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The Waterstones Round Up: August's Best Books

Posted on 8th July 2022 by Mark Skinner

The Marriage Portrait, Maggie O'Farrell's first novel since the hugely acclaimed former Waterstones Book of the Year Hamnet, sees the light of day this month as does TikTok phenomenon Taylor Jenkins Reid's latest slice of addictive escapism Carrie Soto is Back. Budding chefs will be in seventh heaven with new cookbooks from Sabrina Ghayour and Jane Dunn, whilst compelling non-fiction comes courtesy of Philippe Sands and Travis Alabanza. Sprinkle in eagerly-awaited fantasy and crime from Sunyi Dean and Robert Galbraith, and August's reading really is as hot as the soaring temperature.    


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Powered by playful originality and a cast of brilliantly drawn characters living in the same dilapidated apartment block in a post-industrial Mid-West town, Gunty's compulsively readable debut blends razor-sharp psychological insight with irresistible humour.
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O'Farrell paints as evocative a picture of Renaissance Italy as she did Shakespearean England in the former Waterstones Book of the Year Hamnet, as Cosimo de' Medici's third daughter learns to navigate an opaque Florentine court and an enigmatic new husband.
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From the author of The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo and Daisy Jones and the Six comes another irresistible slice of escapist drama as a legendary tennis player steps out of retirement in a determined bid to reclaim her grand slam winning record.

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Mining the real-life seventeenth-century Batavia mutiny for page-turning drama and emotional insight, this scintillating historical novel from the author of Things in Jars interweaves the stories of a pair of troubled children born three centuries apart.

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Suffused with jet-black humour, the brilliant debut novel from the author of Women Don’t Owe You Pretty takes the reader on a wild, haunting journey through the world of social media fame and modern womanhood.
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A beautiful, uncategorisable and truly original modern-day fable about loss, hope and the magic of everyday life, Isaac and the Egg tells the story of a broken man's transformative journey into the woods.
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The assured debut novel from the popular comedian is the bitterly comic story of a wannabe writer and an established author battling their demons in small-town Scotland.

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From the acclaimed author of Room and The Pull of the Stars comes a haunting, luminous meditation on isolation, faith and survival inspired by real historical events, as a trio of seventh-century monks found a monastery on an impossibly remote island.
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A breathtaking tour de force from the author of Expectation, Hope's epic exploration of storytelling and the multifarious permutations of love resounds across the centuries and a myriad of lives.
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A glorious, lyrical celebration of family and unshakeable, though sore-tested, love, this multi-generational masterpiece from the author of Strange Flowers bursts with humanity, colour and emotional truth.

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Searing and hallucinatory, Khalid's exquisitely written debut traces the journey of three adopted children - and the potentially dangerous imaginary brother of one of them - from Staten Island to Saudi Arabia in a devastating critique of family, capitalism and ideology.
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A masterful treatise on race, prejudice and nationalism, this explosive work from the author of Exit West envisages a world where the skin colour of white people the world over begins to turn darker.

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In its first translation since 1946, Grossman's magnificent novel of the first months of World War II through the eyes of a Red Army regiment is rich in breathtaking prose and unforgettable characterisation.
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A gleefully addictive postmodern puzzle from the author of In the Distance, Diaz's dazzling novel plays off competing versions of the truth about a fabulously wealthy 1920s couple to spectacular effect.
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Gloriously playful and inventive, Crosley's skewed romcom sees a hardened New Yorker fall prey to a bizarre cult determined to reorder her very perception of the world and the nature of love.
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This scintillating new novel from the author of the TikTok sensation The Love Hypothesis serves up more sassy fun in the lab, as a scientist has to collaborate with her handsome arch-enemy.

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From the creator of the seminal graphic novel Sabrina comes another visually stunning and emotionally satisfying volume exploring the inner lives and outward personas of a group of misfits enrolled in an unnerving acting class.
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Another epic crime mystery featuring the magnetic detective duo of Cormoran Strike and Robin Ellacott, The Ink Black Heart is a compelling instalment in what has become a seminal series.
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The fourth sensational instalment in the celebrated Hawthorne series finds Horowitz charged with a murder he didn't commit and once more reliant on his mercurial detective's smarts to crack an impenetrable case.
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The scintillating follow-up to McDermid's first Allie Burns thriller, 1989 recreates a world of hysteria about HIV and the Iron Curtain as the now-seasoned investigative reporter stumbles upon a deadly new case.

