See also: recommended new physical audiobooks
“How can we protect ourselves from nuclear war, ecological cataclysms and technological disruptions? What can we do about the epidemic of fake news or the threat of terrorism? What should we teach our children?
“Yuval Noah Harari takes us on a thrilling journey through today’s most urgent issues. The golden thread running through his exhilarating new book is the challenge of maintaining our collective and individual focus in the face of constant and disorienting change. Are we still capable of understanding the world we have created?”
“It is Ireland in the early 1950s and for Eilis Lacey, as for so many young Irish girls, opportunities are scarce. So when her sister arranges for her to emigrate to New York, Eilis knows she must go, leaving behind her family and her home for the first time.
“Arriving in a crowded lodging house in Brooklyn, Eilis can only be reminded of what she has sacrificed. She is far from home - and homesick. And just as she takes tentative steps towards friendship, and perhaps something more, Eilis receives news which sends her back to Ireland. There she will be confronted by a terrible dilemma - a devastating choice between duty and one great love.”
“When a letter that was never meant to be seen by anyone draws high school senior Evan Hansen into a family’s grief over the loss of their son, he is given the chance of a lifetime: to belong. He just has to stick to a lie he never meant to tell, that the notoriously troubled Connor Murphy was his secret best friend.
“Suddenly, Evan isn’t invisible anymore - even to the girl of his dreams. And Connor Murphy’s parents, with their beautiful home on the other side of town, have taken him in like he was their own, desperate to know more about their enigmatic son from his closest friend. As Evan gets pulled deeper into their swirl of anger, regret, and confusion, he knows that what he’s doing can’t be right, but if he’s helping people, how wrong can it be?
“No longer tangled in his once-incapacitating anxiety, this new Evan has a purpose. And a website. He’s confident. He’s a viral phenomenon. Every day is amazing. Until everything is in danger of unraveling and he comes face to face with his greatest obstacle: himself.”
“It took us 4 billion years to evolve to where we are now. No question, anyone reading this has won the evolutionary Hunger Games by the fact you’re on all twos and not some fossil. This should make us all the happiest species alive - most of us aren’t, what’s gone wrong? We’ve started treating ourselves more like machines and less like humans. We’re so used to upgrading things like our iPhones: as soon as the new one comes out, we don’t think twice, we dump it. (Many people I know are now on iWife4 or iHusband8, the motto being, if it’s new, it’s better.)
“We can’t stop the future from arriving, no matter what drugs we’re on. But even if nearly every part of us becomes robotic, we’ll still, fingers crossed, have our minds, which, hopefully, we’ll be able use for things like compassion, rather than chasing what’s ‘better’, and if we can do that we’re on the yellow brick road to happiness.
“I wrote this book with a little help from a monk, who explains how the mind works, and also gives some mindfulness exercises, and a neuroscientist who explains what makes us ‘us’ in the brain. We answer every question you’ve ever had about: evolution, thoughts, emotions, the body, addictions, relationships, kids, the future and compassion.”
“Christie Watson was a nurse for twenty years. Taking us from birth to death and from A&E to the mortuary, The Language of Kindness is an astonishing account of a profession defined by acts of care, compassion and kindness.
“We watch Christie as she nurses a premature baby who has miraculously made it through the night, we stand by her side during her patient’s agonising heart-lung transplant, and we hold our breath as she washes the hair of a child fatally injured in a fire, attempting to remove the toxic smell of smoke before the grieving family arrive.”
“Peter Guillam, former disciple of George Smiley in the British Secret Service, has long retired to Brittany when a letter arrives, summoning him to London. The reason? Cold War ghosts have come back to haunt him. Intelligence operations that were once the toast of the Service are to be dissected by a generation with no memory of the Berlin Wall. Somebody must pay for innocent blood spilt in the name of the greater good…”
“Romy Hall is at the start of two consecutive life sentences, plus six years, at Stanville Women’s Correctional Facility. Outside is the world from which she has been permanently severed: the San Francisco of her youth, changed almost beyond recognition. The Mars Room strip club where she once gave lap dances for a living. And her seven-year-old son, Jackson, now in the care of Romy’s estranged mother.
