Winter books round-up

The weather is turning colder meaning more time indoors cosying up with a good book. Here's some recent releases in fiction and non-fiction

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Fiction

The Bad Neighbour
David Tallerman
(Flame Tree Press, £18.95/Audible, £18.29)

When part-time teacher Ollie Clay buys a rundown house on the outskirts of Leeds, he soon realises that his new neighbour is an antisocial thug. In this novel, David Tallerman explores urban poverty, racial intolerance, gang crime and police corruption – a gritty and thrilling crime drama.
DG

The Book of Alexander
Mark Carew
(Salt, £9.99)
Mark Carew’s debut novel is written with a wit and compassion that is second to none. Alexander is about to embark on a remarkable never before attempted experiment – he will find who he is by writing a book as if he were a detective. The more you read of Alexander’s story, the more you fall in love with him and with Carew’s humor, which is deeply embedded into his writing.
Daniel George

The Doll House
Phoebe Morgan
(HQ, £7.99/Audible, £14.49)

After three failed IVF attempts Corinne is taking her last chance to become a mother. But when she begins to find more and more parts of a dolls house, she realises that they are familiar. Someone has been watching her every move but what are they waiting for? Phoebe Morgan’s debut novel, this gripping psychological thriller has you reading until the very end with a twist that will leave you speechless.
DG

People in the Room
Norah Lange
(And Other Stories, £10)
Translated for the first time into English, People in the Room is a 20th century classic. Spying three people opposite the family home, a young woman begins to imagine what has bought them together. Are they accomplices to a crime, or are they players in an affair with dark consequences? Seen in the Spanish speaking world as a great writer, Lange is sure to delight English readers alike.
DG

The Memory Collector
Fiona Harper
(HQ, £7.99/Audible, £11.37)

In her story based on love, loss and the things we leave behind, Fiona Harper writes about a woman who doesn’t want to remember her childhood. Her mother’s extreme hoarding meant every item is connected to a memory, so an unanswered question can only be found behind the locked door of the spare room – where her mother’s hoard remains hidden. Will the truth finally bring peace to her?
Lucy Fisher

Shell
Kristina Olsson
(Scribner, £12.99/Audible, £14.39)

In her novel set in the Vietnam War, Kristina Olsson, award-winning author from Brisbane, brings the themes of love and fate to life. When Pearl Keogh is relegated for her involvement in the anti-war movement, she is desperate to stop her younger brothers from being drafted in the Vietnam War. Her life collides with Axis Lindquist, a sculptor from Sweden who is haunted by his father’s acts in the Second World War. This optimistic novel is elegantly crafted to make a spellbinding read.
LF

We Were Strangers – Short stories inspired by Unknown Pleasures
Edited by Richard V Hirst
(Confingo Publishing, £12.99)
This anthology of 10 short stories takes inspiration from the debut album, Unknown Pleasures, of Salford-formed band Joy Division. The stories written by 10 authors respond to the themes, texture and imagery of the album and are a combination of sinister, bleak, moving and thrilling, mirroring the themes of the songs on the album.
LF

Night Train
Thom Jones (introduction by Amy Bloom)
(Faber & Faber, £14.99)
This collection of new and selected stories by National Book Award finalist Thom Jones captures his high-octane, entertaining work that featurs characters such as Vietnam soldiers, amateur boxers, psych ward veterans and an unforgettable adolescent DJ host, to name a few. With a stunning introduction from Amy Bloom, readers can enjoy new and long-standing stories from Jones.
LF

If Cats Disappeared from the World
Genki Kawamura
(Picador, £8.99/Audible, £14.87)

Living alone with only his cat Cabbage for company, this first person narrative sees the protagonist diagnosed with a critical illness and given only months to live. When the Devil appears and offers him one extra day of life in exchange for making one thing in the world disappear, we see him struggle to decide what makes life worth living. It’s a story of loss, reconciliation and worth.
LF

Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead
Olga Tokarczuk
(Fitzcarraldo Editions, £12.99)
Man Booker International prize winner Olga Tokarczuk brings us a noir novel within the magical realist genre. Set in a remote village in Poland, the story surrounds a woman in her sixties and the disappearance of her two dogs. When members of her local hunting club are found murdered, she becomes tangled in the investigation. This novel provokes thoughts on our perceptions of madness and is by no means a conventional crime story.
LF

Dark Water
Elizabeth Lowry
(Riverrun, £16.99/Audible, £21.99)

A compelling contribution to the gothic trend, Elizabeth Lowry’s novel explores mystery and love, and not only entertains but also unsettles. An awkward and anxious ship doctor is out of his depth until he meets a fellow shipmate. When their lives are reunited as psychiatrist and patient at a pioneering asylum, one of them is mad, the other becomes devoted to finding his cure. Dark waters are dredged and deep emotions are raised.
LF

The Lightkeeper’s Daughters
Jean E Pendziwol
(Weidenfeld & Nicolson, £8.99/Audible, £19.99)

