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The Tyranny of Silence: How One Cartoon Ignited a Global Debate on the Future of Free Speech. Political Order and Political Decay: From the Industrial Revolution to the Globalisation of Democracy.
The Reef, A Passionate History: The Great Barrier Reef from Captain Cook to Climate Change. We use cookies to enhance your visit to our site and to bring you advertisements that might interest you.
After ruthlessly pruning my recommendations longlist to only the cannot-leave-out books, I did a quick count and found that my must-read list consisted of 40 titles.
Hot off the press: Ali Smith is working on a novel, Autumn (Hamish Hamilton), due out in August. Also under wraps is The Power by Naomi Alderman (Viking, November), which looks at what happens to society when girls become more physically powerful than boys. Described as a cross-section of urban life, The Bricks that Built the Houses (Bloomsbury Circus, April) begins with a group of young Londoners leaving the city in a fourth-hand Ford Cortina with a suitcase full of money. Among the most hyped novels of 2016 are Chris Cleave’s Everyone Brave is Forgiven (Sceptre, April), which is set during the Second World War with an incredibly engaging, peppy heroine and contains pearls of wisdom such as “the only difference between children and adults was that children were prepared to put twice the energy into the project of not being sad”, and Robin Wasserman’s Girls on Fire (Little Brown, May), a chilling story of school life and female friendship that starts and ends with a tragedy.
My favourite contender for the inevitable title of “the next Gone Girl” is Viral, by Helen Fitzgerald (Faber & Faber, February), about the very modern phenomenon of a sex act turned online sensation. One that can’t be hyped enough is Fell (Sceptre, July), by Jenn Ashworth, the author of 2013’s brilliant The Friday Gospels.
And, while they need no hype from me, I can’t wait to read The Gustav Sonata by Rose Tremain (Chatto & Windus, May), The Dust of Promises by Ahlam Mosteghanemi (Bloomsbury, January), Mothering Sunday, A Romance, by Graham Swift (Scribner, February), The Lubetkin Legacy by Marina Lewycka (Fig Tree, May)  and The Dark Flood Rises by Margaret Drabble (Canongate, November). A new imprint is like a new baby in the publishing world, and in May Little Brown launches its brand new subdivision Fleet with the memoir Lab Girl, by the award-winning American geochemist Hope Jahren. Meanwhile, Bodley Head promises that Dark Matter and the Dinosaurs: The Astounding Interconnectedness of the Universe by Lisa Randall (January) is “the most thrilling, genre-busting science book you’ll ever read”.
The Lady and the Generals: Aung San Suu Kyi and Burma’s Struggle for Freedom, by Peter Popham of The Independent (Rider, March), picks up where his last acclaimed biography, The Lady and the Peacock, left off. Did you know that police forces could cut the cost of their uniforms by more than 30 per cent if they all bought the same one, or that 61 hospitals bought 21 different types of A4 paper, 652 different kinds of surgical gloves and 1,751 different cannulas? The unlikely bestseller of 2013 was Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century, and his Chronicles: On Our Troubled Times (Viking, April) aims to gain a wider audience for his work, adding his analysis of what has happened since the financial crisis and where we should go from here.
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On Adblock Plus click "Enabled on this site" to disable ad blocking for the current website you are on. If you are Private Browsing in Firefox, "Tracking Protection" may cause the adblock notice to show. Then click the big power button to whitelist the current web site, and its state will be remembered next time you visit the web site. Here's a theory no one has floated to explain declining movie box-office receipts: More people are reading. Kazuo Ishiguro, Never Let Me Go(Knopf)The latest novel by The Remains Of The Day author and The White Countess screenwriter Kazuo Ishiguro revolves around a mystery: the exact nature and purpose of the students at Hailsham, a British private school where children are trained to obedience and passivity, with the understanding that they will never work or procreate, but will be given over to a system of "carers," "completions," and other oblique concepts.
Tracy Kidder, My Detachment: A Memoir(Random House)This is the memoir that flew under the radar. Frank King, Walt And Skeezix(Drawn & Quarterly)Plenty of early comic strips are worth studying for their draftsmanship or their incidental socio-historical insight, but Frank King's Gasoline Alley is as witty as it is beautiful and relevant. Elmore Leonard, The Hot Kid(William Morrow)Prolific crime-fiction ace Elmore Leonard has written 40 novels in 50 years, but he's still got plenty of tricks up his sleeve. Haruki Murakami, Kafka On The Shore(Knopf)Murakami's best novels operate with their own internal logic, loaded with odd narrative connections and free-floating surrealistic elements that are tough to explain to the uninitiated, yet surprisingly easy to accept at face value. Marilynne Robinson, Gilead(Farrar Strauss Giroux)If forced to place a bet on the book in this feature most likely to be read, talked about, and loved in 2025, put money on Marilynne Robinson's instant classic Gilead.
