Picador 40th: August's reading list
Stories about beautiful women, beautiful men, psychic spies and oppressive families. Picador’s August recommendations are not to be missed!
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30th July - 6th August
No Country for Old Men, Cormac McCarthy
Llewelyn Moss, hunting antelope near the Rio Grande, stumbles upon a transaction gone horribly wrong. Finding bullet-ridden bodies, several kilos of heroin, and a caseload of cash, he faces a choice – leave the scene as he found it, or cut the money and run. Choosing the latter, he knows, will change everything. And so begins a terrifying chain of events, in which each participant seems determined to answer the question that one asks another: how does a man decide in what order to abandon his life?
‘It’s hard to think of a contemporary writer more worth reading’ Independent
6th - 13th August
Never Mind, Edward St Aubyn
At his mother’s family house in the south of France, Patrick Melrose has the run of a magical garden. Bravely imaginative and self-sufficient, five-year-old Patrick encounters the volatile lives of adults with care. His father, David, rules with considered cruelty, and Eleanor, his mother, has retreated into drink. They are expecting guests for dinner. But this afternoon is unlike the chain of summer days before, and the shocking events that precede the guests’ arrival tear Patrick’s world in two.
‘St Aubyn’s prose has an easy charm that masks a ferocious, searching intellect. One of the finest writers of his generation’ The Times
13th – 20th August
The Men Who Stare at Goats, Jon Ronson
In 1979 a secret unit was established by the most gifted minds within the US Army. Defying all known military practice – and indeed the laws of physics – they believed that a soldier could adopt a cloak of invisibility, pass cleanly through walls, and, perhaps most chillingly, kill goats just by staring at them. They were the First Earth Battalion. And they really weren’t joking. What’s more, they’re back and fighting George Bush’s War on Terror. Often funny, sometimes chilling and always thought-provoking, The Men Who Stare at Goats is a story so unbelievable it has to be true.
‘Mr. Ronson sets his book up beautifully. It moves with wry, precise agility from crackpot to crackpot in its search for the essence of this early New Age creativity.’ NY Times
20th – 27th August
The Line of Beauty, Alan Hollinghurst
It is the summer of 1983, and young Nick Guest, an innocent in the matters of politics and money, has moved into an attic room in the Notting Hill home of the Feddens: Gerald, an ambitious new Tory MP, his wealthy wife Rachel, and their children Toby and Catherine. As the boom years of the mid-80s unfold, Nick becomes caught up in the Feddens’ world, while pursuing his own private obsession, with beauty – a prize as compelling to him as power and riches are to his friends.
‘A classic of our times . . . The work of a great English stylist in full maturity. A masterpiece’ Observer
27th August – 3rd September
Little Gods, Anna Richards
An adventure, a black comedy, a fairy tale of sorts and a romance, Little Gods tells the story of larger-than-life Jean Clocker, born into wartime and a loveless marriage, whose birth challenges the very balance of nature and whose body resists all attempts to contain it. Fitting in is never an option for Jean, but it takes the chaos of war – and, later, America – to persuade her to fully appreciate her extraordinary stature.
'Size is everything in this magnificent first novel. This is a great, delicious epic that hovers enticingly on the edge of the surreal. Richards is a natural storyteller with a dazzling imagination and effortless comic talent. What rare bliss… to come across a new voice of such originality and charm.' The Times
What are your ideal summer reads? Share them with us in the comments below.