Spring Forth: March Pre-Orders
We can do it… a few more months of reading alone before we can read together. We've got signed books, short stories, fairy tales, weird noir, books about going out & cookbooks for staying in. Take your pick, click on any title to pre-order with 10% off throughout March.
Katherine Angel, Tomorrow Sex Will Be Good Again
What if the problem isn't women (not) knowing what they want, asks Katherine Angel: what if gendered and sexual violence – and violent norms – mean we need a different approach to consent that makes space for autonomy and desire.
Sam Byers, Come Join Our Disease
In an age of Instagrammable #inspo and corporate wellness lingo, Maya and her band of outcasts take a stand with a dirty protest – from defacing billboards to obscene images, in a novel about the solidarity of refuse and refusal.
Noémi Lefebvre, translated by Sophie Lewis, Poetics of Work
A deceptively small book, a pocket poetics of preferring not to: preferring poetry, preferring to protest, preferring to poke holes in patriarchy & militant nationalism, in a series of controlled explosions. Read it in the streets & the sheets.
Chris Power, A Lonely Man
Face/Off, but make it literary. A struggling writer, Robert, meets an enigmatic stranger, himself a paranoid ghostwriter for a murdered oligarch. Is he for real? Robert decides to use his story anyway. Whose story? What truth? Who decides?
Layla AlAmmar, Silence is a Sense
Rear Window but make it Brexit, as a Syrian refugee watches her English neighbours, writing for a newspaper as the alt-right and xenophobia rise. An inner thriller from Kuwaiti writer Layla AlAmmar.
Oana Aristide, Under the Blue
The kids are AIght, in this literary thriller about data, pandemics, and ethics, as two scientists "feed" their AI (Raising AIzona?) & two sisters take a road trip. Truly cinematic in its imagery and scope (hence the puns).
A.K. Blakemore, The Manningtree Witches
You know A.K. already as the poet who gave you Shia LaBeouf & Fondue, so you're already excited for her this, as she takes the historical novel & sets it alight, plunging into one of the most horrifying acts (among many) of English history.
Melissa Broder, Milk Fed
Food = sex = god = mother, rest & repeat, in Melissa Broder's overwhelming & haimische new novel about never getting enough, Milk Fed. Bursting with bodies and possibility.
Percival Everett, Damned If I Do
Influx continue with their major Percival Everett Event: fans of I Am Not Sidney Poitier will need no encouragement to pick up the master's short stories; if you haven't read Everett yet, these wild & varied tales are a great place to start.
Rudolph Fisher, The Walls of Jericho
First published in 1928, Rudolph Fisher's deep satire, in which a Black lawyer moves into a white neighbourhood bordering Harlem, has lost none of its salty sting, nor the power of its meditation on searching for a true self.
Melissa Ginsburg, The House Uptown
Lane, a well-known artist, finds herself taking care of her granddaughter Ava after her daughter dies – but Ava brings with her dangerous memories that Lane has avoided for years. A smouldering New Orleans-set twisty tale.
Natalia Ginzburg, translated by Beryl Stockman, Family and Borghesia
We can't get enough Ginzburg, so this beautiful double novella-bill from NYRB is a great treat, featuring 2 unusual households, 2 striking solutions to loneliness & isolation, and 2 compelling investigations of how we live with each other.
Yaa Gyasi, Transcendent Kingdom
Gyasi's emotional new novel picks up in a sense where Homegoing ended, with a Ghanaian family in the contemporary US: Gifty is a brilliant scientist who returns to her childhood evangelical faith in search of answers to the big question of loss.
Radiya Hafıza, Illustrated by Rhaida El Touny & Areeba Siddique, Rumaysa: A Fairytale
Rumaysa lets down her hijab, escapes her tower & meets up with Cinderayla and Sleeping Sara as they travel through a fairytale landscape re-imagined, and re-magicked. Great to read aloud or to curl up with!
Lisa Harding, Bright Burning Things
Not that long ago, Sonya was a glamorous actress in London; now she's a single mother in Ireland, struggling at the breadline, drinking to forget. But the hard work of mothering might be what pulls her back from the brink. Heart-stopping.
Kazuo Ishiguro, Klara and the Sun
It seems AI will never let Ishiguro go: the theme of human-robot interactions, and of childhood innocence and the oppression it depends on & hides, returns powerfully in the Nobel winner's new vision of our future, Klara and the Sun.
Agustín Fernández Mallo, translated by Thomas Bunstead, The Things We've Seen
An astronaut's memories. A walking tour through personal & social history. A worldwide wild goose chase for the truth. Mallo's novel will move you with memories of what's seen on the move. A book to travel with, even when still.
