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Summer Reads: 8 new and challenging texts for 2014

Written by · Published May 13, 2014

William Letford with his book Bevel

Summer Reads is a collection of 8 new novels, poetry collections and short story anthologies, specially chosen to get you out of your comfort zone and reading different literature and authors. Ideal for book groups and readers looking for a new challenge.

We’re also running events and workshops at Bury and Haverhill Libraries where you can meet the authors and other readers.

Strange weather in Tokyo by Hiromi Kawakami

Strange weather in Tokyo by Hiromi Kawakami

Tsukiko is in her late thirties and living alone when one night she happens to meet one of her former high school teachers, Sensei, in a bar. After their initial encounter, the pair continue to meet occasionally to share food and drink sake and come to develop a hesitant intimacy which tilts awkwardly into love.

Bevel by William Letford

Bevel by William Letford

A vivid, funny and moving first collection of poems by a critically acclaimed contributor to New Poetries V. Letford’s wry humour and carefully constructed poems make this an absolute must for both newcomers and regular readers of poetry. His work as a manual labourer gives his poems a welcoming, grounded feel, yet the writing is wildly emotive and playful. Page after page, Letford’s beguiling voice takes you through a collection of gems. This poetry collection has that rare quality; it’s a page turner. Available from our Overdrive service.

The colour of milk by Nell Leyshon

The colour of milk by Nell Leyshon

Set in a rural landscape in 1831, Leyshon introduces us to Mary, a quick–witted, straight–talking farm girl who has a story to tell. By no means will she find it easy, but her sharp voice and stripped back prose will leave you gripped from beginning to end. Best served in one exhilarating sitting, this brutal story demands that you take Mary’s hand and follow her all the way to its brutal conclusion.

Hawthorn and Child by Keith Ridgway

Hawthorn and Child by Keith Ridgway

Detectives Hawthorn and Child take us through a series of vignettes where no promises over narrative can be made. Characters and events slip and slide between the pages, but are held up by strong, compelling prose. This book demands your involvement – are you ready to pick up the pieces? Unnerving scenes of real, confused London life, the lives of functioning–but–marginal Londoners revealed in all their vulnerabilities and misapprehensions. Brilliantly observed.

Tenth of December by George Saunders

Tenth of December by George Saunders

George Saunders’ collection shifts seamlessly from the mundane to the surreal. From a downtrodden father struggling to afford human ornaments to a young boy watching his beloved struggle with a kidnapper, these stories blend satire with warm-hearted affection. Often darkly humorous, Tenth of December explores the human experience through familiar and surprising worlds, and is sure to stay with you long after you’ve finished the book. Available from our Overdrive service.

Raptors by Toon Tellegen

Raptors by Toon Tellegen

With tragicomic bravado and psychological insight, Raptors, like a novel, tells the turbulent story of a father and his family. A very accessible collection about the ups and downs of a family held hostage by the looming moods of ‘Father’. The language of Raptors is deceptively childlike, in stark contrast to the relationships it describes, the ‘rusty, conniving father / who creaks, crunches and opens’. But there are no simple rights and wrongs in this world where ‘terrible moonlight’ tenderly illuminates a family pulling itself apart. Available from our Overdrive service.

Double negative by Ivan Vladislavic

Double negative by Ivan Vladislavic

A triptych capturing the ordinary life of Neville Lister during South Africa’s extraordinary revolution. Vladislavic lays moments side by side like photographs on a table. He lucidly portrays a city and its many lives through reflections on memory, art and what we should really be seeking. Available from our Overdrive service.

All the birds, singing by Evie Wyld

All the birds, singing by Evie Wyld

Jake Whyte is running from something. But what? Living alone on a British island, her only companion is Dog, who helps her tend her sheep. Dog’s whimpering and scared though; something is coming. Something that’s picking off the sheep one by one, creeping through the evening as a stranger lurks by the trees over the field… Flashing through it all there’s Jake’s former life in the heat and rough of Australian sheep farms, the life she ran away from overseas.