9 New Books To Read This October

Whether you’re still at home, or commuting again, you’ll want a good book to accompany you . Thankfully, October is serving up a huge selection of fiction and memoirs from a range of bestselling authors. Here are our picks of the month.


Ghosts by Dolly Alderton

Nina Dean has arrived at her early 30s as a successful food writer with loving friends and family, plus a new home and neighbourhood. When she meets Max, a romantic who tells her on date one that he's going to marry her, it feels like all is going to plan. A new relationship couldn't have come at a better time – her 30s have not been the liberating, uncomplicated experience she was sold. Everywhere she turns, she is reminded of time passing and opportunities dwindling. Friendships are fading, ex-boyfriends are moving on and, worse, everyone's moving to the suburbs. There's no solace to be found in her family, with a mum who's caught in a baffling mid-life makeover and a beloved dad who is suffering from dementia. Dolly Alderton’s debut novel is funny and tender, filled with the smart observations about relationships and family you’d expect from the bestselling author of Everything I Know About Love.

I loved it – Dolly Alderton has clearly mastered every form of writing. Which is a surprise to nobody.” – Candice Carty-Williams

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Earthlings by Sayaka Murata

From the author of the bestselling Convenience Store Woman comes Earthlings. Natsuki isn't like the other girls. Together with her cousin Yuu, she spends her summers in the wild Nagano mountains, hoping a spaceship will take her home. When a terrible sequence of events threatens to part the cousins for ever, they make a promise: survive, no matter what. Now, Natsuki is grown. She lives quietly in an asexual marriage, pretending to be normal and hiding the horrors of her childhood from her family and friends. But dark shadows from Natsuki's past are pursuing her. Fleeing the suburbs for the mountains of Nagano, Natsuki prepares herself for a reunion with Yuu. Will he still remember their promise? And will he help her keep it? A dark and magical reckoning with what it might take to survive a shattered life, Earthlings will leave you reeling.

Shocking, heartbreaking and very funny. In short, another cult classic from the author of Convenience Store Woman.” – The Bookseller

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Home Stretch by Graham Norton

It is 1987 and a small Irish community is preparing for a wedding. The day before the ceremony a group of young friends, including the bride and groom, drive out to the beach. There is an accident. Three survive, but three are killed. The lives of the families are shattered and the rifts between them are felt throughout the small town. Connor is one of the survivors. But staying among the angry and the mourning is almost as hard as living with the shame of having been the driver. He leaves the only place he knows for another life, taking his secrets with him. Travelling first to Liverpool, then London, he makes a home – of sorts – for himself in New York. The city provides shelter and possibility for the displaced, somewhere Connor can forget his past and forge a new life. But the secrets will not be silenced, and before long Connor will have to confront his past.

I loved Home Stretch... one of those books that stays with you so long after you've finished it.” – Nigella Lawson

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Failosophy by Elizabeth Day

In Failosophy Elizabeth Day brings together all the lessons she has learned, from conversations with the guests on her award-winning How to Fail podcast, from stories shared with her by readers and listeners, and from her own life, and distils them into seven principles of failure. Practical, reassuring and inspirational, these principles offer a guide through life’s rough patches – just what we need for 2020. From failed exams to romantic break-ups, from career setbacks to confidence crises, from navigating anxiety to surviving loss, Failosophy recognises and celebrates the fact that failure connects us all. With insights from Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Lemn Sissay, Frankie Bridge, Nigel Slater, Emeli Sande, Alain de Botton, Fearne Cotton, Dame Kelly Holmes, Andrew Scott and many more, Failosophy is the essential handbook for turning failure into success.

