30 August 2023

5 new books to read this week

30 August 2023

Fans of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo will want to check out the latest addition to the saga…


1. The Wren, The Wren by Anne Enright is published in hardback by Jonathan Cape, priced £18.99 (ebook £9.99). Available August 31

Booker-prize-winning author Anne Enright returns with her latest tome, a rich, lyrical analysis of mother-daughter relationships. The Dublin-born writer is at her best when picking apart those familial connections that bind – and often separate us – and The Wren, The Wren builds on that tradition. Following Nell, a recent university graduate trying to find her place in the world while her independence pulls at mother Carmel’s heart. Both women grapple with the shadow cast over them by the memory of Carmel’s father, a famed Irish poet whose words pepper the novel. Captivating and thought-provoking, The Wren, The Wren is a slow-burning commentary on ancestry, love and longing, which leaves enough unsaid to truly captivate its reader.9/10(Review by Holly Cowell)

2. The Girl In The Eagle’s Talons by Karin Smirnoff, translated by Sarah Death, is published in hardback by MacLehose Press, priced £22 (ebook £11.99). Available now

Lisbeth Salander is alive and well, and embroiled in another thrilling adventure laced with danger, violence and enemies old and new. The new book in The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo series sees Salander reluctantly having to look after her niece Svala, whose mother has disappeared. The small town of Gasskas in northern Sweden is the setting for a series of shocks, as Lisbeth and her equally gifted niece are drawn into a web of corruption, conspiracy and cover-ups. Investigative journalist Mikael Blomkvist, struggling to cope with the demise of his Millennium magazine, enters the drama amid disturbing rumours about the man his daughter is about to marry – also in Sweden’s far north. Former journalist Smirnoff has thrown in issues such as climate change and environmental exploitation, to continue the hugely successful series first started by the late Stieg Larsson. Fans of the heroic hacker Salander and ageing hack Blomkvist will not be disappointed.8/10(Review by Alan Jones)

3. A Bird In Winter by Louise Doughty is published in hardback by Faber & Faber, priced £16.99 (ebook £9.99). Available now

Heather – AKA Bird, although no one ever calls her that – is on the run, zigzagging her way north with the secret service and possible assassins on her trail. As her journey progresses through a series of brilliantly described landscapes, we gradually discover the reasons for her flight, as well as getting a picture of the life she’s running from. The problem is, it’s not much of a life. Doughty has created a central character who has spent her entire existence avoiding any meaningful human connection, with the sole exception of an intense and rather unconvincing friendship many years previously. Although the writer is supremely skilled in building up tension, it becomes increasingly difficult to care about Bird. And while the deadpan narration cleverly reflects the character’s arid inner life, it makes getting to the end of her flight a bit of a slog.7/10(Review by Jackie Kingsley)


4. Losing Young: How To Grieve When Your Life Is Just Beginning by Rachel Wilson is published in hardback by William Collins, priced £16.99 (ebook £8.99). Available now

Rachel Wilson was 26 when her mother died – older than a child, but still not feeling like a full-grown adult. She found a curious lack of support for people in this in-between stage of life so she set up her own, called The Grief Network. Losing Young is a culmination of her personal experiences, stories from people she’s met through The Grief Network, and expert-led commentary around key topics. It’s well-researched and engagingly written, covering everything from sex after grief, how mourning is approached differently throughout the world and returning to work after loss. A must-read for anyone wanting to understand their own grief better, feel less alone – or even learn more about this important part of life more generally.8/10(Review by Prudence Wade)

Children’s book of the week

5. The Best Sleepover In The World by Jacqueline Wilson, illustrated by Rachael Dean, is published in hardback by Puffin, priced £14.99 (ebook £8.99). Available now

This book is an absolute delight to read and will enthral any child. It follows the genuine love of two sisters Daisy and Lily, plus their lovely family. The sisters are extremely close and have a fantastic relationship – Lily is non-verbal, and teaches Daisy how to use Makaton, a special form of language using speech, signs and symbols. The book teaches inclusion and helps the reader be aware of disabilities in various forms. Daisy must overcome complications of school friendships, highlighting the highs and lows of emotions when tackling common situations at that age. However, as a family they pull together and have the best sleepover. The book has an eye-catching cover – it’s just a shame the colour illustrations are only on the cover and not carried throughout the book.8/10(Review by Joanne Brennan)


HARDBACK (FICTION)1. The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon2. Fourth Wing by Rebecca Yarros3. Masters Of Death by Olivie Blake4. Yellowface by Rebecca F Kuang5. Normal Rules Don’t Apply by Kate Atkinson6. He Who Drowned The World by Shelley Parker-Chan7. In Memoriam by Alice Winn8. What You Are Looking For Is In The Library by Michiko Aoyama9. Tom Lake by Ann Patchett10. The List by Yomi Adegoke(Compiled by Waterstones)

HARDBACK (NON-FICTION)1. Abroad In Japan by Chris Broad2. BOSH! Meat by Henry Firth & Ian Theasby3. Code Of Conduct by Chris Bryant4. O Brother by John Niven5. Ultra-Processed People by Chris van Tulleken6. Jane’s Patisserie Everyday by Jane Dunn7. Freddie Mercury: A World Of His Own8. The Wager by David Grann9. Wifedom by Anna Funder10. Pax by Tom Holland(Compiled by Waterstones)

AUDIOBOOKS (FICTION AND NON-FICTION)1. None Of This Is True by Lisa Jewell2. Atomic Habits by James Clear3. Mythos by Stephen Fry4. Ultra-Processed People by Chris van Tulleken5. The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman6. Why Has Nobody Told Me This Before? by Julie Smith7. More Confessions Of A Forty-Something F**k Up by Alexandra Potter8. The Last Devil To Die by Richard Osman8. Sherlock Holmes: The Definitive Collection by Stephen Fry – introductions, Arthur Conan Doyle10. Just Between Us by Adele Parks(Compiled by Audible)

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