Well, if you enjoyed the last offering from Waterstones, how about this new selection for their Book Club?
Seating Arrangements by Maggie Shipstead
A winner of the 2012 Dylan Thomas prize and 2012 LA Times First Novel Prize, this New York Times bestseller has some high accolades. Seating Arrangements tells the story of the Van Meters as they gather at their family retreat on Waskeke island in New England to celebrate their daughter Daphne’s marriage. But it’s not long before the cracks begin to show through the perfect-seeming veneer of lobster, champagne, and a suitable chap to marry.
Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple
I can’t describe this book better than the blurb…
Bernadette Fox is notorious. To Elgie Branch, a Microsoft wunderkind, she’s his hilarious, volatile, talented, troubled wife. To fellow mothers at the school gate, she’s a menace. To design experts, she’s a revolutionary architect. And to 15-year-old Bee, she is a best friend and, quite simply, mum. Then Bernadette disappears. And Bee must take a trip to the end of the earth to find her. WHERE’D YOU GO, BERNADETTE is a compulsively readable, irresistibly written, deeply touching novel about misplaced genius and a mother and daughter’s place in the world.
Patrick Leigh Fermor by Artemis Cooper
Drawing on years of interviews and conversations with “Paddy” (Patrick Leigh Fermor) and his closest friends, and having complete access to his archives, Cooper artfully tells the story of one of the greatest travel writers of our time, creating a picture of a passionate, clever and loyal man, whose wartime exploits made him infamous, and his writing made him a national treasure.
The Honey Guide by Richard Crompton
How gorgeous is this jacket!? The Honey Guide is a crime fiction set during the turbulent elections in Nairobi, whose protagonist – the former Maasai warrior Mollel – finds himself assigned to the investigation of a brutal murder of a prostitute. Haunted by the death of his wife, Mollel finds the investigation soon uncovers something much more far-reaching than a simple murder. But are his instincts correct?
The Plantagenets by Dan Jones
Everyone knows the story of the Plantagenets – some of the best (and arguably worst) kings and queens in British history, who ruled for 8 generations. These royals brought Britain from the Dark Ages, to one of the biggest powers in Europe. They oversaw the introduction of laws, art, and monuments that last to this day. From the Crusades, to King John and the Magna Carta, to Richard II, this is an in-depth account of one of the most powerful families to ever live, and the Britain they built.
Unexpected Lessons in Love by Bernardine Bishop
When Cecilia Banks’ son Ian turns up on her doorstep with the rather unexpected result of a fling, she feels she has no choice but to take the baby in. Baby Cephas is not the only thing to contend with though – there’s the cancer, her friend and novelist Helen (who shares in the cancer), self-effacing husband Tim, and Ian himself. But Sister Diana Clegg in a convent in Hastings holds together the ties that binds them – and as events start to reveal the truth about Cephas, it is time to look at “madness, guilt, mortal dread and the gift of resilience”.
Penelope by Rebecca Harrington
Penelope O’Shaughnessy is a Harvard freshman. Complete with Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights poster and Noel Coward-esque party conversation at the ready, she is prepared for campus. But her kindred spirits seem to be lacking – her roommates are over-achieving and sullen respectively, and she can’t work out if (“dashing but elusive”) Gustav really does live up to her hero Hercule Poirot. From love, tutors, marionettes and the right number of kisses per cheek, Penelope has to quickly learn to navigate her first year among the elite of America.
Binocular Vision by Edith Pearlman
The first collection of short stories to ever be included in the Book Club, Pearlman’s Binocular Vision is a compilation of sharply astute tales. The New York Times described it as: ‘Pearlman writes about the predicaments – odd, wry, funny and painful – of being human …[Her] view of the world is large and compassionate, delivered through small, beautifully precise moments. Her characters inhabit terrain that all of us recognize, one defined by anxieties and longing, love and grief, loss and exultation. These quiet, elegant stories add something significant to the literary landscape.’
Our Spoons Came from Woolworths by Barbara Comyns
First published in 1950, I will leave it, once more, to the blurb to explain…
Marry in haste, repent at leisure. Sophia is twenty-one years old, carries a newt – Great Warty – around in her pocket and marries – in haste – a young artist called Charles. Swept into bohemian London of the thirties, Sophia is ill-equipped to cope. Poverty, babies (however much loved) and her husband conspire to torment her. Hoping to add some spice to her life, Sophia takes up with the dismal, ageing art critic, Peregrine, and learns to repent her marriage – and her affair – at leisure. But in this case virtue is more than its own reward, for repentance brings an abrupt end to a life of unpaid bills, unsold pictures and unwashed crockery …
The Collini Case by Ferdinand Von Schirach
The Collini Case has topped the German charts since publication as a high octane crime fiction… Fabrizio Collini worked for Mercedes Benz for years, until he turned up at at luxury hotel in Berlin and killed someone. Caspar Leinen, a young attorney, takes the case in the hope of making a name for himself by getting a not-guilty verdict for Collini. But all too late, he discovers that the victim is someone he knows, and he’s engulfed by a professional and personal dilemma. Collini, admitting guilt but not putting up a defence, becomes the centrepoint of a high risk mystery, where Leinen finds his reputation, career and friendships in danger. But then, when it can’t get any worse, he uncovers the terrible truth at the heart of German justice.
Which books do you think you’ll read?
Is there anything you’re particularly excited about?