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Robert Hunter returns in another visceral thriller from the hugely popular Chris Carter, as a series of sinister poems are found inside the corpses of seemingly unconnected murder victims.
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The bestselling author of One by One delivers another unputdownable thriller full of creepy chills and unforeseen twists, as the case of a popular and charismatic woman's murder is reopened.
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When an odious racist MP meets a truly gruesome end, Detective Ray Lennox must put his personal feelings aside to reveal the truth about his murder in the stunning new thriller from the author of Trainspotting.
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The author of The Girl in the Spider's Web returns with a blistering new crime series inspired by the legacy of Sherlock Holmes, as a brilliant Swedish maverick teams up with a tenacious Chilean cop to solve a fiendish case.

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With his trademark blend of gripping plot and lyrical prose, Connolly delivers two compelling Charlie Parker novels in one volume, as the private investigator tries to protect two women as the pandemic shuts down the city of Portland as well as attempting to thwart the return of a notorious criminal to the city.
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The bestselling author of Hostage and I See You crafts another nail-biting thriller with the story of a deadly New Year's Eve party in a set of luxury lakeside holiday homes and the brutal murder that brings DC Ffion Morgan to investigate.
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Portraying a chilling worldwide catastrophe through the prism of three individuals, Mayo’s new, splendidly twisty thriller sees a mysterious tinnitus-like illness take root and start spreading like wildfire.
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The post-pandemic plans of a Highland estate to reopen its luxury 'party house' to tourists fuels resentment in the locals in this nail-biting, stunningly crafted psychological thriller from one of tartan noir's finest.
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A former soldier-turned-investment-banker becomes embroiled in a lethal conspiracy after witnessing something terrible on his daily commute, in this fast-paced thriller from the legendary David Baldacci.
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The sinister secret that an elderly heiress fights to keep hidden sends Jane Tennison around the world and puts her in mortal danger in LaPlante's compelling thriller.
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A poignant, richly imagined tale about family, betrayal and the price of loyalty, Dean’s spellbinding debut about six old families subsisting on a diet of stories and legends is an irresistible slice of dark fantasy.

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The author of the bestselling Six Crimson Cranes returns with the magical new saga of a cursed pearl and true love truly tested, set in an evocative land full of dragons and political intrigue.

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The popular fantasy author delivers a novel with a deeply atmospheric story of sinister estates and poisoned matriarchs that merges gothic phantasmagoria with chilling murder mystery.

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The two friends from A Psalm for the Wild-Built continue their quest to determine what humanity really needs in the second instalment of Becky Chambers' beautifully wrought new series.
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Orphan Mika arrives at the remote Nowhere House, filled with mysterious residents, to find something she didn’t realise she was looking for in Mandanna’s gorgeous fantasy romance drenched in sparkling magic.

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Confronting prejudices about both gender and race with nuance and real power, Giddings' incendiary dystopia is set in a world where women must marry by the age of thirty and accusations of witchcraft can have deadly consequences.
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From Pomegranate and harissa roasted aubergine steak to cardamom and mocha rice pudding, the author of the bestselling Bazaar and Persiana returns with a treasure trove of over a hundred easy recipes brimming with flavour and perfect for everyday cooking.
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Online baking sensation Jane Dunn returns with a mouthwatering new volume that features seventy exclusive recipes for spectacular, celebratory bakes, as well as firm favourites from the blog, such as Mini Egg NYC cookies and Kinder Bueno cheesecake.

