Five new books to read this week

Looking for a gritty crime movie or a great children’s book? This week’s editions have you covered…

imagination

1. The Long Knives By Irvine Welch, published by Jonathan Cape. Available Aug 25

There was a “murder” and detective Ray Lennox is on the case again. In the second installment of Irvin Welch’s crime trilogy – now a TV series starring Dougray Scott – a Member of Parliament is castrated and left to bleed in a Leith warehouse. As Lennox swings from Edinburgh to London and back, the various threads of his chaotic world are played out at a dizzying pace. He retreats from alcohol and drugs to deal with his own problems, reflects on the issue of gender identity and is closer to home. As losses begin to pile up, the broader question is: Who are the real victims here? Dialogue is joy, but not for the faint of heart. He is sharp, fearless, passionate, and wonderful.
10/10
(Emily Benink review)

2. The Return of Carrie Soto was written by Taylor Jenkins Reid and published by Hutchinson Heinemann in hardcover. Available Aug 30

Taylor Jenkins Reed’s novels have previously followed fictional rock stars and Hollywood royalty, but her latest show has moved away from entertainment shows to the surprising world of tennis. Carrie Soto is a 37-year-old retired champ when she decided to return to the sport to claim her winning record back from Briton Nikki Chan. Not every woman worries about winning a Grand Slam, but many likely associate Soto’s challenges with getting older, wanting everything, and trying to manage a spirit of fierce competition when the world expects a woman to remain calm and smile sweetly. For these reasons you find yourself rooting for the star, despite a situation that isn’t about endearing herself to others. Jenkins Red has written another page flipping tool that will get you hooked, from first submission to match point.
9/10
(Review of Eleanor Barlow)

3. Haven by Emma Donoghue is published in hardcover by Picador. Available now

Emma Donoghue’s literary repertoire seems to know no bounds. Her most recent novel follows three monks in Ireland in the seventh century as they set out to found a new monastery. After Prior Art has a dream telling him to leave the wrong world behind, he sets out on the Shannon River with no more than a small boat and his two companions. Believing solitude will bring them closer to God, the three monks struggle to build a new life on a large chunk of rock in the Atlantic Ocean. And while they wait for God’s measure, faith and obedience begin to fight survival. Donoghue’s disturbing prose heightens a slow-burning novel that brims with passion, dedication, and self-preservation.
7/10
(Rebecca Wilcock review)

non-fiction

4. “How to Read Now” by Elaine Castillo and published by Atlantic Books. Available now

This is a straightforward collection of essays made to highlight the inherited facts and assumptions that writers, directors, and philosophers have made as they set out to tell a story. How To Read Now bravely exposes what Costello sees as an elitist, colonial, and gendered privilege in a range of classic and popular literature and films, including the writings of Henry James, Joan Didion, and J.K. Rowling. Well written and enthusiastically discussed, you may find this book thought provoking and problematic, sitting somewhere between educated literary criticism and bitter rants. Costello’s writing is loud and arrogant at times, though it manages at least to some extent in making you question your reading choices and the motives behind publishing in general. If you can tolerate the argumentative style, you will undoubtedly come away with a critical eye and a more honest understanding of your own inherited facts.
6/10
(Scarlett Sangster review)

Children’s book of the week

5. A Pair of Pears and Oranges by Anna MacGregor and published in Hardback by the writer. Available now

(writer/PA)

Parents and children alike will be delighted with the adorable illustrations in “Pair of Pears and Oranges”. After all, who wouldn’t want to see fruit come alive, ride bikes and play ping pong? It may be a story about fruit, but it’s an endless story. Big Pear and Little Pear always play together, but their games change when a new friend, Orange, joins, and Big Pear begins to feel left out. It’s a story about making new friends, being open to new experiences and navigating jealousy. It sure helps that the illustrations are pretty, and there’s a message out there for every kid.
8/10
(reviewed by Prudence Wade)

Reserve your charts for the week ending August 20

HARDBACK (Illusion)
1. Kevin Bridges’ black dog
2. Genesis Chris Carter
3. Eaters of Sunni Din book
4. Girlcrush by Florence Geffen
5. Evolution of the Knife by Anthony Horowitz
6. Chemistry Lessons Bonnie Jarmus
7. Her Royal Majesty Coven by Juno Dawson
8. Jess Kidd’s Night Ship
9. Murder before Evensong by Reverend Richard Coles
10. Isaac and the Egg by Bobby Palmer
(compiled by Waterstones)

HARDBACK (non-fiction)
1. Ella Deliciously How To Go-Based by Ella Mills (Woodward)
2. How to Live When You Could Die by Deborah James
3. Why didn’t anyone tell me this before? by Dr. Julie Smith
4. Jane’s Sweet Celebration! by Jane Dun
5. Revenge of Tom Power
6. James Exeter’s Guide to Quitting Social Media by James Exeter
7. Kitchen Retreat by Nikki Corbicley
8. Femina by Janina Ramirez
9. House arrest by Alan Bennett
10. The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse by Charlie MacKizzie
(compiled by Waterstones)

Audiobooks (fiction and non-fiction)
1. James Exeter’s Guide to Quitting Social Media by James Exeter
2. Where does Cordades sing by Delia Owens
3. The Evolution of the Knife by Anthony Horowitz
4. Robert Galbraith’s Black Ink Heart
5. Why didn’t anyone tell me this before? by Dr. Julie Smith
6. The terrible kindness of Joe Browning and Roo
7. Atomic Habits by James Clear
8. That’s right by Miriam Margolis
9. Chemistry Lessons Bonnie Jarmus
10. The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Othman
(Developed by Audible)

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