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The Waterstones Round Up: August's Best Books

Posted on 30th July 2020 by Mark Skinner

This August, Ali Smith brings her majestic Seasonal Quartet to a close with the aptly-named Summer, whilst Sophie Hannah's rebooted Poirot rides again and Emily St John Mandel weaves another intricate ensemble narrative in The Glass Hotel. Exciting debuts come courtesy of Kate Reed Petty and Sarah M Broom, whilst Jamie Oliver returns with more mouthwatering, time-saving treats and Luka Modric reveals all about his stellar footballing career.  

 
 
 

Fiction

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The culmination of a hugely ambitious and fast-paced literary project, Summer continues the interplay between the recent past and modern day society that marked out Smith's preceding works as so resonant and insightful.
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From the author of How to Stop Time comes this poignant, unique novel about regret, hope and forgiveness - and a library that houses second chances.

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£14.99
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Six years after the ground-breaking dystopia Station Eleven, Emily St. John Mandel weaves together the stories of a bartender, a hotel owner and a shipping agent into a kaleidoscopic mystery.

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By turns witty and profoundly thought-provoking, the stories that comprise Why Visit America provide timely and fascinating commentaries on the state of the modern US – and beyond.
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A uniquely disturbing novel from the author of Everything Under, Sisters explores the dark side of sibling devotion, striking a fine balance between character study and psychological horror.
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Revolving around an inconclusive case of assault, Petty’s breathtaking debut examines the nature of trauma and truth through a unique cast of characters and experimentation with form.

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Mixing murder mystery with darkly comic horror, Death in Her Hands is an intricate story of obsession from the bestselling author of My Year of Rest and Relaxation.
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£20.00
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The much anticipated fifth instalment in Weir’s cycle of novels reimagining the lives of the six women betrothed to Henry VIII. Katheryn Howard, the Tainted Queen tells the tragic story of a teenage bride whose short years at the heart of the court are brought vividly and unforgettably to life in Weir’s magnetic prose.

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Spanning across two decades and two continents, Homecoming is a nuanced and powerful tale of family, identity and coming to terms with the past.
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Portraying an obsessional relationship at the heart of Grand Tour Europe, Blackmore’s sweeping queer romance is a masterclass in darkly seductive historical fiction.
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A profound novel from the author of the highly acclaimed Ghost Wall, Summerwater is a bittersweet portrait of modern Britain, presented through the microcosm of a drab Scottish cabin park.

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From the author of the highly acclaimed The Water Cure, Blue Ticket is a harrowing, stunning exploration of free will, the sphere of motherhood and the consequences of patriarchal violence. With this taut and visceral feminist dystopia, Macintosh cements her place as one of the brightest stars of contemporary fiction.
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An immersive blockbuster from the master of ancient historical fiction, The Gates of Athens explores the iconic conflict between Athens and Sparta for dominion over Ancient Greece. Packed with action set-pieces and authentic recreation, this is Iggulden at his most assured and accomplished.

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An evocative portrait of marriage and adultery, Crossan's adult fiction debut explores the singular agony of losing someone the world can never know was yours.
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The most iconic love stories of myth and folklore from West Africa to Ancient Greece, vibrantly reimagined in bold, striking prose; Love in Colour beautifully illustrates the timelessness of classic storytelling.
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Telling the story of a woman who finds herself in the published diary of a former lover, Must I Go is both a mesmerising character study and a reflection on how viewpoints shift the truth.

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An uncompromising yet tender and warmly witty exploration of love, pride and poverty, Shuggie Bain charts the endeavours of its eponymous protagonist – an ambitious and fastidious boy from a dire mining town with a thirst for a better life.
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Crime & Thrillers

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Drenched in suspense and intrigue, The Killings at Kingfisher Hill sees Hannah’s reimagined Poirot return to solve another Golden Age murder mystery.
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In this dazzlingly clever sequel to his bestselling Magpie Murders, Anthony Horowitz returns to the world of literary detective Atticus Pund and now retired publisher Susan Ryeland.

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The disappearance of a girl and the hunt for a predator set a neighbourhood ablaze with assumption and hearsay in a compulsive story of sinister goings-on behind the closed doors of luxurious London homes.
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Cunningly plotted and viscerally thrilling, the eighteenth outing for the inimitable Charlie Parker explores the deep-buried secrets that begin to surface when a series of racially motivated murders shakes an Arkansas county.

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A reticent crime writer, a shrewd editor, and an enthrallingly layered literary mystery form the basis of Pavesi’s uniquely crafted Mediterranean crime thriller.

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From the author of the bestselling phenomenon Before I Go to Sleep comes another slice of white-hot psychological terror. Set in a sleepy seaside town where deadly secrets lurk under the surface of everyday tedium, Final Cut sees a film-maker engage upon a chilling investigation.
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Filled with a slow-burning sense of dread and mounting tension, The Lies You Told is a compelling new thriller from the author of Blood Orange. An addictive blend of family noir and legal cliff hanger, this taut portrayal of a parental nightmare probes the risks we’re willing to take to keep our loved ones safe.

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Pulsating and breathlessly paced, Mayo’s addictive thriller sees the investigations team of a news agency wiped out and a lone journalist determined to discover what secrets they were about to unearth. Unbearably tense and deftly constructed, Knife Edge is scintillating reading.
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Science Fiction & Fantasy

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The bestselling author of Children of Time returns with a gripping slice of world-building that mixes folk horror, political intrigue and stunning science fiction.
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The first part of a bold, dynamic new space opera duology sees seven female resistance fighters take on the might of the evil Empire, in a narrative that balances interstellar thrills with involving characterisation.

