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5 new books to read this week

This week’s bookcase includes reviews of How To Kill Your Family by Bella Mackie and Sista Sister by Candice Brathwaite.

Prudence Wade
Wednesday 21 July 2021 09:40

New releases include a dark debut and a children’s book celebrating nature…

Fiction

1. How To Kill Your Family by Bella Mackie is published in hardback by The Borough Press, priced £14.99 (ebook £7.99). Available July 22

It could be difficult to make a novel relatable when the protagonist is a snobby, self-obsessed murderer – but while Grace Bernard is rather grating at times, you also can’t help rooting for her. The deliciously addictive How To Kill Your Family – Bella Mackie’s fictional debut – depicts Grace’s mission to avenge her mother, which sees her tracking down numerous relatives, including her famous billionaire father, and picking them off one by one. The sharply dry, dark humour culminates in some laugh-out-loud lines, but the hilarity is balanced with genuinely shocking moments; Grace’s crimes are detailed, clever, and unpredictable. Add in Mackie’s witty observations on society, plus a brilliantly executed twist, and this is one very entertaining read.8/10(Review by Georgia Humphreys)

2. Dream Girl by Laura Lippman is published in hardback by Faber & Faber, priced £14.99 (ebook £7.99). Available now

Gerry Andersen is living in a dream world: bedridden and unable to sleep, he drifts in and out of a pill-induced fug. With ghosts of his past similarly seeping in and out of focus,  he finds it hard to decipher what about his life is real and what is fiction. Laura Lippman’s Dream Girl is a horror story for the #MeToo generation, a world in which fictional characters and real people battle for supremacy. It takes the reader on a rollercoaster ride of emotions, as Gerry battles to see a clear picture of what is actually going on. Lippman has brilliantly woven together truth and lies, with a series of twists and turns as the story builds to an unexpected conclusion.8/10(Review by Roddy Brooks)

3. Three Rooms by Jo Hamya is published in hardback by Jonathan Cape, priced £12.99 (ebook £7.99). Available now

A picture of the confusing post-referendum landscape for young millennials, Three Rooms brings together themes of class, race and belonging in a time when the usual displacement and uncertainty of early adulthood is amplified by the bitter division caused by Brexit. The protagonist’s desires are so simple: a rented property in which to entertain friends, but Jo Hamya lays bare how out of reach this basic achievement is for those on the bottom rung of the ladder. The interactions with the other characters are fascinating and insightful – although the cynicism is sometimes overplayed, this is still a profound, well-written and relatable novel that expertly captures the mood of a generation.7/10(Review by Molly Hunter)

Non-fiction

4. Sista Sister by Candice Brathwaite is published in hardback by Quercus, priced £16.99 (ebook £9.99). Available now

Sista Sister’s title speaks for itself – it’s that older and wiser friend you always wish you’d had, or that sibling who’s got your back. Candice Brathwaite’s second book is a compilation of essays unpicking life’s big lessons: from family, friends and money to black hair, sex and social media – no topic is off limits. The honest and profound words have been chosen carefully and speak volumes about society, making this a must read. Hugely emotive in parts, the author’s warmth and humour radiates off the page. You can’t help but feel she’s talking directly to you over a cup of coffee.9/10(Review by Elspeth Keep)

Children’s book of the week

5. Wild Child: A Journey Through Nature by Dara McAnulty, illustrated by Barry Falls, is published in hardback by Macmillan Children’s Books, priced £14.99 (ebook £8.49). Available now

Dara McAnulty, 17, is making waves as a naturalist, hailed by Springwatch presenter Chris Packham and writer Robert Macfarlane for his conservation activism in Northern Ireland. His first book, a sort-of memoir, was published in May 2020 and this oversized follow-up aims to share his love and enthusiasm for nature with primary school-aged children. It is not really a story – more a prose poem blended with a spotter’s guide to common wildlife. Artist Barry Falls earns a lot of credit for his gorgeous, double page illustrations of a child in a garden, woodland or hills, contrasted with lifelike depictions of birds and bugs. Every page is beautiful but is packed with information too: anything from a brief history of species classification to the collective nouns for birds. There are even instructions on how to make a terrarium and bird feeder – perfect for all children who long to be wild.9/10(Review by Natalie Bowen)

BOOK CHARTS FOR THE WEEK ENDING JULY 17

HARDBACK (FICTION)1. Klara And The Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro2. The Nameless Ones by John Connolly3. Songbirds by Christy Lefteri4. Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid5. The Passenger by Ulrich Alexander Boschwitz6. Ariadne by Jennifer Saint7. The Invisible Life Of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab8. Sunset by Jessie Cave,9. S. by J.J. Abrams & Doug Dorst (author)10. Uzumaki by Junji Ito(Compiled by Waterstones)

HARDBACK (NON-FICTION)1. The Comfort Book by Matt Haig2. Vaxxers by Sarah Gilbert & Catherine Green3. Bunnyman by Will Sergeant4. The Boy, The Mole, The Fox And The Horse by Charlie Mackesy5. Landslide by Michael Wolff6. Guinness World Records 2021 by Guinness World Records7. Women Don’t Owe You Pretty by Florence Given8. The Right Sort Of Girl by Anita Rani9. The Power Of Geography by Tim Marshall10. Joe’s Family Food by Joe Wicks(Compiled by Waterstones)

AUDIOBOOKS (FICTION AND NON-FICTION)1. His and Hers by Alice Feeney2. The Virginia Woolf Collection by Virginia Woolf3. Home Stretch by Graham Norton4. Rules For Perfect Murders by Peter Swanson5. The Other Passenger by Louise Candlish6. Landslide by Michael Wolff7. The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman8. Thinking About It Only Makes It Worse by David Mitchell9. Atomic Habits by James Clear10. P. G. Wodehouse Volume 2 by P. G. Wodehouse(Compiled by Audible)

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