Event looks back at a spectacular year for books, with everything from gripping thrillers to breakthrough, thought-leading works of popular science. Whatever your preferred genre, these essential picks are worth a browse
Part memoir, part manifesto, this is a powerful roar of defiance directed at a male-dominated film industry that has used and abused women, including the author.
Notes From The Cévennes
Bloomsbury Continuum £16.99
Novelist Thorpe’s reflections on life in the rugged region of southern France where he has lived for the past 25 years. Some of these essays are funny, some serious. All are memorable.
Brave by Rose McGowan; Notes From The Cévennes by Adam Thorpe
In My Life: A Music Memoir
Bantam Press £16.99
The former Home Secretary is a lifelong music nut and a wannabe rock star. His charming memoir details the way in which records by his heroes, from Bob Dylan to David Bowie, Elvis Costello to Kate Bush, have formed the soundtrack to his life.
Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life
The Monty Python man embraced fame and became friends with George Harrison, David Bowie, Paul Simon and many others. This is an unashamedly starry autobiography, packed with hilarious name-dropping anecdotes.
The Last Landlady
Exquisitely observed and brilliantly written memoir of the life of the author’s grandmother, Vi, the first woman in England to hold a pub licence in her own name.
Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life by Eric Idle; The Last Landlady by Laura Thompson
The Art Of Not Falling Apart
When your job is the only thing holding your life together, what happens when you get fired? Journalist Christina Patterson explains how she weathered the storm in this funny, frank book.
Sidgwick & Jackson £18.99
A compelling life story of the gifted comedian and actor Robin Williams, known for his quick wit and mercurial improvisational skills. The book reveals how he was tortured by self-doubt and insecurity.
Robin by Dave Itzkoff; Oscar: A Life by Matthew Sturgis
William Collins £30
Zamoyski excels in describing the interplay between Napoleon’s imperial ambitions and shifting continental alliances. This is a biography apposite for our times when accepted ideas are in flux and a new post-Brexit order beckons in Europe.
House Of Nutter
Chatto & Windus £25
Savile Row tailor Tommy Nutter dressed rock stars – it’s his suits three of the Beatles are wearing on the cover of Abbey Road – and his brother David photographed them. An evocative portrait of two extraordinary careers.
Oscar: A Life
The first major biography of Oscar Wilde in 30 years offers a sumptuous insight into the life of the famous – and infamous – fin de siècle playwright, author and poet.
MY BOOK OF THE YEAR – OLLY SMITH
The Spy And The Traitor
An incredible true life spy story orbiting around the Russian double agent Oleg Gordievsky and his network of spies, scoundrels, murderers and demagogues. Every word ramps up the tension as you’re drawn deeper into the danger.
The Colour Of Time
Dan Jones and Marina Amaral
Illustrator Marina Amaral has digitally colourised 200 historic black-and-white photographs, making them look as though they were taken yesterday. Dan Jones explains the historical context of each startling image.
A coloured-up film still of Harold Lloyd in The Colour Of Time. Illustrator Marina Amaral has digitally colourised 200 historic black-and-white photographs
The 1949 film version of Little Women; the Vietnam war, from Vietnam: An Epic Tragedy, 1945-1975 by Max Hastings
A famous picture of Adolf Hitler taken from The Colour Of Time by Dan Jones and Marina Amaral
D-Day: The Soldiers’ Story
John Murray £25
The story of the epic invasion told by the combatants and other participants from all sides. A vivid, graphic and moving account of ‘the longest day’.
Lords Of The Desert
There is intrigue, espionage and chicanery in this compelling account of the battle between the UK and America for dominance in the Middle East after World War II.
Vietnam: An Epic Tragedy, 1945-1975
William Collins £30
Hastings covered the Vietnam war as a reporter and this exhaustive and chilling, but brilliantly readable, history shows a journalist’s eye for the telling detail but never gets bogged down in the minutiae.
Hearts And Minds
The story of the struggle for suffrage in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, with a particular focus on the Great Pilgrimage of 1913, in which thousands of Suffragists walked to London from all over the country.
Secret Pigeon Service
William Collins £20
The BBC’s security correspondent has pieced together the incredible story of the secret Military Intelligence unit set up to oversee the use of pigeons to deliver reports from occupied Europe to Britain during the Second World War.
Meg, Jo, Beth, Amy
Anne Boyd Rioux
WW Norton £19.99
Rioux considers the cultural impact and enduring popularity of Louisa May Alcott’s American Civil War-set novel Little Women, a runaway success since it was first published 150 years ago.
Allen Lane £20
Prize-winning account of the world’s worst nuclear disaster. The 1986 explosion at the Ukraine power plant may have resulted in the deaths of thousands of people from illnesses linked to radiation damage.
