Whether you’re looking for Christmas present ideas or just a great read, here’s this week’s selection of intriguing books to consider.
The Strange Library by Haruki Murakami
Published by Harvill Secker, priced at £12.99
If you like your fiction to push boundaries and even offer a slightly mind-bending experience, you’re in luck with the Japanese author’s quirky novel. An inquisitive schoolboy pops into his local library to look for a book on taxation in the Ottoman Empire – only to find himself taken prisoner and confined to an underground cell beneath the building. His very strange cellmates do nothing to ease his mind, particularly when it appears that the librarian has a taste for young boys’ brains…
Great for: Fans of surreal fiction
The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton
Published by Picador, priced at £12.99
Although this debut novel was published earlier this year, it hit the headlines this week by winning the prestigious Waterstones Book of the Year award. Inspired by a real-life dolls house, this is a story of a country girl who arrives in 17th century Amsterdam to begin a new life as the wife of a wealthy merchant. He presents her with a miniature replica of their grand house, but when the household’s secrets start to emerge, the dolls house – and the elusive miniaturist who furnishes it – take on a very different significance. This suspenseful tale of love, betrayal and retribution is one of the most acclaimed novels of the year.
Great for: Fans of historical fiction, gripping drama and tiny things
The Ice Dragon by George RR Martin
Published by HarperVoyager, priced at £12.99
Martin’s wildly popular Song of Ice and Fire series – the novels on which TV’s Game of Thrones is based – is highly acclaimed but does feature a lot of adult content. Here, young adults can enjoy his intricate and exciting storytelling with a tale about a young girl who is born in a frozen landscape. Showing an extraordinary tolerance for the cold, little Adara becomes the first person in living memory to form a bond with a formidable ice dragon. When fiery dragons sweep down on Adara’s chilly home, intent on destruction, only she and her dragon friend can save her land.
Great for: Fans of fantasy
Not My Father’s Son: A Family Memoir by Alan Cumming
Published by Canongate Books, priced at £16.99
Scottish actor Alan Cumming endured a difficult childhood that was blighted by the violence of his volatile father, Alex. As a successful adult, Cumming decided to take part in the BBC’s Who Do You Think You Are?, mainly to try and shed light on a long-standing mystery concerning his maternal grandfather. On the eve of filming, after not hearing from his father for a decade, Cumming was contacted by Alex who had a shattering secret to share. This moving and honest memoir takes you on an extraordinary emotional journey as Cumming battles to make sense of the revelation.
Great for: Fans of biography and real-life dramas
A Christmas Feast by Kate Fforde
Published by Arrow, priced at £6.99
If you’re able to take time out of the pre-Christmas frenzy and put your feet up with a good book, it’ll be hard to beat this collection of short stories by Kate Fforde. A Christmas Feast is a compilation of festive tales by the bestselling romantic author, including a brand new story and even a preview of her next novel, A Vintage Wedding, which comes out next February.
Great for: Fans of festive fiction, romance and family dramas