Fiction Book of the Month
A Gentleman in Moscow
Moscow’s Metropol is a real hotel, an Art Nouveau masterpiece that for 110 years has presided over revolutions, intrigue and political change. In Amor Towles’ A Gentleman in Moscow, it is also for Count Alexander Rostov an elegant prison, our urbane hero sentenced to life-imprisonment within its walls as a counter-revolutionary.
What follows is an exquisite comedy of manners, the redoubtable Count unbowed by his incarceration, orbited by an unforgettable cast of Kremlin operators, wayward movie stars, foreign diplomats and Americans far abroad. To all he is a listening ear; but what is he to himself? “This is everything a novel should be,” said the Sunday Times, “charming, witty, poetic and generous. An absolute delight.”
Non Fiction Book of the Month
Secret Life of Cows
Partly inspired back into print by Alan Bennett’s love for the original volume (“it alters the way one looks at the world”), The Secret Life of Cows may compel you to regard our bovine cousins in an entirely new light. Far from mere beasts of the field, we learn that these are creatures of friendship, of subtle communication, harbouring true thought, feeling and even a certain wisdom.
Rosamund Young’s understanding arises from a lifetime of Cotswold farming experience, expanding on her parents’ enthusiasm as organic pioneers. Written without undue sentimentality, The Secret Life of Cows nevertheless makes a strong case for the humane rights of livestock, illuminated by absorbing anecdote and observation. For this appealing new edition, Alan Bennett provides a knowing foreword.
Thriller of the Month
The Crow Girl
Erik Axl Sunday
Returning for a second bite of our Thriller of the Month cherry, The Crow Girl from Erik Axl Sund (in reality Swedish writing duo Jerker Eriksson and Håkan Sundquist) is fast threatening to capture Stieg Larsson’s crown in delivering a truly brutal, relentlessly-paced descent into the dark heart of northern European crime.
For Detective Superintendent Jeanette Kihlberg, the discovery of a ritually-murdered body triggers an obsessional race against time, her serial killer quarry poised to savagely strike again. Vast, driving and complex, this is the book the Metro has judged “the best crime novel of the year so far.”
Children’s Book of the Month
The Polar Bear Explorers Club
Alex Bell, Scott Brown
The Polar Bear Explorers’ Club Rule No. 8: ‘Please do not take penguins into the club’s saltwater baths: they will hog the Jacuzzi.’ Get ready to join young explorers Stella, Shay, Beanie and Ethan as they embark on the trip of a lifetime across the frozen wilds of the Iceland’s, a land brimming with wonders, monsters and snow pirates.
Each, bar Stella, is blessed with certain abilities, but what Stella lacks in special powers she more than makes up for in courage and determination. Tomislav Tomic’s powerful illustrations perfectly compliment Alex Bell’s thrill-packed tale, in her first novel for younger readers. Beware the carnivorous cabbages!