The Best Books To Read This Month

If you’re looking for something uplifting, comforting or immersive to keep you occupied at home, there’s bound to be a new book for you to enjoy this February. From smart psychological thrillers to provocative debuts, this month sees the publication of some of the most exciting novels of the year.
The Best Books To Read This Month

Under A Dark Angel's Eye: The Selected Stories of Patricia Highsmith edited by Carmen Maria Machado

Patricia Highsmith was one of the great 20th-century novelists, celebrated for classics like The Talented Mr Ripley, Carol and Strangers on a Train – all of which have been turned into amazing films – but she was also a masterful and prolific short-story writer. This definitive new collection, featuring two stories that have never been published before, confirms Highsmith as a genius of the genre. Peerlessly disturbing, exhilarating and savagely funny, Highsmith's stories still have the power to startle, presenting a world that is frighteningly familiar and as relevant today as when they were written. Ideal if you’re looking for a shorter read.

“The sheer macabre, amoral brilliance of Patricia Highsmith surely makes her one of the finest writers in the English language.” – Richard Osman, author of The Thursday Murder Club

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The Octopus Man by Jasper Gibson 

Once an outstanding law student, Tom is now lost in the machinery of the British mental health system, talking to a voice no one else can hear: the voice of Malamock, the ‘Octopus God’ – sometimes loving, sometimes cruel, but always there to guide him through life. After a colourful psychotic break, the pressure builds for Tom to take part in an experimental drugs trial that promises to silence the voice forever. But no one, least of all Tom, is prepared for what happens when the Octopus God is seriously threatened. Deeply moving and tragi-comic, The Octopus Man takes us into the complex world of voice-hearing in a grand literary performance that asks the fundamental questions about belief, meaning and love.

“Funny. Disturbing. Brilliant.” – Lily Allen, author of My Thoughts Exactly

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A Burning by Megha Majumdar 

In this National Book Award longlisted debut, Jivan is a Muslim girl from the slums, determined to move up in life, who is accused of executing a terrorist attack on a train because of a careless comment on Facebook. Personal trainer Sir is an opportunistic gym teacher who hitches his aspirations to a right-wing political party and finds that his own ascent becomes linked to Jivan's fall. Lovely – an outcast whose dreams of glory fill the novel with warmth and hope and humour – has the alibi that can set Jivan free, but it will cost her everything she holds dear. Taut and riveting from its opening lines, A Burning has the force of an epic while being so well compressed it can be read in a single sitting.

“Immersive...masterly... the elements of a thriller are transmuted into prismatic portraiture.” – James Wood, The New Yorker

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People Like Her by Ellery Lloyd 

People like Emmy Jackson. They always have. Especially online, where she is Instagram sensation Mamabare, famous for always telling the unvarnished truth about modern parenthood. But Emmy isn’t as honest as she’d like the fans to believe. She may think she has her followers fooled, but someone out there knows the truth and plans to make her pay. Because people like her have no idea what pain careless words can cause. Because people like her need to learn what it feels like to lose everything. A smart and thrilling debut that delves into the darkest aspects of influencer culture, Ellery Lloyd’s People Like Her is about what you risk losing when you don’t know who’s watching.

“Breathlessly fast, brilliantly original.” – Clare Mackintosh, author of I See You

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Last One at the Party by Bethany Clift 

It's December 2023 and the world as we know it has ended. The human race has been wiped out by a virus called 6DM ('Six Days Maximum', the longest you've got before your body destroys itself). But somehow, in London, one woman is still alive. A woman who has spent her whole life compromising what she wants, hiding how she feels and desperately trying to fit in. A woman who is entirely unprepared to face a future on her own. Now, with only an abandoned golden retriever for company, she must travel through burning cities, avoiding corpses and rats on a final journey to discover if she really is the last surviving person on earth. And with no one else to live for, who will she become now that she's completely alone?

“Brilliant. Creepy, witty, laugh-out-loud and shudder-inducing.” – Harriet Walker, author of The New Girl

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Insatiable by Daisy Buchanan 

Stuck in a dead-end job, broken-hearted, broke and estranged from her best friend, Violet's life is nothing like she thought it would be. She wants more – better friends, better sex, a better job – and she wants it now. So, when Lottie – who looks like the woman Violet wants to be when she grows up – offers Violet the chance to join her exciting start-up, she bites. Only it soon becomes clear that Lottie and her husband Simon are not only inviting Violet into their company, they are also inviting her into their lives. Seduced by their townhouse, their expensive candles and their Friday-night sex parties, Violet cannot tear herself away from Lottie, Simon or their friends. But is this really the ‘more’ Violet yearns for?

“Extremely funny, touching and wonderfully refreshing on women and sexual desire.” – Marian Keyes, author of Grown Ups

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No One Is Talking About This by Patricia Lockwood

This is poet – and author of acclaimed memoir Priestdaddy – Patricia Lockwood’s first novel. A woman known for her viral social media posts travels the world speaking to her adoring fans, her entire existence overwhelmed by the internet – or what she terms 'the portal'. Suddenly, two texts from her mother pierce the fray: “Something has gone wrong,” and “How soon can you get here?” As real life and its stakes collide with the increasing absurdity of the portal, the woman confronts a world that seems to contain both an abundance of proof that there is goodness, empathy and justice in the universe, and a deluge of evidence to the contrary. Irreverent and sincere, poignant and delightfully profane, No One Is Talking About This is at once a love letter to the infinite scroll and a meditation on love, language and human connection.

“I really admire and love this book. Patricia Lockwood is a completely singular talent, and this is her best, funniest, weirdest, most affecting work yet.” – Sally Rooney, author of Normal People

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