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3 British Books to Look Out for in the U.S. in May

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Claire Handscombe


Claire Handscombe moved from Europe to DC in 2012, ostensibly to study for an MFA in Creative Writing, but actually – let’s be honest – because of an obsession with The West Wing. She is the author of Unscripted, a novel about a young woman with a celebrity crush and a determined plan, and the editor of Walk With Us: How The West Wing Changed Our Lives. She also hosts the Brit Lit Podcast, a fortnightly show of news and views from British books and publishing. Blog: the Brit Lit Blog. Twitter: @BookishClaire

From an empowering cultural study to heartwarming novels, May is another month of great British reads making their way across the pond. Here are three of them.

Don't Touch My Hair Book CoverDon’t Touch My Hair by Emma Dabiri (Penguin Books, May 2, 2019, audio only)

From pre-colonial Africa to today’s Natural Hair Movement, this book is an exploration of all the ways that black hair matters. From styles that served as secret code to lead enslaved Africans to freedom to an exploration of cultural appropriation, Emma Dabiri shows us how “black hairstyling culture can be understood as an allegory for black oppression and, ultimately, liberation”.

Bonnie and Stan by Anna Stuart (Trapeze, May 23, 2019)

This sounds like such a lovely, if bittersweet book – and great for anyone else out there who loved Now Let’s Dance by Karine Lambert. Bonnie and Stan tells the story of a marriage that began in the Swinging Sixties and is nearing its end as Stan knows his days are numbered. As a final act of love for his wife, he sets out to find her a new man so that she is not alone when he is gone. On the day when I’m writing this, this book has a Goodreads score of 4.29 – which is glowing praise.

 The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary (Flatiron Books, May 28, 2019)

This book is one of the buzziest of the year in the UK and sits firmly in the currently popular “up lit” genre – so if you need some feel good fiction in your life, you could do worse than picking up The Flatshare. Tiffy and Leon have never met, but the only way Tiffy can afford to live in London is by agreeing to an unusual arrangement: her apartment is shared by a guy who works nights and is only there when she isn’t. Complications ensue, and, I’m guessing, probably some romantic shenanigans too.