5 new books to read this week

5 New Books To Read This Week
This week’s bookcase includes reviews of Briefly, A Delicious Life by Nell Stevens and Ghost Lover by Lisa Taddeo.
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Prudence Wade, PA

If you loved Lisa Taddeo’s cult book Three Women, you’ll want to nab her newest collection of short stories…


1. Briefly, A Delicious Life by Nell Stevens is published in hardback by Picador. Available June 23rd



There are biographies, and there are novels fictionalising real characters, imagining what might happen ‘if’. This one is truly original, as it is a brilliant mix of both. It’s written from the perspective of a dead girl, who falls in love with the real-life, eccentric writer George Sand, when she and her lover, composer Frederic Chopin, arrive in Mallorca. Blanca may be a ghost, but her feelings are very real, as are the sights, sounds, smells, and dramas which envelop Sand, Chopin and their family, as they struggle for acceptance, creative freedom and, at times, survival.
(Review by Victoria Barry)

2. Ghost Lover by Lisa Taddeo is published in hardback by Bloomsbury Circus. Available now



Ghost Lover is a compilation of short stories from the pen of Lisa Taddeo, with each of the nine tales exploring a different aspect of women’s sexuality. It looks at modern relationships – where a text forwarding service takes the stress and anguish out of conversing with your wannabe love, to using sex to exert dominion over your target in ‘Maid Marian’. The dark story of Grace Magorian is equally twisty and heartbreaking. Every tale has a satisfying conclusion. The power of the short story is used well here, to ramp up the desperation and the intensity of infatuation, love and grief. Ghost Lover will be a perfect companion on the sunlounger this summer when you need a good read, but the concentration is waning for a long story.
(Review by Rachel Howdle)

3. Lapvona by Ottessa Moshfegh is published in hardback by Jonathan Cape. Available June 23rd

Lapvona by Ottessa Moshfegh
(Jonathan Cape/PA)


Lapvona is the latest novel from Ottessa Moshfegh, the writer of 2018’s wildly popular My Year Of Rest And Relaxation. This folk horror story represents quite the departure from her usual style; Moshfegh wrote this during the pandemic, to keep her sane. It is about the fictional medieval village of Lapvona, with the motherless Marek as the central character. It is full of corruption, religion and depravity, and focuses on the cruelness of society and its people. The novel is split into chapters based on the seasons, beginning with the Easter slaughter, and as the seasons pass, a plague spreads through the village. It is weird, unsettling and exciting, and Moshfegh writes like a dream – or perhaps a nightmare?
(Review by Frances Wright)


4. You Are Not A Before Picture by Alex Light is published in hardback by HQ. Available now

You Are Not A Before Picture is about how to make peace with your body. Journalist-turned-influencer Alex Light opens her debut by talking about her own body struggles, which led to an eating disorder. For anyone who’s suffered from disordered eating, yoyo dieting and/or body negativity, you’re likely to nod along as she talks about things many of us can relate to; going to bed at 7pm in an attempt to stave off the hunger pangs; restarting the diet/healthy eating/exercise plan every Monday; chewing every mouthful 32 times… There’s a lot of theory in this book, which can be a bit dull, when all you want to do is skip to the end to be given the magic formula for learning to love your body. Sadly, of course, this doesn’t really exist. There is no foolproof one-size-fits-all answer, because we are all unique. Knowledge, hard work, therapy, the right sort of social media and deconditioning can – and will – help, though. And it’s very worthwhile doing.
(Review by Claire Spreadbury)

Children’s book of the week

5. Hot Dog by Mark Sperring, illustrated by Sophie Corrigan, is published in paperback by Bloomsbury Children’s Books. Available now

Hot Dog is totally absurd – in a truly lovely way. It tells the story of a hot dog who dreams of being an actual, real-life dog – and his wish is granted by the Mustard Fairy (yes, it really is all a bit silly). The hot dog-now-real-dog is delighted, but there’s a catch: he’s still made of food, making him an attractive treat for all the other pups on the beach. The storyline will feel familiar, but it’s certainly unique in its choice of characters. With colourful, expressive illustrations and a light-hearted storyline, Hot Dog is a lot of fun – perfect for storytime.
(Review by Prudence Wade)

Book charts for the week ending June 18th

Hardback (Fiction):
1. Murder Before Evensong by Reverend Richard Coles
2. The Partisan by Patrick Worrall
3. Lessons In Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus
4. The Twyford Code by Janice Hallett
5. With A Mind To Kill by Anthony Horowitz
6. Sparring Partners by John Grisham
7. Bad Actors by Mick Herron
8. Young Mungo by Douglas Stuart
9. Elektra by Jennifer Saint
10. Lion by Conn Iggulden
(Compiled by Waterstones)

Hardback (Non-fiction):
1. The Escape Artist by Jonathan Freedland
2. Old Rage by Sheila Hancock
3. Why Has Nobody Told Me This Before by Dr Julie Smith
4. Becoming Molly-Mae by Molly-Mae Hague
5. House Arrest by Alan Bennett
6. Russia by Antony Beevor
7. The Social Distance Between Us by Darren McGarvey
8. Hope by Tom Parker
9. Bake by Paul Hollywood
10. Good Pop, Bad Pop by Jarvis Cocker
(Compiled by Waterstones)

Audiobooks (Fiction & non-fiction):
1. Why Has Nobody Told Me This Before? by Dr Julie Smith
2. The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman
3. Murder Before Evensong by Reverend Richard Coles
4. Atomic Habits by James Clear
5. The Book Of Form And Emptiness by Ruth Ozeki
6. Lessons In Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus
7. The Man Who Died Twice by Richard Osman
8. Windswept & Interesting by Billy Connolly
9. The Couple At No. 9 by Claire Douglas
10. Mythos by Stephen Fry
(Compiled by Audible)

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