How To Fail has rapidly become my essential companion in this over-competitive, demanding world. By turns profound, witty, and extremely reassuring, Elizabeth Day's sublime deconstruction of the myth of 'success' – and the journey to find our own markers of contentment – is a life-changing gift to us all.” – Jessie Burton, author of The Muse

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The Haunting of Alma Fielding: A True Ghost Story by Kate Summerscale

London, 1938. Alma Fielding, an ordinary young woman, begins to experience supernatural events in her suburban home. Nandor Fodor – a Jewish-Hungarian refugee and chief ghost hunter for the International Institute for Psychical research – begins to investigate. In doing so he discovers a different and darker type of haunting: trauma, alienation, loss – and the foreshadowing of a nation's worst fears. As the spectre of fascism lengthens over Europe, and as Fodor's obsession with the case deepens, Alma becomes ever more disturbed. With daring and insight, the award-winning pioneer of historical narrative non-fiction Kate Summerscale follows Fodor's enquiry, delving into long-hidden archives to find the human story behind a very modern haunting.

“As gripping as a novel. An engaging, unsettling, deeply satisfying read.” – Sarah Waters

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Pandora's Jar: Women in the Greek Myths by Natalie Haynes

The Greek myths are among the world's most important cultural building blocks and they have been retold many times, but rarely do they focus on the remarkable women at the heart of these ancient stories. Stories of gods and monsters are the mainstay of epic poetry and Greek tragedy, from Homer to the Trojan War and Jason and the Argonauts. Today, a wealth of novels, plays and films still draw their inspiration from stories first told almost 3,000 years ago. Now, in Pandora’s Jar, Natalie Haynes – broadcaster, writer and passionate classicist – redresses this imbalance. Taking Pandora and her jar (the box came later) as the starting point, she puts the women of the Greek myths on equal footing with the menfolk. After millennia of stories telling of gods and men, the stories told in this collection are those of Hera, Athena and Artemis, and of Clytemnestra, Jocasta, Eurydice and Penelope.

Reading Pandora's Jar: Women in the Greek Myths by Natalie Haynes: Funny, sharp explications of what these sometimes not-very-nice women were up to, and how they sometimes made idiots of… but read on!” – Margaret Atwood

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Mantel Pieces: Royal Bodies and Other Writing from the London Review of Books by Hilary Mantel

This is the much-anticipated collection of essays and memoir from twice Booker Prize winner and international bestseller Hilary Mantel. In this collection of 20 reviews, essays and pieces of memoir her subjects range far and wide: Saudi Arabia where she lived for four years in the 1980s, the Bulger case, the Virgin Mary, pop icon Madonna, and Helen Duncan, Britain’s last witch. Plus, there are essays about Jane Boleyn, Christopher Marlowe and Margaret Pole, which show her insight into the Tudors – manifested in the bestselling Wolf Hall trilogy. Elsewhere, her famous lecture, ‘Royal Bodies’ – which caused a media frenzy – explores the place of royal women in society and our imagination. Illuminating and often very funny, Mantel Pieces is a must-read selection from one of the UK’s greatest living writers.

As a memoirist, Mantel is without parallel… It is only when her essays are laid out like this that we can see the inside of Mantel’s huge head, bulging with knowledge and a million connections.” –Telegraph

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Daddy by Emma Cline

The stories in Emma Cline's (The Girls) first collection consider the dark corners of human experience, exploring the fault lines of power between men and women, parents and children, past and present. A man travels to his son's school to deal with the fallout of a violent attack and to make sure his son will not lose his college place. But what exactly has his son done – and who is to blame? A young woman trying to make it in LA, working in a clothes shop while taking acting classes, turns to a riskier way of making money but will be forced to confront the danger of the game she's playing. And a family coming together for Christmas struggle to skate over the lingering darkness caused by the very ordinary brutality of a troubled husband and father. These outstanding stories examine masculinity, male power and broken relationships, while revealing those moments of misunderstanding that can have life-changing consequences. Subtle and sophisticated, these stories are unforgettable.

These stories live in the odd corners of the world, Cline's talent at uncovering the seedy and somehow bringing it to beautiful light is brilliant. These are understated gems.” – Daisy Johnson, author of Sisters

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