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I take the titles for these monthly posts from a number of sources, including the highlighted books on The Bookseller, my own knowledge of authors to watch, and various lists around the web, and while I can’t claim to have read them, they definitely seem to have merit — or, at least, buzz. Unless indicated otherwise, descriptions are taken from Goodreads, Amazon, or the publisher’s site.
The most reliable place to find UK books in the original British English and at the date at which they come out in the UK is bookdepository.com, though you may also have some luck with wordery.com and bookwitty.com.
Ballet: The Definitive Illustrated Story, by Viviana Durante (US, 4th September, UK, 6th September, non-fiction)
From its origins at court and the first national ballet companies, to the contemporary scene and extraordinary venues that stage the production, this ballet book covers an impressive history of ballet and provides an invaluable overview of the subject. Filled with rarely seen photographs covering all the key figures, pieces, and performances, and compelling facts about each dance – the sources they draw from, their production history, and their reception over time –Ballet: The Definitive Illustrated Story is an essential gift for all ballet enthusiasts.
Transcription, by Kate Atkinson (UK, 6th September, US, 25th November, literary fiction)
In 1940, eighteen-year old Juliet Armstrong is reluctantly recruited into the world of espionage. Sent to an obscure department of MI5 tasked with monitoring the comings and goings of British Fascist sympathizers, she discovers the work to be by turns both tedious and terrifying. But after the war has ended, she presumes the events of those years have been relegated to the past for ever. Ten years later, now a producer at the BBC, Juliet is unexpectedly confronted by figures from her past. A different war is being fought now, on a different battleground, but Juliet finds herself once more under threat. A bill of reckoning is due, and she finally begins to realize that there is no action without consequence.
Rosie Loves Jack, by Mel Darbon (UK, 6th September, YA)
Rosie loves Jack. Jack loves Rosie. So when they’re separated, Rosie will do anything to find the boy who makes the sun shine in her head. Even run away from home. Even struggle across London and travel to Brighton, though the trains are cancelled and the snow is falling. Even though people might think a girl like Rosie could never survive on her own.
The Rise and Fall of Becky Sharp, by Sarra Manning (UK, 6th September, contemporary fiction)
Becky Sharp has big dreams and no connections. Determined to swap the gutters of Soho for the glamorous, exclusive world behind the velvet rope, Becky will do anything to achieve fame, riches and status. Whether it’s seducing society’s most eligible bachelors, or befriending silly debutantes and rich old ladies, Becky Sharp is destined for great things. Because it might be tough at the top but it’s worse at the bottom. From London to Paris and beyond, Becky Sharp is going places – so get the hell out of her way…
Fierce Fairytales: Poems and Stories to Stir Your Soul, by Nikita Gill (UK, 6th September, US, 11th September, short stories)
Reimagining traditional tales, this empowering collection of stories, poems and beautiful hand-drawn illustrations gives Once Upon a Time a much-needed modern makeover. Gone are the gender stereotypes of obliging lovers, violent men and girls that need rescuing. Instead, lines blur between heroes and villains and you’ll meet brave princesses, a new kind of wolf lurking in the concrete jungle and a courageous Gretel who can bring down monsters on her own.
Help Me!: One Woman’s Quest to Find Out if Self-Help Really Can Change Her Life, by Marianne Power (UK, 6th September, US, 15th January 2019, non-fiction)
Marianne Power was stuck in a rut. Then one day she wondered: could self-help books help her find the elusive perfect life? She decided to test one book a month for a year, following their advice to the letter. What would happen if she followed the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People? Really felt The Power of Now? Could she unearth The Secret to making her dreams come true? What begins as a clever experiment becomes an achingly poignant story. Because self-help can change your life – but not necessarily for the better…
Queen Victoria: Daughter, Wife, Mother, Widow, by Lucy Worsley (UK, 6th September, US, 8th January, non-fiction)
Bestselling author and historian Lucy Worsley tracks a new course through Queen Victoria’s life, examining how she transformed from dancing princess to the Widow of Windsor and became one of Britain’s greatest monarchs along the way. Taking twenty-four significant days from Victoria’s life, from her birth, her wedding, her coronation to her husband’s death, and many more in between, allows us to see Victoria up close and personal, examining how she lived hour to hour. Published to coincide with the 200th anniversary of Queen Victoria’s birth, this major new biography will celebrate Queen Victoria as a woman of her time, who lived an extraordinary life.
