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From short stories to epic journeys: 10 must-read books for October

This October features some huge names - 20 years after the release of the first book in the His Dark Materials trilogy, Philip Pullman takes us back to Lyra's world with La Belle Sauvage, while Oscar-winner Tom Hanks delights with his first book, a collection of short stories drawing on his love of typewriters.

This is also a month for books about books - Susan Hill's diary of a year of reading, Jacob's Room is Full of Books, and Christopher Fowler's The Book of Forgotten Authors, will both, I'm sorry (but not that sorry) to say will cause you to add piles of books to your to read lists.

In the time of Brexit and Trump, there are plenty of writers who are beginning to look at the world we live in, and how to improve it. In Diversify, TV presenter June Sarpong advocates for a world where we get over our "isms", while Valeria Luiselli's essay Tell Me How It Ends humanises the immigration process in America.

As winter nights draw in some people may take comfort in sweetness, in which case Durian Sukegawa's Sweet Bean Paste, translated by Alison Watts, is ideal. If you want humour and a story of first love, heartbreak and healing, Jenny Fran Davis’ clever Everything Must Go is the way to go. And if you prefer to match the darkness outside with a darker novel, in which case I recommend Laura Purcell's The Silent Companions.

And finally, there is Jennifer Egan's first historical novel, the wonderful and absorbing Manhattan Beach.

Happy reading.

Image: Jacalyn Beales

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