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What to Read Now: Vol XCV

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A Different Sound
Stories by Mid-Century Women Writers

This collection of short stories by women from the 1940s and 50s highlights a moment of change in women’s lives, and in the literary landscape. Stories by authors you’ll know – Penelope Mortimer, Elizabeth Jane Howard, Daphne du Maurier – rub shoulders with newly re-discovered stories by writers whose work you may not have come across before. A really wonderful addition to the canon.
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by Lee Cole

A new campus novel by a debut author from Kentucky. The book looks at campus life from the point of view of an outsider – Owen, who has taken a job as a groundskeeper to get free tuition on a prestigious creative writing course. With the 2016 US election as its backdrop, political tensions are high, and Cole draws on the class differences that divide America in a particularly effective way.
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Pirate Enlightenment
by David Graeber

The late David Graeber’s last book takes him back to field research undertaken thirty years ago in Madagascar, and to his anthropologist roots. Inspired by tales of pirate democracy, in this book he aims to demonstrate that not only was there a pirate utopia in Madagascar, but that it may have inspired political and philosophical change in Europe.
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The Hero of This Book
by Elizabeth McCracken

The latest book by Elizabeth McCracken is an autofictional account of the period following the death of her mother. Our nameless narrator has a voice that is reminiscent of Lucy Barton and with a similar interest in the relationships between mothers and daughters. And while the book isn’t packed with incident, it is full of character and thought.
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by Sofi Thanhauser

An absolutely fascinating non-fiction book about clothes and fabric through time. We live in the first period of history when to make ones own clothes is more expensive than to buy them, Thanhauser examines the reasons behind this – cheap labour, fast fashion – through an historical lens, enlightening and entertaining as she goes.
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The Light in Everything
by Katya Balen

This deeply moving novel about a blended family is now in paperback. Zofia’s father and Tom’s mother are having a baby together. Each of them is resistant to the new arrangements for their own reasons. But when Tom’s mum becomes ill, it looks like everything might change again, and they learn what it means to be a family. The Light in Everything is a must-read for children aged 10+.
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