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Nicky Singer Recommends

Recommendations from the author of Feather Boy, Island and The Survival Game

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Nicky Singer
Author

Nicky Singer is a novelist and playwright. She is probably most well known for her writing for young people. Her work has been adapted for stage, opera and into a BAFTA winning TV series.

Nicky's most recent novel, The Survival Game is a young adult thriller set in a world ravaged by climate change.

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Love and Other Thought Experiments

Sophie Ward, hardback

£14.99

'Lockdown has been a strange place for writers. Not the being confined to home 24/7 (that’s pretty much the day job) but the wondering whether the book you’re writing (or rather I’m writing) has any relevance at all anymore in a world where real life seems to be out-fictioning fiction. Ditto reading. I mean – what is the point of it all right now? So, I was delighted to bump into Sophie Ward’s Love and Other Thought Experiments – an extraordinarily deft mix of fiction and philosophical thought, which could seem tricksy but is actually whip-smart intelligent and just made for these uncertain times.'

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The Discomfort of Evening

Marieke Lucas Rijneveld, paperback

£12.99

'One of the wonderful things about the International Man Booker Prize is that it brings us fiction well out of the substantially white, old, male cis-gender NW3 ‘comfort’ zone. One such offering - The Discomfort of Evening - comes from 29-year-old, non-binary debut Dutch novelist, Marieke Lucas Rijneveld. Wow. Earthy, visceral, and violent it’s a meditation on grief suffused with sex, migrating toads and udder cream. Michele Hutchison’s translation brings alive a voice of youth, weirdness and truth. You’ll get so involved, the pandemic will temporarily suspend.'

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Wilding: the Return of Nature to a British Farm

Isabella Tree, paperback

£9.99

'If any good comes from Covid19 it may (may) be an understanding that we cannot continue business-as-usual, especially re climate change. One leader in her field on this is Isabella Tree and her book Wilding. It’s an account of how she and her husband Charlie Burrell have attempted to return their previously intensively farmed 3,500 acres at Knepp in West Sussex back to nature. But it’s so much more than this, it’s an argument about food and morality and partnership and nature and what makes for a meaningful, sustainable life. A book for the future I hope my children have.'

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The Poetry Pharmacy

William Sieghart, hardback

£12.99

'I’m not much cop at poetry and/or self-help books. William Seighart’s The Poetry Pharmacy is both. And it’s brilliant. He takes carefully chosen poems (some well- known some you’ll be amazed not to know) and pairs them with brilliantly resonant commentary about why and how they will heal your wounds and touch you soul. In lesser hands it would be a bunch of cheesy clichés. In his – you just want to weep with gratitude. For particular Covid19 balm, check out Sheenagh Pugh’s poem ‘What if this Road’ and Seighart’s accompanying remarks on the ‘Fear of the Unknown’.'

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The Sense of an Ending

Julian Barnes, paperback

£8.99

'Last week I tuned in to the film of Julian Barnes’ A Sense of an Ending, and found it tedious. But near its conclusion, there was a sudden – luminous - voice-over, clearly taken straight from the book. This returned me to my bookshelves and my first edition 2011 hardback copy. I realised I had no recollection of reading it whatsoever - ironic considering the novel is mainly about memory, what we chose to remember and what forget. My take-out? You’ll only really understand this book (which is brilliant!) if you’re over sixty – which is the age I am now and Barnes was when he wrote it.'

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#NewPower

Jeremy Heimans and Henry Timms, paperback

£9.99

' Ever wanted to change the world? This is a handbook about power. Old power, the authors argue, was hierarchical: basically the King had it and plebs like you and me, at the bottom of the pile, didn’t. New power is more horizontal. It works like a current, peer to peer and means someone like Greta Thunberg can move from being a single student sitting alone outside her Parliament to being a world voice for climate action within six months. So, whether your issue is climate or #MeToo or #BlackLivesMatter - this book is a blindingly good exploration of changemaking in the 21st century. '