Hot off the press! Check out the books we think are the best of the best this month!
October 2008 Book of the Month. A book you can’t rush but must sit back and become totally absorbed in. Convoluted with fascinating detail and full of short mysteries, almost like a series of linking short stories, it all hangs round the research into an ancient Jewish tome, The Sarajevo Haggadah, from the 1490s. Within its binding are a series of clues/stains which are explored in a multi-time frame novel of the highest order. The researchers’ background is also revealed along the way. Highly recommended. Comparison: Charles Frazier, Rose Tremain, Will Davenport.
This is a fantastic facsimile providing the reader with everything they could want to know about Charles Darwin. Beautifully presented and with lots of fascinating items of memorabilia to look at and take out of the book. There are copies of his diary entries, handwritten notes, sketches and much much more. This is a must for anyone interested in the man who put forward the theory for natural selection forming the basis of what we can accept as the theory of evolution.
September 2008 Book of the Month. The slow decline of a wine collector told backwards. We meet Wilberforce as he ascends into alcoholism and then back-track to the uninteresting computer self-employed workaholic he once was until a moment of uncharacteristic impulsive behaviour. This author’s first novel, Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, was one of my favourite books of last year. This is very different, a sad tale of obsession, ignorance and being totally out of touch with one’s fellow human beings. Wilberforce is not a pleasant man, his tale interestingly delivered. Torday can certainly write. Comparison: Julian Barnes, Ian McEwan, David Lodge.
July 2008 Book of the Month. Chelsea Cain is back with the follow up to her brilliant first novel Heartsick. Psychotic serial killer Gretchen Lowell and the cop she captured, tortured and set free at her own expense, Archie Sheridan, are back pitting wills against each other. Gretchen has been safely locked away and although she still haunts Archie’s every waking moment at least he, and everyone else, is safe from her sadistic lust for killing, that is until she escapes while being transferred to another prison. Wonderfully gruesome and totally chilling this is a thriller that will stay with you a long time after you have read the last page.
June 2008 Book of the Month. A welcome return to detectives Travis and Langton. This is turning in to an excellent series with great characterisation and plot lines. Do read Lynda’s letter to our readers about where she gets her inspiration from and make sure you read this fantastic thriller an readiness for the next instalment later in the year. A letter from Lynda La Plante to our readers..... Dear Lovereading members, I’m honoured to have my latest thriller, Clean Cut selected by Lovereading as your June Book of the Month. Each year I write a thriller novel, published by Simon & Schuster. The most recent of these is a series of novels featuring D.I. Anna Travis as the heroine. Clean Cut is a particular favourite of mine and I like to think that Anna has hit her stride and become a character to rival Jane Tennison in Prime Suspect. In addition to this I have written Trial and Retribution and The Commander for ITV. With a new television series underway, it is not surprising that I am often asked 'where do all your ideas come from? The truth is I am inspired by real life; so often fact is stranger than fiction. Newspaper articles provide me with a lot of the fuel for my imagination. Once you have the catalyst for that creative spark, it can take you into a whole new territory to research and develop. I recently read an article about a woman who had eight different personalities. The news piece explained how she had built these very different characters to 'protect' herself and give her the strength to continue living an acceptable life after horrendous child abuse. Each one was a very clearly defined personality, from strong to aggressive to shy and introverted etc. Each one had a different name and she even had a wardrobe filled with clothes and wigs that suited the different personalities. I began to question this as a plot for a thriller. What if one of these personalities became a witness to a murder? The ideas then begin to emerge: when interviewed by the police a statement is taken from a woman calling herself ‘Miranda’ and she is clearly a very valuable eye witness, having seen the perpetrator kill his victim. I then start to unravel, from the police perspective, the information that their perfect witness is in actual fact diagnosed with multiple personality disorder. Can they use ‘Miranda’ or would her condition make it impossible for her to be a prosecution witness? It becomes a fascinating scenario and dilemma upon which to base a story, however it is crucial for me to back these ideas up with detailed and thorough research. I will therefore interview numerous physiologists and gain an insight into ‘Miranda's’ condition. The reality is, it would be extremely difficult for the detectives to use her eyewitness statements in court but for me it is a fascinating premise for a new 'thriller'. I have just finished the next Anna Travis novel, Deadly Intent, to be published later this year. I hope that Clean Cut will satisfy everyone’s expectations – I think every single Lovereading reader, whether they’re already Anna Travis fans or new to the series, will enjoy it very much. With best wishes Lynda La Plante
April 2008 Book of the Month.Brutal, violent, Edinburgh-based, hard-boiled, dark tale of the criminal underworld, dysfunctional families, senseless violence and bad men. It rips along â€“ utterly unputdownable.Comparison: Stuart MacBride, Patrick Quinlan, Simon Lewis â€“ Bad Traffic.