“Inside is a new reality to adapt to: thousands of women hustling for the bare essentials needed to survive. The deadpan absurdities of institutional living, which Kushner details with humour and precision. Daily acts of violence by guards and prisoners alike. Allegiances formed over liquor brewed in socks, and stories shared through sewage pipes.
“Romy sees the future stretch out ahead of her in a long, unwavering line – until news from outside brings a ferocious urgency to her existence, challenging her to escape her own destiny and culminating in a climax of almost unbearable intensity.”
“Eight-year-old Billy goes missing one day, out flying his kite with his sister Rose. Two days later, he is found dead.
“Sixteen years on, Rose still blames herself for Billy’s death. How could she have failed to protect her little brother?
“Rose has never fully recovered from the trauma, and one of the few people she trusts is her neighbour Ronnie, who she has known all her life. But one day Ronnie falls ill, and Rose goes next door to help him… and what she finds in his attic room turns her world upside down.
“Rose thought she knew the truth about what happened to Billy. She thought she knew her neighbour. Now the only thing she knows is that she is in danger…”
“Ed Byrne is now one of the most successful comedians around. A familiar face - and voice - on many TV programmes, he has appeared in all of the best-known shows and, with great friend Dara Ó Briain, starred in Dara and Ed’s Big Adventure, about their journey along the Pan-American Highway. This great show was recorded live.”
“Meet Don. Don is a genetics professor who just might be somewhere on the autistic spectrum. He looks a little like Gregory Peck and is getting married. He just doesn’t know who to yet. But he has designed a very detailed questionnaire to help him find the perfect woman.
“And it’s definitely not Rosie. Absolutely, completely, definitely not.
“Rosie, meanwhile, isn’t looking for love; she’s looking for her biological father. Sometimes, though, you don’t find love; love finds you…”
“A misfit at an exclusive New England college, Richard finds kindred spirits in the five eccentric students of his ancient Greek class. But his new friends have a horrific secret.
“When blackmail and violence threaten to blow their privileged lives apart, they drag Richard into the nightmare that engulfs them. And soon they enter a terrifying heart of darkness from which they may never return…”
“Natalie Grey is living a nightmare. She has discovered a disturbing website link on her new partner’s computer and fears he has a dark side, and even darker intentions. When her husband died in a hit and run accident, Ed had seemed like a safe harbour. Now where can she turn?
“Concerned for the safety of her 15-year-old daughter Scarlett, she moves them both to a new home beyond his reach, unaware that the apartment holds secrets of its own. Left alone during the long days of the school holiday, Scarlett investigates strange sounds coming from the other side of the wall, never anticipating the danger that awaits her there.
“DCI Tom Douglas’s investigation into the apparent suicide of a teenage girl draws him ever closer to Natalie and Scarlett. But will he be too late to protect them from the danger they face, or from the truths that will tear their lives apart?”
“Spark Joy is an in-depth, room-by-room guide to decluttering and organising your home. Spark Joy covers every room in the house from bedrooms and kitchens to bathrooms and living rooms as well as a wide range of items in different categories, including clothes, photographs, paperwork, books, cutlery, cosmetics, shoes, bags, wallets and valuables.
“The secret to Marie Kondo’s unique and simple KonMari tidying method is to focus on what you want to keep, not what you want to get rid of. Ask yourself if something ‘sparks joy’ and suddenly it becomes so much easier to understand if you really need it in your home and your life. When you surround yourself with things you love you will find that your whole life begins to change.”
“Recorded on a Saturday night in Glasgow, Kevin is in his element, as this home town gig shows off his no nonsense approach to comedy. He cuts through the niceties with his Glaswegian man in the street charm to the next chapter of his epic comedic journey.”
“As the guests arrive at beautiful, remote Mitchell’s Inn, they’re all looking forward to a relaxing weekend deep in the forest, miles from anywhere. They watch their fellow guests with interest, from a polite distance.
