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Every two weeks our editorial team sends across a short selection of their favourite books and shelves – some eclectic suggestions to whet your literary appetite.

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Worldly Goods & Evils

 
Worldly Goods & Evils
 
With so much happening in the world, it’s easy to dismiss certain countries as ‘troubled’ or ‘warmongering’ or simply ‘confused’. But there’s always a reason why things happen the way they do. This month we take a look at some books that delve into the histories and cultures of the nations behind the headlines, to better understand what’s happening on the international stage.
 
Spain: Heating Up
 
 
 
 
So Catalonia has voted overwhelmingly in favour of independence from Spain. This is no reactionary vote, it’s the result of a deep-rooted political battle that’s been going on for centuries — as this book by renowned and respected historian, Simon Harris, explains.
 
USA: Resting Uncomfortably
 
 
The Antelope Wife
Louise Erdrich
 
The Antelope Wife
 
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A tale of modernity confronting its past, and the consequences of a young woman’s kidnapping. Shrouded in Native American folklore and liberally peppered with moments of magical realism — including an entire section narrated by a dog — this understated work of fiction uncovers some unsettling truths for the characters concerned.
 
UK: Splitsville Revisited
 
 
 
 
One of last year’s political hot potatoes gets a fictional makeover in this tale of political intrigue and underhanded shenanigans. In this book, Brexit is still happening; masterminded by a power hungry American emigre with designs on Downing Street. But who’s really pulling the strings? An interesting and very plausible take on how things probably happen behind the scenes.
 
North Korea: Malignant or Misunderstood?
 
The Hermit Kingdom
 
 
 
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The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. Domain of the Kim dynasty and the most isolated nation on Earth. As the country’s government and media have little intention of co-operating with the rest of the world, all we have to go on are the tales of those who’ve experienced life there. And there are a great many stories to tell, as this bookshelf demonstrates.