new books october

The best new books coming out in October 2023

03 Oct 2023 | |By Annie Lewis

Stock up your bookshelf this autumn

As the autumnal nights draw in, what better way to entertain yourself than with a good book? From a biography on one of the best pop icons of our time to a scientific analysis on the female body, here are the best books to add to your reading list this October

How To Say Babylon by Safiya Sinclair

Born in Montego Bay, Jamaica, Safiya Sinclair grew up with her tyrannical Rastifarian father who railed against Babylon: the immoral, corrupting influence of the Western world. In this unflinching, 352-page memoir, Sinclair recounts how she was forbidden to do almost anything during her childhood apart from going to school, until she realised she must leave her family home to escape her father’s strict and radicalised Rastafari ideals. Powerful and emotional, this book – published 3 October – gives great insight into the world of Rastafari, which is often a mystery to those outside it.

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A Day in the Life of Abed Salama: A Palestine Story by Nathan Thrall

Also published 3 October and equally moving is Nathan Thrall’s gripping story of one heart-breaking day in Palestine that reveals lives, loves and histories. When Abed discovers his five-year-old son has been involved in a horrific car accident on the outskirts of Jerusalem, he rushes to the site only to find his son has been taken. What follows is a father’s emotional journey to finding his son while navigating a maze of physical, emotional and bureaucratic obstacles that he faces as a Palestinian. 

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Madonna: A Rebel Life by Mary Gabriel

Fans of The Queen of Pop will delight in this gripping biography by Pulitzer Prize finalist Mary Gabriel published 10 October, who chronicles the meteoric rise and enduring influence of Madonna. From starting out in the 1980s in Michigan to fighting for LGBT rights, Madonna’s stage and music career has always been underpinned by her political activism. The whopping 880-page biography is not always an easy read, but you can trust that Gabriel has examined Madonna’s life thoroughly to celebrate her life so far – the perfect present for any Material Girl

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Eve: How The Female Body Drove 200 Million Years of Human Evolution by Cat Bohannon

In Eve, Cat Bohannon answers questions scientists should have been addressing for decades. Covering the past 200 million years to explain the specific science behind the development of the female sex, Eve is not only a sweeping revision of human history, but highlights how science has been focused on the male body for far too long. Bohannon’s findings include a bit of everything – from the way C-sections can often rearrange a woman’s pelvic shape to the surprising similarities between pus and breast milk – and will have you completely hooked, while discovering a newfound appreciation for the female body. 

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The Exchange by John Grisham

More than 30 years since the publication of Grisham’s impressive legal blockbuster The Firm, comes a tense, nail-biting sequel that puts successful lawyer Mitch McDeere at the centre of a huge global conspiracy. It’s been 15 years since McDeere exposed the crimes of Memphis law firm Bedini and fled the country, and he now lives in Manhattan with his wife Abby. But when a mentor asks him for a favour that will take him to Rome, he finds himself at the centre of a sinister plot that has worldwide implications. We have no doubt fans of The Firm will have a field day with this one… 

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Let Us Descend by Jesmyn Ward

Let Us Descend is a reimagining of American slavery, depicting the journey from the rice fields of the Carolinas to the slave markets of New Orleans and into the heart of a Louisiana sugar plantation. Protagonist Annis, sold by the white enslaver who fathered her, is our guide. As she struggles through the miles-long march, she seeks comfort from memories of her mother and stories of her African warrior grandmother. Rumour has it that this is Ward’s best novel yet. 

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Read more: The best new films and TV shows to stream in October 2023