Life

5 new books to read this week

This week’s bookcase includes reviews of My Favourite Mistake by Marian Keyes and Caledonian Road by Andrew O’Hagan.

New books to read this week
New books to read this week

Marian Keyes is back with her latest novel, travelling from New York to a small town in Ireland…

Fiction

1. My Favourite Mistake by Marian Keyes is published in hardback by Michael Joseph, priced £22 (ebook £11.99). Available April 11

Long-standing fans of Irish bestselling author Marian Keyes will be thrilled that her new novel focuses on one of the Walsh sisters – the large fictional family several of her books are weaved around. This time, fuelled by what was dubbed ‘the great resignation’ after the height of the pandemic, Anna, now in her late forties, has quit her dream New York job in beauty PR to move back to Ireland with no plan, eventually helping a friend set up a fancy coastal retreat in a small town (an idea locals hate). My Favourite Mistake expertly tackles issues of gentrification, perimenopause and bereavement, while also managing to stay humorous and heartwarming, and of course there’s a central romance that’ll keep you guessing – classic Keyes traits. It takes a little longer to get going than some of her previous bestsellers, but with a bit of patience, readers will fall just as in love with her flawed, relatable characters and enjoy Keyes’ skillfully comical observations of family life and love.


7/10

(Review by Lauren Taylor)

2. Caledonian Road by Andrew O’Hagan is published in hardback by Faber & Faber, priced £20 (ebook £12.99). Available now

Caledonian Road is a funny, tender and at times devastating deep dive into modern society and the murky worlds of money-laundering, street gangs and corruption. Award-winning author Andrew O’Hagan’s latest novel is based around the arterial road bisecting some of north London’s poorest and most affluent neighbourhoods. It is here that Campbell Flynn, academic and celebrity pundit, has a seemingly comfortable life in an upmarket townhouse. Things begins to unravel after his path crosses with provocative student Milo Mangasha, a young man with a plan. As Campbell becomes increasingly drawn in, an interwoven plot thickens with disastrous consequences for friends, family and acquaintances. It appears that no-one is safe. Meanwhile, there is something rotten under the floorboards in Campbell’s house that no amount of expensive scented candles can mask. Glasgow-born O’Hagan has been nominated for a Booker Prize three times – could this be fourth time lucky? Caledonian Road is a massive page turner.


Score 10/10


(Review by Emily Pennink)

3. The Morningside by Tea Obreht is published in hardback by W&N, priced £20 (ebook £11.99). Available April 11

Tea Obreht’s The Morningside follows in a similar vein to her previous novel, The Tiger’s Wife, examining the experience of displacement and how stories, friendship and family bind us; all laced with a liberal dose of magic realism. In a post-apocalyptic world where rising tides have claimed cities and war has claimed communities, eleven-year-old Sil and her mother join her aunt in the dilapidated Island City, moving into the former luxury high-rise apartments – The Morningside. Lonely, curious and fuelled by her aunt’s fantastical stories about her homeland, Silvia begins to wonder who the enigmatic occupant of the building’s penthouse really is, setting out to discover the truth. This isn’t recommended if you’re after a gritty dystopian imagining of a collapsed future society, but it entertains as a character-driven saunter through myth and worlds beyond the veil of our own reality, ultimately revealing the truth about who we really are.


7/10


(Review by Amanda Willard)

Non-fiction

4. Nuclear War: A Scenario by Annie Jacobsen is published in hardback by Torva, priced £20 (ebook £10.99). Available now

There are no winners and we blast ourselves back to the Stone Age is the terrifying outcome of the nuclear war scenario presented by 2016 Pulitzer Prize finalist Annie Jacobsen in her new non-fiction thriller, Nuclear War: A Scenario. North Korea goes rogue and fires a nuclear missile at Washington DC, giving the President of the United States just six minutes to decide how to respond. With the help of impressive expert interviews, Jacobsen examines what happens over the next 26 minutes and 40 seconds in painstaking detail, the time it takes for the world’s most dangerous weapon to travel across the globe and strike its target. What she discovers is a series of risky policies and protocols fraught with pitfalls that leave the door wide open for mutual destruction. Her captivating investigation swings back and forth between the sequence of events as the clock counts down to nuclear detonation and descriptions of the mindboggling scale of human suffering it will cause. A book not for the faint-hearted.


8/10


(Review by Tom Campbell)

Children’s book of the week

5. Dance With Oti: The Turtle Tango by Oti Mabuse, illustrated by Samara Hardy, is published in paperback by Walker Books, priced £7.99 (ebook £7.99). Available now

This is the latest in former Strictly pro Oti Mabuse’s charming picture book series, starring the dancer as teacher ‘Mrs Oti’ showing a new dance to her students. This time round, the book is inspired by the tango, and sees Mrs Oti take her kids to the local aquarium, teaching them the dance, which they then perform at the grand opening. As well as mastering the steps, the kids also learn about how turtles never leave each other behind – and how there’s always joy to be found in dance. While the book is somewhat overly saccharine – older kids and parents might not find it quite so engaging – it’s still an upbeat, positive read, with a lovely addition of how to do the turtle tango yourself at the end of the book.


6/10


(Review by Prudence Wade)

BOOK CHARTS FOR THE WEEK ENDING APRIL 6

HARDBACK (FICTION)


1. Caledonian Road by Andrew O’Hagan


2. The Last Murder At The End Of The World By Stuart Turton


3. The Wrong Sister by Claire Douglas


4. Iron Flame by Rebecca Yarros


5. Medea by Rosie Hewlett


6. Carrie (50th anniversary edition) by Stephen King


7. The Gentleman From Peru by André Aciman


8. Until August by Gabriel Garcia Marquez


9. A Fate Inked In Blood by Danielle L. Jensen


10. The House of Mirrors by Erin Kelly


(Compiled by Waterstones)

HARDBACK (NON-FICTION)


1. Our Fight: by Ronda Rousey


2. Easy Wins by Anna Jones


3. The Trading Game by Gary Stevenson


4. A Very Private School by Charles Spencer


5. Bored Of Lunch Healthy Slow Cooker: Even Easier by Nathan Anthony


6. The Anxious Generation by Jonathan Haidt


7. Blossomise by Simon Armitage


8. WHAT by John Cooper Clarke


9. Crypt by Alice Roberts


10. The Man: Not Your Average Average Girl by Becky Lynch


(Compiled by Waterstones)

AUDIOBOOKS (FICTION AND NON-FICTION)


1. The Three-Body Problem by Cixin Liu and Ken Liu


2. Prima Facie by Suzie Miller


3. Atomic Habits by James Clear


4. None of This Is True by Lisa Jewell


5. The Dark Forest by Cixin Liu and Joel Martinsen


6. Unruly by David Mitchell


7. The List of Suspicious Things by Jennie Godfrey


8. Stardust by Neil Gaiman


9. The Trading Game by Gary Stevenson


10. The Women by Kristin Hannah


(Compiled by Audible)