In this age of 24 hour news, disaster seems to be omnipresent, and anxiety, panic and stress are becoming an unavoidable part of many people's lives. In Notes on a Nervous Planet, Matt Haig explores this phenomenon and offers kindly advice and reassurance that perhaps even if the worst does happen, it can ultimately be survived. How we react to the fear that surrounds us and sometimes seems to threaten to engulf us as a society is, perhaps, the acid test of our humanity and may bring out the very best in us. This is a fascinating and timely book which will bring some comfort in these unsettling times.
Gypsy culture has always fascinated me, and so The Stopping Places by Damien Le Bas immediately caught my eye. Brought up in a Romani family, the author sets out on a journey to discover the ancient stopping places that are an integral part of his people's history. In so doing, he finds himself caught somewhere between the romantic legends of the past and the very real problems faced by much-maligned modern gypsies. This is a fascinating exploration of a much misunderstood people and also a thrilling tale of life on the road.
The Incurable Romantic, by psychotherapist Frank Tallis, explores in absorbing detail that most primal of emotions, love. His intriguing stories of jealousy, loss, longing and desire will perhaps strike a chord in the hearts of many readers. This authoritative, entertaining and compassionate book will enrich our understanding both of the psychopathologies of love but perhaps, more importantly, of this most elusive and essential emotion, and its capacity to render us all vulnerable.
Khaled Hosseini's new novel, Sea Prayer is a moving story of a Syrian father and son forced to say goodbye to everything familiar as they embark on a perilous sea journey into the unknown. Hosseini writes with painterly precision, bringing to life a world of vanished memories. The cool breeze lifting off the salty sea, the scent of lemon trees in the balmy twilight, and the agony of goodbyes.... all these are evoked with compassion and tenderness. This beautifully-written book is a sage reminder of the personal cost of war.