5 new books to read this week

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5 New Books To Read This Week 5 New Books To Read This Week
This week’s bookcase includes reviews of Moon Witch, Spider King by Marlon James and One Italian Summer by Rebecca Serle.
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Prudence Wade, PA

Plus, the legendary Margaret Atwood is back with her third collection of essays…

Fiction

1. Moon Witch, Spider King by Marlon James is published in hardback by Hamish Hamilton. Available now

The second novel in Marlon James’ Dark Star Trilogy chronicles the adventures of Sogolon, a woman with mystical and deadly gifts. Using mythology and history, James spins a vivid and compelling fantasy world, drawing the reader in from the first page. His unique and uncompromising language is key to the immersive effect, often expressing complicated concepts and emotions with breathtaking clarity and charm. The Booker Prize-winning author of A Brief History Of Seven Killings gives his characters enough humour and wit to counter the hum of evil running throughout the story. The most unsettling thread is the seemingly unstoppable power of an individual to make people forget their history, and even wipe lost loved ones out of existence. Can the enchantment ever be broken, or is this world doomed to repeat past horrors?
10/10
(Review by Emily Pennink)

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2. One Italian Summer by Rebecca Serle is published in hardback by Quercus. Available now

Katy doesn’t know who she is anymore – her whole life she has been Carol’s daughter, but now she is gone and Katy feels lost in her overwhelming grief. Katy takes herself off on the holiday of a lifetime to Italy – a trip originally planned for the mother and daughter duo – and she can feel her late mother everywhere. When she’s on the Amalfi Coast, she sees someone remarkably familiar – and this seemingly younger, healthier version of Carol takes Katy under her wing, and shows her a life she’d never thought of before. Rebecca Serle has crafted a beautiful love story that turns its own pages as you are sucked into the Italian sun. As a reader, you look on as the character’s grief slowly ebbs away, and is replaced by something new.
8/10
(Review by Rachel Howdle)

3. Good Intentions by Kasim Ali is published in hardback by Fourth Estate. Available now

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There’s plenty of hype around Good Intentions, with Kasim Ali heralded as the new young writer to watch. It’s perhaps a shame there’s been so much noise around the book – it’s almost impossible to live up to, and it doesn’t quite make the mark. The action takes place on multiple timelines – present day, where Nur (from a Bangladeshi Muslim family in Birmingham) has just told his parents he’s been seeing a black woman for four years (she’s also Muslim, but race seems to be the big sticking point here) – and Nur’s blossoming relationship with Yasmina, from meeting at university to forming a relationship – all while he continues to hide her from his parents, scared of how they might react. Ali is a talented writer and it’s extremely readable, but the jumping timelines is a bit of a stranglehold, and prevents much from actually happening. An interesting look at race, family and mental health – but one that doesn’t quite follow through with a strong enough plot.
7/10
(Review by Prudence Wade)

Non-fiction

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4. Burning Questions by Margaret Atwood is published in hardback by Chatto & Windus. Available now

Margaret Atwood’s third collection of essays, spanning almost two decades, does not fail to impress. More than 50 reflections, lectures, book introductions and literary tributes touch on everything from a zombie apocalypse to Shakespeare – all with the Canadian author’s characteristic dry wit. The pieces are split into sections, each marked by turning points, such as the aftermath of 9/11, the #MeToo movement, and the pandemic. Atwood doesn’t do sentimentality, but these pieces carry emotional weight. Her frank admission that she continued with a book tour when her partner Graeme Gibson died – postponing the empty house she faced upon return – will resonate with many who have experienced loss. For Atwood, perhaps the most burning questions are those concerning the climate crisis, with stark warnings peppering the collection. This is one to dip into again and again, and is likely to remain relevant many years into the future.
8/10
(Review by Jemma Crew)

Children’s book of the week

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5. The Spectacular Suit by Kat Patrick, illustrated by Hayley Wells, is published in hardback by Scribe. Available March 10th

(Scribe/PA)

The first things that pop out in The Spectacular Suit are the amazing illustrations and bright colour scheme. Vibrant blues and reds fly off the page – but that’s not the only reason to pick up the book. It tells the story of Frankie, a young girl who’s planning her birthday party. She wants everything to be perfect – except she can’t find the right outfit that truly feels like her. She wants a spectacular suit to really express her personality, but where can she find one at the last minute? It’s a heartwarming and relatable tale about a young person trying to find how they fit in – and explores non-traditional gender roles, as Frankie doesn’t feel comfortable in the princess dresses that might be expected of her. It’ll be one you return to at bedtime time and time again, and is a great starting point to talk about identity and self-expression.
9/10
(Review by Prudence Wade)

Book charts for the week ending February 26th:

Hardback (Fiction)
1. House Of Sky And Breath by Sarah J Maas
2. Again, Rachel by Marian Keyes
3. The Twyford Code by Janice Hallett
4. Pandora by Susan Stokes-Chapman
5. Daughter Of The Moon Goddess by Sue Lynn Tan
6. The Embroidered Book by Kate Heartfield
7. The Man Who Died Twice by Richard Osman
8. To Paradise by Hanya Yanagihara
9. The Locked Room by Elly Griffiths
10. The Leviathan by Rosie Andrews
(Compiled by Waterstones)

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Hardback (Non-fiction)
1. Otherlands by Thomas Halliday
2. Pinch Of Nom Comfort Food by Kay Featherstone & Kate Allinson
3. Why Has Nobody Told Me This Before? by Dr Julie Smith
4. The Boy, The Mole, The Fox And The Horse by Charlie Mackesy
5. Devil In A Coma by Mark Lanegan
6. Manifest by Roxie Nafousi, Roxie
7. Life, Death And Biscuits by Anthea Allen
8. This Is Vegan Propaganda by Ed Winters
9. Big Panda And Tiny Dragon by James Norbury
10. Block, Delete, Move On by LalalaLetMeExplain
(Compiled by Waterstones)

Audiobooks (Fiction & non-fiction)
1. Again, Rachel by Marian Keyes
2. Why Has Nobody Told Me This Before? by Dr Julie Smith
3. Atomic Habits by James Clear
4. This Is Going To Hurt by Adam Kay
5. Windswept & Interesting by Billy Connolly
6. The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman
7. Rachel’s Holiday by Marian Keyes
8. Happy Mind, Happy Life by Dr Rangan Chatterjee
9. Atlas Of The Heart by Brené Brown
10. The Humans by Matt Haig
(Compiled by Audible)

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