After enjoying the last few days of sunny picnics in the park, the
colder weather is officially creeping in, meaning there’s now plenty of opportunity to cosy up on the sofa with a new novel. While there are lots of things on the telly to keep you occupied this October (see the full list here), hours of bingeing new Netflix shows have to be broken up by something, and our suggestion is a good old-fashioned book. Whether you prefer a physical page-turner or opt for your Kindle, reading an engrossing story gives you the time to refuel your mind while enjoying a delicious narrative. Last month team R29 explored a handful of exciting new reads including Emma Donoghue’s pandemic-set tale of hope, and Bolu Babalola’s collection of romantic retellings, The Pull of the Stars, Others explored dark humour in Ottessa Moshfegh’s Love in Colour. while some delved into the stark world of America’s racial politics through Isabel Wilkerson’s Death in Her Hands This month, our list of reads is equally as varied, including a female-led story of war-torn Afghanistan and a chaotic tale chronicling life inside an open marriage. Caste: The Lies That Divide Us. To discover everything that team R29 are reading this October, click through the slides ahead... Katy Thompsett, Sub Editor Book: Burnt Sugar by Avni Doshi Why is it your October read?
This was a birthday present from my little sister, who has a habit of giving me books about families gone awry.
may not feature a murderous protagonist à la last year’s offering,
My Sister, The Serial Killer
(should I be concerned?) but it does explore the very complicated relationship between Antara and her mother, who is starting to forget things. Doshi writes with breathtaking honesty which at times – particularly during the scenes between Antara and her husband, Dilip – borders on clinical but Antara’s unresolved anger towards a mother who cannot (or will not) remember how she wronged her daughter burns off the page.
Burnt Sugar, $, available at
Amazon More Sadhbh O'Sullivan, Health & Living Writer Book: Breasts and Eggs by Mieko Kawakami Why is it your October read?
Though this was originally published in Japanese in 2008, this is Kawakami’s full-length English debut. The novel follows three women: 30-year-old Natsu, her older sister Makiko, and Makiko’s teenage daughter Midoriko. Kawakami paints a radical and intimate portrait of contemporary working class womanhood in Japan, recounting the heartbreaking journeys of three women in a society where the odds are stacked against them.
Breasts and Eggs (Paperback), $, available at
Waterstones More Jessica Morgan, Staff Writer Book: Luster by Raven Leilani Why is it your October read?
It’s been a long time since a book has really captured all of my attention — and felt like I was reading into my own head — and Raven Leilani’s debut did exactly that. I ploughed through this book in two days and how can I describe it? Chaotic. We meet Edie, who is working in a dead-end job in an all-white office and has no idea what she’s doing with her life. That is, until she meets Eric, a white, middle-aged, MARRIED man who becomes her latest hook-up. She finds out that his wife — who works in a morgue — adopted a Black daughter who doesn’t have a single person in her life who knows how to do her hair. Edie, who really only cares about who she has in her bed, is plunged headfirst into Eric’s chaotic home, marriage and family. This novel is razor sharp, hilarious and a perfect depiction of what it means to be young and reckless today.
Luster, $, available at
Blackwell's Books More Alicia Lansom, Editorial Assistant Book: A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini Why is it your October read?
This novel was described by my dear friend Safa as one of the best books she’s ever read, so I’m feeling fairly confident that I will find it just as affecting. Written by Khaled Hosseini (author of
The Kite Runner
A Thousand Splendid Suns
follows a 15-year-old girl called Miriam who is sent to Kabul, Afghanistan to marry. Twenty years later, Miriam develops a mothering relationship with a local teenager named Laila, which grows into an unbreakable bond as the Taliban begins to take over. While the subject matter is undoubtedly heavy, the story is described as a tribute to the women of Afghanistan and the love that exists between chosen families.
A Thousand Splendid Suns (Paperback), $, available at
Waterstones More Story continues Jess Commons, Lifestyle Director Book: Anxious People by Fredrik Backman Why is it your October read?
I read Fredrik Backman’s last novel,
, when I heard that the people who made
(just the greatest show ever) were
adapting the book
for HBO. It is brilliant; an excellent exploration of how sports and toxic masculinity come together to breed rape culture in a small town. This new novel is about five people in a hostage situation and…I can’t really say much more than that. But it’s great.
Anxious People, $, available at
Amazon More Georgia Murray, Fashion Editor Book: Jog On by Bella Mackie Why is it your October read?
This isn’t a new book, nor is it the first to wax lyrical about the physical and mental freedoms of running. But summer is over and where I would jump out of bed to make the most of pootling around my neighbourhood in the sunshine, I am now extremely resentful of having to open my curtains in the morning. The clocks change twice a year and yet dark mornings knock me for six every time! Mackie’s relatable, nonjudgemental and funny book is brilliant at getting you out on your feet even if it's just for a loop around the block, especially when S.A.D is looming and you might feel the benefits of running on both your mind and body even more keenly.
Jog On, $, available at
Oxfam More Like what you see? How about some more R29 goodness, right here? 6 Books That Will Help Quell Your Anxiety R29 Reads: The Books We’re Reading This September Women's Prize for Fiction Authors Pick Fave Book