ARTS & CULTURE
Kiki Kallira Breaks a Kingdom
by Sangu Mandanna
Norwich-based Sangu’s debut is a sparkling new book for middle graders, with a rich fantasy world and accessible messages about battling anxiety, embracing creativity and celebrating your personal strengths – whatever those may be! Kiki Kallira has always been a worrier. Did she lock the front door? Is there a terrible reason her mum is late? Recently her anxiety has been getting out of control, but one thing that has always soothed her is drawing. Kiki’s sketchbook is full of fantastical doodles of the Hindu myths and legends her mother has told her since she was tiny.
One day, her sketchbook’s calming effect is broken when her mythological characters begin springing to life and Kiki is pulled into the mystical world she drew. There, she discovers the band of rebel kids who protect the kingdom, as well as an ancient, monstrous god bent on destruction.
Kiki must overcome her fear and anxiety to save both worlds – the real and the imagined – from his wrath. But how can a girl armed with only a pencil and wearing her unicorn pyjamas defeat something so powerful? Sangu was four years old when an elephant chased her down a forest road and she decided to write her first story about it. Seventeen years and many, many manuscripts later, she signed her first book deal.
Sorrow & Bliss
by Meg Mason
In her third novel, Meg tackles the issues of long term mental illness with a wit and veracity only she can. This remarkable novel looks at the experiences of a middle-aged woman who has struggled to find contentment in her adult life. Spiky, sharp, intriguingly dark and yet tender Sorrow and Bliss is a dazzling, distinctive novel from a boldly talented writer.
This novel is about a woman called Martha. She knows there is something wrong with her but she doesn’t know what it is. Her husband Patrick thinks she is fine. He says everyone has something, the thing is just to keep going.
Martha told Patrick before they got married that she didn’t want to have children. He said he didn’t mind either way because he has loved her since he was fourteen and making her happy is all that matters… although he does not seem able to do it.
By the time Martha finds out what is wrong, it doesn’t really matter anymore. It is too late to get the only thing she has ever wanted. Or maybe it will turn out that you can stop loving someone and start again from nothing – if you can find something else to want. A must for fans of Sally Rooney, Taffy Brodesser-Akner and Fleabag.
The Thursday Murder Club
by Richard Osman
The first book in the #1 bestselling Thursday Murder Club series by tv presenter Richard Osman. If you haven’t purchased a copy and put it in your to read pile then you must. It is great to be present at the begining of what is destined to become a cult classic series, with book two, The Man Who Died Twice, ready for release in September of this year. This thrilling, moving and laugh-out-loud funny novel will enthrall mystery fans.
In a peaceful retirement village, four unlikely friends meet up once a week to investigate unsolved murders. But when a brutal killing takes place on their very doorstep, the Thursday Murder Club find themselves in the middle of their first live case. Elizabeth, Joyce, Ibrahim and Ron might be pushing eighty but they still have a few tricks up their sleeves. Can the unorthodox but brilliant gang catch the killer before it’s too late?
The only disppointment you will feel is when it ends. The pages flew by and were a warm and witty warning never to underestimate the elderly, especially when murder is involved. It almost feels that at some point in the future a TV series will be on the cards and we are certain that Mr. Osman will have a third book up his sleeve ready to hit the shelves faster than you can say Pointless.