October celebrates Black History Month – and there’s no better way to educate yourself than to get reading! So here are Team Bookends’ recommended reads…
A beautiful new look for the classic, the multi-award-winning, million copy bestseller from Andrea Levy …
‘Honest, skilful, thoughtful and important’ Guardian
‘A slyly humorous, rich feast of a book’ Mail on Sunday
‘’The literary equivalent of a switch-back ride’ The Times
It is 1948, and England is recovering from a war. But at 21 Nevern Street, London, the conflict has only just begun. Queenie Bligh’s neighbours do not approve when she agrees to take in Jamaican lodgers, but Queenie doesn’t know when her husband will return, or if he will come back at all. What else can she do?
Gilbert Joseph was one of the several thousand Jamaican men who joined the RAF to fight against Hitler. Returning to England as a civilian he finds himself treated very differently. It’s desperation that makes him remember a wartime friendship with Queenie and knock at her door.
Gilbert’s wife Hortense, too, had longed to leave Jamaica and start a better life in England. But when she joins him she is shocked to find London shabby, decrepit, and far from the golden city of her dreams. Even Gilbert is not the man she thought he was…
Racism, but “managed” through virtual reality
Black Friday, except you die in a bargain-crazed throng
Happiness, but pharmacological
Love, despite everything
Friday Black tackles urgent instances of racism and cultural unrest, and explores the many ways we fight for humanity in an unforgiving world. In the first, unforgettable story of this collection, The Finkelstein Five, Adjei-Brenyah gives us an unstinting reckoning of the brutal prejudice of the US justice system. In Zimmer Land we see a far-too-easy-to-believe imagining of racism as sport. And Friday Black and How to Sell a Jacket as Told by Ice King show the horrors of consumerism and the toll it takes on us all.
Fresh, exciting, vital and contemporary, Friday Black will appeal to people who love Colson Whitehead’s Underground Railroad, the TV show Black Mirror, the work of Kurt Vonnegut and George Saunders, and anyone looking for stories that speak to the world we live in now.
‘An excitement and a wonder’ George Saunders
‘The writing in this outstanding collection will make you hurt and demand your hope’ Roxane Gay
‘The fiction debut of the year. Bravo young man. We await your encore’ Mary Karr
A leading new exploration of the Windrush generation, featuring David Lammy and Lenny Henry
For the pioneers of the Windrush generation, Britain was ‘the Mother Country’. They made the long journey across the sea, expecting to find a place where they would be be welcomed with open arms; a land in which you were free to build a new life, eight thousand miles away from home.
This remarkable book explores the reality of their experiences, and those of their children and grandchildren, through 22 unique real-life stories spanning more than 70 years.
Featuring: Catherine Ross, Corinne Bailey-Rae, David Lammy, Gail Lewis, Hannah Lowe, Howard Gardner, Jamz Supernova, Kay Montano, Kemi Alemoru, Kimberley McIntosh, Lazare Sylvestre, Lenny Henry, Maria del Pilar Kaladeen, Myrna Simpson, Naomi Oppenheim, Natasha Gordon, Nellie Brown, Paul Reid, Riaz Phillips, Rikki Beadle-Blair, Sharmaine Lovegrove, Sharon Frazer-Carroll.
‘An astounding achievement’ Sunday Times
‘The lost giant of American literature’ New Yorker
In 1962, aged just 24, William Melvin Kelley’s debut novel A Different Drummer earned him critical comparisons to James Baldwin and William Faulkner. Fifty-five years later, author and journalist Kathryn Schulz happened upon the novel serendipitously and was inspired to write the New Yorker article ‘The Lost Giant of American Literature’, included as a foreword to this edition.
June, 1957. One afternoon, in the backwater town of Sutton, a young black farmer by the name of Tucker Caliban matter-of-factly throws salt on his field, shoots his horse and livestock, sets fire to his house and departs the southern state. And thereafter, the entire African-American population leave with him.
The reaction that follows is told across a dozen chapters, each from the perspective of a different white townsperson. These are boys, girls, men and women; either liberal or conservative, bigoted or sympathetic – yet all of whom are grappling with this spontaneous, collective rejection of subordination.
A lost masterpiece republished for 2018, A Different Drummer is for readers who have been waiting for the next rediscovered classic.
This is the stunning new novel from bestselling author Mike Gayle, for fans of The Keeper of Lost Things and Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine. A powerful and bittersweet story of an unexpected male friendship and an unlikely love story, a thought provoking storyline told with Mike’s distinctive wit and insight, touching on issues which affect us all. This uplifting tale reminds us of the simple courage at the heart of every human being.
Ever since The Incident, James DeWitt has stayed on the safe side.
He likes to know what happens next.
Danny Allen is not on the safe side. He is more past the point of no return.
The past is about to catch up with both of them in a way that which will change their lives forever, unexpectedly.
But redemption can come in the most unlikely ways.
With urgency and tenderness, Evening Primrose explores issues of race, gender and the medical profession through the eyes of a junior doctor.
When Masechaba finally achieves her childhood dream of becoming a doctor, her ambition is tested as she faces the stark reality of South Africa’s public healthcare system.
As she leaves her deeply religious mother and makes friends with the politically-minded Nyasha, Masechaba’s eyes are opened to the rising xenophobic tension that carries echoes of apartheid.
Battling her inner demons, she must decide if she should take a stand to help her best friend, even it comes at a high personal cost.
‘A daring and uniquely South African story’ Marie Claire, South Africa on Coconut