Title: Confessions of a Bookseller

Author: Shaun Bythell

Pages: 328 Pages

Publisher: Profile Books

The Blurb

“Do you have a list of your books, or do I just have to stare at them?” Shaun Bythell is the owner of The Bookshop in Wigtown, Scotland. With more than a mile of shelving, real log fires in the shop and the sea lapping nearby, the shop should be an idyll for bookworms. Unfortunately, Shaun also has to contend with bizarre requests from people who don’t understand what a shop is, home invasions during the Wigtown Book Festival and Granny, his neurotic Italian assistant who likes digging for river mud to make poultices.

The Diary of a Bookseller (soon to be a major TV series) introduced us to the joys and frustrations of life lived in books. Sardonic and sympathetic in equal measure, Confessions of a Bookseller will reunite readers with the characters they’ve come to know and love.

The Review

I loved The Diary of a Bookseller so when I heard a second book was coming out I was quick to buy it. Less quick to read it but quick to buy it. It was full of the same type of funny stories we found in the first book, the same colourful cast of people in Shaun Bythell’s life along with some new faces and the same old difficulties that come with working in the second hand book trade. Quite frankly, this book was like a hug.

I really hope that Shaun continues to write about the witty things that happen throughout his days. I, for one, would love another instalment.

Confessions of a Bookseller by Shaun Bythell is available now.

For more information regarding Profile Books (@ProfileBooks) please visit their Twitter page.

Title: Ayoade on Top

Author: Richard Ayoade

Pages: 256 Pages

Publisher: Faber & Faber

The Blurb

At last, the definitive book about perhaps the best cabin crew dramedy ever filmed: View From the Top starring Gwyneth Paltrow.

In Ayoade on Top, Richard Ayoade, perhaps one of the most ‘insubstantial’ people of our age, takes us on a journey from Peckham to Paris by way of Nevada and other places we don’t care about. It’s a journey deep within, in a way that’s respectful and non-invasive; a journey for which we will all pay a heavy price, even if you’ve waited for the smaller paperback edition.

Ayoade argues for the canonisation of this brutal masterpiece, a film that celebrates capitalism in all its victimless glory; one we might imagine Donald Trump himself half-watching on his private jet’s gold-plated flat screen while his other puffy eye scans the cabin for fresh, young prey.”

 (AMAZON BLURB)

The Review

I like Richard Ayoade. I think he is a swell guy. I appreciate his quirkiness and I love that he has written a book about a random and unpopular movie with the love of someone who knows how crap their favourite movie is but adores it anyway. I’m not saying that this is necessarily Richard Ayoade’s favourite film, in fact I would put money on it that he doesn’t like it and this is in fact a sardonic response but as someone who appreciates a good crap film (mine is Grease 2) then I salute the purpose of this book.

In typical Ayoade fashion you never know if what he is saying is genuine or if it is a scathing comment (always suspect the latter) and that is the joy of his writing style. Read Ayoade on Top. Read it now.

Ayoade on Top by Richard Ayoade is available now.

For more information regarding Richard Ayoade (@RichardAyoade) please visit his Twitter page.

For more information regarding (@FaberBooks) please visit www.faber.co.uk.

Title: Tradition

Author: Brendan Kiely

Pages: 352 Pages

Publisher: Penguin Random House

The Blurb

‘This very good school is nothing but a fancy promise, a broken one. A big lie.’

The powerful, glamorous and privileged students of Fullbrook Academy gather for a secret party in the woods.

A party that ends in disaster.

The Fullbook traditions are sacred. But they can hide dark and dangerous secrets.

Jules is in her senior year with one goal: to get out and start her life at college.

Jamie is a sports star on a scholarship; Fullbrook is his chance to escape his past.

Can they both stand together against Fulbrook’s most toxic traditions?

The Review

I really like campus novels. I like having a sneaky peak into a world that I may be unaware of. I like it when those novels tackle difficult issues and Tradition definitely tackles a difficult issue. Kiely looks at the privilege that is shown to sports stars within private schools and how that privilege can manifest itself in insidious sexual attacks that are brushed under the carpet.

With a dual narrative, we see what life at Fullbook is like from Jules perspective – she was once part of the privileged group but now abhors it. We also see it from Jamie’s perspective who has landed smack bang into that world and doesn’t fit in.

The toxicity of this environment drips from every page and makes you genuinely uncomfortable. It is a book that should be read and shared as much as possible.

Tradition by Brendan Kiely is available now.

For more information regarding Brendan Kiely (@KielyBrendan) please visit www.bendankiely.com.