April 2008 Biography of the Month.Following Julieâ€™s childhood years and through to the point where Disney offer her â€˜Mary Poppinsâ€™ at the age of 28 this is a thoroughly enjoyable and interesting insight into the performers formative years. Although her singing career took off early, with performances at the London Palladium, by the age of twelve, all was not raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens. Being brought up by an alcoholic mother and stepfather ensured Julie had to toughen up at a young age and maybe this is what spurred her ambition. With so many great anecdotes, and weâ€™ve only got to the beginning of her career, future memoirs should be fascinating.
Shortlisted for the Orange Broadband Prize for Fiction 2008. May 2007 Book of the Month. After Leo walks out on his wedding to run off with the wife of his Rabbi we follow the unravelling lives of those affected by this event and the cracks that were already forming, in this seemingly perfect family, begin to break wide open. Trust, loyalties, love and friendship are all put to the test in a novel with a cracking pace. The interplay between the characters is absorbing and humorous and thoroughly believable, you won’t be able to put this one down.
Barry Forshaw on R. J. Ellory and Stanley Ellin... A Quiet Belief in Angels was the breakthrough book for British writer R.J. Ellory, and his particular skill lies in a sprawling, ambitious realisation of American locales – at times reminiscent of the great Stanley Ellin. And like the sardonic American author of The Speciality of the House, Ellory has a taste for the darker recesses of human psychology. January 2008 Book of the Month. Sarah Broadhust's view... Named the No.1 Mystery of the Year by The Strand Magazine.Now for something completely different – a small-town setting for a riveting tale, one that grows so that when the eventual horror comes, it fair hits you in the stomach. It involves the killing of young girls as World War I breaks out in Europe, a period of death and brutality that so affects a young boy that his teacher persuades him to write about his feelings. We get much depth and emotion which in a crime novel lifts it way above the genre. I particularly enjoyed this one.Reviewed on Richard & Judy on Wednesday 30 January 2008.Comparison: William Kowalski, John Irving, Edward Wright.
October 2007 Book of the Month.Alice Sebold’s second novel is as moving and beautifully written as her first, The Lovely Bones. She takes some very sad and disturbing subject matter and writes about it in a way that completely captivates the reader. This is a story of mental illness and how difficult relationships can be under these circumstances, torn between love and hate, devotion and resentment. An engrossing novel, movingly told.
A 2012 World Book Night selection. Voted 3rd in the Books of the Decade by Lovereading readers. Shortlisted for the Newcomer of the Year Award at the Galaxy British Book Awards 2008. This is the story of a street of ordinary German people living in the horrors of the Nazi regime. Interestingly it is narrated by Death but the central character is an 11-year old girl who steals a gravedigger’s handbook and gets hooked on reading. It’s grim yet uplifting, immensely sad yet light in style and touch. A very interesting view of World War II and an unforgettable book, it’s aimed at both children and adults and should be read by both. Larry Finlay, Managing Director of the Publisher of The Book Thief said: “It is a great, great book, one that calls out to your head and your heart whatever your age. Its success is due almost entirely to word-of-mouth for unlike many bestsellers it has not been made into a film (yet), nor was it picked by a Book Club such as Richard and Judy.” A "Piece of Passion" from the publisher... ‘The Book Thief is one of those word-of-mouth bestsellers that has made its way into reader’s hearts entirely on its own merits. When this book came to me by way of the Children’s Division, my heart took that legendary leap. I met for the first time the delightful Liesel, Rudy and of course Death, the narrator, all of whom have joined the galaxy of best-loved characters in world literature. Rare is the reader who doesn’t close this book with a tear in their eye.' Jane Lawson, Editorial Director at Transworld
August 2007 Book of the MonthBeautifully told through notes left on the kitchen fridge, here is an intimate glimpse into the lives of a mother who has just discovered she’s got cancer, and her teenage daughter. This tragic but ultimately uplifting debut novel explores what being a ‘good mother’ or a ‘good daughter’ really means. It is a reminder of how much can be said in so few words, if only we made the time to say them. It’s utterly compelling and totally unputdownable for parent and teenager alike.
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All the books we feature on the site are featured because we think they deserve to stand out from the crowd of the many thousands of other titles published each month. However, sometimes in a month, we wish to give that little bit more emphasis to a title and to make it a 'Book of the Month'.
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