Imbolo Mbue, How Beautiful We Were
Mbue's second novel looks back at 40 years of environmental degradation by an American oil conglomerate in an African village. Many voices from Kosawa contribute to this transgenerational novel, asking whether reparation is possible.
Helen McClory, Bitterhall: A Novel
The flatshare novel we all need right now, from flash fiction queen Helen McClory, featuring three flatmates, 3D printing, a 19th century diary, a dashing ghost, a wild Hallowe'en party, (possibly too) hot sex, arguments & (ofc!) possession.
Wyl Menmuir, Fox Fires
Menmuir has been compared to Daphne du Maurier & John Wyndham, so expect the unexpected. Fox Fires is the story of a lonely girl looking for her father – in a strange post-civil war city of automata and surveillance.
Saima Mir, The Khan
Bradford-born, London-based lawyer Jia Khan thought she'd distanced herself from her crime boss father – but when he dies, Jia returns to take his place and try and create justice amid a bloody turf war. Gutsy, unputdownable read.
Fiona Mozley, Hot Stew
When millionaire developer Agatha Howard moves in on a Soho building, the need to defend it draws in the sex workers who are based there, their clients, a cop, and the anarchic basement dwellers. This is London as we live it & fight for it.
Walter Mosley, The Awkward Black Man
The seventeen stories in this collection show a beautiful pre-occupation with vulnerability and connection, inventing new ways of reaching out, even under the most stringent circumstances. Portraits from a narrative master.
Viet Thanh Nguyen, The Committed
Pulitzer winner Viet Thanh Nguyen returns with a novel that turns on the double meaning of spook: spy and ghost. Philosophical & cynical, unsparing & haunting, Nguyen burns the 20th century's illusions from the underside of the City of Lights.
Aleksandra Rychlicka, The Nocturnals
Wondering what to read after Piranesi? The Estate, the setting of The Nocturnals, is an equally mind-bending place, noir of mood and rare of escape, populated by insomniacs and taking place in that oneiric zone where anything can happen.
Mohamed Mbougar Sarr, translated by Alexia Trigo, Brotherhood
From the youngest-ever winner of the World Literature Prize comes a tale of resistance: the mothers of lovers killed by the regime write to each other; free-thinkers start an underground newspaper. Will they hold on when the backlash begins?
Edward St Aubyn, Double Blind
He's back & he's going big: a globe-trotting, butterfly-wings-flapping, cast of hundreds fiction of entanglement with ecology, genetics, neuroscience and psychoanalysis, as he asks "what price knowledge?". Minds: blown.
Souvankham Thammavongsa, How to Pronounce Knife
Interlinked short stories of immigrant and refugee lives in an unnamed city, turning on tiny, exquisitely-observed details, markers of Thammavongsa's celebrated work as a poet. Comes recommended by Mary Gaitskill and Daisy Johnson.
Jeet Thayil, Names of the Women
A retelling of the New Testament from the points of view of the women whose roles have been suppressed, reduced or erased from the gospels, from Mary Magdalene to his mother Mary, via lesser or even unknown voices. Spellbinding.
Alan Warner, Kitchenly 434
Warner's back with a satire set on the cusp of Thatcherism, & set on puncturing 70s rock excess and toxic masculinity, as two young fans undo an ageing star guitarist's fantasies. The Sopranos fans (both kinds) will not be disappointed.
Hanif Abdurraqib, A Little Devil in America: In Praise of Black Performance
With a title taken from Josephine Baker, Hanif Abdurraqib's book plunges into the scenarios & scales of Black performance, from the schoolyard to Beyoncé at the Super Bowl, listening intently & equally to Aretha Franklin & his own history.
Anas Atassi, Sumac
Anas Atassi shares family recipes and stories from his childhood in Homs, weaving dishes and the cultural traditions that shape and carry them. Both a feat & a feast, this collection of 80 dishes bridges from Syria to the rest of the world.
Harry Borden, Single Dad
A photobook with a difference, where each image is accompanied by a text written by the father in the picture, about the thousand and one ways of being a single dad, and the million and one feelings it brings. Beautiful.
Amit Chaudhuri, Finding the Raga: An Improvisation on Indian Music
Talented writer is also a skilled musician and composer – both in Indian traditional singing, and American folk. Here, Amit Chaudhuri brings his twin & entwined passions together in a new, exciting take on art-making and modernisms.
Maxine Beneba Clarke, When We Say Black Lives Matter
A beautiful and thoughtful picture book from author-illustrator Maxine Beneba-Clarke (whose short story collection Foreign Soil is a staff fave). One to read & re-read, going deep into history and feeling.
