New Books: November | sheerluxe.com
The uncertain political landscape and #MeToo movement have shaped many books released this year, but this month’s batch of new reads really gravitate towards these themes. From Michelle Obama’s long-awaited autobiography through to a collection of poems from Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy, here are 11 must-reads to put on your Christmas list…
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Becoming by Michelle Obama

The most anticipated book of the year finally landed this month – and Michelle Obama’s new autobiography does not hold back. From her relationship with Donald Trump to her struggles to conceive naturally, no topic is off the table, but rather than being tacky, it makes for a truly inspirational read. In her memoir, Michelle invites readers into her world, chronicling the experiences that have shaped her – from her childhood on the South Side of Chicago and her years as an executive balancing the demands of motherhood and work to her time spent at the world's most famous address. With unerring honesty and lively wit, she describes her triumphs and her disappointments, both public and private, telling her full story as she has lived it – in her own words and on her own terms.

Dramatic Exchanges: The Lives and Letters of the National Theatre by Daniel Rosenthal

There has been always as much drama offstage as on at the National Theatre, and much of it is to be found in the letters, telegrams, scribbled notes and colourful postcards of its main players. This book brings together for the first time 800 of the most inspiring, dramatic and amusing letters from the life of Britain's most beloved theatre: from Laurence Olivier's gracious rejection letters to Peter Hall's combative memos; from Helen Mirren's impassioned defence of theatrical innovation to a Tory politician's brutal telegram damning a play; from fantastical good luck missives to long conspiratorial letters. Together, they reveal the stories behind some of the most lavish, triumphant, daring and disastrous productions in the theatre's history, including Amadeus, Laurence Olivier's famous Othello, The History Boys and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.

Hazards of Time Travel by Joyce Carol Oates

Hazards of Time Travel is an ingenious dystopian novel of one young woman’s resistance against the constraints of an oppressive society. When a recklessly idealistic girl in a dystopian future society dares to test the perimeters of her tightly controlled world, she is punished by being sent back in time to a region of North America – ‘Wainscotia, Wisconsin’ – that existed 80 years before. Cast adrift in time in this idyllic Midwestern town, she is set upon a course of ‘rehabilitation’ – but she falls in love with a fellow exile and starts to question the constraints of her new existence, with results that are both devastating and liberating. Arresting and visionary, Hazards of Time Travel is a love story, a novel of harrowing discovery – and an oblique but powerful response to our current political climate.

In Extremis: The Life Of A War Correspondent by Lindsey Hilsum

Marie Colvin was glamorous, hard-drinking and braver than the boys, with a troubled and rackety personal life. She reported from the most dangerous places in the world, going in further and staying longer than anyone else. Like her hero, the legendary reporter Martha Gellhorn, she sought to bear witness to the horrifying truths of war, to write ‘the first draft of history’ and to shine a light on the suffering of ordinary people. Marie covered the major conflicts of our time: Israel and Palestine, Chechnya, East Timor, Sri Lanka – where she was hit by a grenade and lost sight in her left eye, resulting in her trademark eye-patch – Iraq and Afghanistan. She was much admired, and as famous for her wild parties as she was for the extraordinary lengths to which she went to tell the story, including being smuggled into Syria where she was killed in 2012. Written by fellow foreign correspondent Lindsey Hilsum, this is the story of the most daring war reporter of her time.

Lake Success by Gary Shteyngart

Barry Cohen, master of the universe, has just had a very public meltdown involving a dinner party, an insider trading investigation and a $30,000 bottle of Japanese whisky. So he flees New York City, leaving behind his beautiful young wife and son, but remembering to bring his six favourite designer watches. Zig-zagging south through Trump's America on a Greyhound Bus pilgrimage he is singularly unprepared for, Barry heads to Texas – to find his old college girlfriend and, with her, a shot at a second chance. Lake Success marries the trademark Shteyngart wit with an astonishing emotional resonance, capturing the vivid eccentricity and contradictions of America right now while speaking to the universal human experience of love, belonging and the pursuit of happiness.

