If you need a little inspiration for Christmas presents or are just looking for a really good read, here is this week’s selection of hot new releases.
Funny Girl by Nick Hornby
Published by Viking, £18.99
From the author of About a Boy and Fever Pitch comes a comic and moving tale set in the competitive world of 1960s television. At a time when Britain is producing a slew of classic comedy shows, ambitious scriptwriters Tony and Bill are given the task of turning an unpromising sitcom premise into a hit. Their salvation comes in the form of a surprise star, northern funny girl Sophie Straw and together a disparate crew set about creating a phenomenon. But they all have their secrets and it’s not long before success brings about some difficult choices. Critics have praised the impressive background detail, intriguing characters and emotional heart of this entertaining story.
Great for: Fans of classic comedy and the Swinging Sixties.
Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult
Published by Hodder & Stoughton, £20
An expert at working complex family issues into her fiction, Picoult returns with a domestic drama that explores themes of loss and abandonment. A decade after her loving mother mysteriously disappeared following an accident at her elephant sanctuary, Jenna longs to discover the truth. Her father has been in a psychiatric hospital since the incident and with family members unable or unwilling to shed light on the mystery, Jenna enlists the help of a private detective and a psychic. Shocking revelations may be in store for the young woman, leading to a surprise finale that will captivate readers.
Great for: Fans of emotional dramas, mysteries and elephants!
Printer’s Devil Court by Susan Hill
Published by Profile Books, £9.99
Those who enjoy creepy thrills should not miss the latest ghost story by the author of modern classic, The Woman in Black. Hugh, a young London medical student, discovers that his friends have been engaging in shadowy experiments below their digs in Printer’s Devil Court. Their unethical practises interfere with death itself – a fact that Hugh witnesses on one terrifying and unforgettable occasion. Returning to the spot years later, Hugh is forced to confront the horrific reality of their actions.
Great for: Fans of the supernatural.
Human Universe by Brian Cox and Andrew Cohen
Published by William Collins, £25
If you need a little mental stimulation, this tie-in with Professor Cox’s current BBC series will certainly do the trick. Here he tries to figure out how human beings relate to the infinite universe around us, asking mind-boggling questions about our origins, reasons for being and our place in it all. As usual, the charming Prof makes it all seem terribly easy and clear, so this is a great buy for anyone who wants to broaden their mental horizons – or just look clever on the bus.
Great for: Fans of science and nature
The Revolution by Russell Brand
Published by Century, £20
Love him or loathe him, comedian and film star Russell Brand is enjoying growing prominence in the political arena, having even been invited onto the BBC’s Question Time. Some critics dismiss this mega-rich, fashion obsessed celebrity’s ideas about revolution as preposterous, while others argue that his theories have merit and that he could help to engage more young people in politics. Here he puts forward those thoughts in his unique and funny style, resulting in a thought-provoking book that will prompt heated debates over the dinner table.
Great for: Fans of political discussion and comedy.