Fiction pick

In Memoriam by Alice Winn

With accolades from Maggie O’Farrell and Elizabeth Day, In Memoriam is one of those debut novels so accomplished that has made the literary world sit up and stand to attention. It tells the love story of two young men, Gaunt and Ellwood. One moment, they are schoolboys and friends who believe their love for one another is unrequited, the next they are caught go caught up in the defeaning horrors of the First World War, which they witness from the front line. In Memoriam is gripping, tender, immersive and, most of all, completely unforgettable.

(Viking, £14.99)

Non-fiction pick

Enchantment by Katherine May

Katherine May changed the way many of us perceived winter, as well as the importance of relaxing and repair, in her bestselling book Wintering: The Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult Times. Now the author is back with another life-enhancing read, this time on the joy and power of awe and wonder. Enchantment is a lovingly written book which encourages us to be far more deliberate in our attention to the tiny moments of magic in the everyday, and a lovely reminder to embrace the beauty of the natural word.

(Faber, £16.99)

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Best of the rest

Birnam Wood by Eleanor Catton

Catton was 28 when she became the youngest person to ever win The Booker Prize for The Luminaries. Now she has returned with an equally dazzling novel about a group of guerrilla gardeners working in an abandoned farm following natural disaster.

(Granta, £20)

Strange Sally Diamond by Liz Nugent

Our eponymous character doesn’t know why she isn’t like other people, but following the death of her father, her dark past begins to unspool before her. Strange Sally Diamond is another unsettling, page-turning read from the bestselling author.

(Sandycove, £14.99)

Old Babes in the Wood by Margaret Atwood

The inimitable author of The Handmaid’s Tale is spectacular at short stories, so what a joy it is for her to publish her first collection in 9 years. Old Babes in the Wood covers everything from friendships to cats to George Orwell.

(Chatto & Windus, £22)

The Anniversary by Stephanie Bishop

An author on the precipice of literary stardom is on a cruise with her husband to celebrate their anniversary when he falls off the ship in a storm. The Anniversary is a disquieting, stunning book about marriage, art, power and creativity.

(W&N, £16.99)

Cursed Bread by Sophie Mackintosh

The author of some of our finest contemporary dystopian novels returns with an eerie and intoxicating feminist fable based on real events, in which Elodie is a baker’s wife in a small French town that is gripped by a series of disconcerting events.

(Hamish Hamilton, £16.99)

Rootless by Krystle Zara Appiah

Efe and Sam’s marriage is in crisis: she has boarded a plane to Ghana and he is left behind in London with their daughter. Rootless is the story of how they got to this point, and a heart-breaking tale about motherhood and freedom.

(Borough Press, £16.99)

Old God’s Time by Sebastian Barry

Tom Kettle is a retired policeman settling into a quiet life on the coast when he is dragged back into an old case he never came to terms with – and into the darkest crevices of his own past. Old God’s Time is storytelling at its finest.

(HarperFiction, £16.99)

Fire Rush by Jacqueline Crooks

A rich and rhythmic story about love and music set in the 1970s and 80s, Fire Rush is a startlingly good debut. “I felt charged and changed,” said Booker-prize winning author Bernardine Evaristo after reading it.

(Jonathon Cape, £16.99)

Wandering Souls by Cecile Pin

Tracing the splintered lives of three orphaned siblings as they leave Vietnam at the end of war, grow up in refugee camps and then start afresh in Thatcher’s Britain, Wandering Souls is a devastatingly beautiful book.

(4th Estate, £14.99)

More on iWeekend

Nothing Special by Nicole Flattery

Two high school students get caught up in Andy Warhol’s art scene in this debut novel from the Sally Rooney-endorsed writer. Vibrant and acid-drop sharp, Flattery is one to watch.

(Bloomsbury, £16.99)

Dr No by Percival Everett

Wala Kitu is the mathematics professor recruited by a billionaire villain to break into Fort Knox in this weird and wonderful story. Dr No is deadpan satire at its best, from the Pulitzer-shortlisted author.

(Influx, £9.99)

Ravenous by Henry Dimbleby

Government advisor, author of the National Food Strategy and founder of Leon, Dimbleby reveals the eye-opening truth about how our food systems shape both the planet and the modern diet – and, crucially, what we can do about it.

(Profile, £16.99)

The State of Us by Jon Snow

The veteran journalist uses his fifty-year career, and the stories he’s covered over the course of it, as a means to explore how we got to where we are as a nation. A fascinating, full-of-insight call to arms.

(Bantam, £20)

Why Women Grow by Alice Vincent

From the gardening expert and author of Rootbound comes a beautiful meditation on the overlooked history of female gardeners, tracing how women have drawn strength and power from the natural world.