Middle England by Jonathan Coe

Beginning eight years ago on the outskirts of Birmingham, where car factories have been replaced by Poundland and London, where frenzied riots give way to Olympic fever, Middle England follows a brilliantly vivid cast of characters through a time of immense change. There are newlyweds Ian and Sophie, who disagree about the future of the country and, possibly, the future of their relationship; Doug, the political commentator who writes impassioned columns about austerity from his Chelsea townhouse, and his radical teenage daughter who will stop at nothing in her quest for social justice; Benjamin Trotter, who embarks on an apparently doomed new career in middle-age, and his father Colin, whose last wish is to vote in the European referendum. And within all these lives is the story of modern England: a story of nostalgia and delusion; of bewilderment and barely-suppressed rage. Following in the footsteps of The Rotters' Club and The Closed Circle, Jonathan Coe's new novel is the novel for our strange new times.

Roar by Cecelia Ahern

Have you ever imagined a different life? Have you ever stood at a crossroads, undecided? Have you ever had a moment when you wanted to roar? From much-loved, international bestseller Cecelia Ahern comes stories for all of us: the women who befriend us, the women who encourage us, the women who make us brave. From The Woman Who Slowly Disappeared to The Woman Who Returned and Exchanged her Husband, Roar encompasses 30 touching – and often hilarious – stories and meet 30 very different women. Each discovers her strength; each realises she holds the power to make a change. Witty, tender, surprising, these keenly observed tales speak to us all and capture the moment when we all want to roar.

Sincerity by Carol Ann Duffy

The directness, drama and humanity of Carol Ann Duffy’s verse have made her one of the UK’s best-loved contemporary poets. Sincerity is Duffy’s final collection of poems as Poet Laureate, and the much-anticipated successor to the Costa Award-winning The Bees. Time and its passage are at the heart of this reflective work. As Duffy dramatises scenes from childhood, adolescence and adulthood, she finds moments of grace or consolation in memory, love and language amid the complexities of life. This collection finds a poet at the height of her powers using her full poetic range, casting her eye both inwards, in poems of a deeply personal nature, and yet also outwards, taking stock of a world in turmoil. In some of her most radical work yet, we see Duffy satirise and unpick the deception and dishonesty at the heart of our current political situation.

Those Who Knew by Idra Novey

From the award-winning author of Ways to Disappear, this taut, timely novel centres on what a powerful politician thinks he can get away with and the group of misfits who finally bring him down. On an unnamed island country ten years after the collapse of a US-supported regime, Lena suspects the powerful senator she was involved with back in her student activist days is taking advantage of a young woman who's been introducing him at rallies. When the young woman ends up dead, Lena revisits her own fraught history with the senator and the violent incident that ended their relationship. Why didn't Lena speak up then, and will her family's support of the former regime still impact her credibility? What if her hunch about this young woman's death is wrong? What follows is a riveting exploration of the cost of staying silent and the mixed rewards of speaking up in a profoundly divided country.

Wasted Calories And Ruined Nights by Jay Rayner

The third book from much-loved – and feared – food critic Jay Rayner, Wasted Calories and Ruined Nights focuses on exactly what people want: his no-holds-barred takes on his very worst dining experiences. Within, readers can revel in Jay's misfortune as he is subjected to dreadful meat cookery with animals that died in vain, gravies full of casual violence and service that redefines the word 'incompetent'. We’re certain you’ll enjoy reading his exquisitely written takedowns of these 20 miserable meals a damn sight more than he did experiencing them.

How To Own The Room by Viv Groskop

Most books about public speaking don’t tell you what to do when you open your mouth and nothing comes out. And they don’t tell you how to get over the anxiety about performance that most people naturally have. They don’t tell you what to do in the moments when you are made, as a woman, to feel small. They don’t tell you how to own the room. This book does. From the way Michelle Obama projects ‘happy high status’, and the power of J.K Rowling’s understated speaking style, to Virginia Woolf’s leisurely pacing and Oprah Winfrey’s mastery of inner conviction, what is it that our heroines do to make us sit up and listen – really listen – to their every word? And how can you achieve that impact in your own life? Viv Groskop shows how.
 

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