We scoured the shelves at our local book shop to bring you the top 10 tomes
guaranteed to keep you entertained
Zeitoun by Dave Eggers Eggers’ latest masterclass in narrative non-fiction (he shot to fame doing the same with A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius) tells the story of Zeitoun, a Syrian-American who stays with his house during Hurricane Katrina and ends up paddling around New Orleans in a canoe, rescuing whoever needs help. Then the authorities mistake him for a terrorist… Eggers paints a powerful portrait of a dystopian, Bush-era America. Published by Hamish Hamilton
Born to Run by Christopher McDougall Debunking received wisdom about running long distances may not sound like the most fascinating read, but this is no ordinary story: McDougall tracked down the Tarahumara Indians of Mexico’s Copper Canyon to learn about their centuries-old art of running hundreds of miles without rest. McDougall even puts himself to the test, taking part in a 50-mile race that pits the Tarahumara against oddball Americans.
Published by Profile
Nothing to Lose but Your Life by Suad Amiry Palestinian author Amiry follows up her humorous account of being under a 42-day curfew, Sharon and My Mother-in-Law, with another true-life tale, this time telling how she illegally crossed the Israeli border disguised as a man to find work. Amiry relays the often-horrifying stories of her fellow male immigrants, but with a dash of humour. Published by Bloomsbury Qatar Foundation
Chowringhee by Sankar This ’60s Bengali classic has just been translated into English, but hasn’t lost any of its sparkle over time. The absorbing story immerses us in the author’s life as an employee of the infamous Shahjahan hotel, which was often frequented by the country’s rich and famous. Published by Atlantic Books
Voodoo Histories by David Aaronovitch While we’re on the subject of debunking stuff, why not take in Aaronovitch’s dossier dedicated to demolishing conspiracy theories? Displaying little tolerance for the theorists, he argues, for example, that the funds required to maintain the pretence of a fake Apollo mission would far exceed the trouble of simply landing a man on the moon. Published by Vintage
Along the Enchanted Way by William Blacker In 1989, Blacker journeys to the time-capsule valleys of northern Romania, forgoing the likes of electricity to learn skills such as how to hand-scythe a meadow. Then he finds himself dating the daughter of a chaotic gypsy family. This is a fascinating look at a way of life lost to most, itself disappearing in the shadow of Western capitalist ‘innovations’. Published by John Murray
The Taste of Sorrow by Jude Morgan Morgan presents a painstaking account of the early lives of literature’s beloved Brontë sisters, focusing particularly on their time spent at a near-penitential boarding school. While there, they were overseen by a patron of fictional-villain proportions, the Reverend Carus Wilson.
Published by Headline Review
The Quickening Maze by Adam Foulds Facts and fictions meld in Foulds’ yarn about 19th-century poet John Clare being committed to a mental asylum and Alfred Tennyson being stung into bankruptcy by an ill-advised wood-carving scheme. Yes, really. Published by Jonathan Cape
Caught by Harlan Coben The number one New York Times best-selling author returns with this thriller about an investigative journalist in too deep with the case of a missing girl and the vigilante justice promised by a local neighbourhood’s fathers. If it’s a fast-paced page-turner you’re after, Coben will always deliver. Published by Orion
Room by Emma Donoghue Audrey Niffenegger has already professed herself a fan of this, a book that has sparked a furious bidding war and, although still unpublished, is already being translated into four other languages. Inspired by the Joseph Fritzl case in Austria, it narrates the story of a child born into captivity, living with his mother in a room that measures 11ft x 11ft. The much-hyped tome finally hits the shelves on August 6. Published by Pan Macmillan