Daily Express

BOOK TIDINGS WE BRING

From Adrian Edmondson to Mary Beard and Jeffrey Archer, the UK’s biggest authors share their favourite reads of 2023 with MATT NIXSON

-

ACTOR and comedian

EDMONDSON, whose powerfully revealing autobiogra­phy

Berserker! (Macmillan) hit the bestseller charts earlier this year, says: “Weirdo by comedian and actress Sara Pascoe (Faber) is funny and feverish, brilliantl­y structured and stayed with me long after I’d finished reading. What About Men? by Caitlin Moran (Ebury) reveals how the patriarchy is good for no one – not even the men. Particular­ly good for parents of teenage boys. I also loved Colditz: Prisoners OfThe Castle by

Ben Macintyre (Penguin). Another fascinatin­g read from the master of historical narrative.”

KARIN

US crime queen SLAUGHTER, whose Atlanta-set Will Trent series has been adapted for Disney+, the latest novel in the Atlanta-set series being After That Night

(HarperColl­ins) says: “The Wager:ATale of Shipwreck, Mutiny and Murder by David Grann (Simon & Schuster) is an incredible story – meticulous­ly researched and masterfull­y told – about an impossible journey and the real people who lived it.An unputdowna­ble piece of nonfiction. One Blood by Denene Millner

(Borough Press) is a beautiful novel that chronicles three generation­s of women from 1965 to 2004. It’s a tender, gripping, searing novel and I cannot stop thinking about it. Highly recommende­d.”

HELEN FRY,

HISTORIAN author of Women In Intelligen­ce (Yale), says: “Valiant Women by Lena Andrews (Mariner Books) is an impressive, groundbrea­king book with so much new research about the incredible roles of women in the Second World War. It’s an invitation to look at this war differentl­y and, in so doing, changes our perspectiv­es.An inspiratio­nal read. The Real Special Relationsh­ip by Michael Smith (Simon & Schuster) is the first to look at the intelligen­ce relationsh­ip between the UK and America forged at Bletchley Park in 1941. It provides important insights for our understand­ing of world events today. It does not shy away from addressing the difficult issues and makes highly compelling reading.”

WILL DEAN, whose latest standalone thriller is The Last Passenger (Hodder), says: “Other Women by Emma Flint (Picador) is a breathtaki­ng story of secrets, desire, and tragedy in 1920s Britain (based on a real life case). Beautifull­y written (from two viewpoints), this gave me Muriel Spark and Patricia Highsmith vibes. Mark Billingham’s The Last Dance (Sphere) is the first book in an exciting new series starring the very human, very relatable, Detective Declan Miller. It is not easy to combine genuine laugh-out-loud humour with gripping storytelli­ng. Billingham does it brilliantl­y.”

TRAVEL writer and comic DOM JOLY, author of Conspiracy Tourist (LittleBrow­n), says: “I’m a political memoir junkie and have read almost all of them (though I draw the line at Matt Hancock) and most are interestin­g but rarely well written. In Politics OnThe Edge (Jonathan Cape), Rory Stewart writes beautifull­y and is brilliant at describing both the theatre and insanity of life in politics. Despite his quasi-messianic character it makes you long for politics driven by substantia­l people. I’ve been a massive fan of Naomi Klein ever since the groundbrea­king No Logo. Her latest book, Doppelgäng­er (Allen Lane), purports to deal with people constantly mistaking her for the conspiraci­st, Naomi Wolf, but is actually about the polarised duality of modern life. It’s full of clever, funny, thought-provoking stuff.”

The

DAME MARY BEARD, whose latest blockbuste­r history is Emperor Of Rome (Profile), says: “I really loved Zadie Smith’s The Fraud (Hamish Hamilton), set in the 19th century and her first historicas­l novel. It’s just as good as an audio book, which Smith reads herself (doing some wonderful accents for her characters). For anyone who wants to dip into the world of ancient poetry, Emily Wilson’s new translatio­n of Homer’s Iliad (WW Norton) is up to date, approachab­le and makes a literary classic really come alive.”

MALABAR HOUSE creator

VASEEM KHAN, whose latest thriller, Death Of A Lesser God (Hodder), is out now, says: “Matthew Parker’s One Fine Day (Abacus) is a unique look at the British Empire on the day that marked its zenith, September 29, 1923. Parker’s endlessly engrossing narrative deftly informs current debates about the legacy of Empire. The Secret Hours (Baskervill­e) is a genesis story for fans of Mick Herron’s Slow Horses series.All his trademarks are here: layered prose, a deftly unravelled plot, lashings of caustic wit, and a cast of morally-compromise­d yet ultimately sympatheti­c characters.”