“With a violent storm raging, the group finds itself completely cut off from the outside world. Nobody can get in – or out. And then the first body is found … and the horrifying truth comes to light. There’s a killer among them – and nowhere to run.”
“You’re back home after four years working abroad, new husband in tow. You’re keen to find a place of your own. But for now you’re crashing in your big brother’s spare room.
“That’s when you meet the man next door. He’s the head teacher at the local school. Twice your age. Extraordinarily attractive. You find yourself watching him. All the time.
“But you never dreamed that your innocent crush might become a deadly obsession. Or that someone is watching you.”
“Tara Logan adores her perfect little family: husband, Noah, and two children, teenager Rosie and eleven-year-old Spencer. But her happiness is shattered when she wakes up one morning in her neighbour’s bed, with no memory of how she got there or what happened between them. And worse – he has been stabbed to death.
“Convinced she didn’t kill Lee and scared of losing everything she cares about, Tara flees home and stays silent, holding her breath as the investigation grips the neighbourhood.
“But as her daughter spirals out of control, and her husband becomes increasingly distant, Tara starts to wonder if someone in her life knows what really happened that night. When the police turn their questions towards her, Tara realises she has to find out.
“But what will it take to uncover the real story, and can she survive the truth?”
“Believing he has been spurned by Cathy Earnshaw, the only woman he has ever loved, Heathcliff abandons the wild moors of Wuthering Heights, fervently wishing to reestablish himself as the wealthy gentleman he believes Cathy seeks. Having been successful in his ventures, he later returns to the adoptive family who raised him and hungrily seeks to punish those who once rejected him.”
“There is a sickness in the forest. First, it was the wild horses. Now it’s innocent men and women, hunted down and murdered by a faceless figure. Lost in the darkness, they try to flee, they try to hide. In desperation, they call out for help. But there is no-one to hear their cries here…
“DI Helen Grace must face down a new nightmare. The arrow-ridden victims hang from the New Forest’s ancient oaks, like pieces of strange fruit. Why are helpless holidaymakers being targeted in peak camping season? And what do their murders signify? Is a psychopath stalking the forest? Is there an occult element to the killings? Could the murders even be an offering to the Forest itself? Helen must walk into the darkness to discover the truth behind her most challenging, most macabre case yet.”
“Inside the Dead Letters Depot in East London, William Woolf is one of thirty letter detectives who spend their days solving mysteries: Missing postcodes, illegible handwriting, rain-smudged ink, lost address labels, torn packages, forgotten street names - they are all the culprits of missed birthdays, broken hearts, unheard confessions, pointless accusations, unpaid bills and unanswered prayers.
“When William discovers letters addressed simply to ‘My Great Love’ his work takes on new meaning. Written by a woman to a soulmate she hasn’t met yet, the missives stir William in ways he didn’t know were possible, and soon he begins to wonder: Could he be her great love? William must follow the clues in Winter’s letters to solve his most important mystery yet: the human heart.”
“When Harold Merefield returned home in the early hours of a winter morning from a festive little party at that popular nightclub, the ‘Naxos’, he was startled by a gruesome discovery. On his bed was a corpse. There was nothing to show the identity of the dead man or the cause of his death. At the inquest, the jury found a verdict of ‘Death from Natural Causes’ – perhaps they were right, but yet…?
“Harold determined to investigate the matter for himself and sought the help of Professor Priestley, who, by the simple but unusual method of logical reasoning, succeeded in throwing light upon what proved to be a very curious affair indeed.”
“Jane Eyre, the plain yet spirited governess, introduced a new kind of heroine in literature — one whose virtuous integrity, sharp intellect, and tireless perseverance broke through class barriers to win equal stature with the man she loved.
“Orphaned and subjected to cruelty at Lowood charity school, Jane nonetheless emerges unbroken in spirit and integrity. The story of how Jane becomes governess at Thornfield Hall, meets and loves Mr. Rochester, and discovers the impediment to their lawful marriage transcends melodrama to portray a woman’s passionate search for a wider and richer life than that traditionally accorded to her by Victorian society.”
