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Best Books to Look Out For in March 2018

Posted on 9th March 2018 by Martha Greengrass

From electric thrillers to curtain-lifting inside stories, we round up the books you should have on your radar this March.

Forget the Oscars, March ushers in a host of book award lists to watch out for, including the longlist for the presitgious Women’s Prize and the shortlist for the Wellcome Book Prize, not to mention the announcement of the winner of our own Waterstones Children’s Book Prize on Thursday 22 March.

There’s plenty of fresh reading to get your teeth into too. Our non-fiction selection this month is led by Mary Beard and David Olusoga as they present accompanying volumes to the BBC’s landmark new series Civilisations, with First Contact/The Cult of Progress looking at shared cultural histories that shape nations and How Do We Look/ The Eye of Faith considering how art has shaped and been shaped by its creators. For those who already have summer firmly in their sights, Russell Norman’s, Venice – an eagerly-awaited follow-up to his award winning Polpo - is a welcome rustic taste of warmer climes. Elsewhere covert worlds open their doors as a provocative new exposé reveals the inner workings of Britain’s legal system in The Secret Barrister and Lucy Mangan takes us on a tour of favourite childhood reading haunts from Narnia to NIMH in her beautifully nostalgic memoir - a must for any lifelong book-lover - Bookworm

We’ve three unmissable new non-fiction paperback releases too. Shortlisted for the Royal Society Science Book Prize and the Baillie Gifford Prize for Non-Fiction, To Be a Machine delves into the search for the next evolutionary milestone, exploring developments in AI and transhumanism. There are life lessons too, from David Attenborough’s bestselling autobiography Adventures of a Young Naturalist to Arun Gandhi’s personal distillation of the wisdom of an international icon, The Gift of Anger

Our fiction choices, meanwhile, promise a litany of dark delights. In The Killing of Butterfly Joe, Rhidian Brook follows-up his acclaimed novel The Aftermath with a pulse-racing, neo-gothic thriller about friendship and the American Dream whilst Ross Raisin’s A Natural puts other dreams under the microscope for an affecting portrait of love, discrimination and scandal at the heart of the beautiful game. Love and obsession dance dangerously close in Louise O’Neill’s Almost Love, a novel which echoes the compulsive desire of Daphne Du Maurier’s classic Rebecca, which this month appears in a lavish new edition with a new introduction by Sarah Perry to mark the novel’s 80th anniversary. There’s a very different take on a classic vision too, in Jeff Vandermeer’s visionary novel Borne, a Frankenstein-inspired dystopia of new life and dying worlds released in paperback just as his science fiction masterpiece Annihilation takes new life in a major new film adaptation.

Lastly, criminal minds have treats in store, led by Joseph Knox’s blistering, lightning-paced follow-up to his debut Sirens, The Smiling Man which once again pulls readers deep into Manchester’s dark underbelly. There’s a slice of classic mystery too in the paperback release of A Talent For Murder, in which Andrew Taylor masterfully takes on the real-life mystery of Agatha Christie’s disappearance to carve out a whodunnit worthy of the Queen of Crime herself. There’s also an early candidate for the holiday blockbuster in the form of Don’t Let Go, Michel Bussi’s follow-up to the Waterstones Thriller of the Month-highlighted hits After the Crash and Black Water Lilies. A paradise resort on the island of Reunion provides an idyllic setting for a high-octane thriller that’s destined to line suitcases this summer.

