The Muddy Book Club: May’s best reads
Reinforce your bedside table and clear space on your Kindle! Muddy’s professional bookworm Kerry Potter is here with the May books that you need to know about. And if you have any recommendations of your own, we’d love to hear from you – literary musings in the comment box below please!
Into The Water by Paula Hawkins
When your debut thriller sells 18m copies worldwide and gets made into a Hollywood movie everyone wants to know how your follow-up compares. The thing is the eagerly awaited new one by Paula Hawkins is very different to The Girl On The Train. Not least the setting: the action takes place in a remote riverside town in Northumberland, where over the years an awful lot of women have ended up dead in the local ‘drowning pool’. Nel is one of them, and her estranged sister Jules returns to their hometown to discover what happened. Like The Girl On The Train, it involves secrets, lies and skeletons primed to fall out of closets, but this feels like a more ambitious, better written book. Whether it’ll resonate so much with girls on trains looking for something gripping to read remains to be seen.
The Midlife Kitchen by Mimi Spencer & Sam Rice
I’ll have what she’s having, please: journalist Mimi Spencer, 49, looks so great on the jacket of this new recipe book that I’ll eat whatever she tells me to, quite frankly. It’s aimed at women in their 40s and 50s for whom “health is becoming more a priority” and offers 160 recipes, which are healthy without being impossibly virtuous/involving cutting out major food groups/making you spend £8m on chia seeds. So it all feels very achievable and sensible, with an emphasis on ingredients that help with things like hormone levels, bone and joint health and blood sugar balance. And a big thumbs up emoji on producing something upbeat and positive about midlife that doesn’t come with the word crisis’ attached. I feel a Speedy Supper recipe collaboration coming on – watch this space.
These Dividing Walls by Fran Cooper
I’m a Francophile and a sucker for anything set in Paris, so this debut by a young British novelist caught my eye. This isn’t the Paris of romantic mini breaks and Ladurée macarons though. Instead it evokes the grittier, sharper edges of city in flux, politically, socially and culturally, during one impossibly hot summer – which couldn’t be more timely, given the French presidential election is in full swing as I write. The titular walls are the ones of a Left Bank apartment block, inhabited by a diverse selection of neighbours with very different views on life. Troubled young Englishman Edward arrives at Number 37 to stay with his ex-girlfriend’s aunt and so begins a summer that changes the lives of many of the residents.
Don’t Be A Dick, Pete by Stuart Heritage
Awww, brotherly love. Stuart Heritage is a mimsy Guardian journalist who writes a lot about fatherhood, while his younger brother, Pete, is an Iron Man alpha male who admires Danny Dyer. “Pete and I have vastly different skill sets,” writes Stuart in this fantastic family memoir-cum- riff on modern masculinity. “I like reading; Pete has read 15 books in his life and all were ghostwritten footballer autobiographies. We wouldn’t be friends if we weren’t brothers.” It’s properly laugh-out-loud funny but affecting too – and will chime with anyone who ever wound up their brother so much said brother tried to stab them with a huge kitchen knife while their mum was out (I’m looking at you, Jon Potter).