Leah Cowan, Border Nation: A Story of Migration
Could Leah Cowan's breakdown of media myths and sneaked-through legislation be any more timely and urgent? Another great entry in the Outspoken series that outlines the issues & incites us to engage with the grassroots solutions it lays out.
Hannah Dawson, editor, The Penguin Book of Feminist Writing
Spanning centuries and continents, Hannah Dawson's anthology samples many of the major – and lesser-known – voices calling for gender equality, in a useful and beautiful book, equally for reading and (as needed) throwing.
Annie Ernaux, translated by Tanya Leslie, Simple Passion
There's nothing simple about passion, and yet it simplifies everything into itself – from this insight Annie Ernaux lays bare an obsessive affair. First published in English in 1993, this spare book still haunts and persuades.
Tskenya-Sarah Fraser, A Quick Ting On Black British Businesses
One of six great first titles in the A Quick Ting On… series from Jacaranda, showcasing the UK's most exciting young black intellectuals and influencers. Fraser's book is a history and how-to of economics and entrepreneurship.
If you got to see the Artemisia exhibition last year, you'll have a sense of how Jennifer Higgie's brilliant book stands art history on its head, in conversation with dozens of adventurous & ambitious women artists over half a millennium.
Everything's blooming, and so is Daunt's 3rd anthology. Writers including Victoria Adukwei Bulley, Elizabeth-Jane Burnett, Kerri ní Dochartaigh, Jamaica Kincaid, Daisy Lafarge, Penelope Lively, Zing Tsjeng & Francesca Wade go green, gorgeously.
While we can't yet go down the road to The Glory or pop over to Gay's the Word, we can celebrate their inclusion in this lively, stylish compendium that shades in the capital's queer history and celebrates its ongoing community.
Barbara Kruger, Thinking of You. I Mean Me. I Mean You
One of the most influential artists of the late 20th century, Barbara Kruger finally gets the retrospective she deserves – and a catalogue to accompany it. From her early, rarely-seen paste-ups of the 80s to new works, this keeps rethinking art.
Jeremy Atherton Lin, Gay Bar: Why We Went Out
An olfactory memoir, a danced history, a sexual manifesto, a meditation on insurgence and capitalism's scavenging of outsider culture: we predict this will be the book of the summer. Come out and get it.
Clive Nwonka and Anamik Saha, editors, Black Film British Cinema II
30 years since the Black Film British Cinema conference, Clive Nwonka & Anamik Saha present the sequel, with meditations and interventions from contributors including Bidisha, Ashley Clark, Melanie Hoyes, Kara Keeling and Rabz Lansiquot.
Eddie Piller and Steve Rowland, Punkzines
Sniffin' Glue! London's Burning! Kindgom Come! Legendary titles and the people who made them happen all appear in this rip-roaring compendium, expertly researched and compiled. Full of energy.
José Pizarro, Basque: Spanish Recipes from San Sebastian and Beyond
From pintxos to family feasts, José Pizarro takes you through the recipes of the Basque Country, from Michelin-starred gastronomy to the abundant local ingredients that give Basque food its rich savour. Compact edition for easy cooking!
Harry Shapiro, Fierce Chemistry: A History of UK Drug Wars
How did prohibition legislation send narcotics from a niche to the mainstream? As a music journalist who has worked with addiction organisations, Harry Shapiro is perfectly placed to tell a story that veers between exploitation and ecstasy.
David Spittle, Light Glyphs: The Collected Interviews
Filmmakers such as Andrew Kötting talk poetry, and poets such as John Ashbery talk film – plus there's poet-filmmakers like Redell Olsen. Drawn from David Spittle's blog, this is a unique conversation about what it means to write with light.
Craig Taylor, New Yorkers: A City and Its People in Our Time
Remember talking to people on public transport? Craig Taylor's Londoners turned it into a high art – and now he's back, when we need most to be reminded of our interconnectedness, with New Yorkers, a compendium of everyday conversations.
Marina Warner, Inventory of a Life Mislaid: An Unreliable Memoir
Marina Warner's father opened a branch of WH Smith Books in Cairo after the war, moving his Italian wife & young daughter there until 1952, when it burnt down. Warner pieces the story & the city together from fragments & memories.
Sophie White, Corpsing: My Body and Other Horror Shows
The body as a haunted house where both the ghost and the architecture are patriarchy is the subject and subjectivity of Sophie White's mesmerising essay collection. Startling images abound in a high-stakes investigation.