A Story About Cancer (With A Happy Ending) by India Desjardins and Marianne Ferrer

The Blurb On The Back:

”I think about everything I’ll miss if they tell me I’m going to die … my mum, my dad, my sister, cookies, TV shows I’ll never get to see the end of, the starry sky on a full moon, my grandparents, my grandpa’s lasagne, kissing Victor, Victor’s eyes, Victor’s voice, Victor’s smell, Victor’s hands … Victor.”

This is a story about cancer with a happy ending. It’s about life, love and, especially, hope.

For the past few years, a teenage girl has endured many hospital treatments, wearing a bandanna, people giving her ‘that look’, and her dad’s embarrassing jokes with the nurses.  But she’s also fallen in love.

Now she’s on her way to the hospital, where they’re going to tell her how much time she’s got to live.

A few years ago, author India Desjardins met a young girl with leukaemia who asked her to write a story about cancer with a happy ending.  This is that story. 

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Swiss Watching: Inside The Land Of Milk And Honey by Diccon Bewes

The Blurb On The Back:

One country, four languages, 26 cantons and 8 million people (but only 75% of them Swiss): welcome to Europe’s most individual country.  But there’s more to Switzerland than banks and skis, francs and cheese.  This is a place where the breathtaking scenery shaped a nation not just a tour itinerary, and where tradition is as important as innovation.  It’s also been home to travel writer Diccon Bewes for over a decade.

Diccon started his Swiss explorations by seeking Heidi and finding the best chocolate, but soon became the ultimate outsider on the inside.  He discovered that not all the cheese has holes, cuckoo clocks aren’t Swiss and the trains aren’t always on time.  In fact, he uncovered the true meaning of Swissness and, in this new edition, started on the road to becoming Swiss himself.  

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Planet Omar: Accidental Trouble Magnet by Zanib Mian

The Blurb On The Back:

My name is Omar.

I have a huge imagination.

I hate marshmallows.

And this is the first book all abut me!

You might not know me yet, but once you open the pages of this book you’ll laugh so hard that snot will come out of your nose (plus you might meet a dragon and a zombie – what more could you want?).

My parents decided it would be a good idea to move house and move me to a new school at the same time.  As if I didn’t have a hard enough time staying out of trouble at home, now I’ve also got to try and make new friends.  What’s worse, the class bully seems to think I’m the perfect target.

At least Eid’s around the corner which means a feast (yay) and presents (double yay).  Well, as long as I can stay in mum and dad’s good books long enough … 

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A Legacy Of Spies by John Le Carré

The Blurb On The Back:

Peter Guillam, staunch colleague and disciple of George Smiley of the British Secret Service, otherwise known as the Circus, has retired to his family farmstead on the south coast of Brittany when a letter from his old Service summons him to London.  The reason?  His Cold War past has come back to claim him.  Intelligence operations that were once the toast of secret London are to be scrutinized by a generation with no memory of the Cold War.  Somebody must be made to pay for innocent blood once spilt in the name of the greater good.

Interweaving past with present so that each may tell its own story, John le Carré has given us a novel of superb and enduring quality.  

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Under The Ice by Rachael Blok

The Blurb On The Back:

It is the week before Christmas and the cathedral city of St Albans is blanketed by snow.  But beneath the festive lights, darkness is stirring.  The frozen body of a young girl is discovered by the ice-covered lake.

The police scramble for clues.  A local woman, Jenny, has had visions of what happened the night of the murder.  But Jenny is an exhausted new mother, whose midnight wanderings pull her ever closer to the lake.  Can Jenny be trusted?  What does she really know?

Then another girl goes missing, and the community unravels.  Neighbour turns against neighbour, and Jenny has no idea who to believe.  As Christmas approaches, Jenny discovers a secret about her past – and why she could be key to everything …  

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The Happiness Fantasy by Carl Cederström

The Blurb On The Back:

In this devastatingly witty new book, Carl Cederström traces our present-day conception of happiness from its roots in early-twentieth-century European psychiatry, to the Beat generation, to Ronald Reagan and Donald Trump.  He argues that happiness is now defined by a desire to be ‘authentic’, to experience physical pleasure, and to cultivate a quirky individuality.  But over the last fifty years, these once-revolutionary ideas have been co-opted by corporations and advertisers, pushing us to live lives that are ever more unfulfilling, insecure and narcissistic.

In an age of increasing austerity and social division, Cederströmargues that a radical new dream of happiness is gathering pace. There is a vision of the good life which promotes deeper engagement with the world and our place within it, rather than the individualism and hedonism of previous generations.  Guided by this more egalitarian worldview, we can reinvent ourselves and our societies. 

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Heimat: A German Family Album by Nora Krug

The Blurb On The Back:

Nora Krug grew up as a second-generation German after the end of the Second World War, struggling with a profound ambivalence towards her country’s recent past.  Travelling as a teenager, her accent alone evoked raw emotions in the people she met, an anger she understood, and shared.

Seventeen years after leaving Germany for the US, Krug decided she couldn’t know who she was without confronting where she’d come from. In Heimat, she documents her journey investigating the lives of her family members under the Nazi regime, visually charting her way back to a country still tainted by war. Beautifully illustrated and lyrically told, Heimat is a powerful meditation on the search for cultural identity, and the meaning of history and home. 

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