February 2022 Paperback Preview
Selected by Alison Flood

February is another huge month for paperbacks, with more than 400 titles submitted to me and plenty of fantastic publishing to look out for. I’m particularly excited about Picador’s launch of the Picador Collection to mark its 50th anniversary: a new list of contemporary classics, including titles ranging from Emma Donoghue’s Room to Jackie Kay’s Red Dust Road, using the classic Picador white spines with a contemporary new look. The first tranche are out this month, with more to follow throughout the year, and plenty of point of sale on offer from the publisher.

Penguin’s new Black Britain: Writing Back series is also fantastic: curated by Bernardine Evaristo, it’s a collection of rediscovered classic texts depicting Black Britain across the last century, and it looks brilliant. I would also note Faber’s rediscovery of Kay Dick’s They, a dystopian classic lost for 40 years, some beautiful Toni Morrison reissues from Vintage, and Diana Athill reissues from Granta. There are some huge names in this month’s top sellers too, from James Patterson to Beth O’Leary, Francis Spufford and Jon McGregor. Happy selling!

Book Of The Month

  • Book of the month
    Commercial

    The Answer to Everything

    by Luke Kennard

    Luke Kennard is a poet who has just won the Forward prize for his collection Notes on the Sonnets. He's also a novelist; his dbut The Transition was longlisted for the Desmond Elliott. The Answer to Everything is a much more commercial proposition: funny, satirical and scathingly insightful, it is the story of how Emily-who is married to Steven, with two young kids to wrangle-falls into an affair with her new neighbour, Elliott (married to Alathea, with another two small children to deal with).

    Fourth Estate Ltd, £8.99, 17th February 2022, 9780008444549

Browse February 2022 Paperback Preview

  • Top sellers

    Jews Don't Count

    by David Baddiel

    The writer and comedian argues that those who think of themselves as on the right side of history have often ignored the history of antisemitism.

    TLS Books, £7.99, 3rd February 2022, 9780008399511
  • Top sellers

    The Heron's Cry: Now a major ITV series starring Ben Aldridge as Detective Matthew Venn

    by Ann Cleeves

    The second in Cleeves' Two Rivers series, set in North Devon and featuring detective Matthew Venn, sees him investigating an elaborately staged murder.

    Pan Books, £8.99, 17th February 2022, 9781509889709
  • Top sellers

    Your Inner Hedgehog: A Professor Dr von Igelfeld Entertainment

    by Alexander McCall Smith

    The latest instalment in McCall Smith's series about Professor Dr Dr Moritz-Maria von Igelfeld and his colleagues at the University of Regensburg's Institute of Romance Philology.

    Abacus, £8.99, 3rd February 2022, 9780349144511
  • Top sellers

    1979: The unmissable first thriller in an electrifying, brand-new series from the Queen of Crime

    by Val McDermid

    In 1979, reporter Allie Burns discovers a homegrown terrorist threat in Scotland. First in a new series from McDermid.

    Sphere, £8.99, 3rd February 2022, 9780751583076
  • Top sellers

    Lean Fall Stand

    by Jon McGregor

    The consequences are far-reaching when an Antarctic research expedition goes wrong, in this latest from the author of Reservoir 13, which HarperCollins says sold more than 95,000 copies. "A genuine masterpiece: poised, multilayered and full of the most astonishingly beautiful prose," said the Observer.

    Fourth Estate Ltd, £8.99, 17th February 2022, 9780008204945
  • Top sellers

    The Road Trip: The heart-warming new novel from the author of The Flatshare and The Switch

    by Beth O'Leary

    Addie is forced to confront the messy history of her relationship with Dylan when they share a car on the way to a wedding in Scotland. By the author of The Flatshare. A Sunday Times bestseller.

    Quercus Publishing, £8.99, 17th February 2022, 9781529409093
  • Top sellers

    21st Birthday: (Women's Murder Club 21)

    by James Patterson

    In the latest in Patterson's Women's Murder Club series, a mother is pleading with reporter Cindy Thomas to investigate the disappearance of her daughter. Cornerstone says this is one of its biggest Patterson books of the year, and promises an "exciting" campaign to launch, leading up to the forthcoming hardback in April.

    Penguin, £8.99, 3rd February 2022, 9781529157277
  • Top sellers

    Light Perpetual: Longlisted for the Booker Prize 2021

    by Francis Spufford (author)

    Longlisted for the Booker, this imagines what the lives of five children killed in the Blitz in London might have been. "Heartbreaking... a boundlessly rich novel," said the Telegraph.

    Faber & Faber, £8.99, 3rd February 2022, 9780571336494
  • Literary

    Night as It Falls

    by Jakuta Alikavazovic

    The lives of students Paul and Amelia become entangled, until one day the mysterious Amelia disappears. "A dark, brooding jewel of a book," found the Irish Times.

    Faber & Faber, £8.99, 3rd February 2022, 9780571342273
  • Literary

    Skin

    by Kerry Andrew

    Matty's father Joe disappears in 1985 London. Fourteen years later, a new revelation sends Matty heading for Ireland. By the author of Swansong. "Artfully paced, with queer undercurrents, this novel is tender and totally enveloping," said Attitude.

    Vintage, £8.99, 10th February 2022, 9781529111101
  • Editors choice
    Literary

    Open Water: Shortlisted for the Costa First Novel Award 2021

    by Caleb Azumah Nelson

    Two young Black British artists-a photographer and a dancer-meet and fall in love in this tender, moving love story which also sensitively explores themes of race and masculinity. A wealth of great reviews-"an unforgettable dbut... It's Sally Rooney meets Michaela Coel meets Teju Cole," said the New York Times; while Stylist said it would "leave you weeping and in awe"-and more than 20,000 hardbacks sold in under a year, says Penguin. Longlisted for both the Desmond Elliott and Gordon Burn prizes.

