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Inventing the universe, an oriental makeover and Tube trivia—May’s books offer a chance to come up for air and get away from it all

By Kathryn Hughes   May 2012

May is an in-between month. Summer isn’t here yet and could easily be postponed. But there’s a promise in the air that makes you start thinking about something other than just getting by. The books published this month reflect this transitional moment—with entertaining non-fiction books sitting alongside ambitious speculative fiction.

First, the non-fiction. Andrew Martin’s Underground, Overground (Profile) is a deeply pleasurable history of the London Tube.  Martin has all the history at his fingertips—from the internecine squabbles of the early railway companies to the new developments in place for the Olympics. But where Martin’s account really excels is in…

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