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July's top ten books

August 2018 top ten

A round up of July's best reads

Check out July's top ten books, collated by our wonderful libraries team.

1. First up we have Leave the world behind, which follows Amanda and Clay as they head to a remote corner of Long Island expecting a taste of the good life. A late-night knock on the door shatters that illusion. Ruth and G.H., an older couple who claim to own the home, have arrived there in a panic. They say a sudden power outage has swept the city, forcing them to head to the country for shelter. But with the TV and internet down, the facts are unknowable. Should Amanda and Clay trust this couple - and vice versa?

2. Next up we have Why we kneel, how we rise. Rarely can a rain delay in a cricket match have led to anything like the moment when Holding spoke out in the wake of the `BlackLivesMatter protests about the racism he has suffered. He sought not only to educate but to offer a way forward that inspired so many. In this book Holding delivers a powerful and inspiring message of hope for the future and a vision for change, while providing the background and history to an issue that has dogged the world for many centuries.

3. In Rodham Curtis Sittenfeld takes an ordinary American girl, Hillary Rodham, and explores how her life might have turned out if she had stayed an independent woman. Smart, diligent, and a bit plain, that's the consensus. Then Hillary goes to college, and her star rises. At Yale Law School, she continues to be a leader - and catches the eye of driven and charismatic Bill. But when he asks her to marry him, Hillary gives him a firm No. Pick up this book to find out what could have happened if Hillary Rodham turned down Bill Clinton.

4. Fresh water for flowers follows Violette Toussaint, the caretaker for a cemetery in a small town in Bourgogne. Random visitors, regulars, and her colleagues visit her to warm themselves in her lodge, where laughter, companionship, and occasional tears mix with the coffee. Violette's routine is disrupted one day by the arrival Julien Seul - local police chief - who insists on depositing the ashes of his mother on the gravesite of a stranger. It soon becomes clear that his mother's story of clandestine love is intertwined with Violette's own secret past and the grief within it.

5. For fans of nonfiction we have (M)otherhood which looks at how society continues to exert the stigma of less enlightened times when it comes to childbirth, defining women by whether they embrace or reject motherhood, and whether they can have children or not. Dr Pragya Agarwal uses her own varied experiences and choices around motherhood to examine the broader societal and scientific factors that drive how we think and talk about this issue - including education, economic status, feminism, race and more.

6. If you'd prefer a murder mystery pick up The Windsor knot. The morning after her ninetieth birthday celebrations, the Queen is shocked to discover that one of her guests has been found dead in his room. It quickly becomes clear that his death was no accident, but when MI5 begin to suspect her loyal servants, she knows they are looking in the wrong place. With the help of her Assistant Private Secretary Rozie Oshodi, it's up to the Queen to find the killer - before they strike again.

7. In Tsarina it's spring 1699 and illegitimate, destitute and strikingly beautiful, Marta has survived the brutal Russian winter in her remote Baltic village. Sold by her family into household labour at the age of fifteen, Marta survives by committing a crime that will force her to go on the run. Falling prey to the Great Northern War, Marta cheats death at every turn. One night at a celebration, she encounters Peter the Great. Relying on her wits and her formidable courage, and fuelled by ambition, desire and the sheer will to live, Marta will become Catherine I of Russia.

8. Pick up Animal for the most memorable narrator you will ever meet… I drove myself out of New York City where a man shot himself in front of me. He was a gluttonous man and when his blood came out it looked like the blood of a pig. That's a cruel thing to think, I know. He did it in a restaurant where I was having dinner with another man, another married man. Do you see how this is going? But I wasn't always that way. I am depraved. I hope you like me.

9. In Yours cheerfully it's September, 1941 and things are looking up for Emmeline Lake as she takes on the challenge of becoming a young wartime advice columnist. Her relationship with boyfriend Charles is blossoming and, while her best friend Bunty is still reeling from the Blitz, she's at least bravely looking to the future. When the Ministry of Information calls on them to help recruit female workers to the war effort, Emmy is thrilled. But when a young woman shows them the challenges that women war workers face, Emmy must tackle a life-changing dilemma.

10. Last but not least we have The Maidens. St Christopher's College, Cambridge, is a closed world to most. For Mariana Andros it's where she met her late husband. For her niece, Zoe, it's the tragic scene of her best friend's murder. As memory and mystery entangle Mariana, she finds a web of jealousy and rage which emanates from a group of students known as The Maidens. A group under the sinister influence of Professor Edward Fosca. A man will become the prime suspect in Mariana's investigation - an obsession which will unravel everything.

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