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Spring Reading

As Gloucester Road Books celebrates its first birthday, the brilliant in-house team have recommended five refreshing new reads to escape with this spring…

A note from the team: “Our primary aim is that the shop be a fascinating place to explore. Some of the subject sections are a little broader than they might be elsewhere – for instance our ‘Time and Place’ section encompasses books on History, Travel Literature, Geography and Reportage. We also have a significant focus on titles published by small independent presses. There are lots of really brilliant small publishers putting out incredibly exciting books at the moment, and we want to help get these out into the world. We do, of course, have plenty of the kinds of books you would expect to find in any good bookshop – Fiction, Non-Fiction, and a range of fantastic books for children of all ages. The stock is carefully chosen and constantly changing, so even if you pop in every week there will always be new books to find.”

Follow Gloucester Road Books on Instagram at: @gloucester_rd_books and visit the bookshop at: 184 Gloucester Road, Bishopston, Bristol BS7 8NU. Open Monday – Tuesday 9.30am – 5pm; Wednesday – Saturday 9.30am – 6pm

Transcendent Kingdom
Yaa Gyasi

Yaa Gyasi’s second novel follows PhD neuroscientist, Gifty, as she pieces together her family’s traumatic history. Set in Ghana and the USA, Gyasi, like her protagonist, confronts the most fundamental questions: what helps us understand and steer a course through tragedy, grief and loss? Is it religion, science, stories? Where do we find comfort “to get through this life somehow?: The result is a very moving, illuminating, multi-layered marvel of a novel.
– review by Joe

The Child
by Kjersti A. Skomsvold
The Child is a moving portrayal of motherhood addressed to the protagonist’s newborn and second child. In elegant and spare language, it reads like a fragmented memoir of a life now reframed by the view of parenthood. Skomsvold meditates with great sensitivity on the fragility of life, particularly after the experience of birth and the despairing, sleepless night-world mothers must occupy in caring for a baby. It is a melancholic but tender and life-affirming book.
– review by Leah

We Were Young
by Niamh Campbell

Campbell’s latest novel is a refreshingly realistic portrait of Dublin’s arts scene told through the mesmeric experience of its artist-protagonist. Approaching 40, outgrowing the scene, and sleeping around with an incestuously small pool of friends, Cormac comes under pressure to change his ways. Campbell’s prose is masterful in its style and devastatingly accurate in crystallising a social commentary with observations that are hugely satisfying and affecting. Dublin itself also features largely and Campbell beautifully illuminates on what it is to grow old in a city.
– review by Leah

The Trees
by Percival Everett

Set in rural Mississippi, this crime novel is written with a glorious mixture of poppy genre references and deadly serious social critique. It follows a team of detectives as they struggle to investigate a series of crimes that insistently refer back to the lynchings of young black men in the town decades ago. Everett is a clever and elegant writer, so he can poke fun at the crime genre with playful nods to well trodden tropes and still deliver a novel of searing intensity.
– review by Tom

Sins of My Father: A Daughter, A Cult, A Wild Unravelling
by Lily Dunn
This is the story of the author’s father, brilliant but dissolute, and the effect of his choices on her own life. Sins of My Father is utterly gripping and in places quite excruciating. Time and again her father runs compulsively into new obsessions leaving those around him reeling. Dunn is brutally honest about her father, and about herself too, and it’s this fearless introspection that makes the book.
– review by Tom