Chris Ware, The Acme Novelty Library(Pantheon)Fans of Ware's brilliant, beautiful, depressing comics about abandonment and creation might mistake this major collection for one of the odds-and-ends anthologies or scrapbook stories that comics publishers have been pushing onto the market. At the time of writing I have just read A L Kennedy’s exclusive short story, “Wow”, which appeared in these pages last Sunday, so I am delighted to hear that she has a new novel out in May, Serious Sweet (Jonathan Cape), and it sounds like classic Kennedy.

I’m told that she has promised her publisher some details for Christmas, so watch this space for more.
And I’m very excited that the award-winning poet, Kate Tempest, is to publish her first novel. The mum in this story is a particularly formidable character and the first sentence is a blinder (though not for repetition in a family newspaper). This novel is also about family: “A woman returns to the house in Morecambe Bay where she grew up in the 1950s and 60s to find it falling apart, undermined by the roots of two huge sycamores. Jihadi John: The Making of a Terrorist by Robert Verkaik (Oneworld, January) will reveal the story of Mohammed Emwazi, whom Verkaik first met in 2010 when the Islamic State murderer was a 22-year-old computer science graduate from west London. My bet for the unlikely bestseller of 2016 is Called To Account by Margaret Hodge (Little Brown, July), about the Public Accounts Committee which oversees ?700bn of public spending annually.
The story of Satre, Beauvoir, Camus, Heidegger et al is strange, fun and compelling reading.
It helps to build our international editorial team, from war correspondents to investigative reporters, commentators to critics. But while questions about them hang oppressively over the entire book, the real mystery is the heart of the narrator, Kathy H, whose dealings with the entire thing show Ishiguro's usual fascination with the conflict between desire and duty, and his usual talent at expressing volumes through what his characters choose to not say and not do. Tracy Kidder's recent non-fiction work has gotten the royal treatment from publicists and reviewers, but My Detachment, a slim volume about Kidder's year in military middle management during the Vietnam War, slipped out with little fanfare. Set over 13 years in Oklahoma and Kansas City in the '20s and '30s, his dazzling tale of thieving outlaws and a quick-drawing lawman is populated with vivid characters who imagine themselves grabbing the same headlines as Bonnie and Clyde, Machine Gun Kelly, and John Dillinger. His latest follows two parallel journeys: That of a keenly intelligent 15-year-old runaway looking for his long-absent mother and sister, and that of an elderly simpleton who lost his memory in a bizarre blackout during World War II. In the thoughtful voice of John Ames, an aging preacher, Robinson reflects on the perception of hidden patterns in existence over time. The city itself serves as a dreamy character; first-time novelist Carl Shuker has a field day describing the sensation of tromping through an urban madhouse in which everything looks, sounds, and feels foreign. But through some alchemy of time, these apparently disparate examples of Ware's ever-changing styles and fluctuating levels of seriousness not only inhabit the same universe comfortably, but mutually illuminate his deepening themes. She is unaware that she has awoken the spirits of her parents …” and has a sort of breakdown while reliving the traumatic summer of her ninth year.
I’m a fan of the historian Bettany Hughes, who brings passion and humour to subjects from Socrates to the Spartans. It's a melancholy, elegant book that wins new depth out of what ultimately reveals itself to be an old genre conceit. Yet Kidder's eye trained upon himself minus 30 years is as keen as his perception of the policemen, doctors, teachers, and computer scientists he normally chronicles.
The strip is rooted in the relationship between tubby bachelor mechanic Walt Wallet and his foundling adopted son Skeezix: a perfectly mismatched pair that King drew with a special eye toward how a big man cradles a little one. The showdown between a cop who always shoots to kill and the black-hearted son of an oil millionaire leads to several thrilling setpieces, including a gunfight with local Klansmen that brings the two rivals together. Dubner, Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores The Hidden Side Of Everything(William Morrow)When journalist Stephen J.
