Temptations of October’s new novels

Super Thursday is coming up next week on October 9. This is the day when the publishing industry launches hundreds of books on the same day (1,500 last year actually), in the build up to Christmas which is their busiest time of the year.

With that number of new titles coming out shortly, it’s going to be a severe test of my resilience to adding yet more titles to the bookshelf. A few  upcoming releases have already caught my eye. I’m hoping I can get some of them ordered at the library rather than bust my book purchasing ban still further.


Lamentations by C. J Sansom is the sixth in the series set in sixteenth century England. Once again the hunchback lawyer Matthew Shardlake becomes embroiled in the politics of the Tudor court. In Lamentations, Henry VIII is near to death, providing an opportunity for the disaffected Catholics to try and return the country to their faith. Their attention turns to Henry’s wife Catherine who enlists Shardlake’s help to protect her life. I’ve read two of the Shardlake series so far, Dissolution and Dark Fire ( click on the links to see my reviews ) both of which I loved for the way they plunge you into the smells and sounds of sixteenth century England as well as the intrigue of the court. Lamentations is published in the UK October 23.

Love SongWith her latest novel, Rachel Joyce will be hoping to emulate the success of her debut novel  The Pilgrimage of Harold Fry which was long listed for the Man Booker Prize in 2012. The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy revisits the Harold Fry story but this time from the point of view of the person that he walks the length of England to save — his former work colleague Queenie Hennessy.  Queenie is shocked to  discover that Harold Fry is walking. She’s not sure she’ll still be alive by the time he reaches her. and she has something important to tell him. A volunteer at the hospice suggests she writes to Harold and to confess what she has hidden for twenty years.  I enjoyed the Pilgrimage book overall but am not sure there’s enough mileage left to sustain a whole new novel.  I could be wrong however. We will find out when its ‘s published on October 21 by Bond Street Books.


Much to my embarrassment I have yet to read anything by Colm Tóibín despite all the critical acclaim for his work. His newest novel could change that. Nora Webster  sounds superb. Its set in Wexford, Ireland where a widow is mourning the loss of her husband who was the love of her life. Lost in her own grief she doesn’t see the suffering endured by her young sons at the loss of their father. This is a story about a strong willed woman trying to protect her privacy in a small community with an insatiable curiosity and desire to know everyone else’s business. Nora Webster is published by Scribner.


If these are not temptation enough for you then maybe you’d like a bag especially created to mark the upcoming launches. Turner prize winning artist Tracy Emin is the designer for this year’s Books are my Bag bag. You can start buying it from bookshops and independent stores on October 9. See the info on the Booksellers Association website.




About BookerTalk

What do you need to know about me? 1. I'm from Wales which is one of the countries in the UK and must never be confused with England. 2. My life has always revolved around the written and spoken word. I worked as a journalist for nine years then in international corporate communications 3. My tastes in books are eclectic. I love realism and hate science fiction and science fantasy. 4. I am trying to broaden my reading horizons geographically by reading more books in translation

Posted on October 5, 2014, in Book Reviews. Bookmark the permalink. 28 Comments.

  1. I was about to say yes and then I thought of exceptions. It seems detective stories work well listening while driving, as does Dickens so that would say yes plot driven books are good options. I’m trying to listen to a historical biography at the moment and it isn’t working that well. But I did enjoy A different biography – Steve Jobs – last year so it might just come down to the individual style of writing and of course the narrator.

  2. I’ve only read The master by Tóibín and I did like it rather a lot. I have Brooklyn here but haven’t read it. I’d like to read more. Maybe I can talk my reading group into doing it, as we did The master together.

    • I started listening to the audio version of The Master but it wasn’t suited to audio so it went back to the library and I couldn’t find the printed version at the time. Then I just forgot about it….

      • I haven’t listened to many audio books but I think they are best suited to plot driven books rather than the more interior, contemplative ones? Is that what you find?

  3. There are so many books coming out this time of year it is hard to keep up with all of them!

  4. I Haven’t read C.J. Samson, but the other three are already on my TBR list.

  5. I’ve not read anything by Colm Toibin, either, but I agree that this novel sounds wonderful. It sounds especially applicable to my life, as my son and I lost his father when he was but three years old. Only, I feel like I’ve been trying to make it better ever since, rather than ignoring it. Anyway, that novel and what you wrote of it intrigues me.

    I’m wondering if you’ve read Joshua Ferris’ Til We Rise Again At A Decent Hour. I’m off to search your blog, but I would love to discuss it with you as it’s in the short list for the Booker. An American contender for which I have mixed emotions.

    • I can’t begin to imagine what your life has been like since that time Bellezza. I’ve been wondering how people feel about reading a novel which reflects on an unhappy experience they’ve had personally. Does it help the pain or does it make it feel worse?

      • I think one of the reasons I love to read so much is the way that books can show us we’re not alone in our experiences. In that way, reading of these things helps. That was a good question. xo

  6. I’ve only read the first book in the Shardlake series and want to read them in order, so it will be a while before I get to Lamentations! I would love to read the new Colm Tóibín book, though, as I really enjoyed Brooklyn.

  7. Those all sound good. So many books, so little time….

  8. I have all three of these on advance reservation from the library. I love Tóibín and that is certainly the one about which I am most excited. I am going to give the new Sansom a fair try but I was increasingly disappointed with books four and five in the series which were both too long and self-indulgent so I’m not getting my hopes up too high. For me, Dark Fire is the best of them.

    • Dark Fire was rather dark in tone and had some wonderful set pieces. I liked Shardlake’s new assistant Barak more than the guy who was in Dissolution. But I still liked Dissolution, maybe because it was the first…
      Maybe this is another case of a series running out of steam?

  9. I have recently noticed Nora Webster, and while I have not yet read this author, I am drawn to this one. Thanks for sharing…and here are MY WEEKLY UPDATES

  10. How can I possibly keep up?!

    Here’s my Week in Books.

  11. I think I have the Pilgrimage of Harold Fry and will have to get to it soon!

  12. I had never heard of Sansom’s books! They sound great — I better check them out, although I too am dealing with bursting shelves and TBR pile right now. Thanks!

  13. I would love to read Nora Webster – Toibin writes so beautifully particularly from the point of view of women. Brooklyn is a stunning book.

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