Editor's Picks: What we are reading in Ocgtober

The Body by Bill Bryson

Somehow, it’s been almost a quarter of a century since Bill Bryson explored our nation, warts and all, in Notes On A Small Island. In his latest book, he maps out something even closer to home - the human body - with the same warmth and wit. The result of studying hundreds of medical books (so that we don’t have to), The Body is full of facts that will make you gasp and give you a renewed respect for the bundle of flesh and bones we spend most of our time moaning about.  

Sam, Editor-in-chief

The Secret Commonwealth by Philip Pullman

I am a die-hard fan of Pullman’s Dark Materials universe and I feel as though I’ve come almost full circle with Lyra and Pan on their journey in a world that is parallel to our own. The Secret Commonwealth takes place 20 years after La Belle Sauvage - the first instalment in the trilogy. Lyra and Malcolm – as Philip Pullman himself has said – are not children anymore. Expect death-defying pursuits, unexpected love, some soul-searching and plenty of inexplicable happenings.

Imogen, Children's producer

Grand Union by Zadie Smith

As fans of her novels would expect, Zadie Smith's first collection of short stories is an ambitious, keenly observed and frequently very funny affair. Family relationships dominate, but so do the concerns which have preoccupied Smith's essay writing in recent years with dystopian visions of our technological and environmental future. 

Donna, Website editor

The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes

This is a story inspired by the real-life women who were employed to scale the wild Appalachian mountains on horseback to deliver hundreds of books to rural inhabitants during the 1930s. The Giver of Stars follows a band of women who find new purpose and friendship when they sign-up to be part of this incredible travelling library. But when a body is unearthed on a snowy mountainside and their library is accused of distributing inappropriate material the town starts to turn against them. This is a powerful read full of adventure, drama and a joyful reminder of the transformative power of books.  

Sarah, Website manager

Homecoming by Colin Grant

The arrival of the Windrush generation is often distorted by myth or temporal distance, their role in rebuilding Britain after two world wars held up as a comfortable fable and the abuse and marginalisation they faced dismissed as the product of a different world. Colin Grant's new book, Homecoming, gathers together oral histories that cut past generalisations and illuminate the real and nuanced stories of ordinary people living through a formative period in our collective histories.

Zainab, Campaigns manager

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