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A mind-bendingly original science fiction novel from a wildly imaginative new talent, The Space Between Worlds focuses on a multi-dimensional universe and a woman who is dead in all but eight of its worlds. Inventive and compelling, Johnson’s debut is a tour de force of high concept SF.
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Centred around young Nathan Treeves and his richly realised battles with the evil Master of Mordew, Pheby’s immersive novel is a mesmeric slice of gothic fantasy.
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Food & Drink

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The ever-reliable Jamie returns with a no-nonsense, brilliantly accessible new cookbook based around seven ways to cook eighteen hero ingredients.
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From pistachio and cucumber soup to firecracker prawns, Simply presents over a hundred mouthwatering and delightfully simple recipes from the author of Persiana.
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Biography & Sport

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Through the lens of one family, Broom deftly maps a century’s worth of racial and economical inequality, as well as the immense cultural richness of her native city, New Orleans.
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A fascinating, heart-warming and frequently hilarious memoir of life as an NHS general practitioner, Khan’s riveting account of patient consultations is a profoundly revealing portrait of healthcare in twenty-first century Britain. Perfect for fans of Adam Kay and Joanna Canon, The Doctor Will See You Now is non-fiction in the rudest of health.
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The first in-depth, intimate portrait of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, written with a unique access to the couple’s closest circle. Finding Freedom offers rare insights into Harry and Meghan’s story, including their decision to step away from royal life, and reveals a captivating, sympathetic and forward-looking couple.
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Cogently argued and truly shocking, the institutionalised racism of the justice system laid bare by a brilliant young barrister.
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An exquisite window into an incredible life, From a Mountain in Tibet is a moving memoir of monk Lama Yeshe. From his childhood in Tibet and the gruelling years spent as a refugee to Smye Ling monastery in Scotland, by the way of Woodstock-era America, this warm and heart-rending account is distilled with special wisdom.
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In his first and only autobiography, Real Madrid galactico and Croatian legend Luka Modric tells the story of his incredible journey from a childhood in war-torn Yugoslavia to becoming a serial Champions League winner and the most celebrated footballer in the world.
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In this lovingly crafted exploration of the world of swimming Tsui charts our relationship with water from the earliest humans who swam for survival to the therapeutic powers of moving under water. Filled with incredible stories of endurance and determination, from Olympian athletes to Icelandic fishermen, Why We Swim offers fascinating insights into this quiet and meditative sport.
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In an utterly unique exercise in social history, the acclaimed author or Austerity Britain tells the story of contemporary British society through a season with his beloved Aldershot Town FC. Based on his diary of the 2016-7 campaign, Shots in the Dark deftly tackles themes of nationalism, tribalism and division, viewing the Beautiful Game as a microcosm of the twenty-first century condition.

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History & Politics

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Operation Morthor sheds new light on one of the longest-standing murder mysteries of the Cold War – the death of famous Swedish diplomat and UN Secretary General Dag Hammarskjoeld. Drawing from new interviews and hitherto unpublished first-hand accounts about the fatal 1961 plane crash in Congo, Somaiya’s book is an impressive, fascinating work of investigative journalism.
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Two German lovers take on the Nazis in an electrifying account of heroism and resistance that reads like the purest spy thriller.
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£9.99
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The award-winning author of Meetings With Remarkable Manuscripts brings the last surviving relic of Thomas Becket to vivid life in this exquisitely presented and deeply fascinating volume.
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This rich, deeply illuminating and elegiac collection of essays from the author of Atlas of Remote Islands explores the borders of fact and fiction, through places, animals, objects and buildings that have been lost to history.
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A truly eye-opening volume, Waves Across the South charts world history from the perspective of communities that have long been sidelined in the Eurocentric and colonial narratives of the past.
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A devastating critique of the prejudicial systems that underpin modern society, Wilkerson's penetrating work is delivered with passion and eloquence.
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Peering behind the programs and the platforms to glimpse the real people who drive the internet forward, James Ball uncovers wealth, influence and power on an immense scale.

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£30.00
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Aiming to predict future patterns on a global scale, Goldin and Muggah chart developments in contemporary geopolitics through a selection of trailblazing maps.
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Popular Science & Nature

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From our atomic origins to the miracles of memory, What Do You Think You Are? is a fascinating plunge into the science behind what makes each of us unique.
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Guiding us through the most mesmerising theories about cosmology and quantum mechanics, astrophysicist Katie Mack charts five alternative scenarios of how our universe could cease to exist.

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Lifting the lid off an astronauts' rigorous training, Cristoforetti offers fascinating insights into what it takes to make it in space.
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The author of the award-winning modern nature writing classic H is for Hawk treats readers to a diverse collection of essays concerning humankind’s relationship to the natural world.
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From Old English poetry to Barbara Hepworth, Spirit of Place investigates the role of the British landscape in the works of the nation’s best-loved artists and writers. As well as offering a fascinating overview of how the sense of place has shaped British art, Owens explores the legacy of these creative minds on how we view and experience our countryside today.
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A mesmerising account of one man’s heroic battle in the Russian Far East to save one of the world’s rarest birds from extinction – the huge, majestic and mysterious Blakiston's fish owl.

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Investigating the vast swathes of land currently forbidden to the general public, Hayes's passionately argued book is both a call to trespass and a wholesale re-evaluation of ownership and privilege.
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