8 Great Books To Add To Your Reading List

If you’re after a new read, we’ve rounded up the best books out there – from highly anticipated debuts to non-fiction page-turners…
By Heather Steele

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The Seven Moons Of Maali Almeida by Shehan Kaurantilaka

Now’s your chance to read this year’s winner of the Booker Prize. A searing satire set amid the murderous mayhem of Sri Lanka as it’s beset by civil war in 1990, the story follows Maali Almeida, a war photographer, gambler and closet gay, who has woken up dead in what seems like a celestial visa office. His dismembered body is sinking in the serene Beira lake and he has no idea who killed him. At a time when scores are settled by death squads, suicide bombers and hired goons, the list of suspects is depressingly long, as the ghouls and ghosts with grudges who cluster round can attest. But even in the afterlife, time is running out for Maali. And he has seven moons to try and contact the man and woman he loves most and lead them to a hidden cache of photos that will rock Sri Lanka.

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Before Your Memory Fades - Before the Coffee Gets Cold by Toshikazu Kawaguchi

This is the third novel in the international bestselling Before the Coffee Gets Cold series. Having read the first two, we can attest it will be just the thing to curl up with on a rainy afternoon. On the hillside of Mount Hakodate in northern Japan, Cafe Donna Donna is famed for its views of Hakodate port. But that’s not all. Like the charming Tokyo café Funiculi Funicula, Cafe Donna Donna offers its customers the experience of travelling through time. Readers will meet four new customers, each one hoping to take advantage of the cafe's time-travelling offer: a daughter who begrudges her deceased parents for leaving her orphaned; a comedian who longs for his beloved and their shared dreams; a younger sister whose grief has become all-consuming; and a young man who realises his love for his childhood friend too late. Featuring familiar characters and his signature wistful storytelling, Toshikazu Kawaguchi once again invites readers to ask themselves: what would you change if you could travel back in time?

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The Birdcatcher by Gayl Jones

Legendary writer Gayl Jones has returned with a striking new novel about Black American artists in exile. Discovered by Toni Morrison and described as one of the great writers of the 20th century, this is Jones’s first book in 20 years. Set primarily on the island of Ibiza, the story is narrated by the writer Amanda Wordlaw, whose closest friend, a gifted sculptor named Catherine Shuger, is repeatedly institutionalised for trying to kill a husband who never leaves her. The three form a quirky triangle on the white-washed island. A study in Black women’s creative expression, and the intensity of their relationships, this work from Jones shows off her range and insight into the ever-changing faces of human nature – rewarding long-time fans and bringing her talent to a new generation of readers.

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A Heart That Works by Rob Delaney

In this memoir of loss, acclaimed writer and comedian Rob Delaney – the man behind hit Channel 4 comedy Catastrophe – grapples with the fragile miracle of life, the mysteries of death, and the question of purpose for those left behind. Delaney's son Henry died at the age of five after being diagnosed with a brain tumour. A Heart That Works is an intimate, unflinching and fiercely funny exploration of loss – from the harrowing illness to the vivid, bodily impact of grief and the blind, furious rage that follows, through to the forceful, unstoppable love that remains. A must-read.

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Landlines by Raynor Winn

In this new book, the author of beloved bestsellers The Salt Path and The Wild Silence documents her and her husband Moth's most ambitious journey yet, as they walk from the north-west corner of Scotland down to England’s South West Coast Path, reflecting on community and the environment along the way. From Northumberland and the Yorkshire moors to Wales and eventually the South West, they map an uncertain path ahead. In Landlines, Raynor records in luminous prose the strangers and friends, wilderness and wildlife they encounter on the way – it's a journey that begins in fear but can only end in hope.

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A Helping Hand by Celia Dale

Middle-aged Josh and Maisie Evans lead unremarkable, unassuming lives. When Auntie Flo, who has lived with them for years, dies and leaves them her estate, they head to Italy on holiday to take in the sea air and let the sun soak into their bones. It’s there they meet Mrs Fingal. The wealthy widow lives with her grown-up niece Lena and it’s pretty clear neither is happy with the situation. So, when Josh and Maisie bond with Mrs Fingal, it’s only natural they decide she should move in with them once they’re back home. But beneath the suburban respectability of cups of tea and genteel chitchat emerges a different tale: one of ruthless greed and exploitation, and suffocating, skin-crawling terror. For fans of Shirley Jackson, Roald Dahl and Muriel Spark, A Helping Hand is a sharp and nasty slice of darkness, and a reminder that the real horrors of this world can all too often be found behind discreet net curtains.

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Novelist As A Vocation by Haruki Murakami

Aspiring writers and readers who have long wondered where mysterious Japanese novelist Haruki Murakami gets his ideas and what inspires his strangely surreal worlds will be fascinated by this engaging book from the internationally bestselling author. In this autobiography, he shares his thoughts on the role of the novel in our society; his own origins as a writer; and his musings on the sparks of creativity that inspire other writers, artists and musicians. Within are the personal details of a life devoted to craft: the initial moment at a Yakult Swallows baseball game, when he suddenly knew he could write a novel; the importance of memory, what he calls a writer’s “mental chest of drawers”; the necessity of loneliness, patience, and his daily running routine; the seminal role a carrier pigeon played in his career and more.

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A Book Of Days by Patti Smith

This is another deeply moving and brilliantly idiosyncratic visual book by the National Book Award-winning author of Just Kids and M Train, featuring more than 365 images and reflections that chart Smith’s singular aesthetic. In 2018, without any plan or agenda for what might happen next, Patti posted her first Instagram photo: her hand with the simple message “Hello Everybody!” Known for shooting with her beloved Land Camera 250, Smith started posting images from her phone including portraits of her kids, her radiator, her boots and her Abyssinian cat, Cairo. Followers felt an immediate affinity with these miniature windows into Smith’s world. Over time, a coherent story of a life devoted to art took shape, and more than a million followers responded to Smith’s images, which chart her passions, devotions, obsessions and whims. Original to this book are vintage photographs, anniversary pearls and a mother’s keychain, plus photos from Smith’s archives of life on and off the road.

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