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The Waterstones Round Up: October's Best Books

Posted on 18th October 2019 by Mark Skinner

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas, as we run through the finest publishing for October. Revealing autobiographies from A-list stars jostle for position with eagerly anticipated new fiction and some sumptuous volumes that make the ideal gifts for bookworms. There is the dual return of the nation's leading spy novelist and its favourite fantasy author, as well as stunning popular science, history and the music memoir to end all music memoirs. Immerse yourself in the litany of literary loveliness below. 

Some books defy easy categorisation but are so spectacular we just have to shout about them. One such volume that is top of many of our booksellers' Christmas lists is Charlie Mackesy's inspirational The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and The Horse.

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Already a compassionate, heart-warming online phenomenon, Charlie Mackesy’s gently inspirational paintings and delicate calligraphic text fill this beautifully produced volume. The subtle, profound relationships between the quartet of titular characters form a plea for kindness and understanding in an often cruel and callous world.
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Biography

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This is Going to Hurt was the sleeper smash of last year and now medic and comic Adam Kay returns with more jet-black anecdotes about life on the wards. Mordantly hilarious and occasionally heart-breaking, Twas the Nightshift Before Christmas is a celebration of the hard-working heroes of the NHS and their wonderful gallows humour.
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For fifty years Billy Connolly’s stand-up routines have been the stuff of legend; constantly evolving and expanding they ensured his reputation as the funniest comic of his generation. Tall Tales and Wee Stories pulls together the cream of these hilarious routines, alongside an enlightening introduction from the Big Yin himself.
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Glamour, romance and personal tragedy; the dramatic life of Anne Glenconner, Lady in Waiting to Princess Margaret, is recounted with rapier-like wit and sparkling vivacity by the woman herself. From the euphoria of partying on Mustique to the horror of losing two grown-up sons, this is an incredible life lived to the fullest.
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Scourge of evasive politicians and pompous authority figures, John Humphrys has been the penetrating voice of Radio 4’s Today programme for over three decades. Written to coincide with his retirement from the BBC, A Day Like Today brings all of Humphrys’ formidable intellect and insight to bear on the state of politics and current affairs in the United Kingdom.
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Entertainment & Sport

Me
£25.00 £19.99
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From his 70s glam rock pomp to a settled twenty-first-century family life, the former Reg Dwight has been a consistent, iconic presence in British popular culture for the last fifty years. Me is the refreshingly candid and hugely entertaining memoir of an artist who lived the rock n roll lifestyle to the full.
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£20.00 £15.99
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Vividly depicting pop life in the eye of the media storm, Andrew Ridgeley’s revealing biography lifts the lid on fame, fortune and working with George Michael. A rollercoaster ride of 80s nostalgia and excess this is a fabulously vivacious music memoir.
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With the venerable Glasto celebrating a half century of mud-soaked musical mayhem next year, Michael and Emily Eavis, the iconic father and daughter team behind the festival, have produced a sumptuous visual history encompassing recollections from legendary artists, and seminal images from rock’s greatest photographers. The definitive companion to a British summertime institution.

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From the spit and sweat of the New York Punk scene to the glamour and polish of New Wave success, Debbie Harry has relentlessly maintained her invincible aura of cool. For the first time Blondie’s enigmatic frontwoman breaks her silence about her turbulent journey to global fame, sex symbol status and the depths of addiction and bankruptcy. A riveting portrait of a music icon.
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A beautifully detailed reproduction of a Christmas present that Joni Mitchell created for her close friends, Morning Glory on the Vine is a tantalisingly intimate snapshot of the great singer-songwriter circa 1971. Bursting with some of her earliest lyrics and illustrations from her sketch books, this is an eminently collectable volume to treasure forever.
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£25.00 £21.00
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Lovingly curated from Prince’s personal archives, The Beautiful Ones gathers writings, photographs and lyric sheets together in a sumptuous volume that highlights the Purple One’s restless creativity. The perfect companion to an exceptional career and a book that no self-respecting Prince fan can do without.
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If Julie Andrews’ first volume of memoirs, Home, laid the groundwork for her arrival in Hollywood, then Home Work dives headlong into the glamourous world of the 1960s’ studio system. Covering Andrews’ career-defining turns in Mary Poppins and The Sound of Music, this is a wonderfully candid account of a bygone age and the classic cinema that it produced.
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Oveflowing with outrageous anecdotes and hilarious memories, Jenson Button’s tongue-in-cheek guide to being a motorsport pro exudes the charm and likeability of its author. Covering everything from press conferences to victory celebrations - as well as the small matter of actually driving a Formula One car - How to be an F1 Driver is the perfect read for all racing nuts.
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Science & Nature

