Books We Loved in January

Books We Loved in January

When Breath Becomes Air – Paul Kalanithi

At the age of thirty-six, on the verge of completing a decade’s training as a neurosurgeon, Paul Kalanithi was diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer. One day he was a doctor treating the dying, the next he was a patient struggling to live.

When Breath Becomes Air chronicles Kalanithi’s transformation from a medical student asking what makes a virtuous and meaningful life, into a neurosurgeon working in the core of human identity – the brain – and finally into a patient and a new father.

What makes life worth living in the face of death? What do you do when when life is catastrophically interrupted? What does it mean to have a child as your own life fades away? Paul Kalanithi died while working on this profoundly moving book, yet his words live on as a guide to us all. When Breath Becomes Air is a life-affirming reflection on facing our mortality and on the relationship between doctor and patient, from a gifted writer who became both.

I’m Travelling Alone – Samuel Bjork

When the body of a young girl is found hanging from a tree, the only clue the police have is an airline tag around her neck. It reads ‘I’m travelling alone’.

In response, police investigator Holger Munch is immediately charged with assembling a special homicide unit. But to complete the team, he must track down his former partner, Mia Kruger – a brilliant but troubled detective – who has retreated to a solitary island with plans to kill herself.

Reviewing the file, Mia finds something new – a thin line carved into the dead girl’s fingernail: the number 1. She knows that this is only the beginning. To save other children from the same fate, she must find a way to cast aside her own demons and stop this murderer from becoming a serial killer.

Aliens: Science Asks: Is There Anyone Out There? – Jim Al-Khalili

The ALIENS invasion is coming. It’s the biggest question we’ve ever faced, one that has fascinated generations of humans: do aliens exist? If they did, what would they look like? How would they think? And what would it mean for us if we found them?

Featuring twenty pieces by top scientists and experts in the field including Martin Rees, Ian Stewart and Adam Rutherford, Aliens covers every aspect of the subject, from alien consciousness to the neuroscience behind alien abductions. And along the way he’ll cover science fiction, the probability of us finding extra-terrestrial life, and whether recently-discovered exoplanets might support life.

Engaging, authoritative and filled with scientific insights fresh from the far edges of the galaxy, Aliens is the perfect book for anyone who has ever looked up into the starry sky and wondered: are we alone?

Little Deaths – Emma Flint

It’s the summer of 1965, and the streets of Queens, New York shimmer in a heatwave. One July morning, Ruth Malone wakes to find a bedroom window wide open and her two young children missing. After a desperate search, the police make a horrifying discovery.

Noting Ruth’s perfectly made-up face and provocative clothing, the empty liquor bottles and love letters that litter her apartment, the detectives leap to convenient conclusions, fuelled by neighbourhood gossip and speculation. Sent to cover the case on his first major assignment, tabloid reporter Pete Wonicke at first can’t help but do the same. But the longer he spends watching Ruth, the more he learns about the darker workings of the police and the press.

Soon, Pete begins to doubt everything he thought he knew. Ruth Malone is enthralling, challenging and secretive – is she really capable of murder? Haunting, intoxicating and heart-poundingly suspenseful, Little Deaths is a gripping novel about love, morality and obsession, exploring the capacity for good and evil within us all.

Cure: A Journey into the Science of Mind Over Body – Jo Marchant

Can meditation fend off dementia? – Can the smell of lavender affect the immune system? – Can your thoughts ease physical pain?

In Cure, award-winning science writer Jo Marchant travels the world to meet the physicians, patients and researchers on the cutting edge of mind-body medicine.

Asking how the brain can heal the body and how we can all make changes to keep ourselves healthier.

Lying About Last Summer – Sue Wallman

Skye is looking for an escape from the reality of last summer when her sister died in a tragic accident.

Her parents think that a camp for troubled teenagers might help her process her grief. All of the kids at the summer camp have lost someone close, but is bringing them together such a good idea?

And can everyone at camp be trusted? When Skye starts receiving text messages from someone pretending to be her dead sister, she knows it’s time to confront the past. But what if the danger is right in front of her?