Non-Fiction

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Russell Norman returns to Venice - the city that inspired Polpo - to immerse himself in the authentic flavours of the Veneto and the culinary traditions of the city. The book also offers an intimate glimpse into the life of the city, its hidden architectural gems, its secret places, the colour and vitality of daily life, and the food merchants and growers who make Venice so surprisingly vibrant.
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From the criminals to the lawyers, the victims, witnesses and officers of the law, here is the best and worst of humanity, all struggling within a broken system. Both a searing first-hand account of the human cost of the criminal justice system, and a guide to how we got into this mess, The Secret Barrister wants to show you what it's really like and why it really matters.
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One of a series of companion volumes accompanying the major new BBC documentary series Civilisations, presented by Mary Beard, David Olusoga and Simon Schama. In Civilisations: First Contact/The Cult of Progress, David Olusoga travels the world to piece together the shared histories that link nations.
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Distinguished classicist Mary Beard explores how art has shaped, and been shaped by, the people who created it. How have we looked at these images? Why have they sometimes been so contentious? One of a series of companion volumes accompanying the major new BBC documentary series Civilisations, presented by Mary Beard, David Olusoga and Simon Schama.
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She was whisked away to Narnia - and Kirrin Island - and Wonderland. Lucy brings the favourite characters of our collective childhoods back to life - prompting endless re-readings, rediscoveries, and, inevitably, fierce debate - and brilliantly uses them to tell her own story, that of a born, and unrepentant, bookworm.
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In To Be a Machine, Mark O'Connell presents us with the first full-length exploration of transhumanism: its philosophical and scientific roots, its key players and possible futures. It's a philosophy that, depending on how you look at it, can seem hopeful, or terrifying, or absurd. To Be a Machine is an Alice's Adventures in Wonderland for our time.
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In 1954, a young David Attenborough was offered the opportunity of a lifetime - to travel the world finding rare and elusive animals for London Zoo's collection, and to film the expeditions for the BBC for a new show called Zoo Quest. This is the story of those voyages, a remarkable adventure, but also the story of the man who made us fall in love with the natural world.
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Gandhi was an icon, but what would he teach us if we knew him personally? In The Gift, Arun Gandhi reveals his Grandfather's ten vital and extraordinary lessons. Arun believes that the violence in the world today makes Gandhi's teachings more vital than ever. The Gift places these lessons in a modern context, shedding new light on how Gandhi's principles can be applied to today's concerns.
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Fiction

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Llew Jones wanted to see the US and write about the experience. Then he met Joe Bosco. Soon they were caught up in an adventure that got way out of control. Now Llew is in jail, his friend is gone, and he has to give his side of the story if he's going to get free. Part existential road trip, part morality tale, The Killing of Butterfly Joe is a dazzling novel full of characters you won't forget.
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When Sarah falls for Matthew, she falls hard. So it doesn't matter that he's twenty years older. That he sees her only in secret. That, slowly but surely, she's sacrificing everything else in her life to be with him. Love is supposed to hurt, isn't it? In Almost Love, Louise O'Neill nails obsession and the pain of love.
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A beautiful hardback edition to mark the 80th anniversary of one of the best-loved novels ever written. A gothic tale of love, secrets and jealousy, not since Jane Eyre has a heroine faced such difficulty with the Other Woman. An international bestseller that has never been out of print, Rebecca is the haunting story of a young woman consumed by love and the struggle to find her identity.
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The dark, dangerous, funny and beautifully strange new novel from the author of Annihilation. In a ruined city of the future, a woman scavenges a strange hybrid creature. She names him Borne. But in this brave new world of new-born sentience, nothing is quite what it seems, and everyone is hiding secrets; Borne most of all.
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Tom has always known exactly the person he is going to be. A successful footballer. A man others look up to. Now, though, the bright future he imagined for himself is threatened. A Natural delves into the heart of a professional football club: the pressure, the loneliness, the threat of scandal, the fragility of the body and the struggle to conform.
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Crime & Thrillers

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Detective Aidan Waits has resigned himself to the night shift. Then, he and his partner, DI Peter 'Sutty' Sutcliffe find the body of a man. He is dead. And he is smiling. Only a patch sewn into the inside of his trousers gives any indication as to who he was. Waits must piece together the identity of this smiling man while finally confronting his own complex self.
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On the night of 3rd December 1926, Agatha Christie went missing, and was eventually discovered in a hotel in Harrogate ten days later. But what happened to her in that time? In A Talent for Murder, Andrew Wilson ingeniously take the facts and creates a gripping, utterly believable story of blackmail and murder worthy of the Queen of Crime herself.
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Martial and Liane Bellion are on the island of Reunion with their six-year-old daughter. Turquoise skies, clear water, a warm breeze. Then Liane disappears. She went up to her hotel room and never came back. The room is empty, but there is blood everywhere. Then Martial also disappears, along with his daughter. A manhunt is declared across the island. But is Martial really his wife's killer?
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