Five new books to read this week

Five New Books To Read This Week
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By Prudence Wade, PA

Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jhumpa Lahiri has our book of the week…


1. Roman Stories by Jhumpa Lahiri, translated by Jhumpa Lahiri and Todd Portnowitz, is published in hardback by Picador. Available now


These short stories from the Pulitzer Prize winner Jhumpa Lahiri present a different view of Italy and of Rome. That of the outsider, the migrant, the refugee, the person who doesn’t quite belong – but still wants to be there anyway. The alienation of the people who inhabit her stories is mirrored by the namelessness of many of the protagonists, who are referred to by an initial, a status or a relationship. But despite this and the elliptical nature of the writing, the stories are full of feeling and the desire for connection. Loving and longing are never far away, nor are hopes and thwarted desires. Full of humanity and its joys and disappointments, tiny incidents resonate through time and relationships. The city feels like another character, slipping in and out of focus just as the fleeting lives of the characters do too.
(Review by Bridie Pritchard)

2. Light Over Liskeard by Louis de Bernières is published in hardback by Harvill Secker. Available now


Light over Liskeard
(Harvill Secker/PA)

A monstrous net fail threatens to send the world back to the Dark Ages, while the self-absorbed effete population is glued to devices, oblivious to the impending doom. All but middle-aged Roman toga-wearing Q – who as the Government’s last line of defence against capricious online anarchists can see apocalypse on the horizon, and sets about preparing for it in a remote Cornish farmhouse. As Q ponders the meaning of life and reconnects with his pale, withering body, he meets a cast of oddball characters, including the young, beautiful and mysterious Eva. Captain Corelli’s Mandolin author Louis de Bernières has an undeniable talent for creating an achingly romantic affair from what may at first glance appear to be a mundane midlife crisis. However, his remorseless fun-poking at modern society may be a little more divisive and elicit a range of responses, from hearty chuckles and a wry smile to the odd sore arm.
(Review by Emily Pennink)

3. Begin Again by Oliver Jeffers is published by HarperCollins Children’s Books. Available now


When even the author says this book is difficult to define, you know it’s not going to be like his previous picture books for children. Begin Again is full of questions, morality and philosophy – looking at how life came about, with Jeffers worrying that the world is unravelling. He fears for the future, but has hope, and wonders about the value of stories to humans. It’s hard to know who it’s aimed at – it’s not typical toddler fare with its deeper themes, especially with the very adult personal statement at the end about why he created it. But it is still written and illustrated in his signature style. He wants it to inspire people to act differently, to make better stories. The book needs to find its own audience – young and old – who want to make the future better than the present.
(Review by Bridie Pritchard)


4. Disobedient Bodies: Reclaim Your Unruly Beauty by Emma Dabiri is published in paperback by Profile Books x Wellcome Collection. Available now


In this long essay, academic Emma Dabiri puts her focus on the relationship between beauty and the patriarchy. Dabiri – author of Don’t Touch My Hair – gives a whistlestop tour of Western beauty standards and how they can be weaponised against women. It’s engagingly written and well researched – she compares Western beauty standards with traditions in other cultures – interweaved with deeply personal anecdotes. Dabiri expands on what it was like growing up as a black person in Dublin and how that impacted the way she saw herself, while also outlining her efforts as an adult to break free from typical beauty standards – and therefore embracing her ‘disobedient body’. It’s a slim tome, but a powerful read.
(Review by Prudence Wade)

Children’s book of the week

5. What You Need To Be Warm by Neil Gaiman is published by Bloomsbury Children’s Books. Available October 26th


What does the concept of warmth truly signify to you? This thought-provoking question was posed by Neil Gaiman on Twitter, and from the diverse array of responses he received, he crafted a poignant poem, brought to life by a team of illustrators. The proceeds from this project are dedicated to UNHCR, providing vital aid to those who have been displaced. This book serves as a strong reminder of the overlooked significance of warmth, a comfort we often take for granted until it’s unexpectedly taken from us – a reality which sadly is far too common for many. The illustrations, interweaved with the poem, are strikingly powerful. As we move into the cool embrace of autumn, they compel us to pause and take a moment to truly appreciate that warmth is a physical and essential requirement for us all.
(Review by Jacqueline Ling)


1. The Running Grave by Robert Galbraith
2. Sword Catcher by Cassandra Clare
3. A Stroke Of The Pen by Terry Pratchett
4. The Fragile Threads Of Power by V.E. Schwab
5. The Last Devil To Die by Richard Osman
6. The Hurricane Wars by Thea Guanzon
7. Sharpe’s Command by Bernard Cornwell
8. Loyalty by Martina Cole & Jacqui Rose
9. Geneva by Richard Armitage
10. The Armour Of Light by Ken Follett
(Compiled by Waterstones)

1. Rambling Man by Billy Connolly
2. Unruly by David Mitchell
3. The Twat Files by Dawn French
4. Be Useful by Arnold Schwarzenegger
5. Great-Uncle Harry by Michael Palin
6. Alan Partridge: Big Beacon by Alan Partridge
7. Politics On The Edge by Rory Stewart
8. The Abuse Of Power by Theresa May
9. Guinness World Records 2024
10. Scattershot by Bernie Taupin
(Compiled by Waterstones)

1. Unruly by David Mitchell
2. The Running Grave by Robert Galbraith
3. Alan Partridge: Big Beacon by Alan Partridge
4. Be Useful by Arnold Schwarzenegger
5. Ghost Stories: Stephen Fry’s Definitive Collection by Stephen Fry et al
7. The Last Devil To Die by Richard Osman
8. The Diary Of A CEO by Steven Bartlett
9. T.V. by Peter Kay
10. Politics On The Edge by Rory Stewart
(Compiled by Audible)

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