£25.00 £12.50
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Bill Bryson has proved time and again the ideal travelling companion, and now he takes us on a very singular tour of the human body. The Body uncovers the workings of organs, muscles and bones and is steeped in fascinating anecdote and enlightening trivia. An indispensable guide to the matter that we are made of, The Body is the must read science book of the year.
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Awash with spectacular photography from across the globe, Seven Worlds One Planet accompanies a major new nature documentary series. Delineating the creatures and natural phenomena that make each continent so unique, this exquisite book is a breath-taking tour of the world and an urgent reminder of the fragility of so many species.
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Up close and personal with the world’s most influential scientist, Letters from an Astrophysicist collates Tyson’s intimate and inspirational replies to the enormous volume of correspondence that the astrophysicist receives every year. By turns mind-blowing and comforting, fiendishly complex and reassuringly straightforward, Tyson’s responses are never less than intensely stimulating.
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History, Politics & Economics

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The historian behind the classic The Winter King returns with a breathless yet scholarly retelling of the Wars of the Roses. Relaying thrilling historical events in gripping, dynamic prose, The Brothers York is a spectacular account of jealousy, betrayal and combat that still captivates readers today.
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Having analysed three generations of her own family in the seminal Wild Swans, Chang spotlights another trio of remarkable women in this intensely human history of twentieth-century China. Charting the changing fortunes of the politically divided Soong sisters with a forensic eye, Big Sister, Little Sister, Red Sister is pacy narrative history with the flair and incident of a novel.
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Tracing a path through the capital from prehistory to the London Olympics, Jenkins breezy and accessible volume tells an enthralling story of expansion, progress and hubris played out either side of the River Thames. Perceptive and engaging, A Short History of London is a marvel of popular history.

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£35.00 £28.99
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Charles Moore’s monumental biography of Britain’s first female Prime Minister concludes with a meticulously researched and rounded account of Margaret Thatcher’s final years in office. Addressing both Thatcher’s iron will and political vulnerability, Herself Alone confirms Moore as one of our greatest living biographers.
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£20.00 £16.99
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The deeply disturbing tale of Hollywood cover-ups and governmental intimidation that dogged Ronan Farrow’s seismic revelations about the sexual abuse surrounding Harvey Weinstein, Catch and Kill is an incendiary piece of investigative journalism that shocks and appalls on every page.
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The audacious business author returns with a game-changing book about game theory, and how it can drastically improve financial performance. With a focused eye on the long game and a wealth of analysis of the best performing corporations, The Infinite Game is an invaluable business manual.
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Food & Drink

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The second half of Slater’s follow-up to the seminal Eat, this sumptuous volume crafts quick and easy vegetarian recipes from judiciously chosen seasonal ingredients. Lucidly written, accessibly structured and handsomely presented, Greenfeast is Slater at his culinary best.
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Following the ever-endearing Gino d’Acampo on a railroad odyssey around the Italian heartland, Italian Express uncovers authentic local dishes from every corner of the country. Accessible and entertaining, these are recipes that have endured for generations and are just waiting to be discovered and savoured.
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Fiction

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Promising to address “the division and rage at the heart of our modern world”, John Le Carré’s 25th novel is an espionage thriller ripe for our age. Following on the heels of his acclaimed and timely return, A Legacy of Spies, as well as the popular adapted revivals of The Night Manager and The Little Drummer Girl, it’s the work of a writer at the height of his powers.
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A mercurial mix of established classics and brand new stories from the peerless Zadie Smith, Grand Union touches on themes and topics of tremendous relevance and power in this disjointed age. From reflective character study to gimlet eyed environmental dystopia, this collection is further proof of Smith’s mastery of the form.
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One of America's most adept chroniclers of everyday life, there are few novelists who get under a character's skin more thoroughly than Elizabeth Strout. In Olive Again she returns to her finest creation, spiky, obdurate and disarmingly human anti-heroine Olive Kitteridge for a fine chronicle of late love and generational division, set in the coastal Maine community that Strout has made her own.
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£14.99 £11.99
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The sequel to the bestselling The Tattooist of Auschwitz, Heather Morris’ poignant, profoundly humane book traces Cilka’s path from concentration camp to Siberian gulag. Once more approaching an emotionally charged period of history with sensitivity and depth, Cilka’s Journey presents an unflinching story with heart and hope.

