Fabulous new books for winter 2018

New books winter 2018 How-to-be-Famous-by-Caitlin-Moran CREDIT Minka Guides

Looking for something fabulous to read? Check out these fabulous new books for winter 2018 – both upcoming and recently released titles that I have loved. From meddling Irish grandmas to reimaging historical scandals, here are all the new books I think you should check out.

📌 Looking for more fabulous book recommendations? See my previous book reviews.

The Chestnut Man by Søren Sveistrup

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Eeeek – scary, grim stuff. I’m not very good at reading grisly details, especially at night for obvious reasons, but I couldn’t resist reading the new book by the creator of The Killing. It’s really good – very atmospheric and well-paced. Hess’ backstory and the development of Thulin and Hess’ friendship felt a little underdeveloped and just slotted in at times – this definitely could have been done better. But otherwise, I really enjoyed this and would definitely watch a tv series based on it (has to happen, right?).

When a series of women are found murdered in Copenhagen, with a small figurine made out of chestnuts beside them, ambitious detective Naia Thulin is keen to find the killer before they strike again. Unfortunately, she has been lumbered with a new partner, Mark Hess – a burnt-out Europol detective who’s back at his old squad under dubious circumstances. Yet, when a fingerprint is found on the chestnut men of a girl who has been missing for a year, the daughter of a politician, they suddenly realise how vital it is that they find a way to work together.

Buy this book from:

Foyles

Waterstones

Amazon

She Wants It: Desire, Power, and Toppling the Patriarchy by Jill Soloway

New books winter 2018 She-Wants-It-by-Jill-Soloway CREDIT Minka Guides

Even if you don’t know Jill Soloway’s name, then you probably know their work. They’re the award-winning creator behind the TV show Transparent. They also won a directing award at Sundance for the rather lovely/confronting film called Afternoon Delight and have written for and exec produced shows like Six Feet Under and United States of Tara. On an entirely different note, if the rumours this week are true, Jill is apparently dating the Australian comedian Hannah Gadsby of Nanette fame (hello, power couple!). This book tracks the journey from when Jill’s parent came out as trans, inspiring the hit TV show and setting them off on a journey through understanding their privilege, embracing their queerness and discovering their own non-binary identity.

I’m always really interested in stories about people who discover their queerness not in their youth but in middle age or later. Their journeys are so interesting. Jill was rapidly approaching 50 when their parent came out, setting off the chain of events reshaped their life. I really enjoyed how honest Jill was in this book was about some of the decisions they’ve made along the way that they later realised were probably not the best: casting a man to play a trans woman, writing a tv show about this character with no trans writers or actors in the first season, being at the forefront of the #MeToo movement but then finding themselves having a selfish reaction to accusations made towards a man on their own show. More than anything in this book, it is a journey towards Jill discovering their own privilege that shapes this story – in addition to divorcing their husband and embarking on relationships with women and transforming their own identity. A really fascinating read; I’m super interested to see what Jill will create next.

Buy it now from:

Foyles

Waterstones

Amazon

Future Popes of Ireland by Darragh Martin

New books winter 2018 Future-Popes-of-Ireland-by-Darragh-Martin CREDIT Minka Guides

During Pope John Paul II’s visit to Ireland in 1979, Granny Doyle was struck by a divine desire: that one of her grandchildren would become the first Irish Pope. Sadly for this nanna, her son had only managed to produce was an assertive and quick-witted girl called Peg. So Granny Doyle set a plan in motion, which would backfire in ways she could never have dreamed.

Ah, meddling nannas – there’s nothing quite like them. This was an odd book for me to choose but I quite liked the idea of a grandma getting a little more than she bargained for when trying to shape her family into one she can show off. It’s both a heartwarming and deeply sad story that showcases how much Ireland has and hasn’t changed in the last 40 years, especially when it comes to governing the lives and bodies of women and LGBT+ people.

