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The Waterstones Round Up: October's Best Books

Posted on 2nd August 2023 by Mark Skinner

If you're looking for some great gifting inspiration - or a well-earned treat (or five) for yourself - then look no further than our hand-picked roundup of October's biggest and best books. Ranging from beguiling fiction to addictive celebrity memoir and immersive history, you won't want to miss any of these terrific titles.    

 
 

One of the feelgood hits of the year, Welcome to the Hyunam-Dong Bookshop headlines our fiction selection for October, alongside the captivating latest from the author of the modern classic The Interpreter of Maladies Jhumpa Lahiri. Also making welcome returns are Francis Spufford with the bravura Cahokia Jazz, Sophie Kinsella with another side-splitting romcom gem and Karl Ove Knausgaard with expansive literary fiction from the world of The Morning Star

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Perfect reading for fans of Toshikazu Kawaguchi and Hiro Arikawa, Welcome to the Hyunam-dong Bookshop is an irresistibly sweet-natured tale revolving around the quirky owner and customers of the titular literary emporium.

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The siege of Calais and pirate ships spell new dangers for the Essex Dogs as the Hundred Years' War rages on in the second part of the gripping trilogy from the popular historian and broadcaster.
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Expanding the universe of The Morning Star, the Norwegian maestro delivers a captivating story of two half-siblings that crosses between the Soviet Union, Southern Norway and present-day Russia and doubles as a suspenseful meditation on familial bonds, human connection and the way the past keeps shaping the present.

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From the author of Sing, Unburied, Sing and Salvage the Bones comes a tour de force of historical recreation as enslaved Annis tells her harrowing yet ultimately hopeful story from the Carolina rice fields to the Louisiana sugar plantations.
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A sublimely wrought collection from Jeanette Winterson, Night Side of the River is filled with thrilling, provocative and truly dark tales about ghosts, gender fluidity, science, AI, and what makes us human.
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Stressed-out Sasha heads to a Devon retreat only to find her attempts to recharge stymied by a grumpy interloper in this hilarious feel-good romp from the bestselling author of the Shopaholic series.
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From the celebrated author of The Heavens and The Men comes a bravura retelling of George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four from the perspective of Julia Worthing, bringing a brilliantly evoked feminist narrative to an established literary classic.
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From the author of Golden Hill comes an exhilarating story of murder by the Mississippi as the fictitious town of Cahokia spills over into recrimination and violence when a corpse is found on the roof of a skyscraper.
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One of the greatest living practitioners of the short story form delivers an exquisite collection of miniatures suffused with nuance and empathy.

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From the acclaimed author of The Interpreter of Maladies comes a sensual and evocative tribute to the Eternal City, with a series of delicately crafted stories that capture the diversity and richness of modern Roman life.
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A quantum cryptographer convinced of civilization's fall embarks on a self-sufficient life in the Cornish countryside in this light-hearted yet wryly perceptive take on modern mores from the author of Captain Corelli's Mandolin.
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Luminous and moving, Neil Gaiman's poem that explores displacement, loss of home and what we need to feel warm, written in aid of the UN Refugee Agency's appeal, is now available in a beautiful hardback edition boasting illustrations by a group of artists from around the world.
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There are few bigger names in the world of crime and thriller fiction than Lee Child and John Grisham, and this month we welcome back not just maverick vigilante hero Jack Reacher but also - after an absence of over thirty years - Mitch McDeere from Grisham's breakout bestseller The Firm. Elsewhere, US astronaut Chris Hadfield turns his hand to spy fiction and actor Richard Armitage spins a deft psychological thriller.   

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Reacher returns in another high-octane rollercoaster ride of a novel from Lee and Andrew Child, as the US government call the lone wolf in to investigate a spate of strange, seemingly unconnected deaths across the country.
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Over thirty years after the publication of Grisham's seminal legal blockbuster The Firm comes a nerve-shredding sequel that finds high-flying lawyer Mitch McDeere at the centre of a huge global conspiracy.

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From the iconic astronaut and author of The Apollo Murders comes a nerve-shredding espionage thriller set during the 1973 Yom Kippur War, as a Soviet MIG fighter vanishes from over the Israeli scrublands.

