books to leaf through this autumn

As we come to the end of summer, I thought it was about time I made another post on books I’m looking forward to over the next couple of months, and let me tell you there is a LOT. My physical ‘to read’ pile is big enough as it is so I’m gonna need to hurry my ass up and get through it because I can’t wait to get stuck into the new reads coming from September onwards. This is gonna be a long one I imagine, so let’s get started.

First up, The Betrayals by Bridget Collins out on the 12th of November which already has the most beautiful cover as it is but there is also a Waterstones exclusive gold foiled hardback version with a matching burgundy sprayed edge, and well, I’m a sucker for a hardback that puts the effort in ya know? I loved The Binding which had the perfect mix of magic and mystery, this time however, there’s less books with an intriguing institution and some sort of peculiar game instead. So I’m expecting yet another deep winding story to get truly lost in and forget all about this dreary weather.

My favourite comedian, Grace Campbell, has recently announced her new book, Amazing Disgrace, and I can’t wait to get my hands on it and it’s wonderfully illustrated cover on the 29th of October. I’ve went to see Grace twice in Edinburgh and nearly bumped into her coming out of a toilet cubicle, which I will say isn’t really the funnest of anecdotes (Alan Cumming’s the one for that). A book about shame sounds right up my street, and as well as likely making me snort throughout I expect that I’ll have to sit with it for a bit and rethink my own shame, especially as, to quote the blurb, “being graceful is no fun anyway” and I can confirm right now, I am the furthest thing from graceful, you wouldn’t believe the number of drinks I’ve spilled down myself.

Next up, we have my man David Attenborough with A Life on Our Planet: My Witness Statement and a vision for the future out on the 1st of October which I preordered the moment I saw it not least because of the beautiful hardback and end papers that I’m sure I’ll take photos of for the blog as soon as it arrives. I adore Attenborough and have done for quite some time, and if you happened to ask me what point in time I’d go to in the past, my third choice- after seeing Queen live at Wembley stadium in ‘86 and just about any prince show where he performed Nothing Compares 2 U- would be to pop in just in time to accompany Attenborough on his travels for the very first zoo quest expeditions. Anyway, because of him I wanted to be a naturalist from an early age and felt so in awe of all aspects of nature, so I’ll greedily consume any of the work he puts out. This book looks to be his call to action, one of sadness and fear for what we have lost and will lose but also one of hope and motivation because we have no other option but to sort this shit out.

Back to some good fiction though with Ghosts, Dolly Alderton’s first novel, out on the 15th of October. From her memoir and newsletter, to her articles and longform essays (like that for the pound project), I just absolutely adore Dolly’s writing so I expect this to be just as bloody wonderful. Now the title may mislead you into thinking this is a supernatural book, but the only spooky thing is men’s behaviour on dating apps. It looks to be funny and ever-observant with Dolly’s signature warmth and wit while covering an oh so relatable modern life through all the messiness of dating, friendships, family, work and success. Also, Elizabeth Day’s quote on the cover “Nora Ephron for the millennial generation” basically confirms I’m going to love it.

Next I have a current favourite of mine, Michael Spicer with The Secret Political Adviser, out now. Coming from his much loved room next door series, where he makes listening to our somewhat idiotic politicians the slightest bit less awful, this looks to be as hilarious as he is with his family friendly insults and moments on the verge while being the man in the ear of everyone from Trump to Priti Patel. It’s the lighthearted (fictional, although it’s not hard given that most of the time the real stuff doesn’t even seem real) look at the state of politics I think we all need right now, especially with the likelihood of a second lockdown. Here is an old room next door video which was so perfect you’ll hardly be able to believe the prince of noncing wasn’t following the script.

Then we have The Devil and the Dark Water by Stuart Turton, out on the 1st of October, who’s first novel The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle has to be one of my favourite mysteries of recent years. It felt like a truly original story and one that kept me both creeped out and desperate to know more so it’s guaranteed to be a damn good mystery again. Perfect suspenseful halloween reading, with murder of a possible demonic nature out at sea and a shortening amount of time to work out the truth, it’ll be anything but simple and yet perfectly satisfying I’m sure- much like the Waterstones exclusive edition with a stencilled sprayed edged to match the cover.

