Books of the Month: October 2021

Books of the Month: October 2021

Every month, The Bookseller's expert previewers highlight a selection of the new fiction, non-fiction, children's and paperback titles coming out. Here, we share their top picks for October's new releases.

  1. 1

    Fiction Book of the Month

    Oh William! by Elizabeth Strout
    Publisher: Viking 
    RRP: £14.99
    Publication date: 21st October 2021
    ISBN: 9780241508176

    Books editor Alice O'Keeffe selected Oh William!, the latest novel from Pulitzer Prize winning Elizabeth Strout as her October Book of the Month.

    The novel returns to the heroince of My Name is Lucy Barton and having overcome a poor, rural childhood, Lucy is now a successful novelist living in New York. The novel begins following the death of her second husband, David, but focuses on her first husband, William, with whom Lucy has shared a long friendship. She remembers their college years, the births of their now grown-up daughters, their married life together for nearly 20 years and their separation. 

    O'Keeffe said: "Strout writes sparely, with such delicate precision, about this decades-long partnership, showing how we are all, ultimately, a mystery to each other. Profound and deeply moving, I loved it."

    Subscribers can read the full October 2021 Fiction Previews here.

  2. 2

    Non-Fiction Book of the Month

    What is Your Problem? by Jack Dee
    Publisher: Quercus Publishing
    RRP: £20
    Publication date: 28th October 2021
    ISBN: 9781529413366

    "In these deadly serious times, when belly laughs are hard to conjure, the sheer deadpan-ness of this joyous spoof really nails the mood", said Caroline Sanderson about her Book of the Month, comedian Jack Dee's What Is Your Problem?.

    During lockdown, Dee re-trained as a psychotherapist, undertaking four hours of study at the "Ruislip College of Advansed (sic) Learning". Armed with his new qualification, Dee has reinvented himself as a "tell-it-like-it-is" Agony Uncle, offering advice on a host of everyday dilemmas about relationships, finances, coping with Christmas, coping with teenagers and more, giving his "professional" opinion. 

    "While clearly parodying, the bonus is that Dee's advice, to my mind anyway, is often right on the money", said Sanderson. 

    Subscribers can read the full October 2021 Non-Fiction Previews here.

  3. 3

    Children's Book of the Month

    Medusa by Jessie Burton
    Publisher: Bloomsbury YA
    RRP: £14.99
    Publication date: 28th October 2021
    ISBN: 9781408886939

    Fiona Noble's Book of the Month, Jessie Burton's Medusa, is the author's second title for teenage readers and gives voice to Greek mythology's ultimate anti-heroine. 

    Burton shows readers the Medusa who is just a young girl living by the sea, who loves fishing and hanging out with her dog. Speaking to the reader directly, Medusa gives her take on consent, beauty and agency in a dazzling story of love and betrayal that begins on the day that Perseus arrives on her island.

    Noble said: "Burton's work on Medusa is surely her finest yet, breathtakingly atmospheric paintings which capture both the epic feel of the myth and the intimacy of Burton's reimagining. This makes for a truly beautiful book, embellished with foiled type, spot UV and embossing. For YA lovers of myth, fantasy and feminism, fans of Madeline Miller's Circe and Burton's adult readers."

    Subscribers can read the full October 2021 Children's Previews here.

  4. 4

    Paperback Book of the Month

    The Apparition Phase by Will Maclean
    Publisher: Windmill Books
    RRP: £8.99
    Publication date: 14th October 2021
    ISBN: 9781786091017

    Alison Flood selected Will Maclean's "genuinely scary, genuinely classy" ghost story The Apparition Phase as her Book of the Month, which follows twins Ted and Abi who are odd, clever and obsessed with the macabre. They decide to fake a ghost photograph, but when they show it to their odd classmate Janice, her reaction is not what they expect. "You drew a shape on a wall, thinking it was clever, thinking it was funny. But it's not. And now it's here. And you live here," she says.

    Flood said: "I absolutely loved this. It's genuinely scary, genuinely classy and reminded me not a little of Andrew Michael Hurley. I had forgotten how enjoyable a good old-fashioned haunting could be. Windmill has a new cover and strapline — 'some ghosts never leave us' — to position this for Halloween."

    Subscribers can read the full October 2021 Paberback Previews here.