October’s alternative reads

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Homegoing, Yaa Gyasi

A split of sorts this month between an epic tale of slavery and a book about the monsters under your bed, with Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi taking the top spot.

Check out all the rest in October’s alternative reads.

Any reserved titles have been put aside but if you couldn’t make it, let Leilah know if you’d like order a copy of any book. Tell the Waterstones Doncaster staff member that you’re with the book club, and they should know to take off the extra pound and give you a bonus stamp, disclaimer.

The next meeting will be on Wednesday 8th November, 5.30pm for 5.45pm.


Homegoing, Yaa Gyasi

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

Waterstones Fiction Book of the Month for October 2017

The night Effia Otcha was born into the musky heat of Fanteland, a fire raged through her father’s compound. It moved quickly, tearing a path for days. It lived off the air; it slept in caves and hid in trees; it burned, up and through, unconcerned with what wreckage it left behind, until it reached an Asante village. There, it disappeared, becoming one with the night.

Effia and Esi: two sisters with two very different destinies. One sold into slavery; one a slave trader’s wife.

The consequences of their fate reverberate through the generations that follow. As each chapter offers up a new descendant, alternating between Effia’s and Esi’s bloodline right up to the present day, a chasm of experience and the differing legacies of chance are brought starkly to light.

Taking us from the Gold Coast of Africa to the cotton-picking plantations of Mississippi; from the missionary schools of Ghana to the dive bars of Harlem, spanning three continents and seven generations, Yaa Gyasi has written a miraculous novel – the intimate, gripping story of a brilliantly vivid cast of characters and through their lives the very story of America itself.

Epic in its canvas and intimate in its portraits, Homegoing is a searing and profound debut from a masterly new writer.

Published: 05/10/2017
Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
ISBN: 9780241975237

Autumn, Ali Smith

Really quite close this month as the other books were pipped at the post by Ali Smith’s Autumn. All the rest are in September’s alternative reads.

Any reserved titles have been put aside but if you couldn’t make it, let Leilah know if you’d like order a copy of any book. Tell the Waterstones Doncaster staff member that you’re with the book club, and they should know to take off the extra pound, disclaimer.

The next meeting will be on Wednesday 4th October, 5.30pm for 5.45pm.


Autumn, Ali Smith

Autumn - Ali Smith

Longlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2017

A breathtakingly inventive new novel from the Man Booker-shortlisted and Baileys Prize-winning author of How to be Both.

All across the country, there was misery and rejoicing. All across the country, what had happened whipped about by itself as if a live electric wire had snapped off a pylon in a storm and was whipping about in the air above the trees, the roofs, the traffic. All across the country, people felt it was the wrong thing. All across the country, people felt it was the right thing. All across the country, people felt they’d really lost. All across the country, people felt they’d really won.

Autumn. Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness. That’s what it felt like for Keats in 1819. How about Autumn 2016?

Published: 31/08/2017
Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
ISBN: 9780241973318

Tin Man, Sarah Winman

A pretty open field this time, led by one of Leilah’s favourite books of the year, Tin Man by Sarah Winman. All other choices are in August’s alternative reads.

Any reserved titles have been put aside but if you couldn’t make it, let Leilah know if you’d like order a copy of any book. Tell the Waterstones Doncaster staff member that you’re with the book club, and they should know to take off the extra pound, disclaimer.

The next meeting will be on Wednesday 6th September, 5.30pm for 5.45pm.


Tin Man, Sarah Winman

Tin Man, Sarah WinmanIt begins with a painting won in a raffle: fifteen sunflowers, hung on the wall by a woman who believes that men and boys are capable of beautiful things.

And then there are two boys, Ellis and Michael, who are inseparable.

And the boys become men.

And then Annie walks into their lives, and it changes nothing and everything.

Tin Man sees Sarah Winman follow the acclaimed success of When God Was A Rabbit and A Year Of Marvellous Ways with a love letter to human kindness and friendship, loss and living.

Published: 27/07/2017
Publisher: Headline Publishing Group
ISBN: 9780755390953

How to Stop Time, Matt Haig

The clear front runner this month is Matt Haig’s How to Stop Time, a ‘time-hopping fantasy’ just published and receiving great reviews. All other choices are in July’s alternative reads, very useful if you need some inspiration for holiday booklists.

Any reserved titles have been put aside but if you couldn’t make it, let Leilah know if you’d like order a copy of any book. Tell the Waterstones Doncaster staff member that you’re with the book club, and they should know to take off the extra pound, disclaimer.

The next meeting will be on Wednesday 9th August, 5.30pm for 5.45pm.


How to Stop Time, Matt Haig

How to Stop Time - Matt Haig

Tom Hazard has a dangerous secret.

