As the weather begins to chill and we spend more time indoors, we’re looking for books to curl up with this season. Thankfully, October’s new book releases offer plenty to keep us entertained, from Dolly Alderton’s debut novel, Ghosts, to Roddy Doyle’s latest offering set in his native Dublin. Here, we’ve rounded up the titles that you’re going to want on your bookshelf this month.
One World (£16.99)
The second novel from Ugandan-born author Makumbi takes the reader back to the 1970s and the small village of Nattetta, Uganda. 12-year-old Kirabo is being brought up by her grandparents, but as she matures, she feels the absence of her mother more than ever. Over the next eight years, while living under the violence of Idi Amin’s regime, Kirabo goes on a search not only for her mother, but also for her place in the world, in this powerfully feminist, immersive read.
This skilful narrative weaves together the stories of three people: Elfrida, a novelist with writer’s block and a drinking problem; Talbot Kydd, a married film producer who is hiding his true sexuality; and Anny Viklund, a Hollywood starlet with a dodgy past. The trio are all connected by a Swinging Sixties film, Emily Bracegirdle’s Extremely Useful Ladder to the Moon, which is being shot in Brighton over the summer of 1968. But as the camera rolls, more and more of their personal secrets come out.
Dolly Alderton has already won a legion of fans thanks to her autobiographical Everything I Know About Love and her brilliant Sunday Times Style columns, not to mention her smash hit podcast The High Low. So to say that her first debut novel, Ghosts, has been eagerly anticipated is an understatement. It tells the story of 32-year-old food writer Nina, who seems to be regularly ghosted by men online, whose friends are slipping away from her into married life and whose father is slowing succumbing to dementia. Poignant yet funny at the same time, it’s the perfect look at the many agonies of modern day life for a millennial woman.
In 1938, Alma Fielding begins to experience supernatural events in her suburban home, leaving her deeply disturbed. To help, Nandor Fodor, a Jewish-Hungarian refugee and chief ghost hunter for the International Institute for Psychical research, begins to investigate. But the haunting he discovers is one of trauma, alienation and loss, overshadowed by fears surrounding the rising Fascism in Europe. Unsettling yet gripping, this story from award-winning historical narrative non-fiction pioneer Kate Summerscale uses long-hidden archives to find the human history behind this intriguing ghost story.
Pan Macmillan (£14.99)
Completed just before the start of lockdown, the strangely prophetic book is the latest offering from acclaimed American author Don DiLillo. On Super Bowl Sunday 2022, five people are having a dinner party together in a Manhattan apartment. Hosting the meal are a retired physics professor and her husband, who await the arrival of a former student and a couple flying in from Paris. But when a disaster renders the digital world silent, a conversation about what makes us human ensues, filled with uncanny parallels about our current isolated present.
Jonathan Cape (£18.99)
Two middle-aged men, who were regular drinking buddies in their youth, embark once again on a Dublin bar crawl in the latest novel from well-loved Irish writer Roddy Doyle. Both are now married with grown-up children, but Joe has a secret he needs to tell Davy, while Davy is desperately trying to keep his grief hidden from Joe. As the two wander from pub to pub, they discuss life as they know it and reconcile their versions of the past, creating a tender look at the essence of friendship.
Turton’s debut won the Costa Best First Novel Award back in 2018, so it’s no surprise this follow up historical mystery has been keenly awaited. The year is 1634, and Samuel Pipps, the world’s greatest detective, is being transported from the Dutch East Indies to Amsterdam to stand trial. But while aboard the boat taking him back to Europe, strange things begin to happen, terrifying the crew. Then a voice starts whispering, promising them three unholy miracles. Can Pipps get to the bottom of the mystery?
Granta Books (£12.99)
11-year-old Natsuki isn’t like other girls. Firstly, she has a wand and a magical transformation mirror. Secondly, her best friend isn’t actually a cuddly toy hedgehog, but an alien from Planet Popinpobopbia. These childhood fantasies might have been devised to protect her from the abusive adults around her, but 20 years later, Natsuki is still no closer to conforming to society’s expectations. Now married to an asexual man, the pair decide to take a radical step to help her escape the dark shadows of her past. Expect another cult classic from the best-selling Japanese author of Convenience Store Woman.
Little, Brown (£16.99)
Narrated by an unknown woman who goes to visit a friend with terminal cancer, this brief yet profound novel looks at our need for human connection in these divided times. Brilliant and stubborn, the friend in question is suffering and so makes a momentous request – for the narrator to help her end her life. What ensues is a story of friendship put to the test and whether or not love can help us bring it to an end. A beautifully written book from the 2018 winner of America’s National Book Award for Fiction.