Then there's the mystically potent strain of psychedelic mushrooms that gets passed from a rogue botanist to a possibly insane historian who goes missing for reasons that leave everyone in awe. More than 1m Chinese migrants have moved to Africa; they work on big projects and stay on, more for the money than out of ideology. It sheds light on a nasty, but largely ignored, episode and demonstrates that a laissez-faire approach can cure slumps better than the government activism of the 1930s—or indeed 2008. He has much to say about his nine-year campaign to improve the city’s school system and how it could become a blueprint for reform of America’s education system. Her next book, which she has been researching for over a decade, is Istanbul (W&N, September).
In a thoughtful and persuasive book, the former dean of Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government analyses the growing gulf between how the rich and the poor raise their children, adding a liberal voice to long-standing conservative complaints about family breakdown.
As he indicts Lieutenant Kidder for simultaneously romanticizing, despising, and systematically lying about his war experience, Kidder paints a complex portrait of class struggle in the military establishment, and it deserves to be read alongside the New Journalism classics about Vietnam. But just as enjoyable are the day-to-day accumulation of in-jokes and genteel observations on modern life, delivered by the denizens of a loosely wired, auto-obsessed Middle America.

Leonard tours the whorehouses and speakeasies that harbor his unsavory characters, and fills out his colorful backdrop with the sounds of Jazz Age greats like Louis Armstrong and Count Basie. It's hard to explain a Murakami novel, but Kafka On The Shore leaves dozens of resonant images, such as the storm of fish and leeches that rain down from a clear sky, or the WWII veterans emerging from a forest, having not aged a day. Yet that fluidity makes it harder to teach children what to do, how to act, how to treat others, and how they should be treated.
It all comes together in a moving story by an intriguing new author who nods toward David Foster Wallace and Don DeLillo while honing a voice worth keeping tabs on. This reconstruction, by a correspondent for America’s National Public Radio, is as important for Western readers as it is for the new Chinese generation that has grown up since 1989 and knows little of what happened.
China has adopted a mixture of state capitalism and authoritarianism, and democratisation has failed in Russia and most of the Middle East. Winner of a 2014 National Book Award, it captures the atmosphere of a country which was the ultimate group-think society and how it shifted to becoming a nation of individuals, set permanently on fast-forward. So elegantly written it is little wonder some say that in Mr Marsh neurosurgery has found its Boswell. Still, he played a significant role in the making of the modern Middle East and this is the fullest portrait yet of this fascinating figure. Camp David came to naught, but for a fleeting moment it seemed as if things in the Middle East might turn out for the better.
Stern was among the first Zionists to mix religion and nationalism, and Patrick Bishop’s book has important lessons for the modern day. Detailed in its research and eloquent in its argument, this is the year’s most surprising diet book. Winner of the 2014 Man Booker prize for fiction and replete with scenes that stay with the reader long after the final page, this is the book that Richard Flanagan was born to write. A former prostitute and cleaner, Lila, in her new incarnation, learns about grace, joy and love, lessons that are imparted with no trace of soppiness. By a former member of the intelligence services, “Decoded” stands out for its pace and for the sheer novelty of the tale it tells. It uses the intimate relationship that grows up between a flawed social worker and a paranoid survivalist to explore grand themes about American culture, its winners and its losers. Ames guides readers to such unexpected revelations that the book achieves a kind of page-turner's suspense, while at the same time offering prose as perfect as any in a decade.
Along the way, he teases out the many views of an artistic and bohemian generation that endlessly discussed the future of women’s rights, socialism, religion and sexual liberation.
It takes on some big themes: democracy, decentralisation, corruption, inequality, the failings of the educational system, and radical Islam, as well as the ghosts of hundreds of thousands slaughtered as Suharto took power in 1965.
With boundless new detail gathered through meticulous research, Susan Cheever succeeds where most other biographers have failed. Philosophical musing by a master storyteller whose novels often mine the pecularities of the technological age.
A timeless classic about lost illusions, lost ideals, lost youth, now translated into English for the first time.
Dubner wrote a popular story about Levitt for The New York Times Magazine, then followed it up with Freakonomics, an irresistible blast of pop-economics co-written with Levitt. Excerpts from Dubner's article appear throughout the book, which perversely makes Levitt simultaneously the co-author and semi-subject of a compulsive page-turner that sneakily aspires to alter its readers' perceptions by examining the often-counterintuitive relationships lurking behind so much of the contemporary world. A study of one neighbourhood in Los Angeles has the power to change how people think about policing in America. A gripping, poignant and in some respects revolutionary contribution to European history by a distinguished British scholar who is descended from several of the protagonists he describes.

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