Our Directory Books of the Year: For the last minute shopper!

Article published on December 14, 2017.

Those of you who subscribe to nb the books magazine will know that we compile a directory of new books for each issue. This selection includes the best of the year according to our reviewers. Whether you want to treat yourself or buy a present for a loved one, here are some ideas:

BookHugger: Stranger by David Bergen, a woman journeys from Guatemala to America seeking her stolen baby. Maria in the Moon by Louise Beech, the beautifully descriptive, heart-breaking story of Catherine/Maria and why the name change matters. He by John Connolly, Stan Laurel a brilliantly reimaged life. How to Stop Time by Matt Haig, Tom Hazard is over 400 years old and he has a unique perspective on life and the past. The Girls by Emma Cline, 1960’s free thinking America from a girl’s perspective. My Name is Leon by Kit de Waal, Leon is nine years old and loveable, what does life have in store? The Nix by Nathan Hill, a college professor meets his mother after twenty years when she gets into trouble with the police. Often I am Happy by Jens Christian Grondahl, Elinor is left alone when her husband dies, her family object to the decisions she makes. The Last Painting of Sara de Vos by Dominic Smith, a 17th century painting seen through three lives over the centuries.

BookNoir: The outstanding spy novel was A Legacy of Spies by John le Carré, the denouement to the Smiley series. All of a Winter’s Night by Phil Rickman, Merrily Watkins Deliverance practitioner gets into some really spooky territory. The Soldiers Curse by Meg and Tom Keneally, murder mystery at the heart of fledgling modern Australia. If We Were Villains by M.L. Rio, seven colleges friends, one murder and a huge nod to Shakespeare. Blood Sisters by Jane Corry, half-sisters split by a dreadful event. The Ready Made Thief by Augustus Rose, a roller coaster ride for the young heroine, Lee. Closed Casket by Sophie Hannah, a Hercule Poirot mystery that celebrates Christie’s original. The Story of Classic Crime in 100 Books by Martin Edwards, companion piece to the British Library’s Crime Classics series, one for the serious crime fan. The Kept Woman by Karin Slaughter, Will Trent, the Atlanta investigator, looks into the discovery of a body in an empty warehouse.

BookChap: The Diary of a Bookseller by Shaun Bythell, working in a bookshop is not what you might think. Graphic Science by Daryl Cunningham, a graphic rendering of the story of seven scientists. Finisterre by Graham Hurley, last ditch German operation to negotiate with the Allies at the end of WWII. Vindolanda by Adrian Goldsworthy, classy action adventure set in Roman Britain. Who is Dracula’s Father? by John Sutherland, a Q&A about the world’s most famous vampire.

BookDiva: Christmas at Little Beach Street Bakery by Jenny Colgan, a little seasonal gold, strong on character and not too heavy on the festivities. Together by Julia Cohen, secrets revealed in a relationship told backwards. The Hiding Places by Katherine Webb, a Cotswold village full of surprises. Through Time by Danielle Steel, a writer hides from life in a convent, can it last? The Break by Marian Keyes, a woman deals with her husband being away for six month as she reflects on her past. My Mother’s Shadow by Nikola Scott, Addie’s year after the death of her mother. The Last Hours by Minette Walter, medieval life and love during the Black Death. The Romance Reader’s Guide to Life by Sharon Pywell, the title speaks for itself but this read has real depth and some surprises. I Found You by Lisa Jewell, Alice finds a man with no memory on the beach and takes him under her wing. The Shadow Sister by Lucinda Riley, the story of Star’s search for a new beginning.

BookGeek: I am Behind You by Ajvide Lindqvist, first of a great new trilogy, how and why did the caravans move during the night? The Winter’s Child by Cassandra Parkin, an emotional and intelligent tale of a missing girl. City of Circles by Jess Richards, Danu sees the people around her die of a virus, what dies with them? What does it mean for those left? Every Exquisite Thing by Matthew Quick, the story of 18-year-old Nanette, has the feel of an American coming of age classic. Ghosts of the Empire by George Mann, steam punk ghost series part four. Thin Air by Michelle Paver, a cerebral ghost story. The Beginning of the World in the Middle of the Night by Jen Campbell dreamy, whimsical, occasionally disturbing short stories.

BookLife: The Last London by Iain Sinclair, a rage against the dying of the city’s life. The Book of Forgotten Authors by Christopher Fowler, a salutary lesson for all writers, forgotten heroes come to the fore. My Life with Bob by Pamela Paul, Bob is not a person but a record of the books that Pamela has read, says a lot about life. East West Street by Philippe Sands, a very personal investigation of the Holocaust from a descendent of Jewish victims. The Book of Emma Reyes by Emma Reyes, a remarkable memoir of a poverty stricken South American childhood. The Secret Life of Cows by Rosamund Young, as you will have guessed some surprising facts about cows and their families. A Yorkshire Vet Through the Seasons by Julian Norton, insightful and amusing tales of a vet’s life.

Paul Burke
December 2017

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