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The Waterstones Round Up: January's Best Books

Posted on 4th January 2022 by Mark Skinner

Now that the turkey leftovers have been comprehensively polished off and the tinsel taken down for another year, it's time to look ahead to a month of truly exciting new publishing with new titles from Hanya Yanagihara and Janice Hallett as well as thrilling debuts from the likes of Nita Prose and Nat Ogle and immersive non-fiction by Thomas Harding and Emma Gannon.

 

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Traversing three centuries and three alternative versions of the American experiment, the author of A Little Life returns with a spellbinding chronicle of love, the meaning of family and the excruciating cost of unattainable dreams.
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A must for fans of historical fiction, this addictively readable debut merges the Greek myth of Pandora with the milieu of Georgian London where a frustrated young artisan and an ambitious antiquarian scholar find their futures enmeshed with the discovery of an ancient vase that holds secrets as dangerous as they are tempting.
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Three mixed-race friends navigate frustrated hopes and thwarted love in modern London, as a single terrible act threatens to spin their lives out of control in this darkly funny and scalpel sharp debut perfect for fans of Queenie and Expectation.
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Handling its difficult subject matter with grace and striking insight, Ogle’s multi-viewpoint debut novel about the aftermath of a rape trial is a breathtaking meditation on trauma, care and the limits of empathy.
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Sensual and resonant, Free Love's beautifully wrought tale of a suffocatingly conventional family's awakening during the Swinging Sixties confirms Hadley as one of our finest contemporary novelists.
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Nineteen-year-old William’s decision to volunteer at the tragic scene of the 1966 Aberfan landslide transforms his life forever in this moving story about sacrifice and compassion.
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Telling the story of the most pivotal events of the last hundred years through the extraordinary life of one woman, Allende's sweeping epic of human resilience and social history ranks amongst her very finest works.
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From the author of former Waterstones Fiction Book of the Month Writers and Lovers comes a sparkling collection of ten short stories focused on the hopes, dreams and heartaches of supremely well-drawn characters.
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Combining pivotal contemporary events with a deliciously witty ghost story set in a Minneapolis bookshop, The Sentence is a dazzling inventive novel from the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Night Watchman.
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An incredibly powerful, richly layered fiction debut from the acclaimed poet, The Love Songs of W.E.B. du Bois is a sweeping tale of inheritance and reckoning with history that follows young African-American woman Ailey as she traces her family roots in the Deep South across two centuries.