Jean E Pendziwol illuminates the character Elizabeth in a dark world of blindness. She lives in a lighthouse no longer able to read the books she loves or see the paintings she adores. When her father’s journals are discovered on a shipwrecked boat she must enlist help in order to read them and unlock the mystery at the centre of her life. She uncovers more secrets than she anticipates. This family-focused novel delves into hidden secrets and the nature of identity.
LF

All At Sea
Julian Sayarer
(Arcadia Book Ltd, £9.99)
Having received a mysterious offer from a Luxembourger, Julian Sayarer details how the lives of the indigenous Moken sea gypsies are being changed by real estate developers, oil exploration and industrial tourism. In this, his fourth novel, Sayarer provides a different view to that of the lens as he explores just how much things are changing with this unique and fantastic insight into life on the island of Surin.
DG

Non-Fiction

The Boot Room Boys
Peter Hooton
(Virgin Books, £20)
Lifelong Liverpool Football Club supporter Peter Hooton tells the story of the fabled storage room and meeting place of the club’s formidable backroom staff. With the help of never before seen photographs, an exclusive interview with Roy Evans and fan analysis, Hooton sheds new light on an era in which Liverpool was the most successful side in Europe in the 20th century.
DG

The Fifth Risk: Undoing Democracy
Michael Lewis
(Allen Lane, £20/Audible, £17.99)

From the best-selling author of The Big Short, Moneyball and Liar’s Poker comes a terrifying exposé of the current US administration. Lewis talks to current civil servants who are struggling to cope, having to manage crucial programmes that keep American society going. He exposes Trump’s attempts to privatise publicly funded assets as well as revealing the consequences of the mismanagement that seemingly underpins Trump’s government.
DG

The Beekeeper of Sinjar
Dunya Mikhail
(Serpents Tail, £10.99)
Written by acclaimed poet and journalist Dunya Mikhail, the Beekeeper of Sinjar describes the harrowing experiences of several women who managed to escape the hands of Isis but lost everything in the process. Commonplace in those stories is Abdullah Shrem, a beekeeper who uses his knowledge of the terrain and his wide network of transporters, helpers and former cigarette smugglers to save these women.
DG

Limbo
Dan Fox
(Fitzcarraldo Editions, £10.99)
Dan Fox draws upon his own experiences, fuses family memoirs and takes insight from the politics of the present moment to reflect on the consequences of being creatively and emotionally stuck. He explains how it is vital for growth, inspiration and productivity. Limbo provides a shoulder to lean on for those who are isolated, stranded or trapped.
LF

12 Small Acts To Save Our World
WWF, with a foreword by Ben Fogle
(Century, £12.99)
This book written in support of wildlife charity WWF aims to educate the reader and make them aware that everyone has the power to make a positive impact on the planet. It shines a light on the small acts that make a big difference. Ben Fogle, an ambassador for the charity and UN patron of the wilderness, adds his own insight in the foreword.
LF

The Holy Vible: The Book the Bible Could Have Been
Elis James and John Robins
(Trapeze, £18.99/Audible, £19.99)
Comedians James and Robins have collaborated and assured readers that our obsessions are what make us – you may not have addressed a will to Brian May or cried watching Ronnie O’Sullivan make a 147, but you will have done something similar. If you’re looking for reassurance that weird is the way forward then this is the book to read. The success of The Elis James and John Robins Show on Radio X means their friendship, humour and pure madness has been reflected in their “Vible” for everyday life.
LF

The Little Big Things
Henry Fraser
(Seven Dials, £8.99/Audible, £19.99)

Henry Fraser was 17 when a tragic accident turned his life upside down. Paralysed from the shoulders down, he had to come to terms with the fact that everyone gets challenged in life but being defeated is optional. His mental strength and support mean he is now a motivational speaker and mouth artist, creating some fantastic works of art in light of his dark circumstance. This book is the story of his darkest days to overcoming obstacles and finding progress. JK Rowling provides a humbling foreword to Fraser’s inspiring read.
LF

Always Look on the Bright Side of Life: A Sortabiography
Eric Idle
(Weidenfeld & Nicolson, £20/Audible, £19.99)

Comic performer Eric Idle presents a humorous memoir, including his take on the meaning of his own life. The book takes the reader on a journey from his childhood in a boarding school to his successful career in comedy, television, theatre and film.
LF

You Are Here: A Brief Guide to the World
Nicholas Crane
(Weidenfeld & Nicolson, £12.99/Audible, £6.99)

Nicholas Crane makes the case that geography has never been so important to humanity. This book aims to prove the point that knowledge is our best guarantor of the future for the planet. From floods to extreme heatwaves, our planet needs geographical science to face these concerns.
LF

Attention: Dispatches from the Land of Distraction
Joshua Cohen
(Fitzcarraldo Editions, £14.99)
In this collection of published and new essays, memoirs, criticism, letters and diaries, Joshua Cohen explores the ways we can reclaim the power of attention in an age of constant distraction. On topics ranging from Donald Trump to landscape photography, Cohen passes on his ability to draw connections between seemingly disparate things, demonstrating how not to become daunted.
LF

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