5 new books to read this week

5 New Books To Read This Week
This week’s bookcase includes reviews of Elizabeth Finch by Julian Barnes and Lessons In Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus.
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Prudence Wade, PA

Watch out for Bonnie Garmus’ debut, set to be adapted into an Apple TV show…


1. Elizabeth Finch by Julian Barnes is published by Jonathan Cape. Available now


Elizabeth Finch
(Jonathan Cape/PA)

Julian Barnes’ novels often centre on the recollection of past events and relationships, and he is second to none at exploring the frailty of memory and the inability of one person to give a full account of another, however intimate they were. Academic Neil reflects on his former teacher and friend Elizabeth Finch, pouring over her eccentricities and work, attempting to understand the inspirational effect ‘EF’ had on him. However, his biographical vision blurs and repeatedly refocuses on himself. Neil’s shifting emotions engage the reader as fully as any plot, and EF’s academic interests are explored with the same lightness that characterises Barnes’ art criticism. Elizabeth Finch ranks alongside Barnes’ best.
(Review by Joshua Pugh Ginn)

2. Lessons In Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus is published in hardback by Doubleday. Available now



Named as one of the must-reads of 2022, it’s easy to see why Apple TV has snapped up the rights to Lessons In Chemistry. Original and refreshing, Elizabeth Zott is one of those singular unforgettable characters you don’t come across often enough in fiction. She’s a 1960s woman who wants to unlock the secrets of life through chemistry. While she can understand chemical reactions, she hasn’t a clue about office politics or why people react the way they do to her – yet she finds a kindred spirit in Nobel-nominated Calvin Evans. Elizabeth finds herself tossed out of university for not toeing the line, and somehow finds herself the star of a TV cooking show where she teaches her mostly female audience about the chemistry of food and self-determination – not settling for the status quo where women are underpaid, undervalued and underappreciated. Witty and dark, it’s both a breath of fresh air and a reminder of how much still has to change for true equality.
(Review by Bridie Pritchard)

3. The No-Show by Beth O’Leary is published in hardback by Quercus. Available now



Beth O’Leary’s latest novel marks a move away from her previous efforts, which have focused on two main characters. This opens with three women – Siobhan, Miranda and Jane – who have all been stood up by the same man. The question is, why? O’Leary’s characters are usually easy to connect with, but that bond seems harder to form in this novel. Initially, the women’s decision-making and willingness to forgive can feel frustrating. As in her previous books, individual chapters are told from different perspectives – on this occasion adding an element of confusion in places. But as the story unfolds, the lives of the main players draw the reader in until the tale builds to its unexpected, but ultimately satisfying ending. Overall, an enjoyable read.
(Review by Alison Kershaw)


4. Left On Tenth: A Second Chance At Life by Delia Ephron is published in hardback by Doubleday. Available now

Author, screenwriter and playwright Delia Ephron is best known for romantic comedies such as You’ve Got Mail, and for collaborating with sister Nora on films such as Sleepless In Seattle. Her wry commentary on life’s challenges, large and small, combined with her witty dialogue means many of her best lines have become mantras for the middle-aged woman. Left On Tenth makes good use of these talents, in a memoir documenting Ephron’s life after the loss of her beloved husband of over 30 years, her unexpected love affair with an old flame, and an epic battle with cancer. Tempting as it is to read this as another screenplay, this book is underpinned with the realisation it is not a movie, it’s real life – in all its pain and glory. Ephron is fearless in her investigation of the circumstances, coincidences and emotions which can derail and destabilise us at any moment, for better or for worse, and her famous lightness of touch takes the reader with her.
(Review by Victoria Barry)

Children’s book of the week

5. Amma’s Sari by Sandhya Parappukkaran, illustrated by Michelle Pereira, is published in hardback by Hardie Grant Children’s Publishing. Available April 28th

Amma's Sari
(Hardie Grant Children’s Publishing/PA)

Readers will be swept up in the illustrations of Amma’s Sari just as six-year-old Shreya is in the folds of her mother’s outfit. This is a touching tale of living in two worlds: Shreya is a second-generation immigrant, and is caught between her home life and her mum – who wears a beautiful sari every day – and the western country she lives in, where people can’t help but stare when they’re out and about. Shreya might have complicated feelings about her mother’s sari and how it sets them out from the crowd, but a small crisis helps change her perspective. The words are lyrical and easy to read, the illustrations are gorgeous, and at its core this is a story of loving your culture and where you come from – something many readers will likely relate to.
(Review by Prudence Wade)

Book charts for the week ending April 9th:

Hardback (Fiction)
1. Lessons In Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus
2. Amongst Our Weapons by Ben Aaronovitch
3. Companion Piece by Ali Smith
4. The Atlas Six by Olivie Blake
5. Galatea by Madeline Miller
6. Wild And Wicked Things by Francesca May
7. French Braid by Anne Tyler
8. Gallant by V.E. Schwab
9. House Of Sky And Breath by Sarah J. Maas
10. Dawnshard by Brandon Sanderson
(Compiled by Waterstones)

Hardback (Non-fiction)
1. Why Has Nobody Told Me This Before? by Dr Julie Smith
2. Nistisima by Georgina Hayden
3. Taste by Stanley Tucci
4. The Shortest History Of The Soviet Union by Sheila Fitzpatrick
5. Butler To The World by Oliver Bullough
6. Time Is A Mother by Ocean Vuong
7. Otherlands by Thomas Halliday
8. The Boy, The Mole, The Fox And The Horse by Charlie Mackesy
9. Manifest by Roxie Nafousi
10. Shadowlands by Matthew Green
(Compiled by Waterstones)

Audiobooks (Fiction & Non-fiction)
1. Amongst Our Weapons by Ben Aaronovitch
2. Why Has Nobody Told Me This Before? by Dr Julie Smith
3. Vanished by Lynda La Plante
4. Atomic Habits by James Clear
5. Happy Mind, Happy Life by Dr Rangan Chatterjee
6. The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman
7. All Creatures Great And Small by James Herriot
8. The Man Who Died Twice by Richard Osman
9. The Storyteller by Dave Grohl
10. My Perfect Daughter by Sarah Denzil
(Compiled by Audible)

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