Ten books you might have missed in 2015

09 December 2015

At Picador we are incredibly proud to publish a diverse, engaging and entertaining list of titles, and we think 2015 has been one of our best years yet – if you’ve picked up a Picador book this year, we hope you’ve loved it. There are always more brilliant books to discover, so if you’re after another great read for the festive season, here are a few highlights from the year that we think deserve to go to the top of your reading pile…

The Way Things Were

When Skanda's father Toby dies, estranged from Skanda's mother and from the India he once loved, it falls to Skanda to return his body to his birthplace. This is a journey that takes him halfway around the world and deep within three generations of his family, whose fractures, frailties and toxic legacies he has always sought to elude.

'A formidable mix of the personal and the political... his style – at once highly intellectual and deeply poetic – is unique.' Independent

India past and present: Aatish Taseer on his novel

 

Our Souls at Night

Kent Haruf’s final novel, Our Souls At Night, is very special for many of us at Picador. He sadly passed away just two days before the final copyedit was finished.

Addie Moore pays an unexpected visit to a neighbor, Louis Waters. Her husband died years ago, as did his wife, and in such a small town they naturally have known of each other for decades; in fact, Addie was quite fond of Louis’s wife. His daughter lives hours away in Colorado Springs, her son even farther away in Grand Junction, and Addie and Louis have long been living alone in houses now empty of family, the nights so terribly lonely, especially with no one to talk with.
 

Kent’s wife, Cathy, tells us what this book means to her

 

On The Move

When Oliver Sacks was twelve years old, a perceptive schoolmaster wrote in his report: 'Sacks will go far, if he does not go too far'. It is now abundantly clear that Sacks never stopped going. 

From its opening pages on his youthful obsession with motorcycles and speed, On the Move is infused with his restless energy. As he recounts his experiences as a young neurologist in the early 1960s, first in California and then in New York, where he discovered a long-forgotten illness in the back wards of a chronic hospital, as well as with a group of patients who would define his life, it becomes clear that Sacks's earnest desire for engagement has occasioned unexpected encounters and travels – sending him through bars and alleys, over oceans, and across continents.

Oliver Sacks: a life in pictures

 

All Involved

'Shocking, visceral and humane, All Involved is a perfectly-paced, heart-breaking portrait of a city tearing itself apart.' – Paula Hawkins, author of Girl on the Train

Ryan Gattis’ novel All Involved is a fictionalised account inspired by the L.A. riots of 1992, weaving a heart-stopping narrative from the perspectives of characters whose stories of the riots were never told. In six sections, each covering a single day, we follow the intersecting lives of seventeen people: gang members, firefighters, nurses, law enforcement officers and graffiti artists, every one changed for ever.

A Q&A with Ryan Gattis

 

Sentenced to Life

Picked as one of the Observers Best Poetry Books of 2015, Clive James' collection of poems looks back over an extraordinarily rich life, with clear-eyed and unflinching honesty.  There are regrets, but no trace of self-pity in these verses, which – for all their open dealings with death and illness – are primarily a celebration of what is treasurable and memorable in our time here. 

'Sentenced to Life is that rare beast in poetry: a bestseller, a moving take on his, and our own, mortality.' – Kate Kellaway, Observer

Watch Clive James reading ‘Early to Bed’

 

So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed

'He is a clever man and this is a magnificent book, subtly argued, often painfully funny and yet deeply serious, and absolutely of the moment. I’m not sure I can recommend it highly enough.' – Marcus Berkmann, Daily Mail

For the past three years, Jon Ronson has travelled the world meeting recipients of high-profile public shamings. The shamed are people like us – people who, say, made a joke on social media that came out badly, or made a mistake at work. Once their transgression is revealed, collective outrage circles with the force of a hurricane and the next thing they know they're being torn apart by an angry mob, jeered at, demonized, sometimes even fired from their job.

Are you a public shamer? Take our quiz

 

Hemingway in Love

This is Hemingway as you've never known him humble, thoughtful, and full of regret.

In June 1961, A.E. Hotchner visited an old friend in the psychiatric ward of St. Mary's Hospital. It would be the last time they spoke – few weeks later, Ernest Hemingway was released home, where he took his own life.

In characteristically pragmatic terms, Hemingway revealed to Hotchner the details of the affair that destroyed his first marriage; the mischief that made him a legend; of adventure, human error, and life after lost love. 

Read an extract

 

Furiously Happy

Furiously Happy explores Jenny Lawson's lifelong battle with mental illness. From taxidermy racoon rodeos to barefoot 4 a.m. walks through snowy Manhattan, Jenny is on a mission to experience joy in fantastic and outrageous ways.

As Jenny says: 'You can't experience pain without also experiencing the baffling and ridiculous moments of being fiercely, unapologetically, intensely and (above all) furiously happy.'

A Q&A with Jenny Lawson

 

A Whole Life

'A Whole Life is an incredibly rich and moving book which packs an emotional punch all the more powerful for being so understated.' – The Herald

Andreas lives his whole life in the Austrian Alps, where he arrives as a young boy taken in by a farming family. He is a man of very few words and so, when he falls in love with Marie, he doesn't ask for her hand in marriage, but instead has some of his friends light her name at dusk across the mountain. When Marie dies in an avalanche, pregnant with their first child, Andreas' heart is broken. He leaves his valley just once more, to fight in WWII – where he is taken prisoner in the Caucasus – and returns to find that modernity has reached his remote haven... 

Read an extract

 

Villa America

‘He was sketching her on the beach where she lay, the straps of her coffee-colored swimming costume visible, pushed down off her shoulders, her legs wrapped in a bright printed cloth. A long strand of pearls hung down her back. The beach, the sea, was good for them, she’d said, because that’s where they came from.’ 

Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, Pablo Picasso, Cole and Linda Porter, Ernest Hemingway, John Dos Passos – all are summer guests of Gerald and Sara Murphy. Visionary, misunderstood, and from vastly different backgrounds, the Murphys met and married young, and set forth to create a beautiful world. They alight on Villa America: their coastal oasis of artistic genius, debauched parties, impeccable style and flamboyant imagination. But before long, a stranger enters into their relationship, and their marriage must accommodate an intensity that neither had forseen. When tragedy strikes, their friends reach out to them, but the golden bowl is shattered, and neither Gerald nor Sara will ever be the same.

Liza Klaussmann on the inspiration behind Villa America