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10 books to read this autumn

1. If you’re anxiously awaiting the next series of The Night Manager

Then Legacy Of Spies by John le Carre is much more than a stop gap, and marks a terrific return to form from the master, with his hero George Smiley revived, yet still artfully concealed. Clever and gripping.

2. But if you prefer a Pulitzer Prize-winner…

Dive into Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan. This sprawling saga set in the Great Depression of the 1930s features a headstrong heroine who becomes a diver working in a dockyard and breaks taboos, both at work and in the bedroom. Historic sagas have never been this sexy. (Plus there’s A Visit From The Goon Squad in her back catalogue if you haven’t read it)

3. Talking of taboos…

Alan Hollinghurst’s new novel The Sparsholt Affair – which follows the story of three generations of men from the 60s to the present day – is a moving meditation on how attitudes to gay life have changed beyond recognition since homosexuality was decriminalised fifty years ago. Thought-provokingly wonderful.

4. If you feel like a Talented Mr Ripley vibe…

Lawrence Osborne is a genius at describing how privileged Westerners can come a-cropper in foreign climes. In Beautiful Animals, young London lawyer Naomi goes to stay with her super-rich art-dealer dad on the Greek island of Hydra and meets a handsome Syrian migrant who needs shelter, food and money. Together they hatch a plan. Languid, dark and dangerous.

5. If you loved King Lear and want an update…

Try Dunbar by Edward St Aubyn – surely our acutest observer of the upper classes. It’s a modern day version of King Lear that sees the old monster transformed into a Trump-esque mogul driven by greed, with two equally unattractive daughters who get him sectioned as they try to take over control of his company. Bleak, black and brilliant.

6. If you love history, but find those huge history books just a bit daunting

You’ll lap up Munich, Robert Harris’s account of what happened over four days in September 1938, when Hitler threatened to invade Czechoslovakia. Harris is basically Book at Bedtime incarnate, so you won’t even realise it’s all more or less true. He’s even thrown in a great love story for an extra sprinkle.

7. For fans of Lean In

What Happened is Hillary Rodham Clinton’s inspiring, tragi-comic account of what the wannabe First Lady hoped would happen in the presidential election and why she thinks it didn’t. Then, how she monetised her failure by writing a best-selling book about it. Go girl!

8. If you feel like a big think…

Silence: In The Age Of Noise is the cult bestseller by Norwegian hottie explorer, Erling Kagge. Packed with profound observations about the meaning of life, including pithy quotes from Heidegger and Wittgenstein, this’ll impress everyone, but only if you talk about it in a hushed tone and pause meaningfully between sentences.

9. You loved Eat, Pray, Love

The Dreams of Bethany Mellmoth is an exquisitely rendered new collection of short stories by William Boyd featuring all kinds of characters, from a philandering art dealer to a thief, but at its heart is the story of a woman, Bethany Mellmoth, in search of herself, who travels from London to LA to look.

10. Finally, to feel better fast…

Immerse yourself in I Am, I Am, I Am, Maggie O’Farrell’s extraordinary memoir, in which she recounts not one, but seventeen near-brushes with death, from jumping into freezing cold water off a harbour wall as a crazy teenager, to surviving a botched caesarean. It’ll make you gasp, pour yourself a drink and realise how very lovely your own life is really.

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