Miss Benson’s Beetle, by Rachel Joyce

Margery Benson is a middle-aged spinster, with no living family, working a dead-end job teaching ungrateful children about domestic science in the aftermath of WWII. In a blinding moment of clarity, she quits her job and decides to embark on the adventure of a lifetime. She will journey to New Caledonia, on the other side of the world, in search of a rare golden beetle that may or may not exist.
But she cannot hope to do all of this alone. She will need an assistant for her expedition! Enid Pretty is probably the last person Margery would want accompanying her, but she is her only option. In her vibrant pink travelling suit, Enid could not be more different from dowdy and dumpy Miss Benson, and the two women do not exactly hit it off. But when faced with circumstances neither of them could have imagined, both women discover untapped strengths within themselves and a very unlikely friendship. Read More »

A Gentleman in Moscow, by Amor Towles

On the 21st of June 1922, Count Alexander Rostov is escorted from the Kremlin at the heart of Moscow, to the Metropol Hotel. Although he usually occupies one of the most luxurious suites in the Hotel, the count has been assigned a new room, a very small one in the attic. In addition, he is only able to take a few possessions with him from his former residence. Why the sudden upheaval? Because the Count has been sentenced to house arrest by a Bolshevik tribunal. He will now be a permanent resident of the Metropol Hotel, indefinitely. Read More »

The Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden, by Jonas Jonasson

Just because the world ignores you, doesn’t mean you can’t save it…
For Nombeko Mayeki, born in a shack in Soweto, South Africa’s largest slum, the future was not looking so bright. But this is the story of how being run over can sometimes be a good thing. How else would Nombeko have learned all about the production of atomic bombs, emigrated to Sweden as a refugee and been on the run from one of the most ruthless intelligence agencies in the world? All in the company of three Chinese sisters, a Vietnam veteran, twins who officially one person and a Baroness with a potato farm. Read More »

Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, by Paul Torday

When Dr Alfred Jones, a well-respected and strait-laced fisheries scientist, is contacted to work on a project to introduce the sport of salmon fishing to the Yemen, he dismisses it as a ridiculous fantasy. There is no way that cold-water-loving salmon could ever even survive in the desert of the Yemen. But Dr Jones finds himself progressively charmed by the project and his colleagues, learning about himself along the way. What follows is a delightful and humorous tale, told in the form of letters, interviews, emails and articles. Read More »

Sorry I’m Late, I Didn’t Want to Come: An Introvert’s Year of Living Dangerously, by Jessica Pan

Jessica Pan is a self-diagnosed “shintrovert”, a shy introvert. Finding herself in a bit of a rut, both personally and professionally, Jessica challenges herself to live like an extrovert for a year. This experiment was designed to see if her life would be any different if she had been born an extrovert instead. Jessica sets herself a number of challenges, which include speaking in public, travelling solo and doing stand-up comedy! Activities which all introverts would readily classify in the “worst nightmare” category. Read More »