New Books To Read This January

New Books To Read This January

From a reprint of one of Nora Ephron’s finest books to brilliant debuts, this month serves up fascinating fiction and intelligent non-fiction in generous measures…

Stay Up With Hugo Best by Erin Somers

June Bloom is a broke, cynical 29-year-old writers’ assistant on the late-night comedy show Stay Up with Hugo Best. Hugo is in his 60s, a beloved icon of TV and comedy, and a notorious womaniser. After he unexpectedly retires and a party is held for his now unemployed staff, June ends up at a dive bar for an open-mic night and prepares for the sad return to the anonymous comedian lifestyle. What she’s not prepared for is a run-in with Hugo. Nor for the invitation that swiftly follows: Hugo asks June to come to his mansion in Greenwich for the long Memorial Day weekend. As the weekend unfolds and the enigmatic Hugo gradually reveals himself, their dynamic proves to be much more complicated and less predictable than she expected. Hilarious and poignant, this is a timely exploration of sexual politics.

“A zippy debut… June’s quick wit keeps the banter flowing over a bizarre Memorial Day weekend. A devilishly fun ride.” – Vogue


Three Hours by Rosamund Lupton

From the Sunday Times bestselling author of Sister comes an electrifying new novel that takes us deep into the heart of what it means to be human. In rural Somerset in the middle of a blizzard, the unthinkable happens: a school is under siege. From the wounded headmaster in the library, unable to help his trapped pupils and staff, to teenage Hannah in love for the first time, to the parents gathering desperate for news, to the 16-year-old Syrian refugee trying to rescue his little brother, to the police psychologist who must identify the gunmen, to the students taking refuge in the school theatre: all experience the most intense hours of their lives, where evil and terror are met by courage, love and redemption. A thrilling read.

“It's beautifully, elegantly written, so gripping, intelligent, timely, affecting and moving.” – Marian Keyes, author of The Break


I Feel Bad About My Neck by Nora Ephron

Nora Ephron was an Academy Award-winning screenwriter and film director, best known for her work on When Harry Met Sally, Sleepless in Seattle, You've Got Mail and Julie & Julia - as well as a prolific essayist. Fresh for 2020, I Feel Bad About My Neck – one of her huge international bestsellers – has been republished in paperback, featuring an introduction by Ephron superfan, author and journalist Dolly Alderton. Everything you could possibly want from the witty Ephron is here, particularly her moving meditations on aging. If you’ve not read her work before, this is an excellent place to start.

"So bold and so vulnerable at the same time. I don’t know how she did it." – Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Vogue


Such A Fun Age by Kiley Reid

Kiley Reid’s debut novel is a page-turning, big-hearted story about race and privilege, set around a young black babysitter, her well-intentioned employer and a surprising connection that threatens to undo them both. Alix is a woman who gets what she wants and has made a living showing other women how to do the same. So, she is shocked when her babysitter, Emira, is confronted by a security guard in a high-end supermarket. Seeing a young black woman out late with a white child, he accuses Emira of kidnapping two-year-old Briar. A bystander films everything, and Emira is furious and humiliated. But when the video unearths someone from Alix’s past, both women find themselves on a crash course that will upend everything they think they know about themselves – and each other.

“Buoyed by a tight narrative structure, Such a Fun Age is a compulsive read.” – Elle


Motherwell: A Girlhood by Deborah Orr

In this unflinching memoir about the intricacies of the mother-daughter bond, late Guardian columnist Deborah Orr deftly navigates complex questions surrounding family relationships. Fierce, warm and funny at the same time, it’s beautifully written and focuses on many important themes – from the sacrifices we have to make and the opportunities we choose to take, to the class and mobility struggles facing many. It’s a truthful look at the individual journey we go on as we grow up, and offers an insight into how the people and the places we come from impact this.

“Utterly unflinching and staggeringly good, both as the history of a woman and the history of a place.” – India Knight


Uncanny Valley by Anna Wiener

At 25 years old, Anna Wiener was beginning to tire of her assistant job in New York publishing. Within a year she had moved to Silicon Valley to take up a job at a data analytics startup in San Francisco. She had a healthy income for the first time in her life. She felt like part of the future. But the tide was beginning to turn. People were speaking of tech startups as surveillance companies, casual sexism was rife and sexual harassment cases were proliferating. Slowly, she began to realise that her blind faith in ambitious, arrogant young men from America’s suburbs wasn’t just her own personal pathology, it had become a global affliction. Uncanny Valley is a coming of age story set against the backdrop of our generation’s very own gold rush. It’s a story about the tension between old and new, art and tech and how our world is changing forever.

“I've never read anything like Uncanny Valley.” – Jia Tolentino, author of Trick Mirror


Adults by Emma Jane Unsworth

Already lauded by Holly Bourne, Jessie Burton, Marian Keyes and Candice Carty-Williams, this is one of the most anticipated books of 2020. Jenny McLain is unloved, unemployable and emotionally unfiltered. Her long-suffering friends seem sick of her and while her social media portrays her life as a bed of roses, it is more of a dying succulent. Adults – the newest novel by Animals’ Emma Jane Unsworth – is whatever you want it to be: a misadventure of maturity, a satire on our age of self-promotion, a tender look at the impossibility of womanhood, a love story, a riot. 

“Confronting, heartbreaking and hilarious – a timely parable for modern anxiety as well as a timeless examination of men, women, sex, desire, friendship, family and the female psyche. I completely and utterly adored it.” – Dolly Alderton, author of Everything I Know About Love


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