5 new books to read this week

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Literary heavyweights Robert Harris and Stephen King are back with their latest novels…

Fiction

1. Act Of Oblivion by Robert Harris is published in hardcover by Hutchinson Heinemann, priced at £22 (ebook £10.99). Available now

We are in 1660 and two English colonels are on the run in America, accused of high treason. On their trail is a man responsible for bringing to justice those responsible for the murder of Charles I. The stakes couldn’t be higher for the fugitives – facing a most grisly and painful mandatory death sentence. Billed as the greatest manhunt of the 17th century, Act Of Oblivion does not disappoint. Harris brings historical events to life as they may have unfolded, through his beautifully crafted characters, who are not simply products of turbulent times. It also realizes what historians often fail to do, remembering stoic women left behind to fend for themselves and care for their families. A gripping thriller and a timely reminder of the dangers of a deeply divided and intolerant society. 9/10. (Review by Emily Pennink)

2. Stephen King’s Fairy Tale is published in hardcover by Hodder & Stoughton, priced at £22 (ebook £12.99). Available now

A boy, his dog, and a shed that hides a portal to a parallel universe – Stephen King’s fairy tale is a modern take on Jack and the Beanstalk, peppered with a myriad of classic fairy tale legends. After inheriting the shed, the secret, and Radar the dog from an old recluse, seventeen-year-old Charlie descends into the world of Empis, where two moons fill the sky and the gray plague is slowly killing the population with horrible disfigurements. From exiled princesses to child-eating giants and dungeon prisons, Fairy Tale is full of folklore reimagined through King’s expert imagination. In true fairy tale tradition, King’s latest fantasy novel is a tale of good versus evil, and Charlie must help the people of Empis escape the tyrannical rule of the Flight Killer.9/10(Review by Rebecca Wilcock )

3. Girl Friends by Holly Bourne is published in hardcover by Hodder & Stoughton, priced at £16.99 (ebook £7.99). Available September 8

Holly Bourne’s latest novel, Girl Friends, follows the life of Fern, 32, a successful writer living in London with her boyfriend, when an old friend from her past, Jessica, reenters her life. Each chapter oscillates between present-day Fern and herself as a teenager, revealing the reasons for her current distrust of Jessica and her intentions to rekindle the friendship. With each chapter, you’ll learn more about what made their friendship bloom – while the unease of an unspoken end lingers. Girl Friends is funny, painfully relatable, and sometimes shocking, as Holly Bourne explores teenage girls’ growing pains and learns to let go of the past. 8/10 (Review by Rikki Loftus)

nonfiction

4. Hysterical: Exploding The Myth Of Gendered Emotions by Pragya Agarwal is published in hardcover by Canongate, priced at £16.99 (ebook £13.59). Available now

Why are women considered the emotional sex? It’s a question that behavioral scientist Pragya Agarwal addresses in her illuminating book Hysterical. Drawing on history, data and pop culture, she explores the nuances behind gendered emotions – how they arose, how deep-rooted stereotypes in our society reinforce them and, more importantly, how they harm us, not only to women, but also to men. At times the book can be a little dry, with Agarwal citing a few too many case studies, but overall she clearly makes her point. Agarwal is at her best when it comes to telling the impact of gendered emotion in her personal life (something that comes up time and time again as the mother of twin girls) and making insightful pop culture references. – including mention of the Pixar movie Inside Out. Why indeed are anger and fear represented by the male characters, and joy, sadness and disgust by the women? 7/10 (Review by Prudence Wade)

Children’s book of the week

5. Marcus Rashford (Little People, Big Dreams) by Maria Isabel Sanchez Vegara, illustrated by Guilherme Karsten is published in hardcover by Frances Lincoln Children’s Books, priced at £9.99 (ebook £7.99). Available now

(Children’s Books by Frances Lincoln/PA)

Feed young minds with inspiring stories of real-life achievement with the latest addition to the Little People series, Big Dreams by Maria Isabel Sanchez Vegara. The series introduces kids to icons of politics, film, sports, technology, science and more, through engaging, audience-appropriate storytelling and colorful illustrations. The latest addition brings us the story of a young working class boy from Manchester with a real talent for football. He often relied on free school meals and became a Premier League hero representing his country and a passionate child hunger campaigner in the UK, driving huge social change during the Covid pandemic. Beautifully told with vibrant illustrations by Guilherme Karsten, Rashford’s story is impressive yet relatable for young audiences, and a worthy addition to the series.9/10 (Review by Holly Cowell)

BOOK TABLES FOR THE WEEK ENDING SEPTEMBER 3

RECORDED (FICTION)1. The inky heart of Robert Galbraith2. Babel by RF Kuang3. Carrie Soto is back by Taylor Jenkins Reid4. The wedding portrait by Maggie O’Farrell5. Tess Gunty’s hutch6. Wolfsong by TJ Klune7. Act of Forgetting by Robert Harris8. The Rising Tide by Ann Cleeves9. Belladonna by Adalyn Grace10. Before Your Memory Fades by Toshikazu Kawaguchi (compiled by Waterstones)

RECORDED (NON-FICTION)1. One: Simple One-Pan Wonders by Jamie Oliver2. A Different Scene by Gary Barlow3. How to Be Confident by James Smith4. How to Live When You Might Be Dead by Deborah James5. Real Life Recipes by Tom Kerridge6. And finally by Henry Marsh7. Deliciously Herbal Ella How To Go by Ella Mills (Woodward)8. Jane’s Patisserie Celebrate! by Jane Dunn9. The Last Colony by Philippe Sands10. My First Meals by Grace Mortimer (compiled by Waterstones)

AUDIO BOOKS (FICTION AND NON-FICTION)1. The inky heart of Robert Galbraith2. How to Be Confident by James Smith3. The bullet that missed by Richard Osman4. Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens5. Why hasn’t anyone told me this before? by Dr. Julie Smith6. The wedding portrait by Maggie O’Farrell7. Atomic Habits by James Clear8. Fire and Blood by George RR Martin9. Never Go Back by Lee Child10. Echoes Of Eternity by Aaron Dembski-Bowden (Compiled by Audible)

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