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In a world where a betrayal of trust can leave you dead in the gutter, loyalty is a very precious commodity in this muscular, violent and compulsive blockbuster from the queen of gangland crime.
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Sophie Hannah puts Poirot to work solving a medical murder mystery in this hugely enjoyable reimagining of Agatha Christie's iconic detective.
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At once an ode to classic murder mystery and a thrillingly unique slice of detective fiction, West Heart Kill finds a body and an unlikely cast of soon-to-be-suspects at a country club, inviting the reader to take part in solving the gruesome deed.
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Wire-taut and twist-laden, the debut thriller from actor Richard Armitage pitches a Nobel Prize-winning scientist with the initial onset of Alzheimer's disease into a world of conspiracy and conflicted loyalties where her closest friend could prove to be her deadliest foe.

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With Halloween on the horizon, October sees a gruesome assortment of horror titles alongside some truly stellar fantasy releases. Turn to the dark side with Elizabeth Hand, Garth Marenghi and Jordan Peele, and soar into other realms in the company of Stephanie Garber, Terry Pratchett and the debut adult fantasy from Cassandra Clare.  

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A prince's body-double and an outcast with forbidden magic join forces to expose a web of corruption and intrigue in the gilded city of Castellane in the enthralling adult fantasy debut from the author of the bestselling Shadowhunter Chronicles.
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Evangeline Fox's story comes to a mesmerising conclusion as the fate of the Prince of Hearts is sealed in the sweeping climax to Garber's Once Upon a Broken Heart trilogy.

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A final collection of mesmeric short stories from the much-missed author of the award-winning Discworld series, A Stroke of the Pen is filled with Pratchett's trademark invention, fantastical goings-on and irresistible humour.
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A sexy, scintillating standalone novel set in the world of Maniscalco's Kingdom of the Wicked series, Throne of the Fallen finds the Prince of Envy and Miss Camilla Antonius engage in a thrillingly dangerous bargain which brings their simmering passion to the fore.
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A magical orphan and a ruthless warrior find themselves on opposite sides of the titular conflict in the first instalment of Guanzon's scintillating fantasy series.
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Curated by the horror movie maestro behind Get Out and Nope, this dazzling collection of spine-chilling stories by Black authors boasts contributions from N.K. Jemisin, Tananarive Due and Nalo Hopkinson.
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The first officially sanctioned sequel to Shirley Jackson's ghostly masterpiece The Haunting of Hill House finds a troop of actors holing up in the gothic mansion as events take a turn for the chilling.
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Volume two of the legendary 'darkscribe' Garth Marenghi's chilling opus Terrortome ups the ante on schlock and scares, as a horror novelist is abducted by a team of shadowy scientific experts.

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Centred around Christmas or Advent, these chilling tales from Bridget Collins, Kiran Millwood Hargrave, Jess Kidd and others make for a gorgeously gothic follow-up to the bestselling ghost stories anthology The Haunting Season.
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We present a highly desirable quartet of biographical books this month, as Adam Sisman delivers a compelling companion piece to his 2015 biography of literary spymaster John le Carre, Judi Dench reflects on her great Shakespearean roles, Michael Lewis recounts a similarly Shakespearean fall from grace in the business world and Ranulph Fiennes celebrates the remarkable figure of T.E. Lawrence.   

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A sequel of sorts to Sissman's magisterial biography of the great literary spymaster, The Secret Life of John le Carré reveals the complexities and contradictions of the iconic writer's private life in fascinating detail.
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The bestselling author of The Big Short and The Premonition spins a breathlessly exciting true story with his characteristic pace and panache as he charts the meteoric rise and dramatic fall of enigmatic crypto-currency entrepreneur Sam Bankman-Fried.
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Recounted with Dame Judi Dench's characteristic twinkling wit, this endlessly fascinating volume finds the legendary actress reflecting on every Shakesperean performance in her stellar career.
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The renowned explorer and acclaimed author of Shackleton turns his attention to another great adventurer to deliver a fascinating, fully-rounded picture of the British archaeologist, writer and intelligence officer who fought alongside Arab guerrilla forces in the Middle East during WW1.

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With motivational encouragement from Arnie, a litany of hilarious embarrassment from Dawn French and an inspirational memoir packed with characteristic soul-enriching transcendence from the one and only Alan Partridge, there is plenty to please fans of both big and small screens this October. 

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In this powerful and empowering book, the legendary actor, bodybuilder and former Californian Governor shares the mental tools and principles – from open-minded curiosity to commitment to giving back – with which he has carved his way to success and living a meaningful life.
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An actor who has always boldly gone where few others could, Patrick Stewart lifts the lid on his incredible career on stage and screen, from a Yorkshire childhood to captaining the USS Enterprise.
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From America to the Arctic and from Nepal to New Zealand, Rambling Man is Billy Connolly's love letter to the locations, people and incredible adventures that have resulted from a life on the open road.

