February Pre-Orders: Things Suck, Read Great Books

What could be more perfectly February than pre-ordering an amazing book? With Valentine's Day, Galentine's/Palentine's Day AND Chinese New Year coming up, treat yourself, your pals & your beloveds to the gift of the best new books that will arrive just when you most need cheering up. Books + anticipation… what could be better! For an extra-special February boost, check out our (safely) signed books.

Click on the titles to browse & buy. And if you're having a hard time deciding, why not let us surprise you (before 14 Feb) with our Blind Date with a Book?

Diary of a Film, Niven Govinden (SIGNED)

First up, the hotly-anticipated follow-up to This Brutal House, Niven Govinden's third novel Diary of a Film. Take a walk through the city & cinema as a filmmaker finds himself on a queer dérive through histories.

Brown Baby, Nikesh Shukla (SIGNED)

How do you find hope and even joy in a world that is racist, sexist and facing climate crisis? If anyone can, Nikesh Shukla can, in this searching and tender memoir dedicated to his daughters & the grandmother they never met. 

Chauvo-Feminism: On Emotional Abuse, Identity and #MeToo, Sam Mills (SIGNED)

Brilliance from Sam Mills as she asks, have some men in power just changed their tactics to appear feminist, while remaining exploitative in public? And what does their success say about where we are now?

We're very excited for Black Britain: Writing Back, a new Penguin series selected by Bernardine Evaristo that brings classic novels back into print where they belong. The first six titles are published this month, and we're offering all 6 for the price of 5 at £44.95.

Bernard and the Cloth Monkey, Judith Bryan

Minty Alley, C. L. R. James

Incomparable World, S. I. Martin

The Dancing Face, Mike Phillips

The Fat Lady Sings, Jacqueline Roy

Without Prejudice, Nicola Williams


It's a great month for fiction, with cracking new voices, much-awaited returns, short stories, long journeys, Twitfic, scandal, cannibals… something for everyone, really.

Night as it Falls, Jakuta Alikavazovic, trans. Jeffrey Zuckerman

What happens when someone you love disappears? Paul begins to wonder whether Amelia was there in the first place, and how love weighs against hidden histories, as Amelia returns to Sarajevo in search of her mother and her past. 

Paradise Block, Alice Ash

Here is a neglected tower block; here are the people, animals and moulds who live there. Here is how they connect and fail to connect, across stories that are both rooms and walkways. An assured debut short story collection. 

Mother for Dinner, Shalom Auslander

Meet the last surviving Cannibal-Americans as they try to observe their mother's dying wish. Custom, commensality, kashrut and family collide in this reflexively Freudian satire from a comic novelist on top form.  

Voices of the Lost, Hoda Barakat, trans. Marilyn Booth

Six heart-rending letters that, delivered to the wrong recipients, prompt further confessions. Opening up the lives of undocumented immigrants, sex workers, and queer men in a war-torn country, Hoda Barakat's novel is a revelation. 

Bestiary, K-Ming Chang

Family as fairy tale, as Daughter interweaves tales of her grandparents' and parents' migration from Taiwan to Arkansas, the ongoing violence of colonialisms, and the transformative force of her love affair with a girl from Ningxia.

Plain Bad Heroines, Emily M. Danforth

The author of The Miseducation of Cameron Post is back with a Gothic, Moth Diaries-esque boarding school drama that nods knowingly to Rebecca and other beloved lesbian thrillers. Dark, scabrous, sexy fun. 

Lullaby Beach, Stella Duffy

Stella Duffy is both co-director of the grassroots arts revolution Fun Palaces & author of 17 brilliant novels making the genre of feminist noir her own. Lullaby Beach is a story of family secrets & what happens when they're revealed. 

How We Are Translated, Jessica Gaitán Johannesson

Recommended by Sara Baume as 'a novel that anyone interested in the future of the English novel needs to read!’ It's brilliant as fick, as its bilingual protagonist Kristin might say, as she navigates the between & always changing.

A Net for Small Fishes, Lucy Jago

Missing Mantel? Loved The Favourite? Grab this historical fiction-meets-true crime take on the era of the revenge tragedy, as a friendship between women across class barriers meets the treacherous currents of the Jacobean court.

Lightseekers, Femi Kayode

Major new crime series alert! Meet investigative psychologist Dr Philip Taiwo as he uncovers the motivation behind a brutal murder in a small Nigerian university town, chillingly captured on social media. Clever, compassionate & compelling. 

