With all the new books coming out in the lead-up to Christmas, it can be difficult to decide which to pick up and take home, and which to leave on their neat little shelves. Luckily, it’s our job to do nothing more than be buried in a book, and so here are our current favourites, with a little quote from each to give you a taster.
And you out there: Aren’t you somehow right here with me? I mean, who doesn’t still dream of a world other than this one? Who among us––if it means letting go of the insanity, the mystery, the totally useless beauty of the million once-possible New Yorks––is ready even now to give up hope?
City on Fire, Garth Risk Hallberg
It is as if some terrible plague has come to London and everybody has had to leave but nobody has told me. Once I walked back from the park with Jane, through the streets of Chelsea, and she explained to me that people buy these houses now – rich people – and then just let them stand there, watching money attach to them like barnacles to a sunken ship.
Number 11, Jonathan Coe
Of the three known forms of government – monarch, aristocracy and people – the best is a mixture of all three. For each one taken on its own can lead to disaster: kings can be capricious, aristocrats self-interested, and an unbridled multitude enjoying unwonted power more terrifying than a conflagration or a raging sea.
Dictator, Robert Harris
‘I rather liked that handsome blond fellow,’ said her hostess, as if the point had been in debate. ‘Was he the passion-fruiter?’
Bang-Bang You’re Dead, Muriel Spark
Taken from The Penguin Book of the British Short Story Volume Two, edited by Philip Hensher.
I wonder to this day if those birds-of-paradise ever grew their heads back. The ghosts of them bloom fresh in my memory all the time. They, like all of us in this neighborhood, were wild. Let us all be like them and defy tradition, and yet create our own traditions at the same time. Let us all be wildflowers!
Wildflower, Drew Barrymore
No matter how well you think you know Britain, you don’t know the things you need to know to pass the Life in Britain Knowledge Test. You need to know, for instance, who Sake Dean Mahomet was. (He was the man who introduced shampoo to Britain. Honestly.)
The Road to Little Dribbling, Bill Bryson
Why she had to go to the stones, Tiffany did not know, but no witch ignored what could be a summons. And the circles stood as protection. Protection for her land – protection from what could come through . . .
The Shepherd’s Crown, Terry Pratchett