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Following up the inspiring masterpiece of memoir writing that was I, Partridge, Norwich's legendary radio and television personality delivers an unputdownable tour de force about the heroic (metaphorical) rebuilding of his career and the selfless (literal) rebuilding of a lighthouse in a small coastal village in Kent.

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Spanning the pandemic and beyond, The Chateau: Forever Home concludes the Strawbridges' engaging Gallic adventure, as the challenges of lockdown force the family to find new ways of funding their dream.
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From Thomas' love poetry to Fanny's rules of etiquette, dive deeper into the wonderful, warm-hearted world of the hit BBC sitcom Ghosts courtesy of this side-splitting literary spin-off.
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Recounted with all the candid charm and laugh-out-loud stories that only Peter Crouch and Abbey Clancy can deliver, this side-splitting guide to modern relationships takes in everything from first dates to school WhatsApp groups.
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A clarion call to revel in twattishness from one of the nation's most beloved comedians and actors, Dawn French's hilarious memoir looks back with affection on six decades of cringeworthy moments.
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Recounting the popular comedian's life through the prism of food, Glutton charts the diabetic Gamble's agonies over sweet treats, his teenage battle with obesity and his love of cooking in adult life in hilarious and heartwarming prose.
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Full of the hard-won wisdom that actress and movie star Jada Pinkett Smith has acquired throughout her eventful life and stellar career, Worthy is a call for the compassion and self-love that we all need to embrace.

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From the hunger and desperation of his Bavarian childhood to descending into an active volcano and living amongst grizzly bears, the jaw-dropping memoir of one of cinema's true mavericks boasts revelations on every page.

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This magisterial biography of Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton doubles as a captivating study in fame, creativity and grand passion, tracing the couple’s at times triumphant at times tragic relationship in a world filled with of jewels, vodka and yachts as well as violence and recrimination.
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From pole-vaulting priests to exploding billiard balls, a couple of QI Elves kick off a riotously entertaining collection of fascinating sporting facts and trivia.
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Dolly Parton, Britney Spears, Bob Dylan - and that's merely scratching the surface of the incredible range of stars featured in music books out this month. With alt-rock messiah Thurston Moore, musical theatre legend Michael Ball and national treasure Cliff Richard also on the bill, there's one heck of a musical line-up this October.  

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Global megastar Britney Spears reveals all in her candid and heartfelt memoir, covering her incredible, tumultuous career, her controversial conservatorship experience and more.
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Packed with the kind of mind-blowing visuals that fans would expect from The Chemical Brothers, this stunning volume of reflection on the band's stellar career draws from wide-ranging contributions from friends and collaborators.
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As stylish as the icon it chronicles, Behind the Seams details the singular fashion triumphs of the inimitable Dolly Parton through vibrant photography and fascinating personal stories.
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Recounted with Michael Ball's trademark bonhomie and generosity of spirit, Different Aspects explores the beloved entertainer's love affair with the West End musical Aspects of Love - the Andrew Lloyd Webber show that transformed Ball into a megastar.
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From Elvis Presley to Aretha Franklin and Elton John to Cilla Black, this intimate and eye-opening compendium of the songs that shaped and inspired Cliff Richard's musical journey is filled with much-loved classics.
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Charting Pinnock's whirlwind journey to fame and fortune as part of the internationally successful girl group Little Mix, Believe also confronts the darker side of the pop industry that left her feeling isolated and insecure.
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One of the founding fathers of alternative rock reveals all about his music-obsessed life and career as frontman of the seminal Sonic Youth in this riveting memoir boasting walk-on parts from Iggy Pop, Lou Reed, Kurt Cobain and many more.
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As multifaceted and beguiling as its subject, this capacious biography of George Harrison paints a vivid and revealing portrait of a superbly talented musician and fascinating individual.
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A landmark publication that dives deep into the recently rediscovered Bob Dylan Archive in Tulsa, Mixing up the Medicine boasts unparalleled unseen images, draft lyrics, manuscripts and more from the world's greatest living songwriter.
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Lavish and authoritative, this breathtaking visual guide to the extensive collection of the hugely influential former Smiths guitarist is punctuated by fascinating reminiscences and anecdotes from Marr's stellar career.

