Are you looking for your next great read? Why not try out the books from across the pond? Despite from what governments say, books are essential and are needed now, more than ever. So if you are need of a variety and want to read diverse stories, then I suggest you try out some British and Irish titles!
We may have left 2020 behind, but the pain and struggles of last year are still being faced, especially independent bookstores. Continue to support indie bookstores by shopping on Bookshop.org and Hive.co.uk.
You can buy these titles from BookDepository.com, a subsidiary of Amazon. They provide free international delivery, although this is being affected right now due to the pandemic. You can also try with the British bookstore, Blackwell’s, also with Wordery.com. Now on with the recommendations!
Featured Book of the Month:
Expected Publication Date: February 18
In Where Hope Comes From: poems for a broken world, Instagram superstar and poet Nikita Gill returns to her roots with her most personal collection yet. Sharing a number of poems that she wrote when the world went into lockdown, this collection will include the phenomenal Love in the Time of Coronavirus which was shared across social media over 20,000 times, as well as her poems of strength and hope How to Be Strong and Silver Linings. This collection will be fully illustrated by Nikita with beautiful line-drawings, and moves her into an exciting new space in the market as she tackles themes such as mental health and loneliness. (Credit: Orion Publishing Co)
Last One at the Party by Bethany Clift
It’s November 2023. The human race has been wiped out by the 6DM virus (Six Days Maximum – the longest you’ve got before your body destroys itself). The end of the world as we know it.
Yet someone is still alive. Alone in a new world of burning cities, rotting corpses and ravenous rats, one woman has survived. A woman who has spent her whole life compromising what she wants and hiding how she feels to meet other people’s expectations. From her career to her relationships, to what she wears and where she lives, she’s made a lifetime of decisions to fit what other people want her to be.
But with no one else left, who will she become now that she’s completely alone? (Credit: Hodder & Stoughton )
The Last Thing to Burn by Will Dean
He is her husband. She is his captive.
Her husband calls her Jane. That is not her name.
She lives in a small farm cottage, surrounded by vast, open fields. Everywhere she looks, there is space. But she is trapped. No one knows how she got to the UK: no one knows she is there. Visitors rarely come to the farm; if they do, she is never seen.
Her husband records her every movement during the day. If he doesn’t like what he sees, she is punished.
For a long time, escape seemed impossible. But now, something has changed. She has a reason to live and a reason to fight. Now, she is watching him, and waiting …(Credit: Hodder & Stoughton)
Mrs Death Misses Death by Salena Godden
Mrs Death has had enough. She is exhausted from spending eternity doing her job and now she seeks someone to unburden her conscience to. Wolf Willeford, a troubled young writer, is well acquainted with death, but until now hadn’t met Death in person – a black, working-class woman who shape-shifts and does her work unseen.
Enthralled by her stories, Wolf becomes Mrs Death’s scribe, and begins to write her memoirs. Using their desk as a vessel and conduit, Wolf travels across time and place with Mrs Death to witness deaths of past and present and discuss what the future holds for humanity. As the two reflect on the losses they have experienced – or, in the case of Mrs Death, facilitated – their friendship grows into a surprising affirmation of hope, resilience and love. All the while, despite her world-weariness, Death must continue to hold humans’ fates in her hands, appearing in our lives when we least expect her . . .(Credit: Canongate Books)
Brown Baby: A Memoir of Race, Family and Home by Nikesh Shukla
In Brown Baby Nikesh Shukla explores themes of racism, feminism, parenting and our shifting ideas of home. With writing that will both fill and open your heart, this by turns, heartbreaking, hilariously funny and intensely relatable memoir is dedicated to the author’s two young daughters, and is in remembrance of the grandmother they never got to meet. Through love, grief, food, fatherhood and the often cluttered experiences that make us each who we are, Shukla shows how it’s possible to believe in hope. (Credit: Pan Macmillan)
The Mermaid of Black Conch: A Love Story by Monique Roffey
Overall Winner of the Costa Book of the Year 2020
Winner of the Costa Novel Award 2020
April 1976: St Constance, a tiny Caribbean village on the island of Black Conch, at the start of the rainy season. A fisherman sings to himself in his pirogue, waiting for a catch—but attracts a sea-dweller he doesn’t expect.
Aycayia, a beautiful young woman cursed by jealous wives to live as a mermaid, has been swimming the Caribbean Sea for centuries. And she is entranced by this man David and his song.
But her fascination is her undoing. She hears his boat’s engine again and follows it, and finds herself at the mercy of American tourists, landed on the island for the annual fishing competition. After a fearsome battle, she is pulled out of the sea and strung up on the dock as a trophy. It is David who rescues her, and gently wins her trust – as slowly, painfully, she starts to transform into a woman again. But transformations are not always permanent, and jealousy, like love, can have the force of a hurricane, and last much longer (Credit: Peepal Tree Press)
Thirty-Two Words for Field: Lost Words of the Irish Landscape by Manchan Magan
The Irish language has thirty-two words for field. Among them are:
Geamhar – a field of corn-grass
Tuar – a field for cattle at night
Reidhlean – a field for games or dancing
Cathairin – a field with a fairy-dwelling in it
The richness of a language closely tied to the natural landscape offered our ancestors a more magical way of seeing the world. Before we cast old words aside, let us consider the sublime beauty and profound oddness of the ancient tongue that has been spoken on this island for almost 3,000 years.
In Thirty-Two Words for Field, Manchan Magan meditates on these words – and the nuances of a way of life that is disappearing with them. (Credit: Gill Publisher)
The Queen’s Fool by Ally Sherrick
A fantastic Tudor adventure from Historical Association Young Quills Award-winning author Ally Sherrick. Cat Sparrow is on the road. She’s following her sister, Meg, who was torn from their convent home and sent to London. But Cat isn’t like other people – she thinks differently – and for a girl like her the world holds many perils. Luckily she befriends a young actor, Jacques, and together they follow Meg’s trail to a wondrous place called the Field of Cloth of Gold. But here, they discover that the kingdoms of England and France are both in terrible danger …(Credit: Chicken House)
First Day of My Life by Lisa Williamson
There are three sides to every story… It’s GCSE results day. Frankie’s best friend, Jojo, is missing. A baby has been stolen. And more than one person has been lying. Frankie’s determined to find out the truth and her ex-boyfriend Ram is the only person who can help her. But they’re both in for a shock… EVERYTHING is about to change. (Credit: David Fickling Books)
What’s the T? by Juno Dawson
Expected Publication Date: February 18
Discover what it means to be a young transgender or non-binary person in the twenty-first century in this frank and funny guide for 14+ teens, from the author of This Book is Gay. In What’s the T?, Stonewall ambassador, bestselling trans author and former PSHE teacher Juno Dawson defines a myriad of labels and identities and offers uncensored advice on coming out, sex and relationships with her trademark humour and lightness of touch. Juno has also invited her trans and non-binary friends to make contributions, ensuring this inclusive book reflects as many experiences as possible, and features the likes of Travis Alabanza and Jay Hulme. (Credit: Hachette Children’s Group)
Pure Gold: Stories by John Patrick McHugh
Expected Publication Date: February 26
Two boys set fires while their worlds fall apart. A couple drive out to the hills in a last-ditch effort to save their marriage. A horse crashes a house party. Set on an imagined island off the west coast of Ireland, John Patrick McHugh’s debut collection of stories draw a complete community of characters – misdirected, posturing and self-deceiving. But in his fidelity to and compassion for their faults, McHugh embeds us in the moments on which these lives twist and turn, probing unflinchingly what most of us would rather ignore. (Credit: New Island Books)