Memo From Turner
Jonathan Cape £14.99
A savage read following an honest cop determined to bring a rich young South African to justice for accidentally killing a black teenager. The brutal action is only emphasised by Willocks’s elegant writing.
Point Blank £16.99
When infamous mobster Bugsy Siegel is murdered, LAPD cop Jonathan Craine is summoned by the Las Vegas mafia to find out who’s responsible. If he fails, he dies. Taut and atmospheric, this is an excellent classic detective novel.
Lethal White by Robert Galbraith
Galbraith, aka J K Rowling, shows off her brilliant plotting skills in her new novel, in which Strike and Robin investigate a historical child murder while working for a blackmailed MP.
Only To Sleep
Raymond Chandler’s legendary private eye Philip Marlowe returns as an old man in a splendid tale set in the late Eighties. Retired to Mexico, he is drawn into one last job, looking for a man who may have drowned off the coast.
Paris In The Dark
Robert Olen Butler
No Exit £11.99
Set in Paris during the dark days of WWI, American reporter and part-time spy Kit Cobb stumbles on an anarchist cell while working on a story about ambulance men. A morally complex thriller with a delicate love story at its heart.
Dark Sacred Night
Connelly’s most famous creation, retired LAPD detective Harry Bosch, teams up with detective Renée Ballard to solve the 2009 murder of a 15-year- old runaway in a gripping, fast-paced story.
John Murray £9.99
Herron’s trademark black humour is to the fore in this stylish novella in which elderly spook Solomon Dortmund triggers a dangerous chain of events when he reports witnessing a meeting of foreign agents to his MI5 contact.
Smoke And Ashes
Harvill Secker £12.99
The fight for Indian independence provides the backdrop for this terrific third novel featuring British detective Sam Wyndham and his long-suffering Indian sergeant, ‘Surrender-Not’ Banerjee, as the duo investigate a series of ritualist murders in Twenties Calcutta.
MY BOOK OF THE YEAR – PETER HITCHENS
The Shoemaker And His Daughter
Doubleday Ireland £14.99
Enthralling, moving, distressing and inspiring, this extraordinary book depicts the mighty movements of world history experienced by a largely non-political family, as the Soviet Union rises then falls. And every word of it is true.
Paul Simon: The Life
Based on interviews with the singer-songwriter and his friends and family, this definitive biography tells the stories behind the hits – and of his fiery relationship with Art Garfunkel.
Paul Simon: The Life by Robert Hilburn. Based on interviews with the singer-songwriter and his friends and family, this definitive biography tells the stories behind the hits
Tina Turner: My Love Story by Tina Turner. Tina felt nothing when her abusive first husband Ike died in 2007. The pop icon’s candid new autobiography explains exactly why
Bring It On Home
An unusual perspective on Led Zeppelin’s rise to world domination – a biography of the band’s terrifying manager, former wrestler Peter Grant, who threatened and bullied rivals, music industry figures and anyone else who got in the way of his boys.
Tina Turner: My Love Story
Tina felt nothing when her abusive first husband Ike died in 2007. The pop icon’s candid new autobiography explains exactly why – and why things are very different with her second husband, who actually saved her life.
The Only Girl
There are sex, drugs and rock ’n’ roll in Green’s book about her experiences as the only woman to be listed on the masthead of Rolling Stone in the Seventies, and then later as ‘the only girl’ in the writers’ room for The Sopranos.
Slowhand: The Life And Music Of Eric Clapton
The rock legend’s turbulent life has been scarred by tragedy, drug addiction and alcoholism. Clapton initially provided Norman with relevant documents and contacts for this fascinating account but later withdrew his help.
Slowhand: The Life And Music Of Eric Clapton by Philip Norman. The rock legend’s turbulent life has been scarred by tragedy, drug addiction and alcoholism
MY BOOK OF THE YEAR – PIERS MORGAN
The President Is Missing
Bill Clinton and James Patterson
The best US President in my lifetime peels back the curtains of the White House to give this pulsating novel a sense of raw realism, as Patterson unfurls a gripping tale of the ultimate terror threat to America.
Love Is Blind
As the 19th century draws to a close, a young piano-tuner seeks his fortune in Paris. Replete with romance, musical arcana and a duel, this is old-fashioned storytelling at its finest.
Homeland by Walter Kempowski; The Silence Of The Girls by Pat Barker
It may not have made the Man Booker shortlist but this Irish tale of love and class among the millennials looks set to be everybody’s book of the year. Perceptive and engrossing.
The Silence Of The Girls
Hamish Hamilton £18.99
The legend of Achilles is retold for the #MeToo era in an arrestingly blunt account of the Trojan War’s final stretch. Vivid and visceral, it’s ultimately about choosing life.
A Hamburg-based journalist travels to Poland and finds himself ringed by ghosts in this emotionally charged dark horse, all about the relationship between Germany and lands it once occupied. A gem.
