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The Waterstones Roundup: June's Best Books

Posted on 19th June 2019 by Waterstones

Journeying from the innermost mysteries of our minds to the culinary heart of France and featuring the welcome return of two favourite detectives, there’s a world of reading to savour as we round-up June’s best new books.

Fiction

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A dazzling conceit handled sensitively by a master of world literature, Shafak’s remarkable novel traces the memories of Tequila Leila in the ten minutes after she dies. Sensuously written with Shafak’s customary tenderness and insight, 10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World is a profoundly moving triumph.
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The resuscitation of Vasily Grossman’s prequel to the monumental Life and Fate is a testament to meticulous research and translation. A peerless invocation of the brutal battle of Stalingrad, the novel is kaleidoscopic in its treatment of the inhabitants and soldiers caught in the wholesale carnage of one of the most devastating encounters in military history.
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Ocean Vuong’s debut work is a transcendent piece of fiction about the limits of language and the over-riding human desire for heartfelt communication. Framed as a letter from a young Vietnamese man to his illiterate mother, On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous resounds with a raw emotional honesty and multi-layered understanding of the lingering wounds of colonialism.
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By turns touching and funny, Richard Roper’s debut is a poignant, affecting story of the many ways life doesn’t always go to plan. Carrying echoes of Gail Honeyman’s Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine and peopled with winning characters, Something to Live For is bittersweet, tender and unforgettable.
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Four Chicago sisters, bourgeois parents and a torrent of hormones and hairspray power a debut novel that marries it’s breezy tone to a more biting undercurrent of sibling rivalry and sensitively handled heartache. Lombardo gets under the skin of her characters but is at her best when negotiating family life in all its messy, complicated glory.
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Having fought her way through the years of potty-training, teething, school fetes and half-term dramas Gill Sims’ long-suffering heroine finds that the heady, freeing promise of her offspring’s teenage years proves more of a permanent headache. Along with Calpol, wet-wipes and endless patience, Sims' series continues to be a must for parents everywhere.
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An enchanting yarn perfect for fans of Rachel Joyce and Ruth Hogan, The Other Half of Augusta Hope interweaves the twin journeys of the eponymous heroine and Parfait, a refugee from Burundi trying to make a new life for himself. Tenderly written and uplifting, Joanna Glen’s debut is an absolute gem.
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Bilston’s terrific debut is that rare find: a genuinely funny - not to mention bittersweet and clever - comic novel. Interspersed with the hilarious, parodic poems that have made his name on Twitter, Diary of a Somebody follows the misadventures of the poet, sometime Casanova and expert procrastinator as he variously pursues love, fame and an unfortunately missing rival. A laugh-aloud pleasure.
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Following the fate of a lone survivor, washed up on Scotland’s shores after a world-altering disaster, My Name is Monster is a novel told with a poet’s eye for detail, landscape and language. In part a response to Robinson Crusoe and Frankenstein, Hale’s novel is nevertheless its own, strange and wonderful, creature.
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The real-life millenarian cult of The Panacea Society is an inspired backdrop to Claire McGasson’s feverish psychological thriller. Two young recruits into the all-female society are drawn ever closer together, as their increasingly deranged leader threatens not just the stability of the organisation but the stability of their mental states as well.
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Crime & Thrillers

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Fans of Atkinson’s Jackson Brodie series will rejoice that her smoke-and-mirrors detective is back after a nine year hiatus for his fifth outing. Atkinson’s novels eschew genre pigeon-holing and her ‘detective fiction’ is no exception. Readers will be eagerly anticipating the mix of fiendish plotting, twisting paradox and playful, inventive storytelling that makes her novels such a joy to devour.
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Like John le Carre but with better gags, Mick Herron continues to reinvigorate the spy thriller with the sixth full length outing for Jackson Lamb and the ‘slow horses’ of Slough House. Events are moving ever closer to home for the washed-up spooks and, this time, nobody is safe.
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A flesh-crawlingly scary serial killer novel that is also written with real compassion and heart, The Whisper Man collapses genre boundaries with aplomb and carves out a unique place for Alex North in the psychological thriller firmament.
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Science Fiction & Fantasy

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Having reached the seventh instalment of his urban fantasy series, The Rivers of London, Ben Aaronovitch gives Peter Grant a much-needed break as he explores the world of magic beyond England’s confines. Set in Trier, October Man transports his cocktail mix of real observation and brilliant imagination to an inviting new locale, throwing in a cast of colourful new characters for good measure.
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A dazzling science fiction yarn with plenty to say about the nature of recollection and the consequences of grief, Recursion posits a society in which people are waking up with different lives, and scientists are engineering a tool to preserve memories. A thoughtful, compelling new novel from a distinctive voice in contemporary SF.
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Biography

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De Courcy’s riveting account of life in the bohemian bubble of the wartime Cote d’Azur pulls off a delicate balancing act, between revelling in high glamour and exposing the hardship and suffering of the French people under Nazi Occupation. Straddling both milieus is the controversial Coco Chanel, impossibly chic and prodigiously gifted, yet seemingly immune to the agonies of others.
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Rescuing these extraordinary siblings from the shadow of the more famous Mitfords, Sarah Watling traces the four sisters journeys through the 20th century. She uncovers an allure capable of bewitching literary titans, coupled with a broad array of professional and cultural achievement remarkable for the age in which these women lived. Inspiring and intoxicating reading.
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Medicine, Health & Wellbeing

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The bestselling author of The Shock of the Fall is also a former mental health nurse, and Heartland is his attempt to convey the complexity and nuance surrounding that most misunderstood of conditions – schizophrenia. Written with the grace of a novelist and the clarity of an expert, this is a profoundly important and timely work.
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Segal’s memoir of the premature birth of her twin daughters is an astonishing feat of autobiographical writing; a tender, self-aware rhapsody to kindness and unity in the face of terrifying uncertainty and helplessness. Mother Ship’s account of the bonds formed by the women of the neo-natal intensive care unit interweaves the transcendent with the mundane and proves a quiet, beautiful triumph.
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Sport

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A fitting tribute to the 100th anniversary of the most iconic garment in professional cycling, Cossins’ authoritative text complements the sumptuous photography and production values of this exquisite volume. Reinvigorating the history of the Tour de France, The Yellow Jersey is a must for all fans of the peloton.
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Travel & Nature

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From Paris to Provence, the Guardian’s formidable food columnist sniffs out the delicacies that make the French nation the crème de la crème of European cuisine. Armed only with her trusty bicycle and seasoned palate, Felicity Cloake merges travelogue with recipe guide in this mouth-watering account of delightful scenery and delicious food.
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History, Politics, Economics & Philosophy

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Astonishingly wide-ranging and comprehensive, Grayling’s synthesis of Eastern and Western thought is the first heavyweight one-volume history of philosophy since the war. Scholarly yet accessible, Grayling marshals disparate theories into a coherent narrative whole to spin an endlessly illuminating tale of intellectual progress.
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Our lives, decisions and interactions are ruled by economics, claims Jonathan Aldred in this provocative examination of modern human behaviours. Rigorously analysing the revolutionary ideas of a number of leading theorists, Aldred argues that economics has seeped into our culture and society in a way that none of us have ever suspected.
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