No One is Talking About This, Patricia Lockwood

Obvs everyone is going to be talking about this. It's a book about the impact of being talked about online, aka "the portal". Can an influencer in need cut through the bullshit – or better yet, turn it into something real? 

Mouthpieces, Eimear McBride

McBride does & undoes Beckett. Short, sharp, surreal. Go on then.

Open Water, Caleb Azuma Nelson

A stunning romantic novel about creativity, vulnerability, Blackness and being in contemporary London. One of Caleb Femi's top reads while writing Poor! Need we say more. 

We Are Not in the World, Conor O'Callaghan

See the world from the cab of a long-haul lorry, in all its intensity and expansiveness, as a driver and his stowaway twentysomething daughter haul themselves through trauma and grief together. 

Fake Accounts, Lauren Oyler

What would you do if you found out your partner was an anonymous online conspiracy theorist? The inciting incident of Lauren Oyler's novel, which skewers the power plays of online life, seems more relevant & uncomfortable by the day.   

Light Perpetual, Francis Spufford

A powerful premise – what if a single German rocket hadn't landed in Nov 1944 – that becomes a tour de force account of the 20th century, as the five survivors live through the world we think we know & change profoundly how we see it.

The Art of Losing, Alice Zeniter, trans. Frank Wynne

When Naïma visits Algeria from France, the first time a member of her family has been since her father emigrated as a child, she enters the zone of the unspoken, all the stories her parents have carried silently about their parents & the Civil War. 


While January's pre-orders were all fiction, February definitely feels like… back to reality. Luckily, there's a superb range of memoirs, biographies, histories, essays and letters to help us see & see us through.

Eat a Peach, David Chang

Most of us have never eaten David Chang's food – but his cooking at Momofuku & beyond has changed the way we think about eating and creativity. This memoir offers a scintillating taste of his thinking on success, failure & above all, food.


The Crying Book, Heather Christle

A cultural history of tears couldn't be more timely, and poet Heather Christle ranges across science, art and anecdote to explore why we are drawn to experiences that provoke sad reactions, and what we do with them. 


Let Me Tell You What I Mean, Joan Didion

Twelve early pieces – including a response to a letter of rejection – that already exhibit Didionism. Best to buy the book & just to let her tell you what she means. 


We Are Bellingcat, Eliot Higgins

Love detective fiction? Spy stories? This is like a detective novel about a spy story, except it's all true – and in defence of truth – recounting how citizen journalists used online tools to subvert both the Kremlin and conspiracy theorists.

Love is an Ex-Country, Randa Jarrar

"I guess most people newly freed from responsibilities take naps. But not me." Instead, accompany Randa Jarrar on a lively road trip across America, claiming joy as a in the middle of nowhere as a fat, queer, Muslim woman. 


Bessie, Jackie Kay

One of the greatest writers of our time on one of the greatest musicians and performers of all time, it's a match made in heaven as Jackie Kay blends biography, memoir, fiction and poetry to encounter & recount the extraordinary Bessie Smith.

Reel Bay: A Cinematic Essay, Jana Larson

A film student obsesses over a death reported as a film fan going too far. Was Takako Konishi really hunting for the treasure from Fargo when she froze to death? Larson's multiple investigations and screenplays become this multi-genre essay. 


Aftershocks: Dispatches from the Frontlines of Identity, Nadia Owusu

A powerful, internationalist meditation on self and family that narrates individual and family traumas of displacement, migration, racism and abandonment through the seismic impact of earthquakes. 


Comic Timing, Holly Pester

Just when we need it most, here's Holly Pester's debut poetry collection, exploring the uncanny times that capitalism forces on the body, and how our bodies push back a beat at a time. Smart, startling, absurdist, essential.

microbursts, Elizabeth Reeder & Amanda Thomson 

An immediate series of interactions with grief, loss and remaking life and language in short, experimental essays by Elizabeth Reeder. Collaboration with visual artist Amanda Thomson opens up the text and its intensities toward new meaning.


Three Mothers: How the Mothers of Martin Luther King Jr, Malcolm X and James Baldwin Shaped a Nation, Anna Malaika Tubbs

Meet Alberta King, Louise Little and Berdis Baldwin: women who raised three men who changed America. Anna Malaika Tubbs' lovingly researched and beautifully written study is a hymn to Black culture and its flows through motherhood


Love Letters, Virginia Woolf and Vita Sackville-West

With a new introduction by Alison Bechdel, this selection offers a glimpse into the passionate, funny, sexy letters back and forth between two great writers who were also two women swept up in love. Delightful.

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