Benedict's Picks

Sharks in the Time of Saviors: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780374272081
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: MCD - March 3rd, 2020

This compelling saga from first time writer Kawai Strong Washburn is about a Hawaiian family, struggling to make ends meet, whose lives are changed forever when the youngest son falls overboard on a tourist cruise and is rescued by sharks. The novel explores the fallout affects the family. Each member in turn tells their story while life takes them in many unexpected directions. A meditation on the importance of family and a rich celebration of island life away from the picture postcard tourist views.

Greenwood: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9781984822000
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Hogarth - February 25th, 2020

Greenwood starts at the end of the world, on an island off the coast of Canada where the last trees are visited by rich tourists.  Jake Greenwood, a guide on the refuge, is an over qualified PhD dendrologist, whose connection to the island is not as tenuous as it first appears. The onion-like narrative of Greenwood takes us back to Jake's father, an itinerant carpenter, whose skill with wood is matched only by his self-destructive tendencies. Stepping back even further we meet Willow, an ardent environmentalist whose love of the trees eclipses everything, including her tumultuous relationships with her father and son. At the heart of the novel we meet Everett, a tormented soul eased by a woodland existence but whose life is turned upside down by a mysterious package. Throughout the book the trees proliferate, as decisions made in haste echo down the years. A wonderfully lyrical story by a novelist, whose love of nature and the natural world shines through.

Theft Cover Image
ISBN: 9781911508588
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: And Other Stories - April 7th, 2020

Paul is a journalist in today's London, living from hand to mouth and known more for his photos of edgy hairstyles than his literary books column. Despairingly, he interviews the enigmatic novelist Emily Nardini and becomes obsessed with her life. Funny and caustic this novel brilliantly captures what happens when your life hasn't quite worked out the way you thought it should. A great read for anyone who wants to see another side to life in London. 

The Animals at Lockwood Manor Cover Image
ISBN: 9780358106401
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt - March 10th, 2020

Jane Healy's atmospheric and compelling debut tells the story of the mammalian taxidermy collection of London's Natural History museum, evacuated out of the city at the start of World War Two. Its home is to be the historic Lockwood Manor, whose owners are cautiously welcoming of their strange new guests. The curator, Hetty, becomes enraptured by the house and its inhabitants but when pieces of the collection start going missing she discovers that the house and family are harboring some dark secrets. 

The Mirror & the Light (Wolf Hall Trilogy #3) Cover Image
ISBN: 9780805096606
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Henry Holt and Co. - March 10th, 2020

The Mirror and the Light is the triumphant finale to Mantel's Booker prize winning Cromwell trilogy. Set in the court of Henry VIII in Tudor England, the story that began with Cromwell's rise to power in Wolf Hall and saw the fall of Anne Boleyn in Bring up the Bodies reaches it's inevitable conclusion here in The Mirror and the Light. Mantel's skill in weaving a rich historical tapestry is masterful, as the tide of events threatens to overwhelm our hero who sits alongside the king as the most powerful man in England. Mixing gripping dialogue with descriptions of the opulence of the king's court, you feel as though you are at the table with them as Cromwell plots the break up of the Monasteries or the King's doomed marriage to Anne of Cleves. 

At 750 pages it's a book to savour and I didn't want it to end. One of the best books of the year.

We Ride Upon Sticks: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9781524748098
Availability: Backordered
Published: Pantheon - March 3rd, 2020

The story of a failing High School Hockey Team from Danvers Massachussetts (next door to Salem) who pledge their souls to their dark lord Emilo Estevez in the hot summer of 1989.With big hair and fabulous outfits, we follow this team as they embark upon a winning streak that should take them all the way to the state finals but only if they're BAD enough. Each chapter focuses on a different game, making it easy to root for these plucky underdogs as they make their way through the senior year, from book reports and the school play to Halloween and the Prom. Covering issues of gender, race and class with a light touch, the author enscapulates what it was like to grow up in the 1980's. A great New Adult read that's available now. 

Deacon King Kong: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780735216723
Availability: Backordered
Published: Riverhead Books - March 3rd, 2020

Deacon King Kong is a wonderfully brash American novel. Set in the tenements of South Brooklyn in 1969, the plot starts when an aging church deacon, known as Sportcoat, shoots the housing project's drug dealer infront of a crowd of witnesses. As the ramifications ripple out from this shocking action, Sportcoat, his friends and neighbours are drawn into a much more deadly game. Written in a Dickensian style, the author James McBride sketches the inhabitants of the Five Ends Church and the community around them. From the Italian gangster in a boxcar by the docks to the mysterious cheese delivery, this heartfelt novel really immerses you in the swirl of life in 1960's New York. A great easy read.