Casebook by Mona Simpson (Corsair, £8.99)
This is an appealingly told tale of parental disharmony and divorce from the point of view of a young boy, Miles. He and his friends all find the world of adults mystifying and the snatches of it that they get from eavesdropping don't help matters. Simpson shows a fine appreciation of a child's sensibility and perspective.
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Klaus by Allan Massie (Vagabond Voices, £8.95)
Massie's Klaus Mann, son of the more famous Thomas and unable to escape his father's or his fatherland's legacy, lives a life punctuated by questions. This can prove distracting, especially in a novel whose prose is as spare and precise as this one. But Massie captures those last days of a failed artist superbly well.
Legends Of The Fire Spirits by Robert Lebling (IB Tauris, £12.99)
Lebling's history of the 'jinn', which we understand erroneously in the West as 'genie' and depict usually as huge and laughing, is fascinating and beautifully written. He explores the jinn's first mention in the Koran, their place in Northern African poetry, and their links to the human world, where they are most often found in rambling old houses.
Sea Legs: One Family's Adventure On The Ocean by Guy Grieve (Bloomsbury, £9.99)
Not many of us would risk sailing our family from Venezuela to Scotland with a rudimentary knowledge of life at sea and on a boat we could only afford thanks to easy credit. Grieve's frustration, though, with the every-day banality of life, is understandable, even if close runs with tiger sharks aren't exactly what we picture in paradise.