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Nobody writes politically pertinent dystopias like Maja Lunde, and now the author of The History of Bees unveils a powerfully emotive story of migrant flight and the desperate measures that love drives us to. Thoughtful and compelling, The End of the Ocean is a stunning work of the imagination.
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Written with Donoghue’s customary subtlety and psychological insight, Akin is a tender-hearted road trip through France in the company of a winningly unconventional cross-generational pairing. Exposing the frailties of age and the unlikely bonds between estranged family, Donoghue’s latest novel is a wry, multi-layered treat from start to finish.
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Everyone’s favourite fictional consumer returns in a special festive instalment of the smash hit series. Heart-warming and hilarious, Sophie Kinsella’s latest is the perfect Christmas cracker to curl up with.
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The sixth instalment of Riley’s fabulously escapist Seven Sisters series journeys from the skyscrapers of Manhattan to the arid plains of Kenya, as long buried secrets are unearthed. Rippling with an evocative sense of time and place, The Sun Sister’s epic sweep is simply breath-taking.
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Aciman’s languorous Call Me by Your Name became a worldwide bestseller and this highly anticipated sequel promises to follow suit. Skilfully replicating the sensuous atmosphere and hypnotic romance of its predecessor, Find Me sings with wistful beauty and tender longing.
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The twelfth book in the Last Kingdom series is every bit as fresh and accomplished as the first. As Uhtred’s character shifts and eddies, the Saxon world that he inhabits is changing too, and there will be profound consequences for all who are too tied to the past.
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Crime & Thrillers

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Reacher returns in another pulsating lone wolf thriller about dirty money and even dirtier secrets. An elderly couple in peril set our redoubtable hero on a collision course with a rogues’ gallery of hoodlums and heavies, and, this time, Reacher may well have met his match.
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The Queen of Gangland Crime is back, unleashing a steely slice of treachery and retribution, where family is everything until the firm is threatened. Punchy, violent and utterly absorbing, No Mercy truly is vintage Martina Cole.
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Grisham serves up another engrossing slice of legal Southern gothic with this pulsating tale of wrongful conviction and small town conspiracy set in the oppressive Florida heat. Combining Grisham’s expert plotting chops with a rich account of the prejudice and bigotry of the Southern legal system, The Guardians is another masterly exercise in sophisticated suspense from a born storyteller.
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Crafted with Hill’s characteristic finesse and psychological insight, the tenth Serailler novel merges a compelling whodunit with a measured, thoughtful study of family and belonging. A complex, flawed protagonist and deft, nuanced storytelling ensure The Benefit of Hindsight retains its remarkable quality throughout.
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Crime fiction’s pre-eminent writing duo unleash another rollercoaster thriller, remorselessly upping the ante with every compelling chapter. A seemingly ordinary wife and mother finds herself caught in a web of lies, deception and murder, where nobody can identify who is telling the truth.
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Once more interweaving two of his signature crime thriller strands, Connelly pairs up Ballard and Bosch for a gripping cold case that raises uncomfortable questions about the latter’s former mentor. Tightly plotted and masterfully paced, The Night Fire confirms the might of this new detective duo.
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Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror

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The Secret Commonwealth: The Book of Dust Volume Two, intertwines the stories of Lyra Silvertongue and Malcom Polstead as they face new and dangerous secrets. A powerful story about the truths that underpin our world, the divisions that lie between love and responsibility and what it truly means to grow up.
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Bardugo makes the transition from YA superstar to dark adult fantasy with ease, as Ninth House weaves it spine-chilling spell with a sense of ominous foreboding. Multiple homicide, secret societies and some very disturbing occult practices suffuse this electrifying novel, that brings Bardugo to a whole new readership.
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The second installment in Hamilton’s Salvation sequence envisions the potential demise of the human race at the behest of a ruthless alien species. Boasting the kind of meticulous world-building for which the author is renowned, Salvation Lost is another magnificent space opera from a master of the genre.
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The exhilarating conclusion to one of the premier fantasy cycles of our time, Burning White brings down the curtain on the Lightbringer universe in unparalleled style. As enemies join battle and old scores are settled, will Chromeria itself survive the ensuing onslaught?

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A brittle, bracing sliver of purest folk horror, steeped in the traditions of the best nature writing, Starve Acre is a gothic study of grief and haunting guilt from the acclaimed author of The Loney. In the aftermath of their child’s death, a couple search for answers but as they dig into the past – their own and that of their community - a blighted plot of local land births a living nightmare.
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