Five Books You Need To Read This Month: October

September has come, and well pretty much gone… can someone please invent a time machine?

Here are five recent releases I think you need to be reading, should’ve been heard about by now, or at the very least should’ve purchased. Because there are so many great books being released at the moment, I’ll be bringing you a bonus list soon too.

There’s a bit of a political leaning to a number of the books this time around, but don’t let that put you off. It’s also a bit of a fiction heavy list too, and a nice mixture of debuts, sophomore releases and the return of a literary heavyweight.

As always you should be able to find all of these titles in all the usual places, both online and IRL. But I do recommend you check out your local Indie book stores, they’re a great place to discover new and exciting work.

Basket of Deplorables – Tom Rachman

Donald Trump was sworn in as the 45th President of the United States earlier this year – not that any of us need reminding of the fact. Taking its title from Hillary Clinton’s flippant campaign remark, Tom Rachman’s new short story collection, Basket of Deplorables, is set within this new world order – the post-truth world. Rachman’s collection reveals a divided nation: Democrat and Republican, powerful and powerless, as well as the angry and the thwarted.

Basket of Deplorables, of course, is a work of fiction, although the tag-line says it all: “Almost-True Stories for a Post-Truth World”. Kicking off on election night, at a results party where things don’t go to plan, Rachman takes his readers into a parallel world, which unfortunately probably isn’t too far from our own. It’s a darkly funny and timely collection, though hopefully not too topical (especially given the final story points towards a global apocalypse). Basket of Deplorables should appeal to those reader who don’t mind their fiction infused with a dash of politics, not to mention fans of shows like Veep and Black Mirror.

Basket of Deplorables is available now through Text Publishing

The Golden House – Salman Rushdie

A new Salman Rushdie novel is always a publishing event, and his new novel The Golden House is no different! The Golden House follows the story of Nero Golden, a powerful real-estate tycoon, and his family as they make a life for themselves in Obama’s America. Each exceptional in their own way, the Golden family find themselves rising to the apex of Manhattan society, only for it to crumble away. The Golden House not only documents the rise and fall of a family, but also the changing landscape of a nation, with Rushdie weaving the last eight years of American cultural and social life into the novel.

The Golden House is filled with larger-than-life characters, and has Rushdie drawing influence not only from literature, but from pop culture and cinema too. Whilst it might not have earned a Man Booker nod, the novel has been garnering some great reviews, and has been described as “the Great Gatsby of our times”, whilst many reviewers have, in regards to his scope and characterisations, compared Rushdie to Dickens. Fans of Rushdie’s work will not be disappointed by The Golden House. Though fans of literary fiction will surely find a lot to like as well.

The Golden House is available now through Penguin

All The Galaxies – Philip Miller

All The Galaxies is the second novel from Edinburgh-based journalist, author and poet Philip Miller. This darkly atmospheric and dystopian novel offers a glimpse at a futuristic, and broken, Scotland. All The Galaxies is an ambitious and dynamic work, with two narratives at play – of disillusioned journalist John Fallon searching for his missing son, and of a boy and his spirit guide (his childhood dog) searching for his deceased mother in the afterlife. So, there is plenty going on, but amidst all the inventiveness Miller manages to keep it all together, and deliver a strong and nuanced story.

All The Galaxies has been getting some great reviews from the press and other authors alike, many of which praise Miller for the novels scale, ambition as well as the quality of the storytelling and imagery. A real page-turner, All The Galaxies promises to be funny as well as moving, though by all accounts don’t go into it expecting fluffy escapism, this one will tug at the heartstrings.

All The Galaxies is available now through Allen and Unwin

Terra Nullius – Clare G. Coleman

Terra Nullius is the debut novel from Claire G. Coleman, the winner of the 2016 black&write! Writing fellowship. Terra Nullius is a daring and ambitious debut, it is the story of Australia’s past, though not quite as we know it., it is potentially also the story of Australia’s future. Terra Nullius is a work of speculative fiction, and one which blurs the lines between the past, the future, historical fact, fiction, as well as settler and native. Terra Nullius takes reader expectations and confounds them, this is not the story you think it is… but at the same time it’s all too familiar.

Coleman is a West Australian writer, who identifies with the South Coast Noongar peoples. She wrote Terra Nullius whilst travelling around Australia in a caravan… which seems like a pretty excellent way to write a novel. Terra Nullius is a timely work, and the introduction of a striking new Indigenous voice into the Australian literary landscape. The novel has been getting some great reviews from booksellers and media alike, so pick yourself up a copy and see for yourself just how good it is.

Terra Nullius is available now through Hachette Australia

Wake Me When I’m Gone – Odafe Atogun

Wake Me When I’m Gone is the second novel from Nigerian author Odafe Atogun, one of contemporary African literature’s most exciting new voices. Wake Me When I’m Gone follows the story of Ese, a beautiful young widow and single mother who lives in a village ruled over by a chief on a white horse, and plenty of traditions. When the Chief comes to Ese and asks her to marry again, as law and tradition demand, Ese must fight for her right to exist, to preserve her heart and to keep her son.

Thanks to one of my lecturers at University, I have developed a great love for African literature, well world literature in general, so I’m always pleased to discover new and exciting writers, and Atogun seems to definitely fit the bill. Wake Me When I’m Gone is a powerful story of love, grief, independence and breaking the rules. One for fans of African literature, world writing, and good storytelling.

Wake Me When I’m Gone is available now through Allen & Unwin