He may look like an ordinary 41-year-old, but owing to a rare condition, he’s been alive for centuries. From Elizabethan England to Jazz-Age Paris, from New York to the South Seas, Tom has seen a lot, and now craves an ordinary life. It’s a life he once had, long-since buried but buried secrets have a habit of catching up with you and nobody can outrun their own past.

Always changing his identity to stay alive, Tom has the perfect cover – working as a history teacher at a London comprehensive. Here he can teach the kids about wars and witch hunts as if he’d never witnessed them first-hand. He can try to tame the past that is fast catching up with him. The only thing Tom must not do is fall in love.

How to Stop Time is a wild and bittersweet story about losing and finding yourself, about the certainty of change and about the lifetimes it can take to really learn how to live.

An author who blurs the lines between genres, blending fantasy, myth and science fiction to create some of the most inventive and enduringly popular contemporary fiction, Matt Haig is also amongst Waterstones bookseller’s favourite authors. His novels include The Radleys and The Humans as well as children’s books including A Boy Called Christmas and The Girl Who Saved Christmas. He is also the author of the Sunday Times bestseller and Waterstones non-fiction Book of the Month, Reasons to Stay Alive.

Published: 06/07/2017
Publisher: Canongate Books Ltd
ISBN: 9781782118619

‘The Legend of Podkin One-Ear’ & ‘Hot Milk’

The most popular choices this month were The Legend of Podkin One-Ear by Kieran Larwood, the children’s fiction option, and Hot Milk by Deborah Levy. Joint third were Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale and The Dry by Jane Harper.

You can see these and the final choice in June’s alternative reads.

Any reserved titles have been put aside but if you couldn’t make it, let Leilah know if you’d like order a copy of any book. Tell the Waterstones Doncaster staff member that you’re with the book club, and they should know to take off the extra pound, disclaimer.

The next meeting will be on Wednesday 12th July, 5.20pm for 5.45pm.

Sorry for the delay in posting this month, but hopefully better late than never!


The Legend of Podkin One-Ear, Kieran Larwood

Podkin One Ear - Kieran Larwood

Waterstones Children’s Book of the Month June 2017

Winner of the Best Story Blue Peter Book Award 2017

Podkin is the son of a warrior chieftain. He knows that one day it will be up to him to lead his warren and guard it in times of danger. But for now, he’s quite happy to laze around annoying his older sister Paz, and playing with his baby brother Pook.

Then Podkin’s home is brutally attacked, and the young rabbits are forced to flee. The terrifying Gorm are on the rampage, and no one and nowhere is safe. With danger all around them, Podkin must protect his family, uncover his destiny, and attempt to defeat the most horrifying enemy rabbitkind has ever known.

Combining something of the grand drama of Richard Adams’ Watership Down and Brian Jacques’ Redwall in an adventure worthy of Patrick Rothfuss, our Children’s Book of the Month firmly sits author Kieran Larwood in the top flight of children’s fantasy fiction.

Published: 08/03/2017
Publisher: Faber & Faber
ISBN: 9780571340200


Hot Milk, Deborah Levy

Hot Milk by Deborah Levy

Waterstones Fiction Book of the Month for June 2017

Longlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2016

A mother and daughter arrive in a small Spanish village, caught between the desert and the dark blue of the Mediterranean Sea. Rose, struck down by a mysterious illness that has left her incapacitated, is hoping for miraculous treatment from the mysterious Dr Gomez in his clinic. Her daughter Sofia is trapped by her mother’s illness; paralysed herself by a life in which she is chained to her mother’s hypochondria, neurosis and immobility.

As the hot sun beats down, these two women’s lives simmer with pent-up resentment and bitterness. As Sofia struggles against the confines of the caged existence her mother has created for her, exploring her own sexuality and independence she threatens to tear the fragile threads that hold these two women’s lives together.

Hot Milk is a novel that seems to have emerged directly from the times we live in. Uncompromising, brave, sharply funny and delightfully curious, this is a novel for our times.

Published: 01/06/2017
Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
ISBN: 9780241968031

‘Letters from the Lighthouse’ & ‘The Girls’

This month the most popular choice was Letters from the Lighthouse by Emma Carroll, the children’s fiction option, with a few going for The Girls by Emma Cline.

For the other choices please check out May’s alternative reads.

Any reserved titles have been put aside but if you couldn’t make it, let Leilah know if you’d like order a copy of any book. Tell the Waterstones Doncaster staff member that you’re with the book club, and they should know to take off the extra pound, disclaimer.

The next meeting will be on Wednesday 14th June, 5.20pm for 5.45pm.


Letters from the Lighthouse, Emma Carroll

Letters from the Lighthouse by Emma Carroll

Waterstones Children’s Book of the Month for May 2017

February, 1941.

After months of bombing raids in London, twelve-year-old Olive Bradshaw and her little brother Cliff are evacuated to the Devon coast. The only person with two spare beds is Mr Ephraim, the local lighthouse keeper. But he’s not used to company and he certainly doesn’t want any evacuees.