WASHINGTON POE creator M W CRAVEN, whose sixth The Mercy Chair

instalment,

(Constable), is due in June, says: “Despite the 17-year wait for the sequel to John Connolly’s The Book of LostThings,The Land Of LostThings (Hodder) was incredibly satisfying. Lighter in tone than its predecesso­r, but equally charming and inventive, Connolly shows once again that when it comes to crafting modern-day fairytales and folklore, he is pretty much peerless. Steve Cavanagh is a phenomenal author anyway but even by his high standards, Kill For Me Kill ForYou (Orion) was a special book. Both a loving tribute to Patricia Highsmith’s classic and a startlingl­y original novel in its own right, he took Strangers On A Train’s central premise and crafted one of the best thrillers in recent years.The only book this year I read in one sitting. Glorious.”

YOUNG adult author PIERS TORDAY, whose adaptation of the Box Of Delights is currently wowing audiences at the RSC (play text published by Faber), says: “Adored by bookseller­s and every person who has dived into its shimmering pages, Katherine Rundell’s Impossible Creatures

(Bloomsbury) is made for Christmas reading: an utterly immersive and uplifting fantasy adventure. I also loved M G Leonard’s

gripping fairytale retelling, The Ice Children (Macmillan Children’s), and for even younger readers, Abi Elphinston­e’s Ember Spark (Simon & Schuster Kids) will light up any festive story time.”

HISTORICAL author LAURA SHEPHERD-ROBINSON, author of The Square Of Sevens (Mantle), says: “Two of my favourite historical novels of the year were Anna Mazzola’sThe House Of Whispers (Orion) which is set in pre-war Italy under the grip of fascism. It’s a delightful­ly creepy Gothic tale: Rebecca meets Winter in Madrid. I also loved Palace Of Shadows by Ray Celestin (Mantle), set on the Yorkshire moors in the late 19th century. Based on a true story, a labyrinth of timelines populated by vividly written characters offers a darkly entertaini­ng plot.”

● BLOCKBUSTE­R novelist

JEFFREY ARCHER, whose Traitor’s

Gate (HarperColl­ins) is the sixth volume in his William Warwick series, says: “I gave my wife

Lessons In Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus (Penguin) as a gift and ended up reading it before her. Having been married to a chemist for 57 years, it had a frightenin­g ring of truth about it, but at the same time, a most enjoyable read. Colditz by Ben Macintyre (Penguin) is revealing because, like all schoolboys at the time, I thought the prisoner of war camp was an altogether heroic establishm­ent. Not a bit of it. Macintyre’s fascinatin­g book tells a completely different story.”

● BARRISTER turned author HELEN FIELDS, whose latest thriller is The Institutio­n (Avon), says: “A string of disappeara­nces, the most unlikely murderers and stomach-churning protein recipes make Holly by Stephen King (Hodder) a white-knuckle read. Holly is a uniquely broken, beautiful heroine. Alias Emma by Ava Glass (Penguin) introduces, finally, a female secret agent who’s not just a sidekick! A pulsepound­ing chase across London in the best traditions of spy fiction, with a whip-smart lead character and intense suspense.”

● BECKY HUNTER, whose debut love story with a twist, One Moment (Corvus), was published this year, says: “In Memoriam by Alice Winn

(Viking) took my breath away. Wonderful and heart-wrenching, it was just brilliant and will stay with me for years to come.This year has been a bit hard, leaving us in need of a bit of escapism – and Veronica Henry’sThirty Days In Paris

(Orion) does just that for me.A warm and joyful treat – and who doesn’t love Paris?”

● COP turned bestsellin­g thriller writer CLARE MACKINTOSH, whose latest book,

A Game Of Lies (Sphere) is out now, says: “Ashley Winstead’s Southern gothic thriller,

Midnight Is The Darkest Hour (Head of Zeus), is the ultimate page-turner. It features teenage star-crossed lovers, fire-and-brimstone preachers, vampiric folklore, and one of the most gasp-inducing endings I’ve ever read.Twilight meetsThelm­a and Louise meetsWhere the Crawdads Sing. I’ve always loved Julie Cohen’s writing and her latest (written as Julie Mae Cohen) is her best yet. In Bad Men (Zaffre), serial killer Saffy seeks out men who deserve a taste of their own medicine… and boy, does she give it to them! Fast, funny and furiously feminist.”

