Shuffling of the Shelves – October Part One
By Serena Kerrigan-Noble, Hannah Moore, Lucy Shardlow and Melissa Tran
This October, as the weather gets colder, and we all wish to feel cosier, the charts are ever-changing.
Featuring on the WHSmith’s chart this week is Love Island star Amber Rose Gill, with her debut romance novel, Until I Met You. Following travel blogger Samantha and corporate worker Roman, this novel transports us to tropical Tobago, as their lives unexpectedly intertwine and romance blossoms. Footballer and food poverty campaigner Marcus Rashford MBE has also been making a splash, with his debut middle-grade novel, The Breakfast Club Adventures: The Beast Beyond the Fence. A story of friendship, adventure, and discoveries, this fun read follows a group of kids from the 'Breakfast Club,' who band together to solve the mystery of twelve-year-old Marcus’s missing football.
Popular books featured by Waterstones include The Confessions of Frannie Langton by Sara Collins, a debut novel which is the winner of the Costa First Novel Award and previously awarded Waterstones Book of the Month. Collins writes a gothic novel set in the year 1826, following the story of Frannie Langton, a maid who has been accused of murdering the family she serves. Told through Frannie’s confessions as she shares her life story from Jamaica to London, the novel is both haunting and alluring. Additionally, Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi, originally published in July 2020, has been highlighted on the Waterstones website as a “must read.” The novel describes the experience of a Ghanaian family living in Alabama. Protagonist Gifty continues her PhD studies, despite the various family tragedies that are occurring in her life. A story about addiction, grief, depression and the experience of an immigrant family, Transcendent Kingdom has previously made seventeen 'best book' lists (Literary Hub).
Over on Instagram readers are loving two amazing female authors, both of whom appear to be storming through the charts with their newest releases. The first is Ayanna Lloyd Banwo with her debut novel When We Were Birds. This mythic love story explores two unforgettable outsiders who are brought together through their connection to the dead. Banwo’s novel “speaks of the truth that we all struggle with our identity and place in this world” (@bookwormgonewild on Instagram). Another topping the charts is Jayne Allen with the second instalment in her Black Girls Must Die Exhausted series: Black Girls Must Be Magic. As Tabitha discovers she is unexpectedly pregnant, she must navigate her way through motherhood on her own terms. This is a narrative that explores the many societal issues that Black women face, but also focuses on acts of bravery, strength and the importance of self-love.
From the historical to the fictional, BookTok creators are sharing a plethora of books as ever. Known as a pioneer for Black women’s fiction, Toni Morrison’s Beloved has been circulating TikTok and explores a woman’s life, pre-Civil War, as a slave in America; focusing on themes of Black identity, trauma and motherhood (@berniejulia). Although it is important to look back at how Black people have been treated throughout history, issues arise when Black stories have historically been centred around pain. In an attempt to counteract this narrative, @hothanjama_ recommends Seven Days in June by Tia Williams, a novel that has been praised for its presentation of Black joy. The novel is a love story between two authors, Eva and Shane, who rekindle their love over seven days. A book that appears popular across the book charts, it is definitely worth a read for all romance lovers.
Our noteworthy book this month is by Elizabeth Uviebinené and Yomi Adegoke with their collaborative series Slay in Your Lane, looking particularly at the first book: The Black Girl Bible. After conducting several interviews with successful Black women in business, media, science and more, Uviebinené and Adegoke put together the ultimate guide on how Black women are, to quote the book itself, “shaping almost every sector of society” (Waterstones). As well as the many successes, the authors’ draw on personal stories and how the industry still has a long way to go in order to have equality within the workplace and society. Slay in Your Lane has launched a podcast where the two friends discuss similar topics to the book of issues surrounding race, gender and ageism. Adegoke is due to publish their debut fiction novel The List in Summer 2023, which will be interesting for fans of Adegoke to see their transition from nonfiction to fiction writing.