09 August 2023

5 new books to read this week

09 August 2023

Our top book of the week pushes the boundaries of storytelling…


1. Open Throat by Henry Hoke is published in hardback by Picador, priced £14.99 (ebook £8.49). Available now

In the movies, lions are typically rapacious, merciless predators who exist only to kill and feed, devouring any humans unlucky enough to cross their path. But is there not surely a fearful and emotional side to any creature on the edge of society, forced to understand the world only through observations made from the shadows? Henry Hoke puts himself in the mind of a mountain lion living underneath the Hollywood sign, whose English is informed by overheard snippets of conversation from LA hipster hikers, who mither about therapy, helicopters and hook-ups, not knowing such danger lurks nearby. This lion just wants a safe home and looks for it in a homeless ‘tent city’, and in the basement of a celebrity comedian, with diverse and inevitably violent results. Witty, emotional and gripping, Open Throat is a short but savage thrill ride.9/10(Review by James Cann)

2. Fair Rosaline by Natasha Solomons is published in hardback by Manilla Press, priced £14.99 (ebook £11.99). Available now

Another retelling of Romeo and Juliet? Fear not, for lovers of Shakespeare’s most readily adapted tragedy will not be disappointed by Solomons’ subversive counter-narrative. Spanning a time both before and after the star-crossed lovers’ final descent in the crypt, Fair Rosaline reimagines both Romeo and Juliet’s characters, their motivations, and their destinies to paint a vivid, turbulent, and compelling new narrative fit for both fans and sceptics of the classic tale. Through the eyes of Shakespeare’s neglected Rosaline, cousin to Juliet and former lover to Romeo, readers are invited to contend with an even darker truth surrounding the couple’s fate. Transforming lust into subterfuge and tainting romance with a bitter-sweet morbidity, Fair Rosaline leaves not a stone unturned in its captive untelling. Prepare to see Romeo as you’ve never seen him before.9/10(Review by Scarlett Sangster)

3. Tom Lake by Ann Patchett is published in hardback by Bloomsbury Publishing, priced £18.99 (ebook £13.29). Available now

Tom Lake is a love story; a love story told by Lara to her three daughters whilst picking cherries in the family orchard. Written with Patchett’s characteristic observational skill, it is a tale of the past interacting with the present, and Lara’s formative experiences are woven into her current life with her husband and daughters, with the skill of a master craftsman. Patchett has an inimitable ability to cut straight to the heart of human emotion and to capture moments of truth, which lesser writers would struggle to depict without the use of cliché or clumsy sentiment. Hauntingly poignant, deft and explorative, the tale of Lara and her former relationship with the actor Peter Duke is testament to the force of first love and how the choices that are made at every turn of the path continue to change us into the future.9/10(Review by Hannah Colby)


4. The Knowledge by Dr Nighat Arif is published in hardback by Aster, priced £22 (ebook £9.99). Available now

There’s been a recent and hugely overdue influx of books about women’s health, arguably starting with Davina McCall’s co-written book Menopausing last year. The Knowledge is the latest addition, and is a brilliant place to start if you want to know more about female health, spanning from puberty through to your fertile years and into midlife. As a GP, Arif knows her stuff – and is able to communicate everything in an engaging, no-nonsense and understandable way. Cartoons, diagrams and top tips bring this book to life – which comprehensively covers a vast range of issues you likely didn’t learn anywhere near enough about at school. It’ll go a long way to demistifying and destigmatising these issues, and Arif is thorough in making sure no one is left behind – making sure anything specific to LGBTQ+ people and ethnic minorities are covered too.8/10(Review by Prudence Wade)

Children’s book of the week

5. The Princess And The (Greedy) Pea by Leigh Hodgkinson is published in hardback by Walker Books, priced £12.99 (no ebook). Available now

The Princess And The (Greedy) Pea is a book reminiscent of the children’s classic The Very Hungry Caterpillar. It follows a pea who is ravenous – and then proceeds to eat everything from soup and bread to sprouts, cheese, pie and cake. All is going well for the pea, until it gets sleepy and goes to bed – unknowingly disrupting a very grumpy princess. Leigh Hodgkinson – who is best known for doing the animation for TV show Charlie And Lola – has written a particularly whimsical book, turning the classic fairy tale on its head. This book will delight younger readers at bedtime – the words are lyrically rhyming and the illustrations captivating, but there’s not enough of a plot to keep older children entertained.6/10(Review by Prudence Wade)


HARDBACK (FICTION)1. Fourth Wing by Rebecca Yarros2. None Of This Is True by Lisa Jewell3. Yellowface by Rebecca F Kuang4. Kill For Me Kill For You by Steve Cavanagh5. Tom Lake by Ann Patchett6. Immortal Longings by Chloe Gong7. Ink Blood Sister Scribe by Emma Törzs8. A Death In The Parish by Reverend Richard Coles9. The List by Yomi Adegoke10. Just Another Missing Person by Gillian McAllister(Compiled by Waterstones)

HARDBACK (NON-FICTION)1. Freddie Mercury: A World Of His Own2. Jane’s Patisserie Everyday by Jane Dunn3. Abroad In Japan by Chris Broad4. Ultra-Processed People by Chris van Tulleken5. Pax by Tom Holland6. What About Men? by Caitlin Moran7. Yiayia by Anastasia Miari8. Beyond The Story: 10-Year Record Of BTS by BTS & Myeongseok Kang9. Earth by Chris Packham & Andrew Cohen10. But What Can I Do? by Alastair Campbell(Compiled by Waterstones)

AUDIOBOOKS (FICTION AND NON-FICTION)1. None Of This Is True by Lisa Jewell2. Rememberings by Sinéad O’Connor3. Atomic Habits by James Clear4. Ultra-Processed People by Chris van Tulleken5. Mythos by Stephen Fry6. The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman7. The Trial by Rob Rinder8. Sherlock Holmes: The Definitive Collection by Stephen Fry – introductions, Arthur Conan Doyle9. The Fellowship Of The Ring by J. R. R. Tolkien10. Lessons In Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus(Compiled by Audible)

The best videos delivered daily

Watch the stories that matter, right from your inbox