Bookshelf: How we’ll love in the future - and three other reads

Digital vs Human: How We'll Live, Love, And Think In The future by Richard Watson
Digital vs Human: How We'll Live, Love, And Think In The future by Richard Watson
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Digital vs Human: How We’ll Live, Love, And Think In The future by Richard Watson. Scribe, priced £14.99 (ebook £6.71). Review by Gill Oliver

It’s fitting that futurist Richard Watson kicks off with a quote from former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson, as he certainly comes out fighting. An expert in predicting global trends, here, he warns most of us live in a digital bubble. Four-year-olds have therapy for smartphone addiction and coffee shops are full of people physically there, yet mentally elsewhere. In financial markets, the digital revolution is turning the economy into “a winner-takes-all online casino”. Love and compassion can’t be programmed into a machine, so what becomes of these most basic human needs? He poses the question: It might be progress, but progress towards what?

Not Working by Lisa Owens. Picador, £12.99 (ebook £6.02). Review by Grace Hammond

In Lisa Owens’ debut novel Not Working, we enter the world of Claire Flannery. Claire is a dreamer. She has plans to read Ulysses and Moby Dick. Claire dreams of all the things she would do if she had all the time in the world. Then Claire quits her job. Instead of finding a life-defining career, her life starts to take a downward spiral, as she picks spats with all those close to her, especially boyfriend Luke. While Owens manages to capture the malaise of the millennial generation, and ponders who are we without a job title to define us in society, the story flits from idea to opportunity to disappointment and back again, never really reaching a conclusion.

Hitman Anders And The Meaning Of It All by Jonas Jonasson. Fourth Estate, £8.99 (ebook £4.99). Review by Jade Craddock

Yet another madcap tale from one of Sweden’s most popular literary exports, Jonas Jonasson, the author of The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of The Window And Disappeared. Per Persson has a relatively uneventful life as receptionist at the Sea Point Hotel and he plans to keep it that way when the notorious Hitman Anders takes board at his hotel. However, lapsed priest Johanna Kjellander has other ideas, spotting a gap in the market for hitman services for hire. It all goes swimmingly until Hitman Anders turns his back on violence. Although irreverent and fun, unfortunately the plot does become a bit long-winded.

When She Was Bad by Tammy Cohen. Black Swan, £6.99 (Ebook £4.99). Review by Rachael Dunn

How well do you know your colleagues? You may have forged good friendships in the workplace, but this psychological thriller from Tammy Cohen will have you questioning everyone you know. When She Was Bad takes place in the UK and America. It is told from the perspectives of the main characters and initially it’s hard to tell how the two storylines will come together. The UK side focuses on life in a recruitment agency, while the American side describes an investigation into a “House of Horror”. Tammy Cohen will keep you guessing right to the end, and just when you think you’ve worked out what is going on, you’ll change your mind again.