September reads...

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When we were animals by Joshua Gaylord
A gothic coming-of-age tale for modern times

The truth is, nobody knew why it happened this way, but in the town where I grew up, when the boys and girls reached a certain age, the parents locked themselves up in their houses, and the teenagers ran wild...

As a well-behaved and over-achieving teenager, Lumen Fowler knows she is different. While the rest of her peers are falling beneath the sway of her community's darkest rite of passage, she resists, choosing to hole herself up in her room with only books for company.

For Lumen has a secret. Her mother never 'breached' and she knows she won't either. But as she investigates the town's strange traditions and unearths stories from her family's past, she soon realises she may not know herself – or her wild side – at all...

All together now by Gill Hornby
All Together Now is a poignant and charming novel about community, family, falling in love--and the big rewards of making a small change.

The small town of Bridgeford is in crisis. Downtown is deserted, businesses are closing, and the idea of civic pride seems old-fashioned to residents rushing through the streets to get somewhere else. Bridgeford seems to have lost its heart.

But there is one thing that just might unite the community--music. The local choir, a group generally either ignored or mocked by most of Bridgeford's inhabitants, is preparing for an important contest, and to win it they need new members, and a whole new sound. Enlisting (some may say drafting) singers, who include a mother suffering from empty-nest syndrome, a middle-aged man who has just lost his job and his family, and a nineteen-year-old waitress who dreams of reality-TV stardom, the choir regulars must find--and make--harmony with neighbors they've been happy not to know for years. Can they all learn to work together, save the choir, and maybe even save their town in the process?

I'm travelling alone by Samuel Bjørk ; translated from the Norwegian by Charlotte Barslund
A complex and sophisticated Norwegian crime thriller - already a bestseller in Scandinavia.

When a six year old girl is found dead, hanging from a tree, the only clue the Oslo Police have to work with is an airline tag around her neck. It reads ‘I'm travelling alone'.

Holger Munch, veteran police investigator, is immediately charged with re-assembling his homicide unit. But to complete the team, he must convince his erstwhile partner, Mia Kruger – a brilliant but troubled investigator – to return from the solitary island where she has retreated with plans to take her own life.

Reviewing the evidence, Mia identifies something no one else has noticed – a thin line carved into the dead girl's fingernail: the number 1. Instinctively, she knows that this is only the beginning. To save other children from the same fate, she must find a way to cast aside her own demons and confront the most terrifying, cold-hearted serial killer of her career…

The watchmaker of Filigree Street by Natasha Pulley
Utterly beguiling, The Watchmaker of Filigree Street blends historical events with dazzling flights of fancy to plunge readers into a strange and magical past, where time, destiny, genius – and a clockwork octopus – collide. 

In 1883, Thaniel Steepleton returns to his tiny flat to find a gold pocketwatch on his pillow. But he has worse fears than generous burglars; he is a telegraphist at the Home Office, which has just received a threat for what could be the largest-scale Fenian bombing in history.

When the watch saves Thaniel's life in a blast that destroys Scotland Yard, he goes in search of its maker, Keita Mori – a kind, lonely immigrant who sweeps him into a new world of clockwork and music. Although Mori seems harmless at first, a chain of unexpected slips soon proves that he must be hiding something.

Meanwhile, Grace Carrow is sneaking into an Oxford library dressed as a man. A theoretical physicist, she is desperate to prove the existence of the luminiferous ether before her mother can force her to marry.

As the lives of these three characters become entwined, events spiral out of control until Thaniel is torn between loyalties, futures and opposing geniuses.

Did you ever have a family by Bill Clegg
We all have families. What do you do when your family has just been destroyed?
This book of dark secrets opens with a blaze. On the morning of her daughter's wedding, June Reid's house goes up in flames, destroying her entire family – her present, her past and her future. Fleeing from the carnage, stricken and alone, June finds herself in a motel room by the ocean, hundreds of miles from her Connecticut home, held captive by memories and the mistakes she has made with her only child, Lolly, and her partner, Luke.

In the turbulence of grief and gossip left in June's wake we slowly make sense of the unimaginable. The novel is a gathering of voices, and each testimony has a new revelation about what led to the catastrophe – Luke's alienated mother Lydia, the watchful motel owners, their cleaner Cissy, the teenage pothead who lives nearby – everyone touched by the tragedy finds themselves caught in the undertow, as their secret histories finally come to light.

