Cows Can’t Jump

From debut novelist Philip Bowne, winner of the Spotlight First Novel prize, comes this explosive coming-of-age odyssey that catapults 18-year-old Billy Reed across Europe. Billy has just left school and is desperate to escape middle England. It’s 2016, and as a grave-digger, he’s working the ultimate dead-end job. To make matters worse, he’s a virgin, and there’s no hope of him meeting a girl any time soon. The only women at work are in coffins.

Billy’s home life isn’t any better. In the evenings, he observes his dysfunctional family: his grandad’s engaged to a woman half his age, his dad’s become obsessed with boxing, and he suspects his mum is having an affair. All the while, celebrities are dropping like flies and Britain is waiting for the EU referendum. Everything is changing, and Billy hates it.

Billy’s life gets a jump start when he falls in love with Eva, an older girl from Switzerland, who is passionate about Russian literature, Gary Numan, windfarms and chai tea. To Billy’s despair, Eva travels back to her home in Switzerland at the end of summer. But he won’t give up on her that easily. He gambles everything for a chance to be with Eva again.

When things start to go wrong, Billy’s journey across Europe involves hitch-hiking with truckers, walking with refugees, and an encounter with suicidal cows. But the further he goes, the harder it is to be sure what he’s chasing – and what he’s running from.

The Three Hares Book 3: The Terracotta Horse

Salma Mansour is a black belt in taekwondo, a skill she will need to stay alive. One second, she’s in the British Museum, the next a thousand years away in a battle between the Saxons and Vikings. And she’s supposed to help? Things momentarily brighten when she encounters Sara and Sanjeev, who seem to understand. They don’t have much time to plan though; without warning, all three are transported to Xi’an, stronghold of Chan, a wealthy gang leader bent on immortality. Chan has kidnapped world famous geneticist Lin Dan and assembled fragments of an ancient magic. Chan will stop at nothing to fulfil his dream… even if it means releasing forces far beyond his control. The Three Hares must work together to defeat Chan and the power that controls him … or else.

The Three Hares Book 2: The Gold Monkey Key

Sanjeev’s dog Jigsaw is missing in the middle of winter in New Jersey. But this tragedy is dwarfed by what happens to him in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Has he really entered the 6th Century and become the slave to monks traveling the Silk Road to Byzantium – and might they just be murderers? Trouble is even if he figures out how to get out of this, he’s got other problems: someone, or something, is coming after him. Part of the answer might be Sara, a girl who contacts him on the net and keeps talking about the Immortals. But who or what are The Three Hares and how can they stop the darkness about to engulf the world?

Modesty: A Fashion Paradox

Modest fashion has been gaining momentum in the mainstream global fashion industry over the past half-decade and is now a multi-billion-dollar retail sector. Its growing and now consistent appearance on high-profile fashion runways, on celebrities and in the headlines of fashion publications and news outlets, has shown that the modest fashion movement is hugely relevant to consumers. This is particularly true for millennials who are attracted to the feminist influences behind concealing your body, follow faith-based dress codes, or are attuned to social media, where more and more modest fashion bloggers are using imagery to inspire their followers. While the movement can credit European high fashion houses, like Gucci, for making conservative dresses and layering “in style” and “on trend,” and subsequent Western labels like DKNY, H&M and Mango for dabbling in the realm of modest wear, it is the newly emerging group of faith-influenced fashion brands who are driving the revolution, along with a new crop of Muslim fashion bloggers. These have helped catapult demure dressing trends globally. This book speaks to the various personalities and companies who have helped shape the modest fashion industry into such a significant retail sector, while also exploring the controversies that lie at the heart of the movement, such as one pressing question: even if it covers the skin but is flamboyant, modeled with the purpose of attracting attention, and publicly promoted on social media, can fashion truly be modest?

 

Ismee Alharakee Farasha

With irony and poignant teenage idealism, Butterfly draws us into her world of adult hypocrisy, sibling rivalries, girlfriends’ power plays, unrequited love…not to mention the political tension of life under occupation. As she observes her fragile environment with all its conflicts, Butterfly is compelled to question everything around her. Is her father a collaborator for the occupiers? Will Nizar ever give her the sign she’s waiting for? How will her friendship with the activist Mays and the airhead Haya survive the unpredictable storms ahead? And why is ‘honour’ such a dangerous word, anyway?

