Happy super Thursday, book fans


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It's a seasonal harbinger as reliable as the depressing appearance of the first high-street Christmas trees. In a three-week autumn frenzy, publishers blanket shelves virtual and real with the books that will compete in the lucrative Christmas charts.

Last Thursday had a claim to be "Super Thursday," as weekly release splurges have become known. The Bookseller magazine prefers 11 October, but with new titles by heavyweights JK Rowling and Jamie Oliver, today has perhaps the best chance of producing the biggest seller.

Here, we present the hardbacks out today we think have the best shot at Christmas glory (if not always with the greatest literary merit), with betting odds provided by William Hill.

The War We Never Fought, Peter Hitchens

The Mail on Sunday columnist, described as its fulminator-in-chief, slams the Government for its so-called war on drugs and soft stance on cannabis. Christmas No 1 odds: 66/1

A History of the World, Andrew Marr

Fresh from his bottom-grabbing brouhaha, the BBC politics man spans the globe in an ambitious attempt to chart the history of everything, and how it shaped us 20/1

The Casual Vacancy, J.K. Rowling

The books gazillionaire is back, banishing childish tales with a story of small-town social and, occasionally, sexual upheaval that would make Harry Potter's wand tremble 3/1

Vanished Years, Rupert Everett

In a follow-up to his acclaimed memoir, Red Carpets and Other Banana Skins, the British actor promises more tales in what ought to be the pick of the celeb titles 50/1

Steven Gerrard: My Liverpool Story, Steven Gerrard

The Liverpool and England stalwart updates his award-winning 2007 autobiography but apparently without the help of big-name sports writer, Henry Winter 50/1

A Medal for Leroy, Michael Morpurgo

The story of a boy inspired by a medal to uncover the hidden history of his father, an RAF pilot lost in the Second World War, is the long-awaited new work from the War Horse author 33/1

Nice to Meet You, Jessie J

The story behind the Olympic closing ceremony limelight-hogging singer, 24, who presents her first "bold and intimate" memoir that will "shock and enthral," she says 16/1

Grimm Tales: For Young and Old, Philip Pullman

Pullman finds new dark material in the classic fairytales of the Brothers Grimm, 50 of which he retells in his own voice, before offering a brief commentary on each 12/1

Honest: My Story So Far, Tulisa Contostavlos

Who'll have the X Factor, Cheryl or Tulisa? Contostavlos gets a head start with Honest, an account of a life much lived in 24 years. Here's betting it's the most interesting 16/1

Jamie's 15-Minute Meals, Jamie Oliver

Not content to break sales records with his 30-Minute Meals (1.2 million copies), Oliver is back with dishes for the even busier cook – and the biggest chart threat to Rowling 1/3