The 8 best books you need to add to your reading list this Autumn

My bookshelves are set to collapse with the sheer number of books waiting to be read, but that hasn’t stopped me from pre-ordering autumn’s biggest releases. Autumn is the perfect time of year to curl up with a warm cup of tea and a brand new book. 2020 has been quite the remarkable year for the bookish world, but the autumn time is the true treasure trove for fellow readers. The number of phenomenal titles set for publication is hard to wrap your head around and I worry for my ever-depleting bank account.

There are eight books that you just cannot miss out on this autumn, including the fantastic Claudia Winkleman’s memoir and a gripping new read from Louise O’Neill.

Here are my eight most-anticipated autumn releases.

Ghosts by Dolly Alderton (October 15)

Nina Dean has arrived at her early thirties as a successful food writer with loving friends and family, plus a new home and neighbourhood. When she meets Max, a beguiling romantic hero who tells her on date one that he's going to marry her, it feels like all is going to plan.

A new relationship couldn't have come at a better time – her thirties have not been the liberating, uncomplicated experience she was sold. Everywhere she turns, she is reminded of time passing and opportunities dwindling. Friendships are fading, ex-boyfriends are moving on and, worse, everyone's moving to the suburbs. There's no solace to be found in her family, with a mum who's caught in a baffling mid-life makeover and a beloved dad who is vanishing in slow-motion into dementia.

Breathless by Jennifer  Niven (September 29)

Before: With graduation on the horizon, budding writer Claudine Henry is making plans: college in the fall, become a famous author, and maybe–finally–have sex. She doesn't even need to be in love. Then her dad drops a bombshell: he's leaving Claude's mother. Suddenly, Claude's entire world feels like a lie, and her future anything but under control.

After: Claude's mom whisks them away to the last place Claude could imagine nursing a broken heart: a remote, mosquito-infested island off the coast of Georgia. But then Jeremiah Crew happens. Miah is a local trail guide with a passion for photography–and a past he doesn't like to talk about. He's brash and enigmatic, and even more infuriatingly, he's the only one who seems to see Claude for who she wants to be. So when Claude decides to sleep with Miah, she tells herself it's just sex, nothing more. There's not enough time to fall in love, especially if it means putting her already broken heart at risk.

After The Silence by Louise O’Neill (September 3)

Nessa Crowley's murderer has been protected by silence for ten years.

On the day of Henry and Keelin Kinsella's wild party at their big house a violent storm engulfed the island of Inisrun, cutting it off from the mainland. When morning broke Nessa Crowley's lifeless body lay in the garden, her last breath silenced by the music and the thunder.

The killer couldn't have escaped Inisrun, but no-one was charged with the murder. The mystery that surrounded the death of Nessa remained hidden. But the islanders knew who to blame for the crime that changed them forever.

Ten years later a documentary crew arrives, there to lift the lid off the Kinsella's carefully constructed lives, determined to find evidence that will prove Henry's guilt and Keelin's complicity in the murder of beautiful Nessa.

Quite by Claudia Winkleman (October 1)

Claudia Winkleman’s warmth, humour, no-holds-barred attitude and smoky eye have made her the favourite broadcaster of millions and a much-loved household name.

In this, her first ever book, Claudia invites us all into her world. She shares her observations on topics such as the importance of melted cheese, why black coats are vital, how it’s never okay to have sex with someone who has an opinion on your date outfit, how nurses are our most precious national treasure, and why colourful clothing is only for the under 10s (if you’re reading this sporting a bright red jumper and you’re 9, great! If you’re older, sorry).

This is a love letter to life – the real, sometimes messy kind. Quite celebrates friendship, the power of art, the highs and lows of parenting, and of course, how a good eyeliner can really save your life.

When No One Is Watching by Alyssa Cole (October 1)

Sydney Green is Brooklyn born and raised, but her beloved neighbourhood seems to change every time she blinks. Condos are sprouting like weeds, FOR SALE signs are popping up overnight, and the neighbours she’s known all her life are disappearing. To hold onto her community’s past and present, Sydney channels her frustration into a walking tour and finds an unlikely and unwanted assistant in one of the new arrivals to the block—her neighbour Theo.

But Sydney and Theo’s deep dive into history quickly becomes a dizzying descent into paranoia and fear. Their neighbours may not have moved to the suburbs after all, and the push to revitalize the community may be more deadly than advertised.

When does coincidence become conspiracy? Where do people go when gentrification pushes them out? Can Sydney and Theo trust each other—or themselves—long enough to find out before they too disappear?

The Unraveling of Cassidy Holmes by Elissa R Sloan (October 1)

Cassidy Holmes isn't just a celebrity.

She is "Sassy Gloss," the fourth member of the hottest pop group America has ever seen. Hotter than Britney dancing with a snake, hotter than Christina getting dirty, Gloss was the pop act that everyone idolised. Fans couldn't get enough of them, their music, and the drama that followed them like moths to a flame-until the group's sudden implosion in 2002. And at the centre of it all was Sassy Cassy, the Texan with a signature smirk that had everyone falling for her.

But now she's dead. Suicide.

The world is reeling from this unexpected news, but no one is more shocked than the three remaining Glossies. Fifteen years ago, Rose, Merry, and Yumi had been the closest to Cassidy, and this loss is hitting them hard. Before the group split, they each had a special bond with Cassidy-truths they told, secrets they shared. But after years apart, each of them is wondering: what could they have done?

Told in multiple perspectives-including Cassidy herself-and different timelines, this is a behind-the-scenes look into the rise and fall of a pop icon, and a penetrating examination of the dark side of celebrity and the industry that profits from it.

The Glorious Guinness Girls by Emily Hourican (September 17)

The Glorious Guinness Girls are the toast of London and Dublin society. Darlings of the press, Aileen, Maureen and Oonagh lead charmed existences that are the envy of many.

But Fliss knows better. Sent to live with them as a child, she grows up as part of the family and only she knows of the complex lives beneath the glamorous surface. 

Then, at a party one summer’s evening, something happens which sends shockwaves through the entire household. In the aftermath, as the Guinness sisters move on, Fliss is forced to examine her place in their world and decide if where she finds herself is where she truly belongs. Set amid the turmoil of the Irish Civil War and the brittle glamour of 1920s London, The Glorious Guinness Girls is inspired by one of the most fascinating family dynasties in the world – an unforgettable novel of reckless youth, family loyalty and destiny. 

If you loved Downton Abbey, Julian Fellowes’ Belgravia or Paula McLain’s The Paris Wife, you will adore The Golden Guinness Girls.

Thirty Two Words for Field by Manchán Magan (Out now)

A lyrical reminder of Ireland's lost words that offer a different way of seeing the world. 

This book is an exploration of the insights the Irish language gives into the landscape, the culture and pysche of Ireland.  The richness of a language closely tied to the natural landscape offered our ancestors a more magical way of seeing the world.

Before we cast old words aside, let us consider the sublime beauty and profound oddness of the ancient tongue that has been spoken on this island for almost 3,000 years.  

In Thirty-Two Words for Field, Manchan Magan meditates on these words – and the nuances of a way of life that is disappearing with them. 

 

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