What a Carve Up! by Jonathan Coe
A wickedly funny take on life under the Thatcher government concerning the Winshaw family who are getting richer and crueller by the year. I picked this political satire up because I love Coe’s The Rotters’ Club. I’m reading it at the moment and it’s hilarious.
Mastermind: How to Think Like Sherlock Holmes by Maria Konnikova
Psychologist Maria Konnikova unpacks the mental strategies that lead to clearer thinking and deeper insights. Moving through principles of logic and deduction, creativity and imagination, Mastermind puts 21st century neuroscience and psychology in service of understanding Holmes’ methods. I read a book a while back on this very subject but unfortunately I was quite disappointed with it. I hope this one will live up to my expectations.
Crime by Irvine Welsh
Ray Lennox is a Scottish detective inspector who has fled to Miami after suffering a stress and cocaine induced mental breakdown. He stumbles upon a ten-year-old girl who is the target of a paedophile ring and he becomes determined to protect her at any cost. What intrigues me the most about this book is that it sounds really quite different from Welsh’s other books.
The Collector by John Fowles
Frederick is a lonely young man who collects butterflies and takes photographs. He is obsessed with a beautiful stranger, the art student Miranda. When he wins the pools he buys a remote Sussex house and calmly abducts Miranda, believing she will grow to love him in time. I absolutely adore the film from 1965 (I wrote about it here) but I didn’t know that the film was based on a book. I found a copy of it in a local charity bookshop a while back and I was so anxious to find out what it was like that I read it in two days. It’s a fantastic read.
Drunk Tank Pink: The Subconscious Forces that Shape How We Think, Feel, and Behave by Adam Alter
The world is full of hidden forces that shape our every thought, feeling and behaviour without us ever realising. In this brilliant study of the strange recesses of our minds, Adam Alter reveals the power secret cues exert over our daily lives and the societies in which we live. I find the subconscious so utterly intriguing and this book definitely sounds like my cup of tea.
Body by Asa Nonami
Self-esteem, the cost of vanity and being-careful-what-you-wish-for are the thematic connective tissue of this collection of psychological horror stories. How can one resist when all the stories end with a gruesome twist? I read her book Now You’re One of Us earlier this year and it’s still with me. I can’t bear parting with it neither mentally nor physically.
The Summer of the Ubume by Natsuhiko Kyogoku
In Japanese folklore ubume is a ghost that arises from the burial of a pregnant woman. Kyogokudo is an exorcist who doesn’t believe in ghosts. He creates fake supernatural explanations for his clients problems and to cure them he exorcises the ghosts through staged rituals. In this first book in a series of nine so far, Kyogokudo must unravel the mystery of a woman who has been pregnant for 20 months and find her husband, who disappeared two months into the pregnancy. A new to me Japanese author and I’m super excited about it.
A Severed Head by Iris Murdoch
A satirical, sometimes farcical 1961 novel. Primary themes include marriage, adultery and incest within a group of civilised and educated people. Set in and around London, it depicts a power struggle between grown-up middle-class people who are lucky to be free of real problems. This book was a harbinger of the Sexual revolution that was to hit Britain in the 1960s and 1970s. Sounds like a must-read to me!
David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits and the Art of Battling Giants by Malcolm Gladwell
Why do underdogs succeed so much more than we expect? How do the weak outsmart the strong? Drawing on the stories of remarkable underdogs, history, science and psychology Gladwell makes the connections others miss. I absolutely adore Gladwell and I can’t wait to read this new book of his.