Book recommendations

The experts at Gloucester Road Books share their top reads for May, and you can even meet two of the authors in person at the shop this month.

Biography of X, Catherine Lacey
Published by Granta Books, £9.99

Newly out in paperback, this is an exciting and thrilling read that uses structures of world-building to make up that of a fictional artist’s life. Set against a dystopian historical plot, the protagonist sets out to write a biography and unravel the manifold realities of her late wife, an iconoclast who spun a cocoon of myth around her life. The author, Catherine Lacey, quotes real-life writers within the protagonist’s research, further complicating what is a fascinating thematic interplay between reality and fiction.

Old Romantics, Maggie Armstrong
Published by Tramp Press, £13.99

These inter-linked short stories follow the same character, Margaret, as she negotiates failed relationships, work, marriage, and children, and how to balance them all against her writing life. The tone of the writing is what makes this collection so special, it is self-conscious and wry while the stories remain both raw and moving without verging into sentiment. A very impressive debut collection!

The First-Time Forager, Andy Hamilton
Published by National Trust Books £12.99

The Bristol-based foraging expert’s latest book continues his quest to encourage everyone to discover the nourishing delights on offer all around us. Hamilton calms any safety fears with uncomplicated descriptions accompanied by clear images so first-timers can relax while seeking out tasty treasures. He’ll be discussing all this at Gloucester Road Books on 16 May.

A Bookshop of One’s Own, Jane Cholmeley
Published by Mudlark, £16.99

The story behind the hugely influential Silver Moon Women’s Bookshop, which Cholmeley co-founded in 1984, is a very valuable piece of social history. The shop was set up to promote the work of female writers and became Europe’s biggest women’s bookshop, hosting a stellar cast of luminaries such as Maya Angelou and Angela Carter. Cholmeley will in conversation about the book at Gloucester Road Books on 21 May.; @gloucester_rd_books;
184 Gloucester Road, Bishopston, BS7 8NU. Open Monday and Tuesday 9.30am-5pm; Wednesday to Saturday 9.30am-6pm