Five new books to read this week

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

After the huge success of Booker Prize-winning novel Shuggie Bain, Douglas Stewart returns with another modern classic…


1. Young Mungo by Douglas Stuart is published in hardback by Picador. Available now



Douglas Stuart set the bar high with his Booker-winning debut Shuggie Bain, and his second novel Young Mungo lives up to expectations. It is a heart-wrenching tale of 15-year-old Protestant Mungo’s tender first relationship with Catholic James, in a brutally homophobic and sectarian world set in Glasgow’s housing schemes. Readers of Shuggie Bain will be familiar with many of the themes, including troubled family dynamics and a neglectful, alcoholic mother, who sends Mungo on a fishing trip with two strange men which descends into horror. The vivid characterisation and masterful storytelling transport you to below the city’s poverty line, where young people face extreme violence and few prospects. The gritty subject matter is sometimes hard to read, but the story is also hopeful and the writing lyrical. A deeply moving novel that leaves a lasting impression.
(Review by Sophie Wingate)

2. First Born by Will Dean is published in hardback by Hodder & Stoughton. Available now



Molly and Katie are identical twins whose lives couldn’t be more different – Molly never leaves her North London comfort zone, with her outgoing sister seeking exciting adventures in New York. A phone call brings horrifying news that Katie has been found dead, sparking an unwanted journey into the unknown to uncover what has happened. The plot thickens with every chapter, as Molly tries to piece together who murdered her twin, with the help of a detective and a mysterious private investigator. Suspicion veers between a former boyfriend and ex-tutor, leading to a jaw-dropping development that will leave readers in total shock. The pace quickens as Will Dean expertly steers readers through the streets of New York, in a race between the police and Molly to find the killer. The storyline is truly original, with one of those brilliant endings only a great thriller writer can dream up.
(Review by Alan Jones)

3. One Day I Shall Astonish The World by Nina Stibbe is published in hardback by Viking. Available April 21st

Nina Stibbe’s quirky tale of long-time ‘frenemies’, Susan and Norma, provides a much-needed dose of comic relief in these unrelentingly grim times. Starting from their first meeting in their early 20s, when Susan takes a job in Norma’s parents’ haberdashery shop, it follows the pair through 30 years dotted with marriages, kids, career quandaries, vandalised caravans, outdoor sex and a landslide. While Norma climbs the ladder of academia, Susan is left to deal with an awkward daughter, an unrequited crush on her boss (who happens to be married to Norma), and a golf-obsessed husband who wants to live forever. As the years go by and the unspoken rivalries between the women deepen, Susan is left wondering whether they’re really friends at all. It all makes for a deeply entertaining novel with hilarious, bizarre and laugh-out-loud moments, overlaying a deeper narrative about the real meaning of friendship.
(Review by Jackie Kingsley)


4. An Accidental Icon by Norman Scott is published in hardback by Hodder & Stoughton. Available now

An Accidental Icon by Norman Scott
(Hodder & Stoughton/PA)

As the man at the centre of the Jeremy Thorpe affair, one of the most explosive political scandals of the Seventies, Norman Scott’s account of the whole sordid debacle is expected to be dramatic. But it seems that virtually every episode of the former stable hand and male model’s life has been filled with some sort of disaster: abuse by his mother, sexual mismatches, falling-outs with employers, homelessness, estrangement from his son, mistreatment and misjudgment. His path, seemingly, has been a cacophony of crises. All this is woven around his account of his alleged affair with MP Jeremy Thorpe, his refusal to be silenced and the resulting fall-out from the scandal. Scott is now 82, living a quiet life in Dartmoor, so one wonders why he should want to rake up all the old, upsetting coals of his life, which he recalls with meticulous detail. Unlike Midas, nothing Scott touched turned to gold. But this juicy life story may change all that.
(Review by Hannah Stephenson)

Children’s book of the week

5. Gaia: Goddess Of Earth by Imogen Greenberg, illustrated by Isabel Greenberg, is published in hardback by Bloomsbury Children’s Books. Available now

Gaia: Goddess Of Earth by Imogen Greenberg, illustrated by Isabel Greenberg
(Bloomsbury Children’s Books/PA)

Told in a fun and easy-to-follow comic book format, this is the story of Gaia – the ancient Greek goddess who created the earth. Similar to Horrible Histories, it’s all about making learning fun and accessible – there are plenty of characters you’ll recognise (like Zeus and Hercules) as well as some of the lesser-known gods, who have equally interesting stories to tell, as they battle for control of the earth. By nature, Greek mythology can be quite confusing – lots of different characters and storylines chop and change at the blink of an eye, so younger readers might occasionally get lost. However, the Greenberg sisters have ultimately created a book that’s colourful and fun, with a heartwarming message about protecting the earth.
(Review by Prudence Wade)


1. Young Mungo by Douglas Stuart
2. With This Kiss by Carrie Hope Fletcher
3. Lessons In Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus
4. The No-Show by Beth O’Leary
5. Elizabeth Finch by Julian Barnes
6. Amongst Our Weapons by Ben Aaronovitch
7. The Atlas Six by Olivie Blake
8. Galatea by Madeline Miller
9. Wild And Wicked Things by Francesca May
10. The Memory Librarian by Janelle Monáe
(Compiled by Waterstones)

1. Why Has Nobody Told Me This Before? by Dr Julie Smith
2. Freezing Order by Bill Browder
3. Northerners by Brian Groom
4. Shortest History Of The Soviet Union by Sheila Fitzpatrick
5. The Meal Prep King by Meal Prep King
6. Taste by Stanley Tucci
7. Nistisima by Georgina Hayden
8. Butler To The World by Oliver Bullough
9. Otherland by Thomas Halliday
10. Super-Infinite by Katherine Rundell
(Compiled by Waterstones)

1. Amongst Our Weapons by Ben Aaronovitch
2. Why Has Nobody Told Me This Before? by Dr Julie Smith
3. A Brief History Of Time by Stephen Hawking
4. The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman
5. Atomic Habits by James Clear
6. Happy Mind, Happy Life by Dr Rangan Chatterjee
7. The Man Who Died Twice by Richard Osman
8. The No-Show by Beth O’Leary
9. Rivers Of London by Ben Aaronovitch
10. Windswept & Interesting by Billy Connolly
(Compiled by Audible)

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