Railways: Nation, Network and People – Simon Bradley

Britain’s railways have been a vital part of national life for nearly 200 years. Transforming lives and landscapes, they have left their mark on everything from timekeeping to tourism. As a self-contained world governed by distinctive rules and traditions, the network also exerts a fascination all its own. From the classical grandeur of Newcastle station to the ceaseless traffic of Clapham Junction, from the mysteries of Brunel’s atmospheric railway to the lost routines of the great marshalling yards, Simon Bradley explores the world of Britain’s railways, the evolution of the trains, and the changing experiences of passengers and workers.

The Victorians’ private compartments, railway rugs and footwarmers have made way for air-conditioned carriages with airline-type seating, but the railways remain a giant and diverse anthology of structures from every period, and parts of the system are the oldest in the world. Using fresh research, keen observation and a wealth of cultural references, Bradley weaves from this network a remarkable story of technological achievement, of architecture and engineering, of shifting social classes and gender relations, of safety and crime, of tourism and the changing world of work. The Railways shows us that to travel through Britain by train is to journey through time as well as space.

The Muse – Jessie Burton

On a hot July day in 1967, Odelle Bastien climbs the stone steps of the Skelton gallery in London, knowing that her life is about to change forever.

Having struggled to find her place in the city since she arrived from Trinidad five years ago, she has been offered a job as a typist under the tutelage of the glamorous and enigmatic Marjorie Quick. But though Quick takes Odelle into her confidence, and unlocks a potential she didn’t know she had, she remains a mystery – no more so than when a lost masterpiece with a secret history is delivered to the gallery.

The truth about the painting lies in 1936 and a large house in rural Spain, where Olive Schloss, the daughter of a renowned art dealer, is harbouring ambitions of her own. Into this fragile paradise come artist and revolutionary Isaac Robles and his half-sister Teresa, who immediately insinuate themselves into the Schloss family, with explosive and devastating consequences …

Baby Doll – Hollie Overton

She kept moving forward. She didn’t stop. She didn’t look back.

Lily has been abducted from outside her high-school gates. For eight long years she’s been locked away from the outside world. During that time she’s changed from a girl into a woman. She’s had a baby. And now she has seized her chance and escaped.

Running for her life, with her daughter in her arms, she returns to her family and the life she used to know – to her much-loved twin sister Abby, her mum, her high-school boyfriend – and her freedom.

But is it possible to go back?

Sirens – Joseph Knox

After he’s caught stealing drugs from evidence, Aidan Waits is blackmailed into an undercover operation which sends him from the upper echelons of the super-rich to the low-life squalor of Manchester’s drug scene.

He spends his nights tailing The Franchise, a sophisticated gang operating out of the city’s booming bar culture, but when David Rossiter, a powerful member of parliament, discovers that his runaway teenage daughter has turned up in their custody – everything changes. Isabelle Rossiter has joined the dangerous world of the sirens, the young women who go from bar-to-bar collecting drug money for The Franchise. Each lives in the shadow of Joanna Greenlaw, who cut a deal with the police then vanished without a trace.

As Franchise members begin to die, and a toxic strain of their designer drug hits the market, it becomes clear that someone doesn’t want Joanna Greenlaw to be forgotten. His loyalties divided between the police, The Franchise, the sirens and himself, Waits forgets about saving his reputation and tries desperately to save his own life.

Tom Kerridge’s Dopamine Diet – Tom Kerridge

Thanks to his Dopamine Diet, Michelin-starred chef Tom Kerridge has shed eleven stone over the past three years. That’s the same as 70 bags of sugar. If you’re struggling with your weight and need to shift unhealthy pounds, this new approach makes it easy, and is guaranteed to make you feel happier in the process. Most people find it hard to keep to a long-term diet, but this one is different. The recipes feature ingredients that trigger the release of the ‘happy hormone’ dopamine in your brain, so it’s a diet that will make you feel good!

Treats in store for Dopamine Dieters include spinach, bacon and mint soup; roasted onion salad with fried halloumi; shepherd’s pie with creamy cauliflower topping; soy glazed cod with chilli, garlic and ginger; braised beef with horseradish; Chinese pork hot pot; and chocolate mousse with sesame almond biscuits. These are recipes that don’t feel like diet food, and can be shared with friends and family. It worked for Tom and it can work for you. Give it a go! And lose weight the Dopamine Diet way.

