Five new books to read this week

This week’s bookcase includes reviews of Knife by Salman Rushdie and James by Percival Everett.

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

This week sees the release of Sir Salman Rushdie’s highly anticipated account of surviving a knife attack while on stage…


1. James by Percival Everett is published in hardback by Mantle, priced £20 (ebook £9.99). Available now

James is a powerful retelling of The Adventures Of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain, from the slave Jim’s perspective. It broadly follows the same Bildungsroman storyline as the original, as Jim escapes with young boy Huck – you’ll recognise characters like con men Prince and Duke and various other tableaus along the way. But this version puts Jim’s story front and centre, showing the brutal reality of being a slave that isn’t really represented in Twain’s satire. It’s extremely sharp novel from Booker-shortlisted Percival Everett – dark humour is particularly found in the way slaves code-switch with their language, dumbing themselves down around white people to seem less threatening. You might think you know Huck Finn’s story – but this version breathes new life into it with unexpected twists and turns, making it a must read.


(Review by Prudence Wade)

2. The Familiar by Leigh Bardugo is published in hardback by Viking, priced £20 (ebook £10.99). Available now

Luzia Cotado is a scullion in the new capital of Madrid, where she toils away in the kitchen depths of a household, longing for a step up in life. The only glimmer of hope she has is her magic, which she uses sparingly so as not to attract attention. But hiding in the shadows only lasts so long, and when the socially ambitious mistress of the household discovers her secret powers, Luzia’s life takes a different turn. Suddenly she’s performing at the tables of nobility and the socially upward, no longer scrubbing pots and relying on scraps to get by. But everything has a price, as Luzia will soon learn. From author Leigh Bardugo, whose work includes the Ninth House, Hell Bent, and the Shadow and Bone Grishaverse series, which has been adapted into a Netflix series, The Familiar is spellbinding. The story moves at pace, with characters who captivate you as you’re drawn into the web of their lives. The only question for Bardugo is: please deliver more. Surely the magic can’t stop here.


(Review by Kerri-Ann Roper)

3. The Amendments by Niamh Mulvey is published in hardback by Picador, priced £16.99 (ebook £8.99). Available April 18

Niamh Mulvey’s debut novel has a sharp premise – sandwiched between the consequences of the introduction of the Eighth Amendment in the 1980s and its repeal around six years ago when the Irish public said yes to changes on abortion law. The consequences of the legislation, which had enshrined “the equal right to life of the pregnant woman and the unborn”, sit in the background of the work and it instead explores how women, Nell, whose partner Adrienne is expecting a child, her mother Dolores, and religious group member Martina, grappled with Ireland’s cultural changes. The interesting subject matter and clever storytelling does help draw you into the book, but the lack of distinction between the separate three points of view detracts from what is a worthwhile and emotionally challenging read.


(Review by Charlotte McLaughlin)


4. Knife: Meditations After An Attempted Murder by Salman Rushdie is published in hardback by Jonathan Cape, priced £20 (ebook £10.99). Available now

Sir Salman Rushdie was left with life-changing injuries, including losing sight in one eye, following a violent knife attack ahead of him delivering a lecture at the Chautauqua Institution in August 2022. In his new book, Knife: Meditations After An Attempted Murder, Sir Salman recounts his experience of the near-fatal incident and the aftermath, which includes a cancer scare not long after he was repeatedly stabbed. It is a seeringly honest account, including the highs and lows of the long months on a path to recovery. But through it all, the power of love, resilience and his extraordinary way with words shines through. The result is a powerful and poignant read.


(Review by Kerri-Ann Roper)

Children’s book of the week

5. The Magic Callaloo by Trish Cooke, illustrated by Sophie Bass, is published in hardback by Walker Books, priced £12.99 (no ebook). Available now

This is a wonderful and enchanting book that will keep the reader enthralled from start to finish. While the story is loosely based on the fairytale Rapunzel, it has its own magic – telling of a small village which has an enchanted callaloo plant growing in the town square. Unfortunately, there was one very selfish and greedy man who wanted the plant for himself so that he could take all the wishes, plucking all the leaves until there was only one left. So when a young couple are desperate for a baby, they take the final leaf to make their dream come true – but that’s not the end of the evil man’s plots. With extremely colourful illustrations, this book is a delight to read.


(Review by Joanne Brennan)



1. The Familiar by Leigh Bardugo

2. My Favourite Mistake by Marian Keyes

3. Close To Death by Anthony Horowitz

4. Caledonian Road by Andrew O’Hagan

5. James by Percival Everett

6. The Gathering by C. J. Tudor

7. The Household by Stacey Halls

8. Iron Flame by Rebecca Yarros

9. The Gentleman From Peru by André Aciman

10. A Calamity Of Souls by David Baldacci

(Compiled by Waterstones)


1. The House Of Hidden Meanings by RuPaul

2. Bored Of Lunch Healthy Air Fryer: 30 Minute Meals by Nathan Anthony

3. Forever Max by Kerry Irving

4. The Trading Game by Gary Stevenson

5. Easy Wins by Anna Jones

6. A Very Private School by Charles Spencer

7. The Anxious Generation by Jonathan Haidt

8. The Goddess Path by Kirsty Gallagher

9. Code Dependent by Madhumita Murgia

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

(Compiled by Waterstones)


1. My Favourite Mistake by Marian Keyes

2. The Three-Body Problem by Cixin Liu & Ken Liu

3. Close To Death by Anthony Horowitz

4. The Women by Kristin Hannah

5. Prima Facie by Suzie Miller

6. Atomic Habits by James Clear

7. None Of This Is True by Lisa Jewell

8. Cold Granite by Stuart MacBride

9. The Wrong Sister by Claire Douglas

10. Unruly by David Mitchell

(Compiled by Audible)