Now We Shall Be Entirely Free by Andrew Miller
Now We Shall Be Entirely Free
Beautiful sentences and thriller-like tension drive the story of Captain John Lacroix. Haunted by his service in the Peninsular War against Napoleon, he retreats to the Hebrides with an army assassin in hot pursuit.
World-weary Juliet is a BBC producer in Fifties London, but like many of her colleagues she was once a spy. Now her past is stalking her. Essential reading for fans of smart, playful suspense.
The Only Story
Jonathan Cape £16.99
A scandalous affair in suburbia is replayed through the prism of memory in this dazzler of a novel. Moving, funny, with ingenious emotional intelligence, it’s one to read and read again.
Jonathan Cape £16.99
The year’s most atmospheric novel opens in the immediate aftermath of WWII, as a 14-year-old boy weaves his way through a world of secrets and lies and colourful petty crooks. Mesmerising.
The Long Take
A Canadian veteran of Normandy’s D-Day landings washes up in Manhattan and then travels to LA in search of a missing part of himself. Hard-boiled journalism, McCarthyism and movies make for a hypnotic cocktail.
Germany, 1945, and in a camp for displaced people, a deadly game of cat-and-mouse begins when a woman, desperate to get her daughter home to England, spots a former Nazi. Gritty and gripping.
Master Of His Fate
Barbara Taylor Bradford
It wouldn’t be Christmas without a family saga. This is the first in a new series set in Victorian London, braiding the fates of a self-made charmer with a serious-minded heiress.
The Survivors by Kate Furnivall; Roar by Cecilia Ahern
A Spark Of Light by Jodi Picoult; Master Of His Fate by Barbara Taylor Bradford
A Spark Of Light
Hodder & Stoughton £16.99
More seat-edge drama from the doyenne of hot-topic lit. A siege at an abortion clinic becomes tenser still when a police hostage negotiator realises his 15-year-old daughter is inside.
C J Sansom
History buffs will devour the latest novel featuring royal legal eagle Matthew Sheldrake. It’s 1549 and with an 11-year-old on the throne, England is ripe for Robert Kett’s rebellion.
The Plus One
It’s a brand-new year and Polly Spencer is on a mission to find herself a plus-one for her best friend’s wedding. Cue fizzy fun and some seriously saucy shenanigans.
Tombland by C J Sansom; The Plus One by Sophia Money-Coutts
Heads You Win
Leave it to Jeffrey Archer to spin a continent-straddling, decade-spanning, fate-driven yarn that weaves its way from St Petersburg to London and New York, saving its final twist for the very last page.
Each of these 30 whip-smart stories features a heroine who discovers the power to change, from The Woman Who Was Swallowed Up By The Floor to The Woman Who Returned And Exchanged Her Husband.
Vox by Christina Dalcher
In a USA whose government has decreed that women may speak only 100 words a day, a mother must fight to protect her daughter. Dystopian fiction doesn’t get more disquieting.
The Witches Of St Petersburg
Head of Zeus £18.99
This heady historical tale whisks readers straight to the heart of the Romanov court. Revolution is in the air, and two princesses from Montenegro are about to become embroiled in high-stakes intrigue.
The Blue Salt Road
Joanne M Harris
Love, treachery, the call of the ocean: this wintry modern fairy tale features all three. Add intricate illustrations and it’s the perfect Christmas gift for anyone who loves a good story.
The Way Home For Wolf
When Wilf the young wolf gets separated from his pack in a blizzard, a host of Arctic animals help him find his way home. Bright’s lyrical verses are perfectly complemented by Jim Field’s stunning illustrations.
Billy And The Beast by Nadia Shireen; Shireen’s characteristic humorous prose and bold illustrations are on display in this tale of Billy and her sidekick Fatcat who must keep their wits about them when they encounter a hungry Terrible Beast in the woods
Billy And The Beast
Jonathan Cape £6.99
Shireen’s characteristic humorous prose and bold illustrations are on display in this tale of Billy and her sidekick Fatcat who must keep their wits about them when they encounter a hungry Terrible Beast in the woods.
A Very Corgi Christmas
A charming story, winningly illustrated by Loretta Schauer, following royal corgi Belle as she embarks on an adventure in the big city. It all proves too loud and scary… until streetwise Pip comes to her aid.
This Book Just Stole My Cat!
Youngsters will delight in this hilarious interactive book as they are encouraged to tickle the pages in order to rescue Ben’s cat and the other characters who have vanished between them.
An adorable story about Alex, who is shocked to discover a dragon under his stairs and writes to the fire brigade and others asking for advice. Their responses are included in beautifully realised replica letters tucked into envelopes throughout the book.
Puffin £12.99 (5+)
The War Horse author gives words to Raymond Briggs’s iconic Christmas story for the first time to mark its 40th anniversary. Morpurgo’s delightful tale is enhanced by Robin Shaw’s black and white illustrations in the style of Briggs’s originals.
