5 new books to read this week

5 New Books To Read This Week
This week’s bookcase includes reviews of Peaces by Helen Oyeyemi and Medusa by Jessie Burton.
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By Prudence Wade, PA

This week sees two of the most famous men in America – Bruce Springsteen and Barack Obama – come together for their first book…


1. Peaces by Helen Oyeyemi is published in hardback by Faber & Faber, priced £14.99 (€16.46). Available November 4


Peaces by Helen Oyeyemi
Peaces by Helen Oyeyemi (Faber & Faber/PA)

It feels almost ridiculous to describe the plot of Peaces – any attempt won’t do this bizarre, beautiful novel justice. But we’ll try: it’s (largely) about a newly married couple on their honeymoon (but they’re not really married and it’s their not-honeymoon – bear with us) on a surreal train ride.

The train itself is hundreds of worlds within one – it contains everything from a greenhouse carriage to a bazaar, all owned by the mysterious Ava Kapoor.


As the ‘newlyweds’ Otto and Xavier Shin (with their pet mongoose) learn more about their host, things get stranger and stranger, and you are lured into all manner of stories and sub-stories. It’s confusing and you may have to read pages more than once – but you won’t regret it, because the writing is otherworldly and transcendental. It’s totally unlike anything you’ll read this year, in the best way.
(Review by Prudence Wade)

2. We Are Not Like Them by Christine Pride and Jo Piazza is published in hardback by HQ, priced £14.99 (ebook £7.99). Available now

Set in Philadelphia, this timely dual-authored novel is a thought-provoking examination of an interracial friendship in a divided America. Jen, white, pregnant and married to a police officer, and Riley, a black local TV reporter, are lifelong friends.


When Jen’s husband is involved in the shooting of an unarmed black teenager, their relationship is thrown into crisis. The story alternates between the women’s compelling perspectives as they confront divided loyalties and unaddressed differences, exploring head-on how race and class divisions can polarise communities, traumatise generations and influence the media and justice system.

At its heart are Riley and Jen, a friendship that fails to convince at times, whose exchanges can feel somewhat forced as the authors convey key arguments. But there are moments of real poignancy – a grieving mother’s memories or Riley’s tragic family history – and overall this is a moving book tackling complex and important issues.
(Review by Tom Pilgrim)

3. My Monticello by Jocelyn Nicole Johnson is published in hardback by Harvill Secker, priced £12.99 (ebook £9.99). Available November 4


A city under siege from violent terrorists, the power grid down and residents forced to run to safety – it sounds like something out of a post-apocalyptic nightmare.

And yet My Monticello is loosely inspired by true events: when white nationalists descended on Charlottesville in 2017. The fictional Da’Naisha has to flee with her sickly grandma, boyfriend and some neighbours, ending up in Thomas Jefferson’s old house – Monticello.

It’s also part of Da’Naisha’s heritage, as a descendent of Jefferson and his relationship with a slave. This, along with much of the symbolism in the book, can be quite heavy-handed – particularly as Da’Naisha is pregnant and doesn’t know who the father is: her white college boyfriend or an old black flame from the neighbourhood. Da’Naisha doesn’t make for a particularly original or well-drawn character – but the tension of her lockdown at Monticello and the cast of characters around her brings this book to life.
(Review by Prudence Wade)


4. Renegades: Born In The USA by Barack Obama and Bruce Springsteen is published in hardback by Viking, priced £35 (ebook £15.99). Available now

Barack Obama and Bruce Springsteen’s podcast series, Renegades: Born In The USA, was a mixed bag.

While it was a joy hearing two cultural behemoths in honest conversation, the pair never really scratched the surface of the thornier issues of politics, race and family. And renegades, really?

It’s been a while since either could claim to be part of the counterculture. Still, the glossy accompanying book will be a pleasing addition to any fan’s collection. Full transcripts are partnered with historical photos and personal shots from their family archives, giving an extra depth to proceedings. T

here are handwritten lyric sheets from The Boss and annotated speeches from the former President, both offering insight into their development as men. The podcast was an unfiltered affair with limited editing – the idea was to let conversation flow. The book takes this to the extreme, immersing readers in the extended conversations, with added background and colour. Whether you enjoy this book will depend on your love for its authors.
(Review by Alex Green)

Children’s book of the week

5. Medusa by Jessie Burton, illustrated by Olivia Lomenech Gill, is published in hardback by Bloomsbury YA, priced £14.99 (ebook £10.49). Available now

A feminist retelling of the famous Greek myth of the woman with a head of snakes, Medusa explores the story of the girl beyond her monstrous reputation.

Written in beautifully lyrical language by The Miniaturist author Jessie Burton and brought to life with stunning illustrations by Olivia Lomenech Gill, Medusa is perfect for young adults looking to dive deeper into the story of Medusa and the strength, love, and resilience that actually characterises her. Filled with vulnerability, raw emotion, betrayal and self-acceptance, this is a story that transcends its ancient time into a surprisingly relevant tale for modern girls.
(Review by Emily Chudy)


1. Better Off Dead by Lee Child & Andrew Child
2. Man Who Died Twice by Richard Osman
3. Silverview by John le Carré
4. Midnight In Everwood by M.A. Kuzniar
5. Under The Whispering Door by T.J. Klune
6. Beautiful World, Where Are You by Sally Rooney
7. The Judge’s List by John Grisham
8. Dune by Frank Herbert
9. The Cat Who Saved Books by Sosuke Natsukawa
10. Oh William! by Elizabeth Strout
(Compiled by Waterstones)

1. Don’t Laugh, It’ll Only Encourage Her by Daisy May Cooper
2. Living The Château Dream by Angel Strawbridge & Dick Strawbridge
3. Windswept & Interesting by Billy Connolly
4. Guinness World Records 2022 by Guinness World Records
5. Private Eye Annual: 2021 by Ian Hislop
6. Renegades by Barack Obama & Bruce Springsteen
7. The Storyteller by Dave Grohl
8. And Away… by Bob Mortimer
9. Celebrating The Seasons With The Yorkshire Shepherdess by Amanda Owen
10. Set The Night On Fire by Robby Krieger
(Compiled by Waterstones)

1. Windswept & Interesting by Billy Connolly
2. The Man Who Died Twice by Richard Osman
3. The Storyteller by Dave Grohl
4. And Away… by Bob Mortimer
5. Sheltering Rain by Jojo Moyes
6. Permanent Record by Edward Snowden
7. This Much Is True by Miriam Margolyes
8. The Secrets Of Strangers by Charity Norman
9. The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman
10. Atomic Habits by James Clear
(Compiled by Audible)

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