    Viking, £8.99, 3rd February 2022, 9780241448786
  • Editors choice
    Biography/memoir

    Heavy Light: A Journey Through Madness, Mania and Healing

    by Horatio Clare

    A stunning memoir about how the acclaimed author experienced a complete mental breakdown, and how he went on to heal, this is also an investigation into how we understand and treat acute crises of mental health. Clare's books have sold more than 100,000 copies through the TCM, says Vintage. "A shattering journey... Remarkable," found the TLS. "'What a gift...having such an articulate agent, reporting back from the far edges of the mind," found the Sunday Times. Gorgeous cover.

    Vintage, £9.99, 10th February 2022, 9781529112641
  • Editors choice
    Literary short stories

    Who's Loving You: Love Stories by Women of Colour

    by Sareeta Domingo

    What a stellar line-up for this anthology of love stories written by women of colour, which celebrates desire and love in all its guises: Sareeta Domingo, an author who also writes for gal-dem, has signed up names from Dorothy Koomson to Sara Collins, Irenosen Okojie and Rowan Hisayo Buchanan. Fabulous cover, too. "The love stories oscillate from the queer, complicated and fairytale-like, but all feel compelling and urgent, championing something vital for Black women and women of colour to see in the world," said Dazed.

    Trapeze, £8.99, 3rd February 2022, 9781409193746
  • Editors choice
    Biography/memoir

    Good Grief: Embracing life at a time of death

    by Catherine Mayer

    The authors, a mother and daughter who were widowed within 41 days of each other on the eve of the pandemic, then locked down alone, share their insights and experiences to help others. "We are extraordinarily lucky... We have each other and we have this room." This is immensely readable and incredibly generous, a sharing of the worst times in the authors' lives, in order to help others. It's insightful and wise, and somehow celebratory as well as heartbreaking. "Smart, upbeat and brimming with fortitude," said the Observer.

    HQ, £9.99, 3rd February 2022, 9780008436148
  • Editors choice
    Historical

    The Lost Apothecary: The New York Times Top Ten Bestseller

    by Sarah Penner

    In 18th-century London, a secret apothecary shop sells well-disguised poisons for women to use against the oppressive men in their lives, while in present-day London, an aspiring historian stumbles upon a clue to the unsolved apothecary murders that haunted London two centuries ago. A New York Times top 10 bestseller, this is darkly brilliant. It has been translated into 40 languages, and is being made into a TV series by Fox Entertainment, with production beginning in 2022.

    Legend Times Ltd, £8.99, 22nd February 2022, 9781800310162
  • Ones to watch
    Crime & Thriller

    The Push: Mother. Daughter. Angel. Monster? The Sunday Times bestseller

    by Ashley Audrain

    This story of a woman who is convinced her daughter Violet is a monster-"'I think she pushed him,' I said to you quietly. 'I think she pushed him'"-has sold 12,000-plus hardbacks, and more than 41,000 copies across formats since publication in the UK, says Michael Joseph. "The mother of all thrillers! Like The Girl on the Train-but better," said the Mail. TV rights sold in a major deal to Heyday Productions; Michael Joseph says this will be its biggest paperback campaign of the year.

    Penguin Books Ltd, £8.99, 17th February 2022, 9781405945042
  • Ones to watch
    Biography/memoir

    Lives of Houses

    by Kate Kennedy

    I just love this, and can see it going down well as an impulse, till-point buy. Names including Simon Armitage, Julian Barnes, Margaret MacMillan and Jenny Uglow explore our fascination with the houses of famous literary figures, artists, composers and politicians of the past. "A rich and eclectic collection of essays about the role houses play in people's lives and our fascination with the homes of our creative heroes," said the Guardian.

    Princeton University Press, £14.99, 22nd February 2022, 9780691214870
  • Ones to watch
    Crime & Thriller

    Greenwich Park: This year's most compulsive debut thriller, about motherhood, friendships and the secrets we keep

    by Katherine Faulkner

    Helen, who is finally pregnant, meets Rachel at her first antenatal class. Rachel just wants to know everything about Helen and her family and friends-all their secrets. Acquired at auction, this dbut thriller about motherhood and secrets is the "big commercial paperback thriller launch" of 2022 for Raven, with a "stand out" marketing and publicity campaign promised for February. The Sunday Times called it a "twisty, fast-paced read".

    Raven Books, £8.99, 1st March 2022, 9781526626509
  • Ones to watch
    Biography/memoir

    The Power Of Hope: The moving no.1 bestselling memoir from TV's Kate Garraway

    by Kate Garraway

    The broadcaster's story of the devastating impact of Covid-19 on her family is updated with new material about caring for her husband Derek, who spent a prolonged time in hospital with the virus. A new prime-time documentary presented by the author about the situation is slated for ITV in early 2022. A number one in hardback, with 60,000 copies sold, says Transworld.

    Corgi Books, £8.99, 17th February 2022, 9780552178372
  • Ones to watch
    Current affairs

    Me and White Supremacy: How to Recognise Your Privilege, Combat Racism and Change the World

    by Layla Saad

    A guide for readers to help them dismantle the privilege within themselves so that they can stop inflicting damage on people of colour, unconsciously or otherwise. Saad originally self-published this, and her first edition has been downloaded 90,000 times, says Quercus, which hit the Sunday Times bestseller lists with this version, which it says has sold more than 150,000 copies in all formats. A YA edition is also out this month. "Confrontational and much-needed," according to Stylist.

    Quercus Publishing, £9.99, 1st February 2022, 9781529405118