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Shuffling of Shelves: April 2023 Part One

By Melissa Tran, Lucy Shardlow and Hannah Moore

April brings us new reads and some fan favourites returning to the book charts!

WHSmith’s top one hundred book chart shows some fan favourites resurfacing like Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus. Set in the 1960s, this novel follows chemist Elizabeth Zott as she struggles to be taken seriously by an all-male team of scientists. She reluctantly quits and becomes a cookery show host, a role where she finds herself and wows the nation with her innovative skills. Garmus’ novel is now a number one Sunday Times bestseller and BBC Between the Covers Book Club pick. The novel climbing back up to the top of the charts is perhaps because of the Apple TV+ series that is due to be released sometime this year starring Brie Larson. A new novel making its way up the charts is The 6:20 Man by David Baldacci. The plot follows Travis Devine, a former army captain who now lives a quiet life as a financial analyst. This is until he receives an anonymous email that leads him into a crime investigation of his ex-girlfriend's death. This is now a Richard & Judy Book Club Pick for spring 2023 which explains its place in the charts.

As spring officially approaches, let’s see what’s in store in the Waterstones chart. While some firm favourites remain high in the rankings, a new addition is French Braid by Anne Tyler. Tyler is a previous Pulitzer Prize winner and Booker Prize nominated author that has written a new novel that follows one family's journey from the 1950s until the present day. Funny and witty, French Braid is an unflinching account of the intricacies of family life and a representation of the ups and downs we all face with those closest to us.

Also in the Waterstones chart at the moment is The Rising Tide by Ann Cleeves. This is the tenth instalment of Cleeves’ Northumberland police procedural series and, once again, follows Vera Stanhope on her investigation. This series has been adapted into a well-known ITV series called Vera. The Rising Tide specifically follows the investigation into a group of lifelong friends whose true intentions get called into question when one of them is murdered.

With Easter just around the corner, there’s no surprise to see so many fun spring themed reads dominating the Amazon Best Sellers chart. Plenty of which are bound to keep your little ones entertained! At number two, Tom Fletcher and Dougie Poynter are back with brand new The Dinosaur That Pooped Easter! Join Danny and Dino as they search for Easter eggs in this egg-cellent, laugh out loud adventure story. Other fantastic titles to keep your little ones busy include: Bluey’s Easter and We’re Going on an Egg Hunt. Whilst the little ones are occupied, why not delve into Thrown; the debut novel from popular broadcaster Sara Cox. The novel centres around a newly established pottery class that brings a group of unsatisfied women together, revealing everything from concealed passions and heartaches to the possibility of transformation. Described by critics as “a beautiful slice of escapism,” this is the perfect Easter read!

With the recent release of Daisy Jones and The Six on Amazon Prime, many BookTokkers have been suggesting books that are similar to much loved sixties rock and roll storyline for new fans of the book and show. One user suggests The Unraveling of Cassidy Holmes by Elissa R. Sloan. Described by author of Daisy Jones and The Six Taylor Jenkins Reid as “a page-turning peek inside the glamour and brutality of life as a pop star,” this book gives you a peek into the life and death of pop star Cassidy Holmes and her band members she leaves behind after her untimely death. Another suggests Mary Jane by Jessica Anya Blau. This novel is set in 1970s Baltimore and follows fourteen-year-old Mary Jane after she gets a job as a nanny for the daughter of a local doctor. She is suddenly sucked into their chaotic world, a world where she feels she can breathe compared to her quiet and structured family life.

A beautiful writer with a unique voice and an even more unique story – our noteworthy author for April is comedian Fern Brady and her ground-breaking memoir Strong Female Character. After being told she couldn’t be autistic because she’s had loads of boyfriends or is good at eye contact, Brady began to tell her story of how being a female can simply get in the way of being autistic. Exploring a whole range of topics from class, mental health, societal pressures and individual ambition, Brady only defies everyone’s expectations and becomes a testament to the importance of self-knowledge. This is ultimately a piece of text that will not only be relatable, but also refreshing for so many women. Already loved by so many readers, Strong Female Character has been described by critics as “a compelling, highly resonant portrait of what masked Autism feels like.”


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