Children of War

Hassanakis is a young Muslim boy of Turkish descent growing up on Crete during WWI. Fifteen generations of his family have lived on the island and until now he has never had any reason not to think he is a Cretan. But with the Great Powers tussling over the collapsing Ottoman Empire and the island’s Christians in rebellion, an outbreak of ethnic violence forces his family to flee to the Cretan City of Chania. He begins to lay down roots and his snappy dress earns him the nickname of Hassan ‘the mirror’. As WWI draws to a close and the Turkish War of Independence rages, he begins a heady romance with the elegant Hüsniye. There are rumours that the Cretan Muslims will be sent to Turkey but Hassanakis can’t believe he will be sent to a country whose language he barely knows and where he knows no-one.

This powerful novel drawn from the diary of a refugee family evokes the beauty, complexity and trauma of Crete’s past and weaves it into a moving tale of an ordinary man living through extraordinary times.

Based on 3 diaries left by a Cretan refugee in Ayvalik in Turkey, this novel by Ahmet Yorulmaz is the first of a trilogy. It is one of very few Turkish novels ever written about the population exchanges between Greece and Turkey in 1923, during which about 1.8 million people were ‘exchanged’ almost solely on the basis of their religion. This all but emptied the new Turkey of its Christian Greek population, which dated back to about 20 BC, and emptying Crete of its Muslim inhabitants. Most deportees did not speak the language of their new country and had no roots there whatsoever.

The Three Hares Book 1: The Jade Dragonball

 

Sara Livingstone’s school trip to the Beijing Palace Museum takes a terrifying turn when an encounter with the ancient Qingming Scroll thrusts her a thousand years into China’s past.

With secrets in the shadows and danger around every corner, Sara relies on her wits and her Granny Tang’s stories to survive. As dark forces gather, she must take her place in a cosmic battle and find the courage to face an unworldly ancient magic.

“Middle grade to young adult readers seeking a quest fantasy that is a serious notch above other genre reads will appreciate the depth, insights, action, and surprising twists and turns that make The Three Hares: The Jade Dragonball a standout production.” D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Review

 

The Jade Dragonball STUDY GUIDE

 

 

 

Distant Signs

Distant Signs is an intimate portrait of two families spanning three generations amidst turbulent political change, behind and beyond the Berlin Wall.

In 1960s East Germany, Margret, a professor’s daughter from the city, meets and marries Hans, from a small village in the Thuringian forest. The couple struggle to contend with their different backgrounds, and the emotional scars they bear from childhood in the aftermath of war. As East German history gradually unravels, with collision of the personal and political, their two families’ hidden truths are quietly revealed. An exquisitely written novel with strongly etched characters that stay with you long after the book is finished and an authentic portrayal of family life behind the iron curtain based on personal experience of the author who is East German and was 16 years old at the fall of the Berlin Wall.

ANNE RICHTER on THE AUTHORS SHOW

The Umbrella Men

A witty and acerbic novel for our times about corporate greed, the hubris of bankers, contradictions of the clean energy economy and their unintended consequences on everyday people.

Finance, environmentalism, rare-earth mining and human frailties collide in a complex of flawed motives. We follow Peter Mount, the self-made Chief Executive of a London-based rare-earth mining company as he and his business are buffeted by crisis-torn Royal Bank of Scotland and by his own actions, real and imagined. Meanwhile in Oregon, Amy Tate and her group of local environmental activists do their contradictory part to undermine a component of the green economy, unwittingly super-charged by the Chinese state. The repercussions of events in pristine Oregon are felt in the corporate and financial corridors of New York and London with drastic consequences. This is a deeply involving novel about the current workings of capitalism, miscommunication, causes and unexpected effects, love and survival.

Keith on @theauthorsshow discussing The Umbrella Men

Trees for the Absentees

Young love, meddling relatives, heart-to-hearts with friends real and imagined – Philistia’s world is that of an ordinary university student, except that in occupied Palestine, and when your father is in indefinite detention, nothing is straightforward.

Philistia is closest to her childhood, and to her late grandmother and her imprisoned father, when she’s at her part-time job washing women’s bodies at the ancient Ottoman hammam in Nablus, the West Bank. A midwife and corpse washer in her time, Grandma Zahia taught Philistia the ritual ablutions and the secrets of the body: the secrets of life and death.

On the brink of adulthood, Philistia embarks on a journey through her country’s history – a magical journey, and one of loss and centuries of occupation.

As trees are uprooted around her, Philistia searches for a place of refuge, a place where she can plant a memory for the ones she’s lost.