Books: Five new books to read this week

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FICTION

Brown Girls By Daphne Palasi Andreades is published in hardcover by Fourth Estate, priced at £12.99 (ebook £7.99)

DAPHNE Palasi Andreades breaks with traditional storytelling in this captivating debut. Instead of focusing on one set of characters and following them through life, the book is told from the perspective of “us” – brunette girls from Queens. We follow these brunette girls, who come from very different backgrounds and have a whole range of experiences, from childhood to adulthood. Although their lives aren’t the same — they fall in love with different people, have different jobs and dreams — there’s a definite common experience of being a brunette girl and a brunette woman in America. The writing is beautifully lyrical, both heartwarming and heartbreaking. Sometimes you might wish there was a particular character to follow and connect with, but there’s still plenty of power to be found in Brown Girls.

8/10

Caution Wade

Violeta by Isabel Allende is published in hardcover by Bloomsbury Publishing, priced at £16.99 (ebook £11.89)

BORN into an upper-class family during the Spanish Flu, young Violeta del Valle must navigate family ruin, loss and exile. As a woman, she carves her own path in what readers assume to be Chile. Although it spans a century involving the crash of Wall Street, world wars and political upheaval, it is not historical fiction but a family story. Written like a letter to a loved one, the first-person form reveals its century-old narrator’s love of living. Isabel Allende bares her protagonist – Violeta’s mistakes and regrets are chronicled as much as her successes and growth. Although this is Violeta’s story, it would be nothing without the colorful characters that come and go in her life: lovers, children and friends. At times, Violeta’s existence can feel like a bubble of privilege during decades of Latin American turmoil. As frustrating as Violeta can be, Allende has shaped an authentic person.

8/10

Elspeth Dungeon

Monica Ali’s Love Marriage is published in hardcover by Virago, priced at £18.99 (ebook £9.99)

In Love Marriage, the highly anticipated new novel by Monica Ali, the Brick Lane author weaves a fast-paced yet poignant story of families grappling with hidden secrets. The clash of cultures that sets in at the opening of the novel, between the Indian parents of the young doctor Yasmin Ghorami and the world of her future mother-in-law in Primrose Hill, may seem hackneyed, things take unexpected directions. Yasmin’s parents had a “love marriage”, but there is more to their story than meets the eye. And when it comes to Yasmin’s own marriage, all is not as happy as it seems. Ali wrote an engaging family drama, complete with candid and refreshing sex scenes. Despite being set a few years before the pandemic, Love Marriage brings home the dedication, sacrifice and flawed humanity of NHS workers like never before.

8/10

Catherine Lough

NON FICTION

Control: The Dark History And Troubling Present Of Eugenics by Adam Rutherford is published in hardcover by W&N, priced at £12.99 (ebook £6.99)

ADAM Rutherford takes us on a journey through the history of eugenics to its current practice, revealing how it was born against the backdrop of Darwin’s theory of evolution. Adopted by the world and indoctrinated into political movements and policies, it has led to genocide in some countries. It could be considered a companion to Rutherford’s How To Argue With A Racist – it’s an insightful and compelling look at the history of eugenics, showing how its legacies are still prevalent in our language and literature today. . It’s hard to put down. While no story on this subject is complete without a first lesson in biology, Rutherford makes it easy to digest.

9/10

Sharon Logan

CHILD BOOK OF THE WEEK

The Window by Laura Gehl, illustrated by Udayana Lugo, is published in paperback by Studio Press, priced at £6.99 (no ebook)

Beautifully illustrated and sensitively written, The Window could help guide children grieving the loss of a loved one. For many toddlers, the death of a grandparent might be their first experience of loss, and some children are too young to fully understand what it means right away. Gehl is aware of their feelings in her story, where young Daria enjoys spending time visiting her grandfather and gazing out of his window overlooking the beach. Eventually, her ailing grandfather passes away, leaving Daria to go through many new emotions for a young child, but these must be acknowledged and supported. Readers will appreciate how sympathetic Gehl is to Daria’s memories of happier times with her grandfather. The author’s handling of the loss Daria feels will no doubt be something young minds can relate to.

8/10

Karen Sykes

BOOK CARDS

RECORDED (FICTION)

1. Pandora by Susan Stokes-Chapman

2. The Twyford Code by Janice Hallett

3. Daughter of the Moon Goddess by Sue Lynn Tan

4. In Heaven by Hanya Yanagihara

5. Violeta by Isabel Allende

6. The Man Who Died Twice by Richard Osman

7. Terrible Kindness by Jo Browning Wroe

8. The Christie Affair by Nina de Gramont

9. Beautiful World, Where Are You by Sally Rooney

10. Nita Prose’s Maid

(Compiled by Waterstones)

RECORDED (NON-FICTION)

1. Bigger Than Us by Fearne Cotton

2. Pinch Of Nom Comfort Food by Kay Featherstone and Kate Allinson

3. Why hasn’t anyone told me this before? by Dr. Julie Smith

4. The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse by Charlie Mackesy

5. We Do Lockdown by Miriam Elia

6. What I wish people knew about dementia by Wendy Mitchell

7. It’s Vegan Propaganda by Ed Winters

8. And Away… by Bob Mortimer

9. David Hendy’s BBC

10. The Storyteller by Dave Grohl

(Compiled by Waterstones)

AUDIO BOOKS (FICTION AND NON-FICTION)

1. Why hasn’t anyone told me this before? by Dr. Julie Smith

2. Nita Prose’s Maid

3. Atomic Habits by James Clear

4. Bigger Than Us by Fearne Cotton

5. Windswept and Interesting by Billy Connolly

6. The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

7. Birthdays for the Dead by Stuart MacBride

8. The Man Who Died Twice by Richard Osman

9. Richard Osman’s Thursday Murder Club

10. And Away… by Bob Mortimer

(Compiled by Audible)

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