Reading

Claire’s Week in Books, 8th to 15 th Jan 2017

Inbox

liccle-bit
Liccle Bit, by Alex Wheatle (paperback, UK book via BookDepository.com)

“Venetia King is the hottest girl at school. Too bad Lemar is the second shortest guy in his year. Everyone calls him Liccle Bit, and his two best friends, McKay and Jonah, never tire of telling him he has no chance with girls. Things aren’t much better at home. His mum is permanently hassled, his sister a frustrated single mum and his dad moved out years ago. Liccle Bit wishes he could do something – anything! – to make life better. A new phone would be a start…

When Venetia starts paying Liccle Bit attention, he secretly hopes he’s on a fast track to a first date. Unfortunately, as a new gang war breaks out, he finds himself on a fast track to something much more sinister. South Crongton’s notorious gang leader has taken an interest in Liccle Bit. Before he knows what’s happening, he finds himself running errands. But when he hears about a killing on the estate, Liccle Bit is forced to question his choices. How can he possibly put things right?”

number-11

Number 11, by Jonathan Coe (paperback, UK book via BookDepository.com)

“The novel opens in the early aughts: two ten-year-olds, Alison and Rachel, have a frightening encounter with the “Mad Bird Woman” who lives down the road. As the narrative progresses through time, the novel envelops others who are connected to the girls: Alison’s mother, a has-been singer, competing on a hit reality TV show; Rachel’s university mentor confronting her late husband’s disastrously obsessive search for a German film he saw as a child; a young police constable investigating the seemingly accidental and unrelated deaths of two stand-up comedians; the ludicrously wealthy family who hire Rachel as a nanny–under whose immense London mansion Rachel will discover a dark and terrifying secret. Psychological insight, social commentary, vicious satire, and even surrealist horror are combined in this highly accomplished work to hold up a revealing, disquieting mirror to the world we live in today.”

paradise-lodge

Paradise Lodge, by Nina Stibbe (hardback, UK book via BookDepository.com)

“This is the story of Lizzie Vogel, a 15 year old girl who finds herself working in an old people’s home in Leicestershire in the 1970s. The place is in chaos and it’s not really a suitable job for a schoolgirl: she’d only gone for the job because she wanted a new phase and it seemed too exhausting to commit to being a full-time girlfriend or a punk. Lizzie has some knowledge of old people (they’re not suited to granary bread, and you mustn’t compare them to toddlers) but she doesn’t know there’s a right way to get someone out of the bath, or what to do when someone dies.

When a rival old people’s home with better parking and daily chairobics threatens to take all their patients, Paradise Lodge’s cast of staff and helpers, from the assertively shy Nurse who only communicates through little grunts to the son of the Chinese takeaway manager who’s renowned for his erotic handholding techniques, have to come together to save the home before it’s too late.”

persiguiando-a-silvia

Persiguiendo a Silvia, by Elisabet Benavent (Spanish book via BookDepository.com)

“Y tú ¿qué estarías dispuesta a hacer por amor?
Si disfrutaste con la saga Valeria, ¡Engánchate al fenómeno Silvia!¡Te vas a enamorar!
Silvia trabaja en una importante multinacional y está perdida.
Silvia necesita encontrar a alguien para olvidar a Álvaro.
Álvaro es su jefe y acaba de romperle el corazón.
Bea, su mejor amiga, le propone un viaje.
Y allí Silvia se encuentra con Gabriel…
Gabriel es una estrella de rock y también tiene problemas.
Silvia y Gabriel conectan desde el principio.
Y pronto descubrirán que ese encuentro cambiará sus vidas.

Tras el éxito de ventas y crítica de la saga «En los zapatos de Valeria», Elísabet Benavent nos vuelve a enamorar con una historia en dos partes -Persiguiendo a Silvia y Encontrando a Silvia- que habla de amor, de amistad y de sexo al más puro estilo Valeria con unos personajes inolvidables que te volverán loca. Una novela ágil, llena de vitalidad y humor que nos habla de lo difícil que en ocasiones resulta amar a alguien.”

no-one-is-coming-to-save-us

No One Is Coming to Save Us, by Stephanie Powell Watts (digital advanced review copy via Edelweiss)

“The Great Gatsby brilliantly recast in the contemporary South: a powerful first novel about an extended African-American family and their colliding visions of the American Dream.