Desperate to be helpful, Olive becomes his post-girl, carrying secret messages (as she likes to think of the letters) to the villagers. But Olive has a secret of her own. Her older sister Sukie went missing in an air raid, and she’s desperate to discover what happened to her.

Then she finds a strange coded note – a note that changes everything and which seems to link Sukie to Devon, and to something dark and impossibly dangerous.

Published: 01/06/2017
Publisher: Faber & Faber
ISBN: 9780571327584


The Girls, Emma Cline

The Girls - Emma Cline

Waterstones Fiction Book of the Month for May 2017

If you’re lost, they’ll find you…

Evie Boyd is fourteen and desperate to be noticed. It’s 1969 and everywhere the heat of a Californian summer beats down and restless, empty days stretch ahead.

Until she sees them. The girls. Hair long and uncombed, jewelry catching the sun. A scattering of young women who are everything she is not, each utterly sure and at one with everything seemingly beyond Evie’s reach. And at their centre, Suzanne, black-haired and beautiful.

Willingly, she begins to drop into their tranquilised circle, oblivious of the danger that sits so cruelly at its centre. If not for Suzanne, she might not have gone. But, intoxicated by her and the life she promises, Evie follows the girls back to the decaying ranch where they live.

Was there a warning? A sign of what was coming? Or did Evie know already that there was no way back?

Already a worldwide Bestseller, Emma Cline’s The Girls, is probably one of the most unsettling and quietly disturbing debuts of its kind.

Published: 04/05/2017
Publisher: Vintage Publishing
ISBN: 9781784701741

‘Fingers in the Sparkle Jar’ and ‘Norse Mythology’

This month Fingers in the Sparkle Jar by Chris Packham and Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman were most popular, with The Power by Naomi Alderman coming a close third.

It’s spread fairly evenly, but for the other choices please check out April’s alternative reads.

Any reserved titles have been put aside but if you couldn’t make it, let Leilah know if you’d like order a copy of any book. Tell the Waterstones Doncaster staff member that you’re with the book club, and they should know to take off the extra pound, disclaimer.

The next meeting will be on Wednesday 17th May, 5.20pm for 5.45pm.


Fingers in the Sparkle Jar, Chris Packham

Fingers in the Sparkle Jar by Chris Packham

An introverted, unusual young boy, isolated by his obsessions and a loner at school, Chris Packham only felt himself in the fields and woods around his suburban home.

But when he stole a young Kestrel from its nest, he was about to embark on a friendship that would teach him what it meant to love; a friendship that would change him forever.

In his rich, lyrical and emotionally exposing memoir, Chris brings to life his childhood in the ’70s, from his bedroom bursting with fox skulls, birds’ eggs and sweaty jam jars, to his feral adventures. Pervading his story is the search for freedom, meaning and acceptance in a world that didn’t understand him.

Beautifully wrought, this coming-of-age memoir is unlike any you’ve ever read.

Published: 06/04/2017
Publisher: Ebury Publishing
ISBN: 9781785033506


Norse Mythology, Neil Gaiman

Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman

The great Norse myths are woven into the fabric of our storytelling – from Tolkien, Alan Garner and Rosemary Sutcliff to Game of Thrones and Marvel Comics. They are also an inspiration for Neil Gaiman’s own award-bedecked, bestselling fiction.

Now our greatest living fantasist reaches back through time to the original source stories in a thrilling and vivid rendition of the great Norse tales.

Gaiman’s gods are thoroughly alive on the page – irascible, visceral, playful, passionate – and the tales carry us from the beginning of everything to Ragnarök and the twilight of the gods. Galvanised by Gaiman’s prose, Thor, Loki, Odin and Freya are irresistible forces for modern readers and the crackling, brilliant writing demands to be read aloud around an open fire on a freezing, starlit night.

Published: 07/02/2017
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
ISBN: 9781408886816


The Power, Naomi Alderman

The Power by Naomi Alderman

Power is everywhere, it is under our feet, it circles around the cities and towns we have made our homes. We gather it and order it and make it flow from the centre outwards in a network like veins, pulsing with an electric heartbeat that keeps things functioning just as they always have. Yet power transfers and the time is coming for it to change hands.

What if the power to hurt were in women’s hands?

Imagine a world where teenage girls awake one morning with extraordinary physical strength and power that outstrips their male counterparts. Thanks to a newly acquired section of muscle near their collarbone, young women can now conduct electricity like electric eels: inflicting pain or electrocuting to death as they wish. They can even waken this power in older women too. In Naomi Alderman’s The Power, the balance of the world is irrevocably altered overnight.

This brave new world is far from a utopia however. As uprisings and revolts spread through the world and after the initial delight in female empowerment subsides, a darker side to the new world order emerges.

Published: 06/04/2017
Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
ISBN: 9780670919963