The seed collectors by Scarlett Thomas
The long-awaited new novel from the bestselling author of The End of Mr. Y.
"I have no idea why everyone thinks nature is so benign and glorious and wonderful. All nature is trying to do is kill us as efficiently as possible."

Aunt Oleander is dead. In the Garden of England her extended family gather to remember her, to tell stories and to rekindle old memories. To each of her nearest and dearest Oleander has left a precious seed pod. But along with it comes a family secret that could open the hardest of hearts but also break the closest ties . . .
A complex and fiercely contemporary tale of inheritance, enlightenment, life, death, desire and family trees, The Seed Collectors is the most important novel yet from one of the world's most daring and brilliant writers. As Henry James said of George Eliot's Middlemarch, The Seed Collectors is a 'treasurehouse of detail' revealing all that it means to be connected, to be part of a society, to be part of the universe and to be human.

 The boy between by Susan Stairs
Tenderly told, The Boy Between is a compelling story of family secrets, focused on the dark happenings of a fateful summer, and the long buried-events of an even more distant past.

When Orla, a young barrister working in Dublin, discovers an old family photo taken in 1983, she is intrigued to find out the identity of the teenage boy in it. He stands in between her parents, her beaming mother's arm tightly around him. Yet when she brings it up with her father, he won't be drawn, and pleads with her not to mention it to her mother.

And so begins a journey into the past, to the summer before she was born. But why is it proving so difficult to discover his identity? And why, given her mother's troubled history, is this the last photograph Orla knows of in which she looks truly happy?
Told in the alternating perspectives of Orla and Tim - the boy between - as the circle starts to close on a web of tragedy and deceit, lives all round will be changed in ways that could never have been guessed at.

Roboteer by Alex Lamb
A fast-paced, gritty, space-opera based on cutting edge science, perfect for fans of Peter F Hamilton and Alastair Reynolds
The starship Ariel is on a mission of the utmost secrecy, upon which the fate of thousands of lives depend. Though the ship is a mile long, its six crew are crammed into a space barely large enough for them to stand. Five are officers, geniuses in their field. The other is Will Kuno-Monet, the man responsible for single-handedly running a ship comprised of the most dangerous and delicate technology that mankind has ever devised. He is the Roboteer. Roboteer is a hard-SF novel set in a future in which the colonization of the stars has turned out to be anything but easy, and civilization on Earth has collapsed under the pressure of relentless mutual terrorism. Small human settlements cling to barely habitable planets. Without support from a home-world they have had to develop ways of life heavily dependent on robotics and genetic engineering. Then out of the ruins of Earth's once great empire, a new force arises - a world-spanning religion bent on the conversion of all mankind to its creed. It sends fleets of starships to reclaim the colonies. But the colonies don't want to be reclaimed. Mankind's first interstellar war begins. It is dirty, dangerous and hideously costly. Will is a man bred to interface with the robots that his home-world Galatea desperately needs to survive. He finds himself sent behind enemy lines to discover the secret of their newest weapon. What he discovers will transform their understanding of both science and civilization forever...but at a cost.

 The bit in between by ClaireVarley
 There are seven billion people in the world. This is the story of two of them.

After an unfortunate incident in an airport lounge involving an immovable customs officer, a full jar of sun-dried tomatoes, quite a lot of vomit, and the capricious hand of fate, Oliver meets Alison. In spite of this less than romantic start, Oliver falls in love with her.

Immediately.

Inexplicably.

Irrevocably.

With no other place to be, Alison follows Oliver to the Solomon Islands where he is planning to write his much-anticipated second novel. But as Oliver's story begins to take shape, odd things start to happen and he senses there may be more hinging on his novel than the burden of expectation. As he gets deeper into the manuscript and Alison moves further away from him, Oliver finds himself clinging to a narrative that may not end with 'happily ever after'

A guide to Berlin by Gail Jones
Brave and brilliant, A Guide to Berlin traces the strength and fragility of our connections through biographies and secrets.

'A Guide to Berlin' is the name of a short story written by Vladimir Nabokov in 1925, when he was a young man of 26, living in Berlin.

A group of six international travellers, two Italians, two Japanese, an American and an Australian, meet in empty apartments in Berlin to share stories and memories. Each is enthralled in some way to the work of Vladimir Nabokov, and each is finding their way in deep winter in a haunted city. A moment of devastating violence shatters the group, and changes the direction of everyone's story.


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