JJ Ferguson has returned home to Pinewood, North Carolina to build his dream home and to woo his high school sweetheart, Ava. But he finds that the people he once knew and loved have changed, just as he has. Ava is now married, and wants a baby more than anything. The decline of the town’s once-thriving furniture industry has made Ava’s husband Henry grow distant and frustrated. Ava’s mother Sylvia has put her own life on hold as she caters to and meddles with those around her, trying to fill the void left by her absent son. And Don, Sylvia’s undeserving but charming husband, just won’t stop hanging around.

JJ’s newfound wealth forces everyone to consider what more they want and deserve from life than what they already have—and how they might go about getting it. Can they shape their lives to align with their wishes rather than their realities? Or are they resigned to the rhythms of the particular lives they lead? No One Is Coming to Save Us is a revelatory debut from an insightful voice that combines a universally resonant story with an intimate glimpse into the hearts of one family.”

be-frank-with-meBe Frank With Me, by Julia Claiborne Johnson (ebook deal, $2.99 via Kobo)

“A sparkling talent makes her fiction debut with this infectious novel that combines the charming pluck of Eloise, the poignant psychological quirks of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time and the page-turning spirit of Where’d You Go, Bernadette.

Reclusive literary legend M. M. “Mimi” Banning has been holed up in her Bel Air mansion for years. But after falling prey to a Bernie Madoff-style ponzi scheme, she’s flat broke. Now Mimi must write a new book for the first time in decades, and to ensure the timely delivery of her manuscript, her New York publisher sends an assistant to monitor her progress. The prickly Mimi reluctantly complies—with a few stipulations: No Ivy-Leaguers or English majors. Must drive, cook, tidy. Computer whiz. Good with kids. Quiet, discreet, sane.

When Alice Whitley arrives at the Banning mansion, she’s put to work right away—as a full-time companion to Frank, the writer’s eccentric nine-year-old, a boy with the wit of Noel Coward, the wardrobe of a 1930s movie star, and very little in common with his fellow fourth-graders.

As she slowly gets to know Frank, Alice becomes consumed with finding out who Frank’s father is, how his gorgeous “piano teacher and itinerant male role model” Xander fits into the Banning family equation—and whether Mimi will ever finish that book.

Full of heart and countless “only-in-Hollywood” moments, Be Frank with Me is a captivating and unconventional story of an unusual mother and son, and the intrepid young woman who finds herself irresistibly pulled into their unforgettable world.”

Outbox

milk-and-honeymilk and honey, by rupi kaur (paperback via Green Apple Books in San Francisco)

“Milk and Honey is a collection of poetry and prose about survival. About the experience of violence, abuse, love, loss, and femininity.

The book is divided into four chapters, and each chapter serves a different purpose. Deals with a different pain. Heals a different heartache. Milk and Honey takes readers through a journey of the most bitter moments in life and finds sweetness in them because there is sweetness everywhere if you are just willing to look.”

In the Queue

girls-in-the-moon

Girls in the Moon, by Janet McNally (hardback via Book of the Month)

“Everyone in Phoebe Ferris’ life tells a different version of the truth.

Her mother, Meg, ex-rock star and professional question evader, shares only the end of the story the post-fame calm that Phoebe s always known. Her sister Luna, indie rock darling of Brooklyn, preaches a stormy truth of her own making, selectively ignoring the facts she doesn t like. And her father, Kieran, the co-founder of Meg s beloved band, hasn t said anything at all since he stopped calling three years ago.

But Phoebe, a budding poet in search of an identity to call her own, is tired of half-truths and vague explanations. When she visits Luna in New York, she s determined to find out how she fits in to this family of storytellers, and maybe even to continue her own tale the one with the musician boy she s been secretly writing for months.

This soul-searching, authentic debut weaves together Phoebe s story with scenes from the romance between Meg and Kieran that started it all leaving behind a heartfelt reflection on family, fame, and finding your own way.”

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