Welcome to August’s Literary Loves, where we feature an independent local bookshop and their chosen pick of the month, and top of the pile books to keep an eye out for. Laurel Waldron
This month, Jonathan Main from Crystal Palace’s The Bookseller Crow on the Hill recommends The Painter’s Friend, by Howard Connell (Picador, £16.99). The story of an artist who retreats to a small island in his fifties after a violent crisis, he soon discovers he is one of many independent outsiders who have sought refuge there. “The new novel by long-time south London resident Howard Cunnell is a blistering, tough minded novel about art, commerce and class.”
What I’m Currently Reading…
In anticipation of a week exploring Scotland, I’ve picked up Sea Room by Adam Nicholson. At the age of 21 he inherited a trio of islands in the Outer Hebrides, the Shiants, three of the loneliest of the British Isles. With an inhospitable landscape and little more than a lonely rat-ridden bothy as accommodation, they may sound less appealing than some of their neighbours, yet Nicholson tells an intriguing story of his time there, from the wild and dangerous seas to the hundreds of thousands of sea birds. It will undoubtedly make you want to run away to a quiet corner of coastline. (HarperCollins, £9.99 at bookshop.org)
What We’re Buying This Month…
Why We Kneel, How We Rise by Michael Holding (Simon & Schuster, £20)
Last year’s Black Lives Matter protests paved the way for long overdue conversations to open up across the globe. Why We Kneel, How We Rise by former West Indies cricketer Holding is a searingly honest account of the racism he has seen and suffered throughout his life and career thought the prism of sport and conversations with its legends, with a powerful and inspiring message of hope for the future.
The Cubans by Anthony DePalma (Penguin, £9.99)
One of the most fascinating and yet restrictive, isolated and misunderstood places in the world, Cuba is at the same time intensely appealing and intriguing. The Cubans is a pioneering account of life from Fidel Castro’s heyday through the post-Soviet years to now, a work of reportage across six decades from the man who wrote Castro’s obituary for the New York Times, expiring the complexities of one of the world’s five remaining communist countries.
Unwell Women by Dr Elinor Cleghorn (Orion Publishing, £16.98)
Where Caroline Criado Perez’s iconic Invisible Women exposed the way the world has been designed with men in mind, Unwell Women goes one step further into women’s journey through medicine, exposing the historic origins of the gender pain gap. From ancient Greece to modern day menopause, it’s an exposé of the medical world and where women sit in it.
Go Big by Ed Milliband (Vintage, £18.99)
Milliband might forever be known as the one that got away. In Go Big he outlines an empowering, uplifting wet of practical and transformative solutions for rebuilding society, inspired by his award-winning Reasons to be Cheerful podcast. It’s a manifesto for how we can rewrite the future and foster the current appetite for change into something far greater.