For some there is no better gift than a good book, where the thought really does count. Here is a dozen gift recommendations from readers, Route’s bestselling titles of 2013. All independently produced to engage, inspire and to entertain, these books wont let you down.
Bringing It All Back Home by Ian Clayton – A modern classic music book. You don’t have to take our word for it, read the Amazon reviews. When you hear a certain song, where does it take you? What is the secret that connects music to our lives? Heart warming, moving and laugh out loud funny, Bringing It All Back Home is the truest book you will ever read about music and the things that really matter. ‘Ian Clayton has written not just a masterpiece about music but a beautiful and important work of social history. This is a literary triumph of irrepressible humour, touching humility and downright humanity. At the end of this book, you’ll believe Ian Clayton is your best mate.’ – Andy Kershaw
Nothing Ever Happens in Wentbridge by Janet Watson – A vivid and moving story of a remarkable first love, friendship and coming of age fast in the 1980s. ‘This is a luminous book about real life: about love, loss, motherhood, daughterhood, about sex, longing and fear, regret and the terrible pain of hindsight. And it’s a fabulous story, whose last third I had to read in one sitting into the small hours. I loved it.’ – Mumsnet
Carpet Burns – My Life With Inspiral Carpets by Tom Hingley – Get yourself close up and personal with the Madchester music scene. Tom Hingley recounts life inside the Inspiral Carpets – on stage, on the tour bus, in the studio – he charts the ups and downs of life inside a pop hurricane with wit and plenty of insight. Anyone interested in music life and the impact of Manchester’s music scene will quickly devour every word. ‘A cool as f***k memoir.’ – Record Collector
Rites – by Sophie Coulombeau – The outstanding winner of the Next Best Novelist Award. Four teenagers make a pact to lose their virginity away from the watchful eyes of parents and priest. Fifteen years later, they reflect on the past and unravel how it all went so horribly wrong… A psychological thriller and moral maze. There is no objective truth when it comes to different people’s memories of the same experience, it’s up to you to pick your way through the ambiguity. ‘Terrific. A story that’s intriguing, puzzling and entirely gripping.’ – Philip Pullman
Red Army Faction Blues by Ada Wilson – An explosive mix of music and politics; and what happens when a new generation set out a path for a radically different future. A close look at the present political turmoil through the lens of the recent past. Bombs and acid. Peter Green, Fleetwood Mac, Baader, Meinhof and the Red Army Faction. All is seen through the eyes of an agent provocateur, as the peace and love generation of the 1960s gives way to violent terrorism of the 1970s. ‘Wilson brings the tumult of 1967 West Berlin vividly to life in this intriguing period thriller. Resonances with the Occupy Wall Street movement make this novel’s themes timely.’ – Publishers Weekly
Everything Now by Steve McKevitt – If you like a good grumble about how the modern world is heading to hell in a handcart, this book holds a mine of ammunition for you. Written by an expert in the field, this is a shocking and funny whistle-blowing account of the techniques that are employed to mould public opinion, shape how we behave and control what we think. ‘Read this before you shell out for a new, ever-so slightly shinier mobile phone or pay a premium for anything that goes out of its way to convince you how ‘ethical’ it is.’ – Time Out, Book of the Week.
Spellbound – Women’s Magic Over Men by Joel Willans – Ever since men painted on cave walls, they’ve been making art out of their feelings for women. Joel Willans’s prize-winning stories feature men battling for women’s hearts with weapons as diverse as chocolates and chairs. A spellbinding summer read with a slice of magic. ‘The thinking lad’s book for a busy life. Funny, cool, excellent prose, effortless to read… a heartwarming read for us girls too!’ – Alice Bragg
The Train of Ice and Fire by Ramon Chao – Quite simply, a chronical of one of the craziest rock tours ever attempted. Colombia, November 1993: a reconstructed old passenger train is carrying one hundred musicians, acrobats and artists on a daring adventure through the heart of a country soaked in violence. Leading this crusade of hope is Manu Chao with his band Mano Negra. Manu’s father Ramon Chao is on board to chronicle the journey. ‘The real joy is in the detail, be it Chao Senior overheating in a polar bear costume until he loses consciousness or going so native that he gets himself tattooed as his son tuts disapprovingly. By the end you’re rooting for the cast of dysentery ridden, ceaselessly optimistic ne’er-do-wells and entranced by the madness of their undertaking.’ – Q Magazine.
Because Cuba is You by Ramon Chao – An exotic and historical romp through Galicia and Cuba, this magical realist story is an account of Ramon Chao’ s own family saga and the political maelstrom into which he was born, tracing a personal and political line from the Spanish-American War to the Spanish Civil War. ‘A historical narrative focused on the relations between Galicia and Cuba. Well written and full of entertaining anecdotes, Chao brings an imaginative dimension to the story of emigration.’ – El Mundo.
La Rochelle by Michael Nath – The writing is the star of the show in this literary novel. Darkly comic, sharp and erudite, it’s been described as Proust in Peckham or Hamlet in Holborn. The disappearance of his friend’s woman stirs up the life of a doctor, placing him in the power of a subtle enchanter. Will it make or break him? Shortlisted for the James Tait Black Prize for Fiction. ‘Stylish, very funny, discreetly surprising, this remarkable novel reads at times like a fable of England under New Labour, where nothing is quite what it seems and not much is worth what it costs.’ – Michael Wood
Red Laal by M Y Alam – If Mario Puzo was from Bradford. A bold slice of organised-crime fiction, M Y Alam’s novel is a compelling tale of survival, honour and family values. In Kilo and Red Laal, Alam has created characters beyond compare in contemporary British fiction. ‘Red Laal is a smart, tough and authentic revenge thriller best served cold, and marks out M Y Alam as a major name in gritty, contemporary gangster-culture crime writing.‘ – Telegraph and Argus
The Route Book at Bedtime – Presenting twelve bedtime stories for adult reading. Featured authors include M Y Alam, Sarah Butler, Pippa Griffin, Michael Nath and Cally Taylor. Book at Bedtime is a title in the Route series of contemporary stories. ‘Adult bedtime books don’t come much better than this. The manner in which each story carries such bountiful emotion over only a few pages makes this an ideal bedtime companion.’ – The Big Issue in the North