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Spanning four years and five cities, Schneider's bravura queer love story is a psychologically acute and emotionally involving debut perfect for fans of Sally Rooney and Naoise Dolan.
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The paths of three individuals scattered across the UK intersect with unexpected consequences in this heart-rending and hopeful novel from the author of The Way Back Home.
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With immense ambition and even greater skill, the author of the bestselling phenomenon The Appeal weaves another completely unique and addictive mystery, revolving around a secret code found in a famous children’s author’s work by an English teacher who subsequently disappears, and her former pupil who years later decides to discover what happened to her.
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Taking Agatha Christie's 11 day disappearance in 1926 as a jumping-off point, de Gramont's deftly constructed mystery is a delight for fans of both the Queen of Crime and Golden Age whodunits in general.
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Boasting a formidable amateur sleuth in Molly the maid, Prose’s captivating whodunit is a page-turning tour around the Regency Grand Hotel in search of a cold-blooded killer.
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Combining a wire-taut military thriller with a searching examination of the horrors of the First World War that continued even after the Armistice, Two Storm Wood finds a resourceful officer and a determined widow on the hunt for a psychopath.
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Steeped in secrets, guilt and other ghosts of the past, The Key in the Lock is a mesmerising Gothic mystery revolving around a tragic fire in an old country house, perfect for fans of Daphne du Maurier and Elizabeth Macneal.
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One of the finest practitioners of Outback Noir returns with a scorching story of theft, greed and ritual slayings set around the opal mines of the lawless town of Finnigan's Gap.
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The author of The Winners Trilogy delivers a bold, brutally candid and utterly unputdownable thriller set in the heartbreaking world of a midwestern strip-tease club and populated by complex, unforgettable characters.
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The bestselling author of Haven't They Grown delivers another superbly constructed and utterly engrossing mystery centred upon an impossible murder committed at an exclusive couple's-only resort.
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Dripping with pitch black Scandinavian noir atmosphere, Niklas Natt och Dag's follow up to the acclaimed The Wolf and the Watchman mines themes of murder and madness in late eighteenth-century Stockholm.
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A high concept, genre-bending mix of crime and science fiction, The Anomaly envisages the splitting of an aircraft into two separate entities in the eye of a storm and the suspenseful consequences for the duplicate versions of the passengers and crew.
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Robertson's bracingly original novel weaves a page-turning mystery about the demise of a seemingly insignificant man and the cleaner who discovers a link to a series of deaths across Glasgow.
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Beginning the Celestial Kingdom duology, Tan's evocative fantasy is a sweeping story of magic, romance and mythology that takes the legend of the Chinese moon goddess as its jumping off point.
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A prescient warning of an all-too-plausible future and a spellbinding mosaic of characters who stand as a testament to human inventiveness in the face of catastrophe, Nagamatsu’s ambitious, haunting debut announces the arrival of an astonishing new voice in science fiction.
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Penned by the much-missed Theo Clare - a.k.a. crime writing legend Mo Hayder - The Book of Sand is a captivating and disturbing account of two worlds thrown together and the dark forces unleashed that threaten to destroy them both.
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Splendidly sinister and shrouded in forbidding atmosphere, Hinchcliffe's assured second novel is a slice of wintry folk horror featuring witchcraft, curses and incipient madness.
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From the bestselling author of Speak Your Truth and Quiet, Bigger Than Us is a life-affirming, down-to-earth guidebook for finding meaning, calm and happiness in an increasingly messy world.
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From grilled chicken, pomegranate and almond salad to no-bake Biscoff cheesecake, this inspiring cookbook from the fitness specialist and bestselling author of The Art of Resilience comprises 100 scrumptious and nutritious recipes.
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A refreshing take on weight loss that focuses on the mind-body connection, Lose Weight Without Losing Your Mind is filled with practicable wisdom on how to build a healthier relationship with food.
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Putting vegetables of all kinds centre stage, Sophie Gordon demonstrates how to make the most of your leftovers as well as reducing waste in this delicious, inventive and environmentally important cookbook perfect for all fans of Anna Jones.
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Ranging across farming, health and economics, animal rights activist Winter delivers an uncompromising manifesto for a vegan lifestyle perfect for engaging in debate with doubters.
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From peanut butter flapjacks to cherry Bakewell tartlets, Holly Jade serves up recipes for the most stunning, imaginative vegan versions of best-loved sweet treats that are guaranteed to please any palate.
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Packed full of delicious vegan dishes inspired by Caribbean cuisine, this accessible fun-filled cookbook from the authors of Original Flava is a mouthwatering treat.
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Prepare classic Chinese dishes like roast duck in Hoi Sin sauce, sweet and sour pork and king prawn noodles in lightning-fast time with this vibrant, hassle-free cookbook from the author of Chinese Takeaway Cookbook.
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A sublimely written account of refusing to be defined by social constructs and embracing life-enhancing change, The Cure for Sleep is a poignant and inspiring slice of literary memoir.
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Hilarious, inspirational and eye-opening, Wassef's deftly written account of the pioneering Egyptian bookshop she founded with her sister merges politics and biography to gloriously unputdownable effect.