Guapa – Saleem Haddad

Set over the course of 24 hours, Last Round At Guapa follows Rasa, a gay man living in an unnamed Arab country trying to carve out a life for himself in the midst of political and religious upheaval.

Rasa spends his days translating for Western journalists and pining for the nights when he can sneak his lover, Taymour, into his room.

Then one morning Rasa’s grandmother, the woman who raised him, catches them in bed together?

Finding Audrey – Sophie Kinsella

From the bestselling author of the Shopaholic series comes a story of humour, heart and heartache. Finding Audrey is Sophie Kinsella’s first novel for teens, sure to appeal to her legions of adult and young adult fans all over the world.

Audrey can’t leave the house. she can’t even take off her dark glasses inside the house. Then her brother’s friend Linus stumbles into her life. With his friendly, orange-slice smile and his funny notes, he starts to entice Audrey out again – well, Starbucks is a start. And with Linus at her side, Audrey feels like she can do the things she’d thought were too scary.

Suddenly, finding her way back to the real world seems achievable. Be prepared to laugh, dream and hope with Audrey as she learns that even when you feel like you have lost yourself, love can still find you…

The Watcher – Ross Armstrong

Set in a changing world – Old London on one side of the street New London on the other – Lily is making a habit of watching her neighbours in the flats that she can see from her balcony. When someone on the old estate dies, Lily is convinced it’s foul play and her investigations soon lead her to the building she’s been watching.

This is a great book filled with mistrust and paranoia, just who is watching who? Lily narrates the novel in the form of diary entries aimed at a mysterious someone else – as such we can never be too sure whether we can even trust Lily or not. Is everything just in her head or is she really in danger? This will definitely keep you guessing!

Get Your Sh*t Together – Sarah Knight

Get Your Sh*t Together is the much anticipated follow-up to the best-selling The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F**k. A fun, irreverent guide to de-cluttering your brain- think Mindfulness with added expletives!

With unique tips on how to prioritise the things that really matter, and how to actually get motivated to finally do the things you’ve always wanted but put off for another day.

This is the perfect antidote to the January Blues and a brilliant, useful manual to kick-start – and keep up your New Year’s resolutions!

The Everything Machine – Ally Kennen

One day eleven year old Olly has a very special delivery – a machine with magical powers… It has a name, it speaks, and it can print ANYTHING Olly asks it to – how about a never-ending supply of sweets and a swimming pool in the shed, for starters? But is getting everything you’ve wished for all it’s cracked up to be?

This is a heart-warming and heart-racing adventure featuring friendship, a fast-paced rescue mission and pages of laugh-out-loud antics.

The One We Fell in Love With – Paige Toon

Phoebe is caught between a rock and a hard place. Settle down and get married, or return to the French Alps to pursue her passion?

Eliza is in love with someone who is no longer hers. In fact, he probably never was… And her dream of becoming a successful musician seems to be vanishing before her eyes.

Rose is out of a job and out of a boyfriend. To make matters worse, she’s been forced to move back in with her mother…

But these very different girls have one thing in common. Angus. The one they fell in love with…

Deliciously Ella with Friends – Ella Woodward

The much-anticipated new cookbook from Deliciously Ella, the inspirational bestselling food writer who has taken the cookery world by storm. In the follow-up to her amazing chart-topper Deliciously Ella Every Day, Ella makes it easy to prepare delicious food for you, your friends and family, whatever the occasion. No more wondering whether certain dishes go together, Ella makes life simple with her menus – whether you are planning a laid-back brunch, a last-minute lunch or a fancy supper, she has it covered with hearty and filling recipes that celebrate her natural eating philosophy.

With ideas and inspiration for every foodie occasion, including cosy nights in for one, easy kitchen suppers, flavoursome feasts, birthday parties, picnics and mocktails and cocktails, this is the go-to book for anyone who wants to make simpler, healthier food choices – that they can enjoy with friends and family.