● FREYA BERRY, whose latest novel is The Birdcage Library

(Headline), says: “I devoured Gareth Rubin’s The Turnglass

(Simon & Schuster): tricksy, liminal, and as morbidly fascinatin­g as an hourglass. It’s a tête-bêche novel – no, me neither – a structure fantastica­lly suited to the subject. For very different reasons I loved Jonathan Freedland’s devastatin­g The Escape Artist

(John Murray), the account of two Jews who broke out of Auschwitz. Hard to read, but utterly worth it.”

● ANGLO-ASIAN crime writing pioneer ABIR MUKHERJEE, whose first standalone Hunted (Harvil) is published in May, says: “Neither of my books was published this year but Little

Rebel by Jerome Leroy (Corylus Books), an account of a fictional terror attack on a school in an unnamed city in the west of France, is a satirical look at modern French society and issues of immigratio­n and radicalisa­tion. In the hands of a less accomplish­ed writer, this would be a difficult task, but Leroy takes a scalpel to the subject matter. Tenth Of December by George Saunders (Bloomsbury) is a collection of short stories by the US writer and Booker Prize winner, which examine modern day, polarised, malaise-filled America in a way that only Saunders can.”

● YOUNG adult author ALEX WHEATLE, whose compelling new memoir Sufferah (Quercus) is out now, says: “I love historical fiction, especially if it tells the story from a teenage perspectiv­e. Candy Gourlay’s

Wild Song (David Fickling Books) relates the tale of Little Luki and her journey from a tribal life in the mountains of the Philippine­s to her appearance at the 1904 St Louis World’s Fair. Themes of colonisati­on, exploitati­on and friendship fill the pages. I’m a massive music fan too, so I really enjoyed Jeffrey Boakye’s Musical World (Faber). It addresses the impact of popular music on many issues of social injustice including feminism, antisemiti­sm and HIV. It’s very entertaini­ng, educationa­l and easy to read for any young reader.”

● LOUISE CANDLISH, whose brilliant tale of obsession and love, The Only Suspect (Simon & Schuster), is out now, says: “Bright Young Women by Jessica Knoll (Macmillan) is the 2023 book I wish I’d written – a fictional reframing of the Ted Bundy serial killings in the 1970s, told by the victims and their friends. It took my breath away. In This Could Be Us by Claire McGowan (Corsair), Kate and Andrew’s family is torn asunder by the demands of a profoundly disabled child in this elegant, ambitious, beautiful novel.”

● GEORGINA MOORE, author of

The Garnett Girls (HQ), says:

“Little Monsters by Adrienne Brodeur (Hutchinson) was this year’s Paper Palace for me. It’s an immersive saga set in Cape Cod and featuring a flawed family with long-buried secrets. Set over one summer, this novel is sharply observed with stunning scenery, and makes you so emotionall­y invested in the characters. I was so happy to see FifteenWil­d Decembers by Karen Powell (Europa) shortliste­d for the Nero Book Awards as more people need to discover this.A dazzling work of genius, her writing about the Bronte sisters makes you inhabit their world and struggles.”

●●To order any of the books featured, visit expressboo­kshop.com or call 020 3176 3832. Free UK P&P on orders over £25

 ?? ??
 ?? ??
 ?? ??
 ?? ??
 ?? ??
 ?? ??
 ?? ??
 ?? ??
 ?? ??
 ?? ??
 ?? ??
 ?? ??
 ?? ??
 ?? ??
 ?? ??
 ?? ??
 ?? ??
 ?? ??
 ?? ??
 ?? ??
 ?? ??
 ?? ??
 ?? ??
 ?? ??
 ?? ??
 ?? ?? ATLANTA BRAVE: Ramon Rodriguez and Iantha Richardson as Special Agent Will Trent and Faith Mitchell in Disney+ adaptation of Karin Slaughter’s hit series
ATLANTA BRAVE: Ramon Rodriguez and Iantha Richardson as Special Agent Will Trent and Faith Mitchell in Disney+ adaptation of Karin Slaughter’s hit series
 ?? ??
 ?? ??
 ?? ??
 ?? ??
 ?? ??
 ?? ??
 ?? ??
 ?? ??
 ?? ??

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from United Kingdom