5 new books to read this week

5 New Books To Read This Week
This week’s bookcase includes reviews of Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver and Cat Lady by Dawn O’Porter.
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Prudence Wade, PA

Barbara Kingsolver, author of cult book The Poisonwood Bible, is back with her take on a classic…


1. Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver is published in hardback by Faber & Faber. Available now



In this angry, funny, completely engrossing novel, Barbara Kingsolver transplants the David Copperfield story to 1990s Appalachia. It’s a perfect analogue – here too, the poor and disadvantaged struggle daily for survival, in a world where the odds are stacked against them and dangerous temptations are legion. Demon – he goes by his nickname, like everyone else in Lee County – is born into poverty to a loving but damaged mother. From day one, his life is a rollercoaster ride where he has to use every ounce of wit, charm and inner strength to survive not only neglect and privation, but an opioid crisis that’s devastating his beleaguered community – people scorned as rednecks and hillbillies. Bursting with life and a fascinating array of characters, and told in Demon’s irresistible voice, this book is an education, as well as a tale to savour.
(Review by Jackie Kingsley)

2. Cat Lady by Dawn O’Porter is published in hardback by HarperCollins. Available October 27th



Can people love their pets more than their spouses? It’s a question easily answered in Dawn O’Porter’s witty, acerbic and tender story, which begins when Mia – businesswoman, second wife and cat lover – attends a pet bereavement group, even though her cat Pigeon is still very much alive. As the tale unfolds, we find Mia married to Tristan and looking after his son, while his ex-wife Belinda – mother of the boy – invades their space like a wasp you can’t swat away. As Mia negotiates bitchiness both at home and at work, her one constant is her devoted cat, in whom she seeks solace when life gets too much. When her world starts to close in, Mia can voice her true feelings to the pet bereavement group, who share their own heartbreaks and, of course, love of animals. It’s beautiful and brutal, as caustic comedy rubs shoulders with the grief and desolation experienced by anyone who has ever loved – and lost – a pet. You’ll lap it up.
(Review by Hannah Stephenson)

3. Darling by India Knight is published in hardback by Fig Tree. Available now

India Knight isn’t treading new ground with her latest book – instead, Darling is a retelling of Nancy Mitford’s 1945 novel The Pursuit Of Love. In the beginning, we meet the Radletts – an eccentric family with a former rockstar as the patriarch, who’s set on his children and niece avoiding the same vices he did. They live a wholesome, technology-less life, but it’s clear this can’t last for long – particularly as we follow the gorgeous daughter Linda through life as a supermodel, then wife and beyond. While there is a colourful cast of characters, you can’t help but feel like the humour doesn’t quite land, and Knight perhaps hoped she was being funnier and more original than actually comes across.
(Review by Prudence Wade)


4. The Theory Of Everything Else by Dan Schreiber is published in hardback by Mudlark. Available now

Did you know time travellers could have been responsible for sinking the Titanic, and that it may be possible to bring to the surface by filling its hull with ping-pong balls? Heard the one about the American intelligence operator who claimed to be able to prove plants display emotive stress, and when attached to lie detector tests can successfully pick out murder suspects in identity parades? That Novak Djokovic’s record-breaking tennis career may have been boosted by his pilgrimage to alien pyramids? That life on earth itself may have been accidentally cultivated by little green men who popped by for a picnic? Dan Schreiber collates these and plenty of other unsubstantiated rumours and bizarre myths, unveiling the often hapless band of investigators and conspiracy theorists who continue to pursue and perpetuate them. Amid the expected brigade of monster hunters and reptilian overlords, there are plenty that pique just enough possibility to prompt some interesting dinner party debates.
(Review by Mark Staniforth)

Children’s book of the week

5. Leila And The Blue Fox by Kiran Millwood Hargrave, illustrated by Tom de Freston, is published in hardback by Orion Children’s Books. Available now

As 12-year-old Leila stands at the border control counter waiting for the officer to approve her entry to Norway, she’s fighting back tears. Her journey to a city over 200 miles north of the Arctic Circle is fraught with uncertainty and inner turmoil about reuniting with a mother she has not seen since they escaped Damascus six years ago, but it is also ripe with excitement about the scientific project she is about to dive into headfirst. Kiran Millwood Hargrave and her illustrator husband Tom de Freston follow the acclaimed Julia And The Shark by conjuring up a stunning tale of the incredible tundra trek made by Miso – the blue fox of the novel’s title – and the emotional voyage made simultaneously by Leila and her mother. Themes of family, migration and the beauty and brutality of nature are presented in a beautiful book that will appeal to readers young and old.
(Review by James Cann)

Book charts for the week ending October 22nd

Hardback (Fiction)
1. It Starts with Us by Colleen Hoover
2. A Heart Full Of Headstones by Ian Rankin
3. The Bullet That Missed by Richard Osman
4. The Seven Moons Of Maali Almeida by Shehan Karunatilaka
5. The Boys From Biloxi by John Grisham
6. Stone Blind by Natalie Haynes
7. She And Her Cat by Makoto Shinkai & Naruki Nagakawa
8. If We Were Villains by M.L. Rio
9. Lucy By The Sea by Elizabeth Strout
10. Kingdom Of The Feared: Kingdom Of The Wicked by Kerri Maniscalco
(Compiled by Waterstones)

Hardback (Non-fiction)
1. One by Jamie Oliver
2. Terry Pratchett: A Life With Footnotes: The Official Biography by Rob Wilkins
3. Guinness World Records 2023 by Guinness World Records
4. TommyInnit Says… The Quote Book by Tom Simons & Will Gold
5. Diddly Squat by Jeremy Clarkson
6. I’m Glad My Mom Died by Jennette McCurdy
7. The Lives Of Brian by Brian Johnson
8. Madly, Deeply: The Alan Rickman Diaries by Alan Rickman
9. What Just Happened?! by Marina Hyde
10. Beyond the Wand by Tom Felton
(Compiled by Waterstones)

Audiobooks (Fiction & non-fiction)
1. The Bullet That Missed by Richard Osman
2. Parenting Hell by Rob Beckett & Josh Widdicombe
3. Geneva by Richard Armitage
4. From The Oasthouse by Alan Partridge
5. Menopausing by Davina McCall & Dr Naomi Potter
6. The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman
7. A Heart Full Of Headstones by Ian Rankin
8. The Fellowship Of The Ring by J. R. R. Tolkien
9. It Starts with Us by Colleen Hoover
10. Beyond the Wand by Tom Felton
(Compiled by Audible)

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