(Canongate, £16.99)

The Patriarchs by Angela Saini

Following her acclaimed books Inferior and Superior, Saini has turned her attention to the concept of patriarchy and the ways in which it has been embedded since ancient times. Another rigorous and illuminating read.

(HarperCollins, £20)

One Moment by Becky Hunter

When Scarlett dies, she watches from beyond the ripple effect that her loss has on her loved ones. Evie struggles to cope without her best friend, and definitely can’t forgive Nate, who she blames for Scarlett’s death in this moving read.

(Corvus, £14.99)

The Earth Transformed by Peter Frankopan

Exploring how the changing climate has moulded the development and demise of civilizations over history, The Earth Transformed is another astonishingly interesting book from the professor and bestselling author of The Silk Roads.

(Bloomsbury, £30)

Lady Macbethad by Isabelle Schuler

Imagining the origin story of Gruoch, the real-life 11th-century wife to Shakespeare’s Macbeth, Lady MacBethad is a tale of love and revenge which is both dazzlingly clever and difficult to put down.

(Raven, £14.99)

More on Books

Dirty Laundry by Disha Bose

When Ciara, queen bee of the local mums, is found dead in her pristine home, secrets and lies of Cork suburbia begin to unsnarl. Dirty Laundry is a pacy, domestic thriller for fans of Liane Moriarty.

(Viking, £14.99)

Clytemnestra by Costanza Casati

A long overdue reinterpretation of one of the most notorious figures in Greek Mythology, this deft novel tells the story of a woman pushed to terrible measures by the actions of her husband.

(Michael Joseph, £16.99)

I Will Find You by Harlan Coben

A man wrongly convicted of murdering his own son escapes prison and heads in search of the truth. Coben is known for his twisty stories, some of which have been turned into binge-worthy Netflix dramas, and he delivers another deliciously satisfying one in I Will Find You.

(Cornerstone, £20)

All the Little Bird-Hearts by Viktoria Lloyd-Barlow

When a couple move in next door and take an interest in Sunday Forrester’s headstrong 16-year-old daughter, her carefully ordered world begins to crumble. All the Little Bird-Hearts is moving, funny and lyrical.

(Tinder Press, £18.99)

Furies, with an introduction by Sandi Toksvig

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the feminist publisher Virago, 15 acclaimed female writers including Kamila Shamsie and Ali Smith have penned incisive stories for this collection of “the wicked, wild and untamed.”

(Virago, £16.99)

Deep Down by Imogen West-Knights

When Billie and Tom lose their father, it forces them to address their all-too distant relationship. Deep Down is a wonderfully astute and often hilarious look at sibling relationships, intimacy and family repression.

(Fleet, £14.99)

The Theory of (Not Quite) Everything by Kara Gnodde

Following the death of her parents, Mimi’s maths genius of a brother convinces her to manage her love life according to mathematic logic. But when Frank comes into her life, a family secret is unearthed.

(Mantle, £14.99)

Murder Under the Tuscan Sun by Rachel Rhys

When Constance Bowen becomes a middle-aged widow, she leaves 1920s England for the remote Tuscan hills. But here, things turn even more sinister in this spellbinding mystery with shades of Patricia Highsmith and Agatha Christie.

(Penguin, £9.99)

CBeebies star puts himself in the picture

“We can all dream big, no matter who we are,” George Webster once said, and quite rightly too. As CBeebies’ first presenter with Down’s syndrome, Webster has had his fair share of obstacles in life. He has recalled being bullied in school, and feeling disheartened that no one in books or on television looked like him.

Yet Webster, from the village of Rawdon in Leeds, dreamed big – and found out there is very little he cannot do. His presenting work has won him a Bafta, he has acted on stage and on screen, and even been a contestant on the Strictly Come Dancing Christmas special, doing an exuberant Charleston with his partner Amy Dowden last December.

Now, the 22-year-old has written a children’s book, This is Me, which is a triumphant and utterly joyful celebration of our differences and what makes us each and every one of us unique.

Beautifully illustrated by Tim Budgen, the picture book is Webster’s colourful and cheering autobiography, a small step towards addressing the historic lack of diversity in children’s books, and rightfully centres him as the hero of his own story. He tells us that his eyes are sparkly like his mums, that he is determined to be brave like his dad and, similar to his sister, he is full of fun.

This is Me is bursting with the kind of sentiments that are both uplifting and important. “I have an extra ingredient, a sparkling of magic inside,” he writes. “Some people, they say that I’m special, but that’s not what I think…You see, we’re made of different ingredients that help us shine like a star. My glow is what makes me who I am, and yours will make you who you are.”

Webster reminds his readers how boring the world would be if everyone was the same, making it the kind of rhyming picture book that every family ought to have on their shelves. This is Me is engaging, heartfelt and hopeful: a story that deserves to be read and re-read.

This is Me by George Webster (Scholastic, £7.99)

By admin