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5 new books to read this week

5 new books to read this week

Sir Michael Caine has written his first work of fiction…


1. Deadly Game by Michael Caine is published in hardback by Hodder & Stoughton. Available now

Six-time Oscar-nominated British film icon Sir Michael Caine CBE follows up his 2018 memoir Blowing The Bloody Doors Off with his first dramatic thriller, Deadly Game. The plot is loosely based on a true story Caine read in the news involving some uranium that was found on a London tip – before being stolen – causing lead character DCI Harry Taylor and his hand-picked ops team to investigate, using some unorthodox methods and breaking the rules in a bid to track it down – with time against them. As things unfold, the fast-paced drama takes many twists in narrative, leaving you turning the pages in anticipation to see how Taylor’s special unit from the Met aim to avoid the imminent nuclear threat. With real edge-of-the-seat action, Deadly Game has a great feel of old-school heroics – and it proves difficult not to read some parts in Caine’s distinctive Cockney accent.
(Review by Karen Shield)

2. Jungle House by Julianne Pachico is published in hardback by Serpent’s Tail. Available now

Imagine if beloved Rudyard Kipling tale The Jungle Book was about an abandoned baby girl who was looked after by two friendly robots and an all-seeing, all-hearing and all-knowing “Mother”, instead of a lovable black bear and a grumpy panther. Jungle House is like a reimagining of the story for the 21st century, as Pachico takes us on a journey of what life might be like if artificial intelligence starts to become sentient. Lena is a 20-year-old woman who lives in a largely abandoned house in a jungle, with robots for company and, of course, her mother. The book follows the challenges of a mother/daughter relationship as well as the relationship between humans and artificial intelligence, which is timely and topical. Pachico leaves tantalising clues throughout the book that make you rush towards the end to find out what happens. While well written with strong characters, the story is told in a somewhat convoluted structure with several different narrators, which can be confusing at times.
(Review by Lauren Gilmour)

3. Tackle! by Jilly Cooper is published in hardback by Bantam. Available now

Jilly Cooper returns to her Rutshire Chronicles, which finds Rupert Campbell-Black buying struggling local football team Searston Rovers so daughter Bianca and her footballer boyfriend can return from Australia. It’s a different world to horses, but Cooper’s handsome hero finds he has enough transferable skills to inspire his team of colourful characters and attract the attention of their WAGs. Readers need no previous knowledge from the earlier books to enjoy the frothy tale as there’s a handy – but very long – character list at the start. And while Cooper’s characters are fairly two-dimensional and her writing may not always chime with a modern audience, it’s an enjoyable read.
(Review by Beverley Rouse)


4. On Writing And Failure by Stephen Marche is published in paperback by Sort Of Books. Available now

In this book, Stephen Marche argues that the majority of writer are failures. It’s not just modern writers, either. Marche goes back to Roman times to demonstrate the tortured lives and failings of those who have put pen to paper. He talks about the ever-changing landscape in which writers exist. This book is the perfect example of that flux, because even as this essay was being penned, another change was happening – artificial intelligence. So new is this threat that Marche mentions it only once – but he’s already aware that it will prove a huge challenge. If you’re a new writer, this book will make for sobering reading. If you’re seasoned, then you’ll already know the path is arduous – but maybe you can take solace from the fact that you’re not alone.
(Review by A.C. Hutchinson)

Children’s book of the week

5. Diary Of A Wimpy Kid: No Brainer by Jeff Kinney is published in hardback by Puffin. Available now

With over 275 million Diary Of A Wimpy Kid books already sold, the 18th instalment could push Jeff Kinney’s series to greater heights as the quirky humour is turned up a notch. The titular wimpy kid, Greg Heffley, is a US middle-schooler who charts the joyride of his life in a diary that readers get to enjoy as a cartoon rollercoaster. Here, Greg is faced with the prospect of his failing school being closed down – meaning he would be shockingly separated from his best friend Rowley Jefferson. Raising their test scores is one option – but things are never so straightforward, and this chapter sees him briefly become vice principal and kiss a cute piglet, among many other wacky adventures. The writing and illustration help kids immerse themselves in Greg’s mind, and his good heart makes him an excellent role model as he navigates the kind of feelings all young people must experience, thankfully with plenty of laughs along the way.
(Review by Nicole Cann)

Book charts for the weekend ending November 25th

Hardback (Ficton)
1. Fourth Wing by Rebecca Yarros
2. The Last Devil To Die by Richard Osman
3. The Secret by Lee Child & Andrew Child
4. The Running Grave by Robert Galbraith
5. Iron Flame by Rebecca Yarros
6. The Figurine by Victoria Hislop
7. A Stroke Of The Pen by Terry Pratchett
8. Defiant by Brandon Sanderson
9. Sharpe’s Command by Bernard Cornwell
10. The Year Of The Locust by Terry Hayes
(Compiled by Waterstones)

Hardback (Non-fiction)
1. Private Eye Annual: 2023 by Ian Hislop
2. Rambling Man by Billy Connolly
3. The Woman In Me by Britney Spears
4. Friends, Lovers And The Big Terrible Thing by Matthew Perry
5. Guinness World Records 2024
6. Politics On The Edge by Rory Stewart
7. Stuart Broad: Broadly Speaking by Stuart Broad
8. How They Broke Britain by James O’Brien
9. Ghosts: The Button House Archives by Mat Baynton, Simon Farnaby et al
10. 5 Ingredients Mediterranean by Jamie Oliver
(Compiled by Waterstones)

Audiobooks (Fiction & Non-fiction)
1. Friends, Lovers And The Big Terrible Thing by Matthew Perry
2. The Woman In Me by Britney Spears
3. Unruly by David Mitchell
4. Be Useful by Arnold Schwarzenegger
5. The Twat Files by Dawn French
6. How They Broke Britain by James O’Brien
7. None of This Is True by Lisa Jewell
8. Atomic Habits by James Clear
9. Alan Partridge: Big Beacon by Alan Partridge
10. Ultra-Processed People by Chris van Tulleken
(Compiled by Audible)