“When nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution for it. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she only knows about from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin - one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled their world.
”” As she dwells on his estate, her feelings for Tamlin transform from icy hostility into a fiery passion that burns through every lie and warning she’s been told about the beautiful, dangerous world of the Fae. But an ancient, wicked shadow over the faerie lands is growing, and Feyre must find a way to stop it … or doom Tamlin - and his world - forever.”
“A year after an accidentally whirlwind grand tour with her brother Monty, Felicity Montague has returned to England with two goals in mind - avoid the marriage proposal of a lovestruck suitor from Edinburgh and enrol in medical school. However, her intellect and passion will never be enough in the eyes of the administrators, who see men as the sole guardians of science.
“But then a window of opportunity opens — a doctor she idolises is marrying an old friend of hers in Germany. Felicity believes if she could meet this man he could change her future, but she has no money of her own to make the trip. Luckily, a mysterious young woman is willing to pay Felicity’s way, so long as she’s allowed to travel with Felicity disguised as her maid.
“In spite of her suspicions, Felicity agrees, but once the girl’s true motives are revealed, Felicity becomes part of a perilous quest that leads them from the German countryside to the promenades of Zurich to secrets lurking beneath the Atlantic.”
“Following a gruelling operation in Paris, Liz Carlyle’s bosses post her to MI5’s counter-espionage desk, but they haven’t counted on the fallout from Putin’s incursions into the Ukraine. Liz needs to track down a Russian spy who has entered the UK before he completes his fatal mission.
“Meanwhile, the intelligence services are in the spotlight. In response to the debate raging around privacy and security, they hire Jasminder Kapoor, a controversial civil rights lawyer, to explain the issues to the public. But in this new world of shadowy motives and secret identities, Jasminder must be extra-careful about whom she can trust.”
“Someone is lighting fires. First they target homes and businesses, but then a body is found at one of the crime scenes.
“More fires are lit. And at each one a single person dies. But the victims have led spotless lives and apparently there’s no connection between them.
“Meanwhile, the town is facing a very peculiar threat from a group of sinister Satanists led by a charismatic businessman.
“Who is burning with anger, and can Nikki stop them before anyone else dies?”
“Victorian gentlewoman Amelia Peabody Emerson and her archaeologist husband are busy raising their young son; yet Amelia dreams only of the dust and detritus of ancient civilisations. Happily, circumstances are about to demand their immediate presence in Egypt. Sir Henry Baskerville had just discovered a tomb in Luxor when he promptly died under bizarre circumstances. The tabloids scream of “the Curse of the Pharaohs!”
“Amelia and her husband arrive to find the camp in disarray and the workers terrified. A ghost even appears. It is not at all what Amelia considers an atmosphere conducive to scientific discovery. Thus the indomitable Victorian sets about bringing order to chaos—and herself close to danger.”
“When Deborah, an unpopular seventeen-year-old, meets the charming and handsome Larry, he sweeps her off her feet. The trouble is Larry has a secret.
“Then a series of grisly murders cast a shadow over everything.
“As Deborah’s world starts to fall apart she begins to suspect the man she loves of a terrible betrayal. And to keep their marriage alive, sacrifices must be made.”
“Ever wondered what sort of a police officer you might make?
“Alfie Moore spent eighteen years on the Humberside police force before turning to stand-up comedy. In each episode of this live stand-up show, he takes his audience through a scenario based on a real life case, and tasks them with deciding how they would have acted in the circumstances.
“From drink driving to a missing gnome, road traffic collisions to the tricky subject of Stop and Search, not to mention a case in which you must imagine what it would be like if Bruce Lee came from Scunthorpe and had been hammering the kebabs for twenty years…
“Along the way Alfie spills the beans on what it’s really like to be one of Britain’s finest, tells us some great anecdotes about law breakers and makers that he’s come across and gets his audience to divulge secrets about their own, sometimes less than strictly law-abiding lives.”