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Combining scientific research about vegan diet in a digestible form with beautiful plant-based family friendly recipes, this wonderfully accessible and deliciously curated how-to guide from Ella Mills Woodward is a perfect tool for putting together balanced meals.
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The journalist and podcast host tells her inspirational and courageous story of living with incurable bowel cancer and how developing a positive mindset was key to enabling her to cope with her diagnosis.
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One of broadcasting's most adept conductors of public conversation, Arthanayake probes what makes for productive discourse in this eye-opening volume committed to enhancing the quality of debate in modern society.
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A multi-faceted biography of a complex creative maverick, Dennison's concise life of Roald Dahl examines many sources anew to create the definitive portrait of the beloved children's author.
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Dynamic and immersive, Kit de Waal's effervescent memoir documents a fraught childhood of opposites and conflicting identities with wit, humanity and an uncanny power for bringing the figures of her youth to vibrant life.
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The celebrated historian and biographer of Churchill, Napoleon and George III delivers an authoritative and rigorously researched volume on the life of Britain's mightiest and most controversial press baron, Lord Northcliffe.
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In this stunning blend of memoir and cultural history, Australian author Amaryllis Gacioppo explores the home cities of her mother, grandmother and great-grandmother in Italy and Libya to deliver an evocative and deeply-felt meditation on the meaning of home and belonging.
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The screenwriter, film director, novelist and author of the memoir Your Voice in My Head recounts her emotional and physical journey from Hollywood overload to solitude in North London with candour, lyricism and jet black humour.
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A winning and really rather inspiring blend of self-help manual and celebrity biography, the popular comedian's account of going cold turkey from social media is side-splitting and uplifting stuff.
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The Throbbing Gristle musician and author of the acclaimed Art Sex Music crafts a dazzlingly original and searching melange of memoir and biography as she compares and contrasts her life and career with those of Delia Derbyshire and Margery Kempe.
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The world-famous trance DJ and dance music pioneer Paul Oakenfold takes the floor once more with his powerful autobiography which will leave any music lover breathless.
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From Close Lobsters to The Mighty Lemon Drops, Tassell tracks down the erstwhile indie acts who featured on NME's iconic 1986 tape in a richly entertaining and sometimes moving story of what happens when the music industry moves on.

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Through one woman's fight for justice, the award-winning author of East West Street recounts the shocking events that marked the 1965 establishment of the British Indian Ocean Territory with his characteristic expertise, insight and compelling storytelling ability.
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Casting an authoritative eye over the nine forgotten realms of Dark Ages Britain, the author of Viking Britain paints a vivid portrait of the medieval world and examines how different the future map of Britain could have looked.
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From iconic figures such as Queen Victoria to unnamed geishas and soldiers, the third, visually stunning book in The Colour of Time series makes magnificent use of Marina Amaral's acclaimed photographic colourisation techniques and Dan Jones' skilful text to tell a multitude of women's stories from the middle of the nineteenth century to the dawn of second-wave feminism.
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A rich, fascinating account of the Irish diaspora and the real-world effects of mass emigration, Connolly's monumental work traces the paths of the Irishmen and women who built lives in foreign countries.
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The former ambassador and Russia expert delivers an authoritative history of one of the world's most complex and powerful nations, from its founding as Rus to its current incarnation as the Russian Federation. Russia is not an enigma, but its past is violent, tragic...

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A short, sharp account of America's tragic involvement in Afghanistan that packs more insight and power than many books three times its length, The Fifth Act focuses on the catastrophic evacuation of the country as the Taliban retook control in August 2021 and how the events of the previous twenty years made such an outcome grimly inevitable.
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Through seven sentences addressed to them, acclaimed trans writer Alabanza enters upon a thought-provoking and articulate discussion of non-binary identity and the impact of society's attitudes to their existence.
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Bristling with keen intelligence and powerful argument the great Zimbabwean writer and author of the seminal Nervous Conditions addresses the intersections of her various identities with unfailing eloquence.
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From Ernest Shackleton to Amelia Earheart, this compelling anthology of survival and exploration gathers together a hundred extracts featuring both iconic and hitherto neglected figures who pushed themselves to the limit.
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Through a considered analysis of a dozen different desires, psychotherapist Weber delivers a revelatory study of human want that enables us to view the motivations of both ourselves and others with fresh eyes.
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In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, the revered doctor asks searching questions about the current state of the NHS and what we should rightfully expect from our medical services.
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Inspired by a visit to the river where her close friend tragically died twelve years earlier, Amy-Jane Beer reconnects with the waterways and wild places she has always felt an affinity for in this intimate, lyrically written reflection on nature and loss.
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Reflecting on themes of place, identity and home, Thomson's luminous volume intermingles memoir and nature writing in a celebration of the northern landscapes of Scotland.
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