The Retreat – Sarah Pearse
An eco-wellness retreat has opened on an island off the English coast, promising rest and relaxation—but the island itself, known locally as Reaper’s Rock, has a dark past. Once the playground of a serial killer, it’s rumoured to be cursed.
Detective Elin Warner is called to the retreat when a young woman’s body is found on the rocks below the yoga pavilion in what seems to be a tragic fall. But the victim wasn’t a guest—she wasn’t meant to be on the island at all. When a guest drowns in a diving incident the following day, Elin starts to suspect that there’s nothing accidental about these deaths. But why would someone target the guests, and who else is in danger? Elin must find the killer—before the island’s history starts to repeat itself…
Secret Diaries of Charles Ignatius
It’s finally time for Charles Ignatius Sancho to tell his story, one that begins on a slave ship in the Atlantic and ends at the very center of London life. . . . A lush and immersive tale of adventure, artistry, romance, and freedom set in eighteenth-century England and based on a true story
It’s 1746 and Georgian London is not a safe place for a young Black man. Charles Ignatius Sancho must dodge slave catchers and worse, and his main ally―a kindly duke who taught him to write―is dying. Sancho is desperate and utterly alone. So how does the same Charles Ignatius Sancho meet the king, write and play highly acclaimed music, become the first Black person to vote in Britain, and lead the fight to end slavery? Through every moment of this rich, exuberant tale, Sancho forges ahead to see how much he can achieve in one short life: “I had little right to live, born on a slave ship where my parents both died. But I survived, and indeed, you might say I did more.”
Age of Vice – Deepti Kapoor
Deftly shifting through time and perspective in contemporary India, Age of Vice is an epic, action-packed story propelled by the seductive wealth, startling corruption, and bloodthirsty violence of the Wadia family — loved by some, loathed by others, feared by all.
Equal parts crime thriller and family saga, transporting readers from the dusty villages of Uttar Pradesh to the urban energy of New Delhi, Age of Vice is an intoxicating novel of gangsters and lovers, false friendships, forbidden romance, and the consequences of corruption. It is binge-worthy entertainment at its literary best
Braintenance – Dr. Julia Ravey
In Braintenance, neuroscientist and science communicator Dr Julia Ravey explains how you can take charge of your brain with methods based on science to change habits, achieve your goals and lead the life you want. Your brain likes to keep you safely in your comfort zone. And that is what holds you back.
We have no trouble imagining the goals we would like to achieve – a healthier lifestyle, passing exams or embarking on a new career – but turning them into reality is far harder. Dr Julia Ravey explains the practical methods that will enable you to transform your life for the better.
The more you understand about your thinking, the more control you can have over your life. Change is good. Your brain just needs some convincing.
This is Vegan Propaganda – Ed Winters
Every time we eat, we have the power to radically transform the world we live in. Our choices can help alleviate the most pressing issues we face today: the climate crisis, infectious and chronic diseases, human exploitation and, of course, non-human exploitation. Undeniably, these issues can be uncomfortable to learn about but the benefits of doing so cannot be overstated. It is quite literally a matter of life and death.
Through exploring the major ways that our current system of animal farming affects the world around us, as well as the cultural and psychological factors that drive our behaviours, This Is Vegan Propaganda answers the pressing question, is there a better way? It is the empowering and groundbreaking book on veganism that everyone, vegan and sceptic alike, needs to read.
Human Cosmos: Civilisation and the Stars – Jo Marchant
Jo Marchant’s spellbinding parade of the ways different cultures celebrated the majesty and mysteries of the night sky is a journey to the most awe inspiring view you can ever see–looking up on a clear dark night. That experience and the thoughts it has engendered have radically shaped human civilization across millennia. The cosmos is the source of our greatest creativity in art, in science, in life. To show us how, Jo Marchant takes us to the Hall of the Bulls in the caves at Lascaux in France, and to the summer solstice at a 5,000-year-old tomb at New Grange in Ireland. We discover Chumash cosmology and visit medieval monks grappling with the nature of time and Tahitian sailors navigating by the stars. We discover how light reveals the chemical composition of the sun, and we are with Einstein as he works out that space and time are one and the same. A four-billion-year-old meteor inspires a search for extraterrestrial life. The cosmically liberating, summary revelation is that star-gazing made us human.
