'The Ocean at the End of the Lane’ by Neil Gaiman
A lot happened in the eight-year gap between this and Neil Gaiman’s last adult novel, most notably profile-rocketing ventures into cinema with ‘Stardust’ and ‘Coraline’. The hype could easily have sunk ‘The Ocean…’, but instead it demonstrates Gaiman’s knack for picking apart and preying on our juvenile fears. Fantasy for people who don’t read fantasy.
‘The Cuckoo’s Calling’ by Robert Galbraith
We all know by now which literary wizard wrote this, but if she hadn’t been outed, would you have guessed? In a bid to escape the pressure of post-Potter expectation, JK Rowling hid behind pen name ‘Robert Galbraith’ for her first foray into crime writing. It seems to have done the trick, allowing her to write this genuinely thrilling, gripping detective tale set in London.
Click here to buy ‘The Cuckoo’s Calling’
‘The Reason I Jump’ by Naoki Higashida
Written by Naoki Higashida when he was 13 (the writer is now in his twenties), this book reveals the inner experience of a boy born with a severe form of autism. Higashida was locked in a world of silence before being introduced to an alphabet grid which allowed him to spell out words and share the isolating, sometimes devastating experience of his condition. An enlightening read.
'The Universe Versus Alex Woods’ by Gavin Extence
Being hit by a meteor at ten and having a psychic single mum makes Alex a rather unusual boy. This charming, moving story follows his unusual journey into adulthood.
‘Joyland’ by Stephen King
Has there ever been a setting better suited to the macabre penmanship of the great Stephen King than a creaking, middle-America amusement park? A supernatural whodunit with a wonderfully pulpy edge.
‘Vampires in the Lemon Grove’ by Karen Russell
A collection of short stories ranging from the surreal to the really surreal, this follow-up to the American novelist’s Pulitzer Prize-nominated novel ‘Swamplandia!’ delivers everything from reincarnated American presidents to a sports tournament for sea creatures.
‘One Step Too Far’ by Tina Seskis
On occasion, haven’t we all wanted to ditch our responsibilities, change our name and run off into a new life? Emily (or is it Catherine?) takes the plunge in this smartly written thriller.
‘Big Brother’ by Lionel Shriver
Unsurprisingly, this book by the author of ‘We Need to Talk about Kevin’ isn’t brimming with sunshine. Still, there are no psychopathic teens in a story about a woman coming to terms with her brother’s life-threatening obesity.
‘Bones of the Lost’ by Kathy Reichs
Peruvian dog mummies, an airline club card and a dead teenage girl are among the unlikely elements in this rollercoaster read which sees Dr Temperance Brennan kick forensic-anthropological-ass.
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Rotunda Bar & Restaurant
This King's Cross bar and restaurant has a cracking location when sunshine hits in summer. Sure, it's address says traffic-heavy York Way but Rotunda's real plus comes from its view out back, of the bobbing barges and boats of Regent's Canal. There's usually a cute little garden set up on the terrace, too. The food is focused on British produce, but with influence from across Europe. Expect dishes such as mushroom and truffle arancini, duck fritters with gin and juniper mayonnaise, Josper-grilled steaks and pan-fried sea bass with a saffron, mussel and langoustine risotto and sauce vierge. The drinks list includes seasonal cocktails, beers from Camden Town Brewery, Pressure Drop, Beavertown, Five Points and Brewdog, and a wine list with an old world slant.
Venue says: “An Evening in Havana - Talks, arrival drink, tasting plates, make your own mojito - 24th April - 29.50”