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15 great new books you need to know about

Looking for something amazing to read? Here are all the brilliant books you should be lining up next

Sophie Dickinson
Written by
Sophie Dickinson
Contributor
Ed Cunningham
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It’s always comforting to know you’ve got a great new book lined up, waiting to be read, right there on your shelves. And whether you’re an obsessive fiction reader or need a fresh photo book for casual perusing, we’ve got you covered.

The past few months have seen a slew of excellent non-fiction releases like Shon Faye’s ‘The Transgender Issue’ and ‘What Artists Wear’ by Charlie Porter. For something a little chiller, dip into Nina Mingya Powles’s dreamlike memoir ‘Small Bodies of Water’. Or if you had to scrap your travel plans this year, give Natalia Ginzburg’s Italian classic ’The Dry Heart’ a go. And if you’re a Stephen King fan? You can’t go wrong with Karl Ove Knausgaard’s foray into horror writing.

Whatever you’re into, these recent releases are all exceptional reads – and we’d recommend adding them to your bookcases ASAP. Ready? Here are all the best new books you should know about right now.

RECOMMENDED: The 36 best cookbooks to buy in 2021

Great new books you need to know about

‘Morning Star’ by Karl Ove Knausgaard
Photograph: Penguin Books

1. ‘Morning Star’ by Karl Ove Knausgaard

You’d be forgiven for thinking six-volume memoirist Karl Ove Knausgaard had contributed enough to the literary world already. But in new novel ‘Morning Star’, the Norwegian master has now turned his hand to Stephen King-style horror – just in time for Halloween.

‘Glass’ by Emily Cooper
Photograph: Makina Books

2. ‘Glass’ by Emily Cooper

The tender, delicate poetry of Emily Cooper has been collected into a beautiful debut work full of longing and intimacy – and lots of wild garlic. The bright-blue cover of Glass’ will make you want to leave it on your nightstand indefinitely (and gift it to your all your friends too).

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‘Nina Simone’s Gum’ by Warren Ellis
Photograph: Faber

3. ‘Nina Simone’s Gum’ by Warren Ellis

Written by Warren Ellis – musician, composer and member of Nick Cave’s Bad Seeds – Nina Simone’s Gum is a beautiful rumination on how the most banal of objects can acquire deep personal significance. It’s an intimate (and frequently profound) self-portrait.

‘The Dry Heart’ by Natalia Ginzburg
Photograph: Daunt Books

4. ‘The Dry Heart’ by Natalia Ginzburg

You’ll want to savour this decidedly unsunny Italian classic, but it’s as easy to devour as a hastily scribbled email. The Dry Heart is a dark, captivating story about a woman who falls in and out of love; a masterpiece in detachment.

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‘Weird Fucks’ by Lynne Tillman
Photograph: Peninsula Press

5. ‘Weird Fucks’ by Lynne Tillman

First published in 1983, ‘Weird Fucks’ is a novella all about strange sexual encounters. Today, it reads just as weirdly as ever – and bonus points for the enigmatic cover, which is a decent depiction of the story within.

‘Small Bodies of Water’ by Nina Mingya Powles
Photograph: Canongate

6. ‘Small Bodies of Water’ by Nina Mingya Powles

In Small Bodies of Water’, Nan Shepherd Prize-winner Nina Mingya Powles has created a shimmering, poetic masterpiece. Her ambitious memoir – part essays, part nature writing – covers everything from languages to love, food to swimming.

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‘Comfort MOB: Food That Makes You Feel Good’ by MOB Kitchen
Photograph: Hachette

7. ‘Comfort MOB: Food That Makes You Feel Good’ by MOB Kitchen

A long-awaited revolt against the wellness revolution is on the cards, and ‘Comfort MOB’ is leading the charge. It’s a celebration of everything indulgent, greasy and homely. And who better to help you indulge than MOB Kitchen, the most in-vogue voice in fun, affordable cooking?

‘Tell Me I’m Worthless’ by Alison Rumfitt
Photograph: Cipher Press

8. ‘Tell Me I’m Worthless’ by Alison Rumfitt

The haunted-house story meets queer Brighton in ‘Tell Me I’m Worthless, an alternately thorny and funny debut from Alison Rumfitt. Not for the faint of heart, it’s a supernatural look at the lasting effects of trauma.

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‘The Magician’ by Colm Tóibín
Photograph: Penguin Books

9. ‘The Magician’ by Colm Tóibín

The Magician’ isn’t the first time Colm Tóibín has turned his hand to dramatising one of the twentieth century’s finest writers. But while 2004’s ‘The Master’ focused on the final years of Henry James, this time Tóibín reimagines the life of Thomas Mann, navigating his subject’s entire life – from his hidden homosexuality to his struggles in Nazi Germany.

‘Crossroads’ by Jonathan Franzen
Photograph: 4th Estate

10. ‘Crossroads’ by Jonathan Franzen

No one splits opinion like Jonathan Franzen, and if the Twitter discourse is to be believed, ‘Crossroads is going to be picked over for years to come. Touted as the first book in a trilogy, this hazy, 1970s-set family drama is an expansive thriller that could even win over some of the sceptics.

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‘The Transgender Issue’ by Shon Faye
Photograph: Penguin Books

11. ‘The Transgender Issue’ by Shon Faye

The Transgender Issue’ moves away from the neverending gender ‘debate’ to focus on the reality of modern life for trans people in Britain. It’s an essential, comprehensive exploration of housing insecurity, policing, sex work, dating and more.

‘Iron Widow’ by Xiran Jay Zhao
Photograph: Penguin Books

12. ‘Iron Widow’ by Xiran Jay Zhao

Billed as ‘Pacific Rim’ meets ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’, ‘Iron Widow’ reimagines the age of China’s only female emperor. Combining Chinese folklore with vivid fantasy, it’s a saga of aliens and giant robots – with feminist undertones.

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‘The Girl from the Sea’ by Molly Knox Ostertag
Photograph: Graphix

13. ‘The Girl from the Sea’ by Molly Knox Ostertag

The latest graphic novel from Molly Knox Ostertag draws on folklore influences to weave an enchanting coming-of-age story set on a secretive island. With dazzling full-colour illustrations throughout, you’ll want to demolish every page.

‘What Artists Wear’ by Charlie Porter
Photograph: Penguin Books

14. ‘What Artists Wear’ by Charlie Porter

What Artists Wear’ is as suave as a well-tailored suit. Spanning the fashion choices of artists as varied as Cindy Sherman and Yves Klein, it makes the case for sartorial reinvention (and has some extremely fun pictures of Lee Krasner’s paint-splattered loafers, too).

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‘Earthshot: How to Save Our Planet’ by Colin Butfield and Jonnie Hughes
Photograph: John Murray Press

15. ‘Earthshot: How to Save Our Planet’ by Colin Butfield and Jonnie Hughes

An urgent manifesto for tackling the climate crisis, ‘Earthshot’ makes its case with a clear, four-point action plan – and breathtaking photography. Packing starry contributions from David Attenborough, Christiana Figueres and Prince William, it’s the powerful, ambitious call to arms we all need to read.

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