The Thousand Autumns of Jacob De Zoet
By David Mitchell
David Mitchell has had an astonishingly successful decade, most notably with the Man Booker-shortlisted Cloud Atlas. Now he has won rave reviews with this, his latest novel. Set on a small island off Japan at a turning point in history, it provides both a personal and an epic perspective of the encounter between East and West.
Alex's Adventures in Numberland
By Alex Bellos
If you have ever had a mental block when it comes to maths, this may be the book for you. It is an entertaining and accessible account of how maths underpins our lives, and covers everything from the Rubik's cube to the probability of winning on slot machines. Maths will never appear so forbidding again.
Wild Romance: The True Story of a Victorian Scandal
By Chloe Schama
A 19-year-old girl flirts with a soldier on a boat bound for England. Their shipboard romance turns into a love affair that sees them secretly marry, but circumstance keeps them apart and the new husband marries another woman. Theresa Longworth's attempt to prove her marriage was valid captivated and scandalised Victorian society, and her battle to lead an independent life blazed a trail for her 20th-century successors. A vivid and dramatic book that brings a long-forgotten tale back to life.