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Drilling down into the process of how and why we listen to different types of music, the celebrated author of The Crimson Petal and the White interrogates notions of 'cool,' taste and commerce with piercing insight.
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October brings plenty of treats for your kitchen, courtesy of fresh cookbooks from celebrity chefs Mary Berry, Rick Stein and James Martin, whilst Sabrina Ghayour serves up some more delicious Middle Eastern inspired dishes in Flavour and Giuseppe Dell'Anno shares mouthwatering recipes for brilliant bakes. And in the realm of personal development, Philippa Perry takes an incisive look at relationships whilst Thomas Erikson offers advice on dealing with toxic 'friends' and colleagues.    

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From pan-fried salmon with barbary butter to lime, coconut and cardamom loaf cake, the beloved chef and bestselling author of Persiana serves up a hundred mouthwatering dishes with a Middle-Eastern twist.

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Accompanying the BBC series of the same name, Mary Makes it Easy showcases 120 hassle-free recipes from the indomitable Mary Berry, ranging from one pot wonders to delicious desserts.
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Collecting Stein's most straightforward yet still scrumptious recipes, Simple Suppers is packed with hassle-free inspiration for midweek meals and casual get-togethers with friends.

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The Great British Bake Off star returns with more accessible, hassle-free bakes - from clementine cheesecake to coffee and pecan marzipan - perfect for those with a sweet tooth.
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From peppers to olives and beyond, the globetrotting chef highlights the exquisite and diverse cuisine of Spain in this lip-smackingly tasty cookbook.
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The much-loved Curry Guy serves up over 150 recipes that can be cooked in just one pot from a selection of his globe-trotting travels.
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This beautiful volume from the bestselling author of The Flavour Equation features an endlessly inspiring selection of veg-focused recipes, as well as introducing the reader to the origins, biology, and unique characteristics of more than fifty delicious specimens.
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Mining the psychology behind comfort eating in accessible and always entertaining prose, the columnist, broadcaster and author of Hungry explores the emotional meaning of the foods we turn to behind closed doors through heartwarming personal tales from some of her famous friends.
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An invaluable literary companion through the loneliness of mental illness, de Botton's redemptive volume charts a course from collapse to recovery with kindness, compassion and wisdom.
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The renowned psychotherapist and author of The Book You Wish Your Parents Had Read offers more invaluable words of wisdom, teaching readers how they can significantly improve the relationships in their lives.
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From the author of global bestseller Surrounded by Idiots comes an invaluable toolkit for dealing with friends and colleagues who suck the life out of social and workplace situations.
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For fans of 'big history,' this month sees the publication of Philippa Gregory's panoramic account of female influence through time Normal Women as well as the rollicking compendium of jaw-dropping facts and figures from the hit The Rest is History podcast. In the political arena, leading barrister Michael Mansfield argues persuasively for people power within the legal system and Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves pays tribute to pioneering women in economics.    

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Challenging the assumption that women played no part in major historical events, the bestselling period novelist maps an alternative account of Britain's past through the eyes of guild widows, highwaywomen and other pivotal female figures.
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From ranking the great eunuchs of the past to the most dangerous hair appointment of World War II, this wonderfully entertaining treasure trove of quirky historical trivia possesses all the charm and irreverence of Holland and Sandbrook's chart-topping podcast.

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Boasting utterly stunning colour artwork, this sumptuous edition of Stephen Fry's celebrated retellings of the Greek myths makes the perfect gift for all lovers of antiquity and great storytelling.

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Tracing a path from the Roman colonial era to the Restoration, Albinia's bracingly revisionist history of the British Isles places women's voices at the forefront.
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Charting a path through conflicts such as the Vietnam War, the Balkan Wars and the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the legendary battlefield commander joins forces with the celebrated historian to present a penetrating analysis of military strategy since 1945.
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This compelling work of military aviation history from the bestselling author of Harrier 809 chronicles the story of the spyplane, night-fighter and war-winning wonder that was the de Havilland Mosquito.
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Bringing to light a selection of neglected stories from Ancient Greece and Rome that focus on queer characters and narratives, this expertly curated anthology from Hewitt and Hall offers a vital new perspective on our understanding of antiquity.
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A multi-layered portrait of a very modern Byzantine Emperor that is destined to become the definitive resource, Sarris' scholarly yet engrossing biography of Justinian captures a turbulent and transformative historical era.
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From the French pirate queen avenging her murdered husband to the love spells found in medieval manuscripts, the author of The Madman's Library delivers another spellbinding work of narrative history centred on the mind-bending workings of romantic love in the human past.
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From cave paintings to mobile phones, Hirsch's insightful volume curates a brilliantly chosen selection of objects that highlight the roles women have played through history.
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A short book with a clear and powerful message that the collective will of the people can force great change, this important work from the celebrated barrister draws upon over fifty years of high-profile criminal cases.
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A powerful anthology of the women of economic history with a progressive vision for a more prosperous economic future.