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An extraordinary insight into the contemporary art world just before the fall of the Berlin Wall, Bacon in Moscow is an endlessly entertaining personal memoir of British curator James Birch and his endeavour to exhibit the works of a western cultural icon in Russia during the time of Glasnost.
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Delineating a fresh and insightful perspective on the nature of grief, Blackburn's account of his coming to terms with the loss of his father intertwines themes of philosophy, music, psychology and art with extraordinarily powerful results.
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The author of A Manual for Heartache and Everyone Is Still Alive delivers a beautiful, inspiring meditation on working with words and why we do it, filled with encouragement and practical tips for anyone who wants to write.
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Marking the fiftieth anniversary of Bloody Sunday, this extraordinary book brings together rare and previously unpublished accounts from eyewitnesses, survivors, politicians and the relatives of victims to reflect on a day that remains one of the darkest moments in modern history.
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The author of Hanns and Rudolf and The House by the Lake delivers a blazingly eloquent and unflinching examination of Britain's pernicious role in the slave trade through the prism of the Demerara Uprising and its aftermath.
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Anderson and Hanson’s fascinating investigation into the UK’s only war crimes trial charts the interwoven lives of the accused and the main witness for prosecution ¬– two childhood friends from Belarus – in the most immersive, gripping prose.
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Both panoramic in scope and generous in detail, Thanhauser’s beautifully crafted and provocative history of clothing examines the question of how what we wear has shaped who we are through the centuries, unveiling one eye-opening revelation after another.
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Ground-breaking, deeply researched and compellingly told, Hendy’s magisterial tome charts the BBC’s first hundred years during which this now global institution has shaped Britain as an indomitable force for cultural change.
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Charting the story of the young Austrian archduke and his ill-starred reign on the Mexican throne, Shawcross’ fascinating volume plunges the reader into the midst of nineteenth-century guerrilla wars, conspiracy plots and ruthless power battles between old European and new American imperialisms.
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From mystics to military leaders to explorers, Accidental Gods traverses five centuries of global history to reveal a host of ‘man-gods’ – men of colonial and other ambitions of power who in their time reached a near-mythical status and whose legacy continues to cast its shadow to this day.
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The bestselling author of Ctrl, Alt; Delete: How I Grew Up Online examines the dangers of living life through social media and why so many people are choosing to log off in this prescient and highly entertaining volume.
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Crisscrossing the globe in an attempt to discover why our attention spans are shorter than ever, the author of Lost Connections expounds on twelve pertinent cases and offers his own theory of where things went wrong.
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Examining some of the most unpleasant and morally dubious jobs of our time and the people who have to do them, Dirty Work is an eye-opening investigation into the hidden costs of inequality and how we as consumers contribute to it.
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An accessible and compelling investigation into the corrupting influence of power, Klaas' meticulously researched volume draws on testimony from over 500 leaders ranging from presidents to yoghurt kingpins.
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Through drawing on a wide range of colonial and aboriginal histories and popular culture, one of the world’s leading scholars of Black Existentialism delivers a powerful and expansive investigation into the politics and protests surrounding the Black freedom quest.
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In this compelling and subversive book, journalist and author Hannah Jewell talks to millennials about such contemporary issues as cancel culture and political correctness, showing why Generation Y may have a very good reason to be angry, sensitive and offended.
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Highly readable and brimming with insight, Simon Clark’s eye-opening volume tells the layered story of the air around us, discussing the contributions atmospheric science can make in the debates surrounding the climate today.
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Flying the flag for the importance of feelings, Mlodinow draws on cutting edge science in a riveting account of why emotion is just as valid a tool for success as rational thinking.
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Examining the most gruesomely captivating methods for murder, Dr Neil Bradbury’s investigations into eleven deadly poisons and how they have been used throughout history marries popular science and true crime to gripping effect.
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Farooki's account of working on the frontline of the Covid pandemic in the wake of her sister's death from cancer is an unflinching, immensely powerful and surprisingly uplifting story of both physical and mental survival during a catastrophic public health crisis.
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Mitchell's diagnosis of early onset dementia turned her life upside down but not in the ways that most people expect the condition to, and this bracing, optimistic and witty memoir presents another side to living with dementia which is all too rarely touched upon.
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The author of former Waterstones Non-fiction Book of the Month Rewild Yourself takes a visionary look at the world of plants, uncovering many little known facts and examining their interrelationship with other facets of nature in this eye-opening volume to accompany the BBC series.
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Lifting the lid on a quiet catastrophe taking place all around the globe, Milman’s beautifully written volume is both a deeply researched investigation into the worrying patterns of change in insect populations and a celebration of these extraordinary creatures.
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From near-human to fantastically alien, this endlessly absorbing volume from behavioural scientist Ashley Ward celebrates the social mores of different species of the animal kingdom.
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