Next up the wonderful Jamie Windust with their first book In Their Shoes, part memoir part advice on navigating non-binary life- out on the 21st of October. I’ve been following Jamie on Instagram for a while now and taking in all that god damn talent from writing to modelling (I’m also a big fan of the insta story hotel room tours). In this book though, Jamie observes all parts of life through fashion, mental health and just existing in this binary loving world. As said on the blurb, “there is no one way to be non-binary” as the very act of being non-binary is to not fit in one of our lil heteronormative boxes, and that’s amazing, as is the fact we get to hear these wondrous stories we’ve been missing out on in mainstream dialogue for far too long.

Now for one of my favourite artists at the moment, Amber Fossey, (also known as zeppelinmoon on Instagram and Etsy) with the beautifully illustrated Be Wild, Be Free, out on the 29th of October I’d say this book would be in the same genre as the much loved The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and The Horse by Charlie Mackesy, as it follows a set of characters along side poetry often with a similar impact to fables. I already love the colourful fun art, and have ordered prints from Amber’s shop before so can’t wait for a collection of more joyful, thoughtful and downright hilarious takes on all of life’s little moments, with plenty of sloths along the way.

Just recently announced, Otegha Uwagba’s Whites: on Race and Other Falsehoods– out on the 12th of November– is a new longform essay stemming from this moment and the ongoing movement in light of the horrific murder of George Floyd and the protests that came after. Through Otegha’s personal story and observations the essay takes a look at the reverberations across all parts of society and the enormous ask put on Black people during this time, from interracial friendships to allyship and what that really means- especially given all the anti-racism work supposedly being done. I love Otegha’s straight talking and ever compelling writing (and speaking in her podcast, In Good Company) so I look forward to this timely piece.

This next one, A Secret of Birds and Bone is Kiran Millwood Hargrave’s newest middle grade children’s book, out now. I loved her first dive into adult fiction in The Mercies and have heard great things about her YA novels so felt I should give this a read. With yet another intriguing historical storyline, this time set during a plague in Italy, it follows two children in search of their mother following clues across the city through the carvings their mother made in bones. Set to be yet another firm favourite in children’s fiction, I can’t wait for more perfectly enticing writing.

Elizabeth Day has a new book out on the 1st of October, Failosophy, filled with everything she’s learned while making the hit podcast How to Fail. It looks to be a familiar and enjoyable read for fans of the podcast with insights from everyone from Malcolm Gladwell and Phoebe Waller-Bridge to everyone’s (well most of us who like the podcast anyway) favourite modern philosopher Alain De Botton, who is also giving the book great praise on the cover. A handbook for when things go wrong, I’m sure it’ll be both insightful and easily readable, a quick read to make you think.

And last, but certainly not least, my woman, Jane Fonda with her new book, What Can I Do? – out now. With the wonderfully to the point subheading “The truth about climate change and how to fix it”. Jane takes us through how not to get bogged down with the sadness and grief of it all and how instead to find our drive and activism to provide hope and fight for our planet while we still have this great, but fleeting, opportunity for change. Being a well known activist throughout her life, and now with her new Fire Drill Fridays fighting for action this book allows Jane to invite us in through her own personal story but is also filled with all the facts from the leading climate science, managing to discuss a large number of the most pressing issues AND tell us what the hell we can do to sort it out.

So that was a lot of books, which means I should probably stop writing and get back to reading to give myself a better chance of actually ever getting to read the ones above. I’m currently about half way into On The Come Up by Angie Thomas and it’s just as compulsively readable as her last book so there’s a good chance I’ll accidentally end up lying in this bath till I finish it. I hope everyone’s managing to have a good September even with restrictions tightening, and for those of us back at school/college/uni, I wish you no technical issues on the ever stressful online classes. I’ll be back next week with my August reads, I know, at the end of September, can you tell Uni’s taking up all my brain already? However they’re too good not to talk about it, so I’m sure I’ll manage. Till next time.

—T

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