagan exploring the essential questions which drive Cave’s creativity.

The Secret Heart – John le Carré: An Intimate Memoir by Suleika Dawson: at last we hear from someone on the subject le Carré banned from Sisman’s biography and skated over in his autobiography: the women. Dawson’s account of her affair with le Carré is bold and insightful and so much more than a tell-all.

Everyone’s Invited by Soma Sara: in these essential essays on inequality, power, the patriarchy, and gender, Sara not only exposes the systems that create vast imbalances in society but also offers hope; she is a force to be reckoned with.

Cuts Both Ways by Candice Brathwaite (young adult): this is both a love story and a sharp look at growing up as a Black teen in Britain. Brathwaite’s novel explores themes of race and class in warm-hearted and witty prose.

The Arctic Railway Assassin by M. G. Leonard and Sam Sedgman (ages 9-12): we are thrilled by another instalment in the Adventures on Trains series. Hal and Uncle Nat’s train from Stockholm to the Arctic circle has an unwelcome passenger, to say the least…

The Frost Goblin by Abi Elphinstone and Fiona Woodcock (every age from very young to not so young): Bertie Crash-Wallop discovers a family of goblins who scatter frost, and magic with it, and joins them on an adventure. A beautifully illustrated fantastic caper.

Book groups

We are keen to hear from you if you are interested in joining a book group (fiction or non-fiction). Do get in touch by replying to this email.

Coming up

We will be launching a subscription service soon. We’ll try not to speak too much about such things as Christmas when the clocks haven’t even gone back yet but if you do find yourself thinking ahead and puzzling what to give to someone, this could be the answer.