In 1972, a couple of young enthusiastic Americans came to Amsterdam, the city where anybody, anything and everything goes, and decided to open a store with American erotic magazines and book remainders bought for 10 cents a pound dry weight. Today the American Book Center has grown into one of the biggest, maybe even the biggest source of American (and British) English-language books and magazines on continental Europe.
For general information about the store and their stock, visit www.abc.nl.
The Children Act by Ian McEwan
At work, Fiona Maye is a leading family court judge, known for being sensitive, wise and impartial. At home she is in crisis; her husband says that he still loves her, but he wants to have an affair. Shaken by this revelation, when she is asked to rule on the urgent case of a 17-year-old boy refusing treatment for leukaemia on the grounds of his faith, Fiona takes the unusual step of visiting in him hospital to determine whether he has been unduly influenced by his parents’ wishes. This decision and her resulting judgement have huge consequences for them both. With spare but exacting prose McEwan explores the contrasts between religion and science, head and heart in a story that packs an emotional punch.
Life or Death by Michael Robotham
Audie Palmer has spent a decade in prison for an armed robbery that left four people dead and seven million dollars missing. He has fought for his life daily as inmates, guards, and prison gangs tried to get him to reveal the whereabouts of the loot. Audie knows he is not going to make it to freedom alive, so the day before he is due to be released, he escapes. With the police, the FBI, and an ex-jail mate on his tail, it’s obvious that there’s more to the robbery than anyone thought. Intelligent, funny, sad and meticulously written with a taut and compelling plot, this is one of the best thrillers of the year.
The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell
Mitchell has refined the kaleidoscopic, multi-voiced technique he used in his bestseller Cloud Atlas to create something even more inventive and exquisitely crafted. Again we have six interconnected novels, now linked by Holly, a teenage runaway who meets a mysterious woman begging a favour that will have lasting consequences. From 1984 to 2043, we hurtle through an epic, many-genred story with huge themes like mortality and the environment, but also small and personal ones like love and the simple business of living. With nods to long-time fans, and plenty to please those new to his work, Mitchell’s latest shows why he is one of our greatest living novelists.
Us by David Nicholls
After three decades of married, suburban life, Douglas Petersen’s wife Connie wants a divorce. Mild-mannered Douglas hopes that a perfect month-long family holiday touring the romantic capitals of Europe will rekindle Connie’s love and bring him closer to their moody son Albie. The trip is planned with such careful precision – how can it go wrong? Nicholls stories achingly mirror what it is to be human, written with such wit and tenderness that we end up loving his characters as if they were our best friends. In this affecting, affectionate and wry novel, Nicholls considers what really happens after the Happy Ever After.
The Slow Regard of Silent Things by Patrick Rothfuss
Rothfuss takes a break from The Kingkiller Chronicles to deliver a companion novella featuring a favourite character. Deep below the University, there is a dark maze of ancient passageways and abandoned rooms that few people know of. Former student Auri lives there, tending the world around her. Auri sees beyond the surface of things, into subtle dangers and hidden names. She feels her powers and learns to see the truths that science and her former classmates have overlooked. A small, sweet, strange and atmospheric tale of a broken girl trying to live in a broken world.
Edge of Eternity by Ken Follett
The conclusion to The Century Trilogy, an epic series that follows five connected families through the social, political, and economic turmoil of the 20th century. Now we experience the American Civil Rights movement, the Cuban Missile Crisis the Kennedy and King assassinations, the Vietnam War, Nixon’s resignation and the fall of Communism via Follett’s skilfully drawn fictional characters, as their lives intertwine with those of real historical figures. As always his research is impeccable, the pace swift, and the plot full of enough emotion, intrigue and drama to make the thousand plus pages fly by.
This Changes Everything by Naomi Klein
No Logo changed how we see globalization. The Shock Doctrine changed the way we think about austerity. This Changes Everything upends what we think we know about the problem of climate change. Klein shows how the free market exacerbates global warming with damaging extraction methods and disaster capitalism, and how reducing greenhouse emissions can reduce inequalities, rebuild broken democracies and revitalise local economies. The climate crisis, says Klein, is a gift – a catalyst to spur us to transform our failed economic system into something radically better.
Erwin Olaf: Volume II by Erwin Olaf
Erwin Olaf is a Dutch photographer known for his stylised and atmospheric work. This collection of seductive and highly polished images expands on the previous volume, featuring work made away from his Amsterdam studio and includes stills from his sculptural video installation, Keyholes. Using his camera to tell stories, his images are evocative and ambiguous, addressing social issues and taboos in such a way that we are compelled to revisit them over and over.
The Shifts and the Shocks by Martin Wolf
Paying particular attention to the crisis in Europe, Wolf demonstrates that the fragility of our financial system was caused by excessive debt creation and imbalances in economic and political structures. The Eurozone has not eliminated these weaknesses; without radical reform, further disaster is certain. His solutions to these problems are set out here with calm authority and backed up with rigorous facts and analysis showing how we can learn from the lessons of the last decade to build a more stable future.
Not That Kind of Girl by Lena Dunham
Writer, director and actress Lena Dunham brings the originality and candour of her hit show Girls to the page in this intimate collection of personal essays. There are tales of wonderful nights with terrible boys and terrible days with wonderful friends, about fears and foibles, and about being a young woman creating success in the milieu of middle-aged men. With joyful awareness of the world, of herself and of being human, Dunham brings her powers of observation, wisdom and humour to a book that will appeal to fans of Sedaris and Ephron.
Hope in a Ballet Shoe by Michaela DePrince
Aged just three, Michaela loses both parents in the civil war in Sierra Leone. She is sent to an orphanage where, marked as a devil’s child by her skin condition, she is the least loved and last fed of all the orphans there. One day a magazine blows through the orphanage gates revealing an image of a beautiful ballerina, inspiring in Michaela a dream of dancing to happiness. Adopted by an American couple, she adapts joyfully to the luxuries of her new home and shows prodigious talent in the dancing lessons she has at last. But her struggle is not yet over. The world is not ready for a black ballerina. Now 19, Michaela DePrince is a member of the junior company of the junior company of the Dutch National Ballet. In this moving, life-affirming autobiography, she tells the amazing story of how she got there.
Plenty More by Yotam Ottolenghi
With an emphasis on flavour, original spicing and fresh ingredients, Ottolenghi’s Plenty changed the way millions of people – not just vegetarians – cook and eat vegetables. His new book contains an abundance of wonderful recipes, organised by cooking method, presented with colour and flair. From inventive salads to hearty mains to delicious desserts, this is a stunning collection that brings the colours and flavours of vegetables from the side plate into the spotlight.