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October's best popular science books encompass the outer reaches of space with Tim Peake and Carlo Rovelli, the evolution of the female sex with Cat Bohannon and the mathematics of becoming a gaming champion with Marcus du Sautoy.    

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From the first moon walk to the future of space travel, the astronaut and author of Limitless delivers a fascinating and highly readable history of the remarkable individuals who have taken space exploration to where it is today, as well as shedding light on what's coming next.

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Fizzing with the adventure and excitement of the unknown, the physicist and bestselling author of Helgoland takes readers on a thrilling and enlightening journey to the edge of theory and experiment.

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As witty and accessible as it is illuminating and deeply researched, Cat Bohannon's revisionist work reveals the specific science behind the development of the female sex and its crucial role in the evolutionary success of our species.
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The bestselling author of In Search Of Schrodinger's Cat delivers a truly illuminating volume that reveals the fascinating explanations to some very simple questions.
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A captivating gift for any game aficionado, this brilliant book from the mathematician and author of The Creativity Code explores the integral place games play in human culture around the world, as well as revealing how to use maths to up your chances of winning.
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If you're crazy about cats or go delirious around dogs, then you're in for a treat this October with plenty of delightful volumes about feline and canine companions, courtesy of Noel 'Supervet' Fitzpatrick, Clare Balding, Paul Magrs and Dr Sarah Brown. Elsewhere, two major nature programmes unveil their visually stunning literary companions and Clarkson's Farm star Kaleb Cooper takes us on a rural tour of Britain.

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Perfect for all fans of The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse and Together, the uplifting story of Supervet Noel Fitzpatrick's heartwarming relationship with his dog Keira also boasts beautiful illustrations by Laura McKendry.
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From Battersea Dogs Home to Buckingham Palace, the much-loved broadcaster and author of Heroic Animals embarks on a tour of the British Isles to get to the bottom of why we love our canine chums so much.
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Drawing on years of expertise and research, renowned cat behaviour scientist Dr Sarah Brown explains exactly how felines communicate both with each other and with their human owners in this eye-opening and entertaining read.
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A beguiling collection of quotes that spans the centuries and the globe, Puss in Books features authors from Cervantes to Colette providing pithy opinions on all things feline.
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This official companion to David Attenborough’s landmark BBC series Planet Earth III is a breathtaking visual journey through some of the planet's most fascinating natural phenomena, species and landscapes.
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Spanning every type of natural habitat imaginable, from the deepest oceans to urban cityscapes, this full-colour volume brings to vivid life the battles for territory and resources as well as the extraordinary lengths to which creatures will go to make these environments their home.
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A sweeping view of evolution across five extinctions, this jaw-dropping book accompanying the groundbreaking Netflix series of the same name depicts an epic battle for survival on Planet Earth.
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An inspiring love letter to gardening, this beautiful volume from the bestselling author of The Flower Yard bursts with planting ideas for both aspiring and seasoned green-fingered enthusiasts.
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From gravy wrestling to wife carrying, the breakout star of Clarkson's Farm and author of The World According to Kaleb takes readers on a hilarious and enlightening tour of Britain's most unusual rural traditions.

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A beautifully presented melange of maps, charts and spellbinding stories, A Brief History of Lighthouses at the End of the World is a lyrical celebration of maritime adventure, culture and architecture.
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Rounding off the month with the pick of art and crafts publishing, immerse yourself in the definitive biography of Impressionism's colossus Claude Monet with Jackie Wullschlager and revel in the bonhomie and restoration skills of the beloved Repair Shop team.   

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Bringing life to the volatile and voracious genius behind the genesis of Impressionism, Wullschlager's definitive portrait of Claude Monet deftly balances keen-eyed artistic evaluation with vivid life writing.
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From Rembrandt to Vermeer and from de Hooch to van Ruisdael, Moser explores the majesty of the artists of the Dutch Golden Age in this delightfully personal and idiosyncratic investigation.
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Filled with indispensable tips and featuring various crafts, this wonderful volume from the experts of the much-loved TV hit The Repair Shop showcases more exciting restoration projects, from a Ukrainian suitcase to a matchstick clock.
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Comments

Scott Somerville

It was a shame not to see Graham Linehan's book included in the list.

Scott Somerville
8th October 2023
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