Crudo, Olivia Laing
The first novel from Olivia Laing, who has been writing interesting books for years now, including To The River and The Lonely City. Beginning in in a roasting Tuscan summer, we meet Kathy – a writer, a bride-to-be and someone who is feeling as unstable as the world around her seems to be. Trump’s tweets, Brexit and a sense of her own ageing all combine to give a funny, raw and powerful novel.
He Is Mine and I Have No Other, Rebecca O’Connor
He Is Mine and I Have No Other is a first novel which for me signals the arrival of a strong new voice in Irish novels. Rebecca O’Connor is known for poetry and short stories and this atmospheric story of an intense young love affair, set in small town Ireland should cement her reputation as a writer. Ideal for fans of Donal Ryan and Edna O’Brien.
The Ministry of Utmost Happiness, Arundhati Roy
Since winning the Booker for the memorable God of Small Things, Arundhati Roy has been an activist in her homeland of India on many causes. Incredibly, this is only her second novel and she weaves many of the themes she campaigns about into this sprawling tale, set in Dehli and the forests of Kashmir.
Swan Song, Kelleigh Greenberg-Jephcott
Truman Capote spent decades cultivating deep friendships with high society ladies – his swans - holidaying with them, lunching with them and sharing their deepest secrets. Then, in 1975, he destroyed both his and their reputations by writing an explosive book that revealed everything. Why he did it is explored in this delicious novel, sure to satisfy all your salacious gossip needs for the year!
Warlight, Michael Ondaatje
A welcome return from one of my favourite authors, Warlight is set in London in the immediate aftermath of the Second World War. Nathaniel and Rachel are left in the care of the mysterious Moth as their parents go to Singapore for work. But when The Moth’s unsavoury friends start appearing at the house and the children find their parent’s carefully packed suitcases in the basement, they realise nothing is as it seems. A masterpiece.
The Day War Came, Nicola Davies
A powerful picture book from writer Nicola Davies and illustrator Rebecca Cobb about a girl forced to become a refugee when conflict arrives at her front door. A timely subject and told in a way that even very young children will understand, I wish this book weren’t necessary in 2018, but sadly it is.
Holes: Discover a Hidden World, Thomas Hegbrook
This book looks at both the natural and manmade world form a very different perspective: holes! Whether it’s a burrow, a sinkhole, a subway, or even a magic portal, this beautifully produced reference book is fascinating.
Mr Snail’s Counting Trails, Stuart Lynch
This is a brilliantly designed board book with trails for little fingers to follow as they learn to count. Filled with bold and bright illustrations, Mr Snail’s Counting Trails is a brilliant first numbers book.
Tropical Terry, Jarvis
A brand new tale from the author Alan’s Big Scary Teeth and many other quirky tales. Terry lives on a tropical reef, but he feels dull and drab compared to the other brightly coloured marine life. With their help, he makes himself a shiny new suit, but is it worth it to hide who he really is? A picture book with a good message about self-esteem and filled with Jarvis’ distinctive illustrations.
The Twitches Bake a Cake, Hayley Scott
The second in the delightful Teacup House series, Stevie’s mum has baked a delicious looking birthday cake, so Silver and Fig set off to taste it! These are unbelievably cute stories, ideal for early readers and beautifully presented with illustrations, good sized font and nice short chapters.