Seven Moons of Maali Almeida – Shehan Karunatilaka
Colombo, 1990. Maali Almeida – war photographer, gambler, and closet queen-has woken up dead in what seems like a celestial visa office. His dismembered body is sinking in the serene Beira Lake and he has no idea who killed him. In a country where scores are settled by death squads, suicide bombers, and hired goons, the list of suspects is depressingly long, as the ghouls and ghosts with grudges who cluster round can attest. But even in the afterlife, time is running out for Maali. He has seven moons to contact the man and woman he loves most and lead them to the photos that will rock Sri Lanka. Ten years after his prize-winning novel Chinaman established him as one of Sri Lanka’s foremost authors, Shehan Karunatilaka is back with a “thrilling satire” (Economist) and rip-roaring state-of-the-nation epic that offers equal parts mordant wit and disturbing, profound truths.
Nine Lives by William Dalrymple
A middle-class woman from Calcutta finds unexpected fulfilment living as a Tantric in an isolated, skull-filled cremation ground . . . A prison warder from Kerala is worshipped as an incarnate deity for two months of every year . . . A Jain nun tests her powers of detachment watching her closest friend ritually starve herself to death . . .
The twenty-third in a centuries-old line of idol makers struggles to reconcile with his son’s wish to study computer engineering . . . An illiterate goatherd keeps alive in his memory an ancient 200,000-stanza sacred epic . . . A temple prostitute, who resisted her own initiation into sex work, pushes her daughters into the trade she nonetheless regards as a sacred calling.
Jaipur Journals by Namita Gokhale
From a septuagenarian who has completed her semi-fictional novel but does not want to publish it, to an author who receives a threat in the form of an anonymous letter, from a historian who reunites with a past lover, to a burglar who is passionate about poetry, from a young woman who has no idea what this world has in store for her, to an American woman looking for the India of her hippie youth, this metafictional, wryly funny, pacey novel is an ode to literature.
Told from multiple perspectives, set against the backdrop of the vibrant multilingual Jaipur Literature Festival, diverse stories of lost love and regret, self-doubt, and new beginnings come together in a narrative that is as varied as India itself.
The Finkler Question by Howard Jacobson
Julian Treslove, a professionally unspectacular and disappointed BBC worker, and Sam Finkler, a popular Jewish philosopher, writer and television personality, are old school friends.
Despite a prickly relationship and very different lives, they’ve never quite lost touch with each other – or with their former teacher, Libor Sevcik, a Czechoslovakian always more concerned with the wider world than with exam results.
Now, both Libor and Finkler are recently widowed, and with Treslove, his chequered and unsuccessful record with women rendering him an honorary third widower, they dine at Libor’s grand, central London apartment.
It’s a sweetly painful evening of reminiscence in which all three remove themselves to a time before they had loved and lost; a time before they had fathered children, before the devastation of separations, before they had prized anything greatly enough to fear the loss of it. Better, perhaps, to go through life without knowing happiness at all because that way you had less to mourn?
Treslove finds he has tears enough for the unbearable sadness of both his friends’ losses. And it’s that very evening, at exactly 11:30pm, as Treslove hesitates a moment outside the window of the oldest violin dealer in the country as he walks home, that he is attacked. After this, his whole sense of who and what he is will slowly and ineluctably change.
The Exile by Navrej Sarna
In this nuanced and poignant novel that draws upon true events, Navtej Sarna tells the unusual story of the last Maharaja of Punjab.
Soon after the British had annexed his kingdom, Duleep was separated from his mother and his people, taken under British guardianship and converted to Christianity.
At sixteen, he was transported to England to live the life of a country squire—an exile that he had been schooled to seek himself. But disillusionment with the treatment meted out to him and a late realisation of his lost legacy turned Duleep into a rebel.
He became a Sikh again and sought to return to and lead his people. The attempt was to drag him into the murky politics of nineteenth century Europe, and leave him depleted and vulnerable to every kind of deceit and ridicule. His end came in a cheap hotel room in Paris, but not before one last act of betrayal and humiliation.
Big Snake Little Snake by DBC Pierre
Big Snake Little Snake is a cascade of true stories by DBC Pierre, recorded while on his way to make a short film with a parrot in Trinidad, which not only examines the nature of gambling, the love affair between gambler and game and the mindset of obsessive practitioners, but aims to shed light on the invisible odds and outrageous chances of everyday life on Earth.
Snakes symbolise a road in a Trinidadian numbers game based on dreams and superstition. The inquiry was prompted by a little snake on Pierre’s doorstep.