We follow Zoe, an American art student who is escaping her troubled past by spending a year in Berlin. With her new best friend Hailey, she is thrilled to rent an apartment from an eccentric crime writer, Beatrice Becks. Soon strange things start happening and the girls are convinced that Beatrice has a way to watch their every move, to give her the plot for her next crime novel. The friends decide to play Beatrice at her own game, constructing their own dramatic narrative of wild parties and secrets. But in the year that the world is scandalised by the story of Meredith Kercher and Amanda Knox, their lives spiral out of control into much darker territory.
Born in a bathtub in 1954 to a Cherokee father and white mother, Betty is the sixth of eight siblings. The world they inhabit is one of poverty and violence – both from outside the family and also, devastatingly, from within. When her family’s darkest secrets are brought to light, Betty has no choice but to reckon with the brutal history hiding in the hills, as well as the heart-wrenching cruelties and incredible characters she encounters in her rural town of Breathed, Ohio. Despite the hardship she faces, Betty is resilient. Her curiosity about the natural world, her fierce love for her sisters and her father’s brilliant stories are kindling for the fire of her own imagination, and in the face of all she bears witness to, Betty discovers an escape: she begins to write. A heartbreaking yet magical story, ‘Betty’ is a novel full of the crushing cruelty of human nature and the redemptive power of words.
This is the story of pasta. In it, Guardian columnist and award-winning food writer Rachel Roddy condenses everything she has learned about Italy’s favourite food in a practical, easy-to-use and mouth-watering collection of 100 essential pasta and pasta sauce recipes. Along with the recipes are short essays that weave together the history, culture and the everyday life of pasta shapes from the tip to the toe of Italy.
Of all the many things humans rely on plants for, surely the most curious is our use of them to change consciousness: to stimulate, calm, or completely alter the qualities of our mental experience. In this book, Michael Pollan explores three very different drugs – opium, caffeine and mescaline – and throws the fundamental strangeness of our thinking about them into sharp relief. Exploring and participating in the cultures that have grown up around these drugs, while consuming (or in the case of caffeine, trying not to consume) them, Pollan reckons with the powerful human attraction to psychoactive plants, and the equally powerful taboos.
Provocative, smart, angry, wise, and very, very funny, the essays in ‘Things Are Against Us’ cover everything – from feminism to environmental catastrophe; labour strikes to sex strikes; Little House On The Prairie to Donald Trump. These are essays bursting with energy, and reading them feels like sticking your hand in the mains socket.
An autism diagnosis in midlife enabled Joanne Limburg to finally make sense of why her emotional expression, social discomfort and presentation had always marked her as an outsider. Eager to discover other women who had been misunderstood in their time, she writes a series of wide-ranging letters to four ‘weird sisters’ from history, addressing topics including autistic parenting, social isolation, feminism, the movement for disability rights and the appalling punishments that have been meted out over centuries to those deemed to fall short of the norm.
In letters addressed to their friends, to members of their family – both biological and chosen – and to fellow storytellers, Akwaeke describes the shape of a life lived in overlapping realities. Through heartbreak, chronic pain, intimacy with death, becoming a beast, this is embodiment as a nonhuman: outside the boundaries imposed by expectations and legibility. This book is an account of the grueling work of realignment and remaking necessary to carve out a future for oneself. The result is a black spirit memoir: a powerful, raw unfolding of identity.
Yona has been stuck behind a desk for years working as a programming coordinator for Jungle, a travel company specialising in package holidays to destinations ravaged by disaster. When a senior colleague touches her inappropriately she tries to complain, and in an attempt to bury her allegations, the company make her an attractive proposition: a free ticket for one of their most sought-after trips, to the desert island of Mui. She accepts the offer and travels the remote island, where the major attraction is a supposedly-dramatic sinkhole. When the customers who’ve paid a premium for the trip begin to get frustrated, Yona realises that the company has dangerous plans to fabricate an environmental catastrophe to make the trip more interesting, but when she tries to raise the alarm, she discovers she has put her own life in danger.
Set in a shuttered pub – The Paper Lantern – in a village in the very middle of the country adjacent to the Chequers estate, the narrator embarks on a series of walks in the Chiltern Hills, which become the landscape for evocations of a past scarred with trauma and a present lacking compass. From local raves in secret valleys and the history of landmarks such as Halton House, to the fallout of the lockdown period, climate change and capitalism, this book creates a tangible, lived-in, complicated rendering of a place.
Living at the limits of our ordinary perception, mosses are a common but largely unnoticed element of the natural world. ‘Gathering Moss’ is a mix of science and personal reflection that invites readers to explore and learn from the elegantly simple lives of mosses. In these interwoven essays, Robin Wall Kimmerer leads general readers and scientists alike to an understanding of how mosses live and how their lives are intertwined with the lives of countless other beings.
A hundred years before the Lionesses, Lily Parr, Alice Woods and their teammates were proudly playing their beloved, exciting and skilful game. They can take our ball, but they can never stop the game. As men were sent to fight in the war, women and girls took their place in munitions factories. Football became a favourite pastime and, before long, they were creating all-female sides and playing public matches to sell-out crowds, overshadowing the men’s football. Despite drawing crowds of 50,000, women’s football was outlawed by the Football Association in 1921, who deemed it ‘unsuitable for females’. This is the incredible story of these amazing women.
‘Wild Pets’ follows Iris, Ezra and Nance in the years after university. They fall in and out of bed with each other, reread ‘The Art of War’, grieve the closing of Fabric and write book proposals on the history of salt, while submerging their nights in drink and drugs. Confronting adulthood with high wit and low behaviour against contemporary political and social turmoil, these young men and women seem to have everything going for them. So why are they still swimming desperately against the tide?
The arrival of an enigmatic stranger wreaks havoc on the denizens of the idyllic English village of Little Camborne; most notably two apparently harmless women. Miss Finch and Miss Swallow, cousins, have put their pasts behind them and settled into conventional country life. But when Theodore Cadmus – from Caldera, a Mediterranean island nobody has heard of – moves into the middle cottage, the safe monotony of their lives is shattered. The fates of the two cousins and Mr Cadmus, and those of Little Camborne and Caldera, become inextricably enmeshed. Long-hidden secrets and long-held grudges threaten to surface, drawing all into a vortex of subterfuge, theft, violence, mayhem and murder.