Sunny Side Up: A Story of Kindness and Joy, by Susan Calman (UK, US ebook and audiobook, 6th September, non-fiction/humour)
Susan Calman’s enthusiasm at being on Strictly Come Dancing was an inspiration to all of us. Cheer Up Love, Susan’s first book, had a clear aim: to help people understand depression. Sunny Side Up has a similarly clear path: to persuade people to be kinder to each other and spread more joy. These are extremely difficult and confusing times – people are cross and shouty. It’s exhausting! But more than anything, people like Susan, people who don’t hate other people, are apologising for the way that they think. Susan wants to make sure that they don’t. That it’s ok to love people, that kindness is something wonderful and brilliant and to bring on the joy.
Breaking News: The Remaking of Journalism and Why It Matters Now, by Alan Rusbridger (UK, 6th September, US, 27th November, non-fiction)
The news media have been disrupted by huge and fast-moving changes. The growth of social media and with it the ability of billions of people to publish has created a vast amount of unreliable and false news which now competes with, and sometimes drowns, more established forms of journalism. The President of the United States regularly lies to the public and brands his critics ‘fake’. Politicians openly rubbish the views of ‘so-called experts’. Where can we look for reliable, verifiable sources of news and information? What does all this mean for democracy? And what will the future hold? Reflecting on his twenty years as editor of the Guardian; and his experience of breaking some of the most significant news stories of our time, including the Edward Snowden revelations, phone-hacking, Wikileaks and the Keep it in the Ground campaign, Rusbridger answers these questions and offers a stirring defence of why quality journalism matters now more than ever.
A Beer in the Loire: One Family’s Quest to Brew British Beer in French Wine Country, by Tommy Barnes (UK, US ebook only, 13th September, memoir)
Frustrated by a dead end job, fed up with renting and the loathsome daily commute and, to cap it all, failing to make it as a stand-up comedian, Tommy Barnes was at breaking point. But he didn t break – instead he made himself redundant and took off to France with girlfriend Rose to pursue his dream of brewing beer. Settled in a dilapidated house in the Loire they are beset by calamities (mainly of Tommy s making), mad neighbours and an unexpected pregnancy. Not to mention, Burt the Satanic dog who truly has it in for his master. Featuring colourful characters, a stunning location a collection of beer recipes, this is an irresistible feast of humour and heart.
Dear Mr Pop Star, by Derek and Dave Philpott (UK and US, 20th September, non-fiction)
For more than a decade, Derek Philpott and his son, Dave, have been writing to pop stars from the 1960s to the 90s to take issue with the lyrics of some of their best-known songs. But then, to their great surprise, the pop stars started writing back… Dear Mr Pop Star contains 100 of Derek and Dave’s greatest hits, including correspondence with Katrina and the Waves, Tears for Fears, Squeeze, The Housemartins, Suzi Quatro, Devo, Deep Purple, Nik Kershaw, T Pau, Human League, Eurythmics, Wang Chung, EMF, Mott the Hoople, Heaven 17, Jesus Jones, Johnny Hates Jazz, Carter the Unstoppable Sex Machine, Chesney Hawkes and many, many more.
The Good Guys: 50 Heroes Who Changed the World with Kindness, by Rob Kemp (UK, 20th September, non-fiction)
What if we celebrated boys for their kindness as well their strength? For their generosity as well as their success? For their loyal friendship as well as their charm? The Good Guys introduces us to 50 heroes who have showed that changing the world doesn’t require a sword or a corporate jet. Readers will find stories of extraordinary men including Muhammad Ali, Professor Green, Patrick Stewart and Lionel Messi, as well as unsung heroes such as James Harrison, who has spent fifty years donating his rare blood to save millions of babies. There’s even a section celebrating ten boys who didn’t let their young age stop them from helping others. Good Guys celebrates the feats of heroes and everyday men, and will show kids that it really is cool to be kind.
Prue: My All-time Favourite Recipes, by Prue Leith (UK and US, 20th September, cookery)
Great British Bake Off judge Prue Leith draws on a life-long passion for food with a hundred recipes from her own kitchen table. Whether it’s Halibut with Green Linguine, Fast Roast Teriyaki Lamb or Slow-cooked Rat-a-tat-touille, these are delicious, fuss-free dishes that Prue has cooked countless times for family and friends. Inside are quick-to-whip-up suppers and dinner party showstoppers that are as much a pleasure to cook as to eat. Expect firmly established favourites, lazy leftovers, meat-free meals, exciting new flavour combinations and fresh takes on classic dishes. There’s also a chapter of puds inspired by Prue’s time on Bake Off – every one guaranteed to be “worth the calories”.