Five new books to read this week

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

Britney Spears has released her highly anticipated memoir…


1. Julia by Sandra Newman is published in hardback by Granta Books. Available now


Julia Worthing – mechanic, Junior Anti-Sex Leaguer, dutiful disciple of Big Brother – survives by toeing the Party line. Adept at keeping secrets, fluent in Newspeak and Doublethink, she knows exactly how to navigate the treacherous currents of Oceania’s political waters. But an encounter with a certain Winston Smith plunges Julia into a torrent of deception and subterfuge. In a world where children betray mothers and lovers double-cross each other, Julia can no longer be sure of who to trust – including herself. Written from a feminine viewpoint of 1984 – shining a harsh spotlight on the roles of women in Oceanic society – Newman skilfully weaves threads of George Orwell’s story with new insights and fresh perspectives, exploring the issues of state control over sexuality and autonomy, and pushing the boundaries of the power that Julia still holds. Although the grim familiarity of foreknowledge casts a menacing shadow over Julia’s relationship with Winston, her dogged determination and instinct for self-preservation nurtures a flicker of hope in the darkness. As hauntingly dystopian as the original masterpiece, Julia has all the hallmarks of a classic that will assume its place beside Orwell’s disturbing and ever-relevant creation.
(Review by Hannah Colby)

2. The Running Grave by Robert Galbraith is published in hardback by Sphere. Available now


Robert Galbraith – Harry Potter author J. K. Rowling’s pen name – continues the hugely popular contemporary crime fiction series. Private detectives Cormoran Strike and Robin Ellacott are back for their seventh outing – which this time sees them investigating a cult at the behest of a father worried about his son’s involvement with the organisation. At more than 900 pages, this is not a short read. But it feels much pacier than The Ink Black Heart – the last instalment of Galbraith’s ongoing series. It is tense, suspenseful, and very dark in places, with a deftly woven plot. The Running Grave is likely to satisfy both long-term fans of the novels, as well as please those new to the books.
(Review by Alison Kershaw)

3. Death Valley by Melissa Broder is published in hardback by Bloomsbury Circus. Available now


Women’s Prize-longlisted author Melissa Broder is back with another book full of her signature self-effacing wit. Death Valley follows an unnamed writer in crisis – her father is in the ICU and close to death, while her husband is permanently ill. She escapes to a Best Western near the desert to finish her book – but instead goes on hikes instead of writing. She ends up lost in the desert in what becomes an increasingly surreal journey through the barren wasteland – and also her mind. While it’s not hugely plot-driven and can occasionally veer into self-indulgence – it’s essentially the woman’s meditations on her life and relationships – it’s engagingly written, moving and funny. It covers love, loss, sex, grief and more – becoming increasingly experimental as the book goes on, to great success.
(Review by Prudence Wade)


4. The Woman In Me by Britney Spears is published in hardback by Gallery UK. Available now



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Few autobiographies have been as hotly anticipated as Britney Spears’ – written after she was released from the conservatorship that took over her life for over a decade. It tracks her early days – from drinking and smoking at age 13, performing alongside the likes of Christina Aguilera in The Mickey Mouse Club, to becoming a global superstar, marrying and having children. All of the biggest bombshells – such as Spears writing that her then-boyfriend Justin Timberlake convinced her to get an abortion when she was pregnant – have taken over the headlines, so you likely won’t encounter any new bits of gossip. But what you will get is a tragic account of someone who was pushed to her breaking point by the industry and those around her, and then had her freedom taken away. If you follow Spears on Instagram, you’ll know her dedication to emojis – while they don’t populate the pages of her memoir, it’s written in her characteristically chatty, almost stream of consciousness style. It likely won’t win any writing prizes any time soon, but will satisfy long-time fans of the pop star.
(Review by Prudence Wade)

Children’s book of the week

5. The Big Dreaming by Michael Rosen, illustrated by Daniel Egnéus, is published in hardback by Bloomsbury Children’s Books,. Available October 26th


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Renowned children’s author Michael Rosen has produced a beautiful book for young children with his latest tale, The Big Dreaming. Join Little Bear and Big Bear as they prepare to hibernate for the winter and as they consider all the things they will dream about. Little Bear, concerned they will run out of dreams, sets out on an adventure to collect some and store them up for the cold months ahead. Along the way, he learns about happy dreams and those that offer hope, plus the reasons why dreams can offer comfort during the night. There is a slight plot twist as Little Bear becomes unsure whether he can make it home in time… Though his bravery pushes him through as he makes his way back to Big Bear. With lovely illustrations by Daniel Egnéus, this book will suit youngsters aged two to six.
(Review by Jane Kirby)


1. The Running Grave by Robert Galbraith
2. The Last Devil To Die by Richard Osman
3. The Exchange by John Grisham
4. The Winter Spirits by Bridget Collins & Imogen Hermes Gowar
5. Mythos by Stephen Fry
6. Sharpe’s Command by Bernard Cornwell
7. Fourth Wing by Rebecca Yarros
8. A Stroke Of The Pen by Terry Pratchett
9. So Late In The Day by Claire Keegan
10. Sword Catcher by Cassandra Clare
(Compiled by Waterstones)

1. Unruly by David Mitchell
2. Rambling Man by Billy Connolly
3. Deep Blue by Steve Backshall
4. The Twat Files by Dawn French
5. Politics On The Edge by Rory Stewart
6. Guinness World Records 2024
7. 5 Ingredients Mediterranean by Jamie Oliver
8. Alan Partridge: Big Beacon by Alan Partridge
9. The Book You Want Everyone You Love* To Read *(And Maybe A Few You Don’t) by Philippa Perry
10. Emperor Of Rome by Professor Mary Beard
(Compiled by Waterstones)

1. Unruly by David Mitchell
2. Alan Partridge: Big Beacon by Alan Partridge
3. The Woman In Me by Britney Spears
4. The Running Grave by Robert Galbraith
5. The Last Devil To Die by Richard Osman
6. Be Useful by Arnold Schwarzenegger
7. The Diary Of A CEO by Steven Bartlett
8. The Twat Files by Dawn French
9. Politics On The Edge by Rory Stewart
10. The Exchange by John Grisham
(Compiled by Audible)

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