Mud by Emily Thomas; The Storm Keeper’s Island by Catherine Doyle
Secrets Of A Sun King by Emma Carroll; The Way Home For Wolf Rachel Bright
The Legend Of Kevin
Oxford £8.99 (7+)
Legendary author/illustrator duo Reeve and Sarah McIntyre kick off a new series with this laugh-out-loud story of Kevin, the slightly plump, biscuit-loving, flying pony who is blown on to the balcony of Max’s high-rise flat during a storm.
The Storm Keeper’s Island
Bloomsbury £6.99 (9+)
Celtic legends inspire this tale about the magical Arranmore island and the menacing force within which is awoken by the arrival of Fionn. Doyle’s vivid characterisation and evocative descriptions of the wild landscape impress.
Secrets Of A Sun King
Faber £6.99 (9+)
A gripping adventure story set around the discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb in 1922. When a package arrives from a missing Egyptologist, Lil must travel to Egypt to return it and stop a pharaoh’s deadly curse.
Andersen Press £7.99 (12+)
Inspired by the author’s own upbringing, this poignant yet funny novel follows 14-year-old Lydia as her widowed dad sells their home to move the family on to a Thames sailing barge with his girlfriend and her children.
The Book Of The Year 2018
Random House £12.99
From the QI researchers, for trivia buffs, the weirdest facts behind the headlines of the previous 12 months.
The Book Of The Year 2018; Red Thread by Charlotte Higgins
A Field Guide To The English by Clergy Fergus Butler-Gallie; The Penguin Classics Book by Henry Eliot
Jonathan Cape £25
Higgins moves between ancient and modern tales to explore the role of mazes in mythology, art and our lives. A hugely original and beautifully presented book.
A Field Guide To The English Clergy
A catalogue of clerical eccentrics, such as spider expert the Rev Octavius Pickard-Cambridge, and the Dean of Westminster William Buckland, a gastronomic adventurer who listed mouse on toast as a favourite dish.
The Penguin Classics Book
Particular Books £30
The Penguin Classics list is said to be the largest library of classical literature ever published. This is a guide to all 1,200 of them, including descriptions and cover designs.
Why We Get The Wrong Politicians by Isabel Hardman
Why We Get The Wrong Politicians
A title no one could disagree with. Political journalist Hardman analyses why we end up with representatives we think are useless and suggests how we might do things differently.
Heart: A History
In this absorbing book about the vital organ that keeps us alive, Jauhar, a cardiologist, reveals why the heart can be damaged by emotional stress.
From actinium to zirconium, a hugely entertaining tour of the periodic table and the 118 elements that are the basic building blocks of everything. Bad Blood
Heart: A History by Sandeep Jauhar; Elemental by Tim James
Bad Blood by John Carreyrou; Buzz by Thor Hanson
The jaw-dropping story of a Silicon Valley start-up once valued at $9 billion that claimed its revolutionary blood test could diagnose all kinds of diseases. The only problem? It didn’t work. The biggest US corporate fraud since Enron.
The Consolations Of Physics
When life is getting you down, do you think of Voyager 1? You might after reading these absorbing reflections on physics. For people who think they don’t like science books.
Icon Books £16.99
An illuminating and inspiring natural history of bees, or ‘hippy wasps’, flower-loving creatures who turned vegetarian millennia ago.
How To Change Your Mind
Allen Lane £20
Can psychedelics be used to treat mental illness? Scientists in the Sixties thought so and their ideas are gaining credence again, as this book reveals.
England: The Biography
A history of the England cricket team from 1877 to the present, this is a collection of 35 thematic chapters rather than a chronological narrative and is packed full of stats and fascinating details.
Ian Botham takes another wicket for England, 1986. England: The Biography by Simon Wilde is a collection of 35 thematic chapters rather than a chronological narrative and is packed full of stats and fascinating details
A forensic dissection of the Fifa corruption scandal that fizzes with the ferocious energy of a superior thriller, with every chapter ending on a cliffhanger.
Going To The Match by Duncan Hamilton
Going To The Match
Hodder & Stoughton £25
Constructed around 17 matches that the author travelled to watch during the 2017-18 season, across all levels of football. It is a fan’s-eye view that brilliantly expresses the passion that millions feel for the beautiful game.
Jeff Benedict and Armen Keteyian
A scathing and vivid re-examination of the double life of a serial philanderer, sex addict and liar who was also once a revered athlete and the wealthiest sportsman in the world.
The Mountains Are Calling
Sandstone Press £19.99
Hill running in Scotland is a tough, daunting, punishing sport but Muir writes about it with such eloquence and passion that he makes you want to drop everything and head for the Highlands.
For 20% off all the books featured here,visit mailshop.co.uk/eventbooks or call 0844 571 0640