Shuffling of the Shelves: October, Part Two
By Anais Aguilera, Amber Alexander, Katie Norris and Sophie Poirier
Looking to focus on your finances this month? The Diary of a CEO: The 33 Laws of Business & Life hit number four on the Amazon charts this week and is full of wise advice from British-Nigerian entrepreneur (and Dragons’ Den star) Steven Bartlett. Based on a series of interviews with people from a range of different backgrounds, Bartlett aims to provide advice about personal growth and excellence to both businesspeople and those just looking for some general motivation. If you’re looking for another self-help read after finishing Atomic Habits, this might be the one for you.
Although largely promoted as a summer read, it’s never too late to pick up Yomi Adegoke’s The List. When journalist Ola Olajide discovers allegations of abuse against her fiancé, she faces a personal and professional crisis. She gives him until their wedding day to prove his innocence before she publishes the story. This gripping and topical read gives an interesting perspective on fame, power and the things we don’t know about the people closest to us. Adegoke’s fiction debut is a page-turner that will get you thinking about how you consume media.
The power of storytelling has never been more transformative! This week, Author JJ Bola has entered the charts, making it in the top one hundred books of WHSmith with his novel The Selfless Act of Breathing. A novel that dives deeply into the transfiguring expedition of Michael Kabongo, a man struggling to overcome the intense frustration of stagnant justice against marginalized young Black men and the debilitating impact of his mental health. This metamorphic journey tackles topics of masculinity, men's mental health and the power of love. JJ Bola's empowering and lyrical prose is a raw and gripping story that must be read.
If you’re looking for a short read for the weekend, Booker Prize shortlisted author Claire Keegan has recently published her short story So Late in the Day, a story of a man facing the complex conversations of the mind, dealing with the loss of a relationship that could have transcended. Keegan explores the captivating interchanges between a man and woman. This short story can be found as a standalone or attached with two other short stories, The Long and Painful Death and Antarctica, published by Keegan in her book So Late in the Day: Stories of Women and Men. Claire Keegan’s powerful short fiction is the perfect weekend read for you this October!
Now out in a stunning paperback edition, Babel by R.F. Kuang is making a move back into the charts. If you’re a fan of dark academia, then this fantasy tale set in Oxford, the heart of spires and centre of all knowledge, will be one to engross you. As it dawns on orphaned Canton that Babel, the Royal Institute of Translation, might not be all that he’d dreamed, he has to make the impossible choice of whether to suffer in silence or stand against such a formidable force. If you’re looking to be transported during dark and gloomy October evenings, this book might be the one for you!
Another cosy, Autumnal read that’s been creeping up the charts is Days at the Morisaki Bookshop by Satoshi Yagisawa. Broken hearted, Takako begrudgingly accepts her uncle’s offer to live for free in a tiny apartment above his bookshop. However, instead of healing alone and in peace, she finds a whole world within the shelves that teach them both about life, love and the healing experience. Perhaps every book lover's dream, Yagisawa’s novel perfectly captures the comfort and reassurance found within bookshelves. A perfect addition to your October reading list.
If you’ve spent any time on the romance side of BookTok, you’ve surely heard of Hannah Grace’s enemies-to-lovers hit, Icebreaker. Fans will be happy to hear that the sequel, Wildfire, was released this month, and is already living up to the first instalment’s fame. Set in the same universe as Icebreaker, this novel follows Aurora and Russ as they rekindle an old romance while working together at a summer camp. It’s the perfect steamy read to warm your heart as the weather gets colder this October.
Another new release comes from V.E. Schwab, best known for The Invisible Life of Addie Larue, which captivated fans across social media when it was released in 2020. Schwab’s latest novel is set in a different universe but maintains the same expansive worldbuilding and magical elements that fans of her other novels will love. The Fragile Threads of Power imagines a fantasy version of London, divided into four warring kingdoms. When a new, young queen takes the throne in one of the kingdoms, the delicate system holding the city together threatens to come crashing down. It has been a great year for fantasy novels, and this release is no exception.
Caleb Azumah Nelson is this issue’s noteworthy author. Nelson, a British-Ghanaian writer and photographer, made waves with his debut novel Open Water. Released in 2021, the novel quickly became a number one New York Times bestseller. It also won Debut of the Year at the British Book Awards. Nelson’s sharp second person narration tells the tale of a young Black couple finding love and joy in a world stacked against them. His newest release, Small Worlds, is an equally poignant story, this time set over the course of three summers. Imbued with a love for Black music and culture, Caleb Azumah Nelson’s writing can best be described as intimate. He draws the reader in to explore intimacy in all its forms, from romantic to platonic to the intimacy of sitting with oneself. Nelson has also won multiple awards for his photography which he says goes hand in hand with his writing.