January’s best new books
Here’s a cheering fact: 2019 was the best year for printed books since 2010, with an incredible 191.6 million sold. And whether you’re curled up on the sofa or in bed at 9pm (no judgement here), January is the perfect time to start reading something new. Stylist’s books editor Francesca has some suggestions… 
The fascinating non-fiction

Carmen Maria Machado’s short story collection Her Body And Other Parties was one of 2019’s most talked-about releases (it’s now been picked up for TV), and her new memoir In The Dream House (Serpent’s Tail) – about her relationship with an abusive woman – is no less astonishing. You’ll be blown away as Machado pinpoints the moments that cause the destruction of relationships. £11.20, Blackwell’s

The literary mystery

Infinitely readable, Miss Austen by Gill Hornby (Cornerstone) delves into one of literature’s greatest mysteries: why did Jane Austen’s beloved sister destroy hundreds of the writer’s letters after her death (thus depriving the world of more Austen wisdom)? Moving between timelines while exploring what it means to be an elderly spinster in Regency England, it’s the perfect book to wrap yourself around on a dark night. Out 23 January; £10.17, Wordery

The tense thriller

Not for the faint-hearted but written with real perception and beauty, Rosamund Lupton’s Three Hours (Penguin) is the story of a three-hour siege by a gunman in a snow-bound Somerset secondary school. Moving back and forth in time and from character to character, it gets to the heart of violence, terror and the politics that inspire hatred. Set to be one of this year’s breakout reads, for book groups and beyond. £12.99, Waterstones     

The forgotten history

In 1896, Italy lost a war with Ethiopia – making it the first European country to be defeated by an African nation. Forty years later, fascist dictator Mussolini decided to get his revenge by rebuilding the Roman Empire in Africa. But he didn’t count on the women of Ethiopia… Maaza Mengiste’s stunningly original novel The Shadow King (Canongate) is unlike anything else you’ll ever read. Out 30 January; £11.89, Amazon

The medical memoir

As a palliative medicine specialist, Dr Rachel Clarke’s role is to make dying people as comfortable as possible. But in 2017, her own father was diagnosed with terminal cancer. In Dear Life (Little, Brown), Clarke writes movingly about facing death, grief, and the vital role of hospices. Out 30 January; £16.99, Foyles

Find more of Francesca’s January 2020 book recommendations here

With environmental issues at the forefront of our minds, there’s never been a better time to start eating seasonally 

As much as we love berry smoothies and avocado toast, it’s debatable whether we should be enjoying them all year round. Eating in sync with nature cuts down air miles and supports local food producers – and often results in fresher, tastier meals.

That’s the idea behind Sarah Britton’s irresistible new cookbook My New Roots (Pan Macmillan). Divided into five sections – spring, early summer, late summer, autumn and winter – the plant-based recipes are all based on what’s in abundance at any given time of year. Winter means chipotle sweet potato tacos, leek “scallops” on black rice and poached pears with chocolate sauce. Find four of Britton’s recipes on now. £16.99, Foyles

Japandi – a fusion of Japanese and Scandinavian style – is set to be one of 2020’s biggest interiors trends

When you mix two good things together, you occasionally get something worse. But sometimes, you get something magnificent: Nigella’s tortilla lasagne, for example. 

We’re filing Japandi – a blend of Japanese and Scandinavian interior decor – into the latter camp. More rustic than the traditional Japanese aesthetic, and featuring darker, richer tones than the white-and-bright Scandi look, it’s easy to mix and match pieces with influences from both countries. Stock your shelves with HK Living’s Kyoto coffee mugs (£5.95 each, Trouva), Broste Copenhagen’s Nordic Sea jug (£15, Folk Interiors) and these matcha bowls (£12.95 each, Sous Chef) – perfect for nibbles and knick-knacks.

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Image credits: Sarah Britton
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