For more information regarding Penguin Random House (@penguinrandom) please visit www.penguinrandomhouse.com.

Title: Cilka’s Journey

Author: Heather Morris

Pages: 352 Pages

Publisher: St Martin’s Press

The Blurb

Her beauty saved her — and condemned her.

Cilka is just sixteen years old when she is taken to Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camp in 1942, where the commandant immediately notices how beautiful she is. Forcibly separated from the other women prisoners, Cilka learns quickly that power, even unwillingly taken, equals survival.

When the war is over and the camp is liberated, freedom is not granted to Cilka: She is charged as a collaborator for sleeping with the enemy and sent to a Siberian prison camp. But did she really have a choice? And where do the lines of morality lie for Cilka, who was send to Auschwitz when she was still a child?

In Siberia, Cilka faces challenges both new and horribly familiar, including the unwanted attention of the guards. But when she meets a kind female doctor, Cilka is taken under her wing and begins to tend to the ill in the camp, struggling to care for them under brutal conditions.

Confronting death and terror daily, Cilka discovers a strength she never knew she had. And when she begins to tentatively form bonds and relationships in this harsh, new reality, Cilka finds that despite everything that has happened to her, there is room in her heart for love.

From child to woman, from woman to healer, Cilka’s journey illuminates the resilience of the human spirit—and the will we have to survive.

The Review

The Tattooist of Auschwitz is a story that has stayed with me since I read it. Therefore, I was eager to read the sequel Cilka’s Journey. We met Cilka in The Tattooist of Auschwitz and we saw the terrible way she was treated and the choices that she had to make. In Cilka’s Journey we follow Cilka to a Siberian Gulag.

In my own ignorance I did not know that some of the Jewish prisoners were not freed when the war was over. Those who were given jobs in the camp – jobs they did for survival – were then seen as conspirators with the Nazi’s and ended up in prison. This story is heartbreaking. Again, it is a fictionalised account of a real events and that makes it all the more powerful.

This series of books really does highlight just how much there is still to learn about the injustice that they Jewish people suffered and how it still needs to be discussed.

Cilka’s Journey by Heather Morris is available now.

For more information regarding St Martin’s Press (@StMartinsPress) please visit their Twitter page.

Title: Becoming

Author: Michelle Obama

Pages: 400 Pages

Publisher: Viking

The Blurb

An intimate, powerful, and inspiring memoir by the former First Lady of the United States

In a life filled with meaning and accomplishment, Michelle Obama has emerged as one of the most iconic and compelling women of our era. As First Lady of the United States of America – the first African-American to serve in that role – she helped create the most welcoming and inclusive White House in history, while also establishing herself as a powerful advocate for women and girls in the U.S. and around the world, dramatically changing the ways that families pursue healthier and more active lives, and standing with her husband as he led America through some of its most harrowing moments. Along the way, she showed us a few dance moves, crushed Carpool Karaoke, and raised two down-to-earth daughters under an unforgiving media glare.

In her memoir, a work of deep reflection and mesmerizing storytelling, Michelle Obama invites readers into her world, chronicling the experiences that have shaped her – from her childhood on the South Side of Chicago to her years as an executive balancing the demands of motherhood and work, to her time spent at the world’s most famous address. With unerring honesty and lively wit, she describes her triumphs and her disappointments, both public and private, telling her full story as she has lived it – in her own words and on her own terms. Warm, wise, and revelatory, Becoming is the deeply personal reckoning of a woman of soul and substance who has steadily defied expectations – and whose story inspires us to do the same.

(AMAZON BLURB)

The Review

“When they go low, you go high.” – Michelle Obama.

I am a little bit in love with Michelle Obama. I think she is brilliant. I was really excited to read her biography but it took me a few months to pick it up. I am kind of glad of that because the hype had died down and I was able to enjoy reading it without everyone else’s thoughts buzzing around me.

Becoming is so deeply interesting. Michelle Obama has never stood in the shadow of Obama – partly I think that Barack Obama wouldn’t let her but more so because she is a feisty woman who is not just the previous FLOTUS but she is Michelle freaking Obama.

I genuinely loved this autobiography. Michelle is honest. She was candid about her thoughts about how she didn’t want Barack to run for president. It is lovely to watch their love story unfold. And it is one of the most inspiring reads I have read in a long time.

I really wish Michelle Obama would run for President.

Becoming by Michelle Obama is available now.

For more information regarding Michelle Obama (@MichelleObama) please visit www.obama.org.

For more information regarding Viking (@VikingBooksUK) please visit www.penguin.co.uk.