Buy it now from:

Foyles

Waterstones

Amazon

A Double Life by Flynn Berry

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Claire doesn’t know where her father is. In fact, no one does since he disappeared the night her childhood nanny was killed. Now a doctor in her 30s, her life is still haunted by the unanswered question: was her father a murderer? Unable to move on, she decides to launch her own investigation and befriend the people who last saw him alive: her father’s friends.

This thriller stays relatively true to the real-life scandal that inspired it: the mystery of Lord Lucan. Up until the end, I found this story very believable – almost understated in the way it built the story to its slightly more improbable ending. If you don’t know anything about Lord Lucan and his recently deceased wife, Lady Lucan, I recommend reading up on it before attempting this book as fact is always much more interesting than fiction. However, I think the writer has done a great job imagining how the child of Lord Lucan could have gone looking for their infamous father now.

Buy it now from:

Foyles

Waterstones

Amazon

How to Be Famous by Caitlin Moran

New books winter 2018 How-to-be-Famous-by-Caitlin-Moran CREDIT Minka Guides

Johanna is an 18-year-old music writer in Britpop-era London, famous for her column under the nom de plume Dolly Wilde. She longs to be with her friend John, an up-and-coming indie musician, but only sees her as a pal. After a degrading one-night-stand with a famous comedian, Johanna finds herself the subject of much mirth in the male-dominated entertainment industry. As she quickly discovers, being a semi-famous woman somehow makes it ok to be publicly sex shamed. Where is her user guide for dealing with this?

If you’ve read Caitlin Moran’s amusing memoir/well of wisdom How To Be A Woman, then you’ll recognise that much of the set-up of this story is similar to her own: Johanna is from Wolverhampton, moves to London in the 90s at a young age and writes for a music magazine. I suppose you should write what you know, right? But that does make it a little unnerving at times as you wonder how much of this is based on her life. None of it is though, obviously, as this is fiction (well, I hope to high heavens none of this happened to Moran!). Johanna is put through a really awful amount of sex-shaming and somehow manages to find her own voice in a situation she is made to feel she has no control and no right to object. This is a very believable scenario, and even though the story is set in the early 90s, it feels very relevant to the misogyny of our digital age (upskirting, revenge porn, hacking and release of personal images, non-consensual filming). Despite the serious subject matter, this is a very lovely read about friendship and support.

Buy it now from:

Foyles

Waterstones

Amazon

How Not to Be a Boy by Robert Webb

New books winter 2018 How-not-to-be-a-boy-by-Robert-Webb CREDIT Minka Guides

Robert Webb is best known as Jeremy “Jez” Usborne in the cult UK tv series Peep Show, bumbling through his awkward and anxiety-inducing existence alongside comedy partner David Mitchell. They also have their own suitably absurd sketch show, That Mitchell and Webb Look, that is filled with parodies and spoofs of pop culture and British life. If you haven’t seen either of these shows before, I definitely recommend catching a couple of episodes on Netflix before reading this book.

I’d never really paid that much attention to Robert Webb before – mainly because he’s been overshadowed by David Mitchell, who must have now appeared on every UK panel show around (and we are all the richer for it). So, I didn’t really know what to expect from this book. I’ve watched both his shows before but as the style of comedy tends to make me insanely anxious (especially Peep Show), it’s generally not a fun experience for me. I was, however, very interested in all the press attention this book was receiving because it wasn’t your typical memoir from a male writer/actor/comedian. If you’ve stumbled across this book too because of what you’ve heard, then I definitely recommend you give it a go. This is a very personal and tender account of what it’s like to grow up as a man, the expectation to perform this tired and toxic concept of masculinity, and the struggle to have meaningful relationships with family, friends, partners and children while trying to uphold this. It’s also laugh-out-loud funny, pretty much the entire way through the book. One of the loveliest things about this book for me was reading it in tandem with my male partner on our beach holiday; not only was he chortling the whole way through this book but, being only a couple of years younger than Webb, he identified a lot with what was being described. A really wonderful read.

Buy it now from:

Foyles

Waterstones

Amazon

📌 Looking for more fabulous book recommendations? See my previous book reviews.

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