Book of the month

Modern Fiction Book of the Month – June 2024

Their first year of marriage is also their last. A few weeks after their wedding, Lewis receives a rare diagnosis. He's turning into a great white shark, and has less than a year left to live as a human…  An extraordinary novel of love, loss, hope and happiness, Shark Heart explores the shapes that love takes, in all its many forms, and asks us to ask ourselves: what makes us human? Praised by none other than Anthony Doerr as ”a fantastical, original and beautifully written novel”.   // Discuss in the Modern Fiction reading group  //  

Mystery Book of the Month – June 2024

Oxford is a wonderful place to be in the summer, except for perhaps when a suspicious death has occurred… Jesus College, Oxford, 1881. Amongst the scholars, secrets and soporifics of Victorian Oxford, the truth can be a bitter pill to swallow. An undergraduate is found dead at his lodgings and the medical examination reveals some shocking findings.…  //  Discuss in the Crime reading group  //  

Modern Fiction Book of the Month – May 2024

At the Golden Sunset retirement home, the residents tend to invent stories. So when elderly Ms Mook first begins to unspool her memories, the obituarist listening to her is sceptical. Stories of captivity, friendship, murder, assumed identities and spying. A life that moves from WWII Indonesia to Busan during the Korean war; from cold-war Pyongyang to a Protestant church in China. The adventures are so colourful and various, at times so unbelievable. Surely they can’t all belong to the same woman. Can they?  // Discuss in the Modern Fiction reading group  // 

Modern Fiction Book of the Month – April 2024

In 1914, war feels far away to Henry Gaunt and Sidney Ellwood. They’re too young to enlist, and anyway, Gaunt is fighting his own private battle – an all-consuming infatuation with the dreamy, poetic Ellwood – not having a clue that his best friend is in love with him, always has been. ”It was only because Gaunt knew he might die, that he could be so reckless as to kiss him.” An epic tale of the devastating tragedies of war and the forbidden romance that blooms in its grip. // Discuss in the Modern Fiction reading group //  

Modern Fiction Book of the Month – March 2024

Can a small committed group of citizens change the world, and if so – how? Summer Dawidowitz has spent the past year caring for her grandmother, Josie– a lifelong Communist, a dedicated teacher, and the founder of an organization that tutors schoolchildren. When Josie dies, everything that seemed solid in Summer’s life comes into question.    //  Discuss in the Modern Fiction reading group. //

Modern Fiction Book of the Month – February 2024

A dazzling story of modern Nigeria and two families caught in the riptides of wealth, power, romantic obsession and political corruption. Longlisted for the Booker Prize 2023.  //  Discuss in the Modern Fiction reading group. //  

Modern Fiction Book of the Month – January 2024

Graham Patterson’s life has hit a dead end. His career as a comedian is failing. The love of his life recently broke up with him and he literally has no idea what to do next.  With nothing to lose, he buys a new car and hits the road, planning to drive across country and hopefully figure out his next moves before reaching California. But along the way Patterson does something his old self would never have even considered: he gets tattooed by a brilliant tattoo artist in North Carolina. The decision sets off a series of extraordinary events that changes his life forever in ways he never could have imagined. / Discuss in the reading group

Modern Fiction Book of the Month – December 2023

Meet Marcellus the Octopus – he has a mystery to solve. After Tova Sullivan's husband died, she began working the night cleaner shift at the Sowell Bay Aquarium. Ever since her eighteen-year-old son, Erik, mysteriously vanished on a boat over thirty years ago keeping busy has helped her cope. One night she meets Marcellus, a giant Pacific octopus living at the aquarium who sees everything, but wouldn't dream of lifting one of his eight arms for his human captors - until he forms a remarkable friendship with Tova. Ever the detective, Marcellus deduces what happened the night Tova's son disappeared. A gripping family mystery meets a story of second chances in this warm, feel-good debut.

Modern Fiction Book of the Month – November 2023

This novel takes us back to one of the most harrowing accidents in the history of Wales, but also shows us what people can do when working together. Wales, October 1966. William Lavery is having the night of his life at his first black-tie do. But, as the evening unfolds, news hits of a landslide at a coal mine. It has buried a school: Aberfan. William decides he must act, so he stands and volunteers to attend. It will be his first job as an embalmer, and it will be one he never forgets. His work that night will force him to think about the little boy he was, and the losses he has worked so hard to forget.

Modern Fiction Book of the Month – October 2023

Darwin is a down-on-his-luck gravedigger, newly arrived in the Trinidadian city of Port Angeles to seek his fortune, young and beautiful and lost. Estranged from his mother and the Rastafari faith she taught him, he is convinced that the father he never met may be waiting for him somewhere amid these bustling streets. Meanwhile in an old house on a hill, where the city meets the rainforest, Yejide’s mother is dying. And she is leaving behind a legacy that now passes to Yejide: the power to talk to the dead.