New books from Stephen King and Justin Cartwright, Pynchon in Hatchet Job of the Week, Rachel Johnson on the Literary Calendar, and our sexiest Pin-ups yet.
Win The Broken Road by Patrick Leigh Fermor

The late Patrick Leigh Fermor was, as well as being the most loved travel writer of the 20th century, a legendary sufferer of writer's block. From this he has been posthumously rescued by his biographer, Artemis Cooper and disciple, Colin Thubron, who have pieced together the final part of his trilogy describing his famous walk across pre-war Europe. Reviews have been overwhelmingly positive:

"The book is pure Paddy: these are his feelings, perceptions and responses, his the observations, his the descriptions, consummate in a phrase, acute and intense when extended to paragraph or page; this is his style, yet it is in many ways a youthful text, its core the adventure of a very young man, its embellishments the experience, curiosity and wisdom of his older self." Brian Sewell, Evening Standard

We're giving away five copies, thanks to John Murray. For your chance to win one, tell us: Who played Patrick Leigh Fermor in Ill Met by Moonlight, the film based on his wartime heroics? Entries to by Friday 4 October.

Dr Sleep by Stephen King
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"Wild ectoplasmic partly decayed vampire horses would not tear from me the story of what happens next … Doctor Sleep has all the virtues of his best work." Margaret Atwood, The New York Times VS "This is indubitably a page-turner, but it might not be a re-reader ... King is not and has never been a wordsmith" Stuart Kelly, The Scotsman
An Appetite for Wonder by Richard Dawkins
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"The Richard Dawkins that emerges here is a far cry from the strident, abrasive caricature beloved of lazy journalists with an op-ed piece to file." Brandon Robshaw, Independent on Sunday VS "...his self-satisfaction, self-consciousness and self-absorption mean that his book is full of jarring awkwardness." Jenni Russell, The Sunday Times


While most reviewers resorted to the "masterpiece" tag, Pat Kane in the Independent thought Pynchon's 9/11 novel a decade too late:

"The New York of the late 1990s dotcom boom-and-bust, frittering away into the violent event-horizon of 9/11, is adequately captured by the title – but only adequately. It seems beneath Pynchon to be to so painstakingly geeky about the socio-linguistics of this thin, weightless, credit-extended period – its luxury-pad fittings, its designer shoe labels, its bloviating biz-speak. Compared to the techno-fictions of William Gibson – for years, an author happily scuffling around on Pynchon's giant shoulders – Bleeding Edge's digital shenanigans are, to be honest, a little vicar- at-the-disco-ish."

Read all reviews for Bleeding Edge
Lion Heart by Justin Cartwright
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"Cartwright carries the reader through all this with the energy of his writing ... even the more fantastic twists in the plot become believable." Edward Stourton, Financial Times VS "So undeniably (and even weirdly) messy that it increasingly feels less like a novel about the essential incoherence of life than simply an incoherent novel." James Walton, The Spectator
Marriage Material by by Sathnam Sanghera
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"Dangerous material is handled with a darkly comic lightness of touch, and an impassively detached ironic tone that may owe something to Bennett — like Bennett, Sanghera makes good use of local newspaper cuttings, letters to the editor, and contemporary fashion magazine material" Margaret Drabble, The Spectator
The Deaths by Mark Lawson
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"The best thing about The Deaths has nothing to do with the deaths. It’s Lawson’s Tom Wolfeian reportage, which is wonderfully vivid and detailed" John O'Connell, The Guardian VS "Worst point of this novel: its main characters are so unappealing it’s not much fun spending time with them – if I was at a party having these conversations I’d go to bed early." Victoria Moore, The Daily Mail
Best of the rest
Enon by Paul Harding, The Windsor Faction by DJ Taylor, 419 by Will Ferguson, My Name is... by Alastair Campbell

Pick of the paperbacks
Dear Life by Alice Munro, A Hologram for the King by David Eggers, Dominion by CJ Samson
Olivier by Philip Ziegler
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"It is a joyfully refreshing thing that this definitive and best-sourced biography of Laurence Olivier (for it surely is so) is not written by an insider-ish theatre obsessive" Libby Purves, The Times VS "Astonishingly, not a single performance is described ... Instead it’s all boring National Theatre bureaucracy battles, e.g. the memorandum Olivier wrote concerning ‘the quality of the lavatory paper in the staff toilets’ at the Old Vic." Roger Lewis, Daily Mail
Wilkie Collins: A Life of Sensation by Andrew Lycett
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"He is excellent on Collins’s friendship with Dickens ... And he answers the main question of any literary biography: why do we continue to read the novels?" Judith Flanders, The Times VS " was not close attention to the writing that I missed most in Lycett’s diligent biography, it was enough of a sense of the charm of Wilkie Collins" Catherine Peters, Literary Review
Catastrophe: Europe Goes to War, 1914 by Max Hastings
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"At times the Daily Mail columnist comes through, and the prose coarsens and the tone grows shrill, but overall it’s a splendid read." Ben Shephard, The Observer
Best of the rest
The Poets' Daughters: Dora Wordsworth and Sara Coleridge by Katie Waldegrave, Immortal: The Approved Biography of George Best by Duncan Hamilton, What's in a Surname: A Journey from Abercrombie to Zwicker by David McKie

Pick of the paperbacks
Titian: His Life by Sheila Hale, Mr Foote's Other Leg by Ian Kelly, Outsider II by Brian Sewell

What have you just finished reading?
Anna Karenina. I have finally done it. Next up, War and Peace (!) — to infinity and beyond. I loved it, and when I started reading it (yes it took that long), the weather was fittingly cold and I could dress appropriately. Fur hats and velvet; it definitely helps to dress as one reads, I find. Not so applicable to … err … The Handmaid’s Tale or American Psycho.

Sarah, 27, Old Street
What's the sexiest thing you've ever read?
Oo-er. Whatever it was it wasn’t by Philip Roth. Les Fleurs du mal, perhaps. The most memorable sex scene I’ve ever read must be in Lautréamont’s Les Chants de Maldoror, wherein the eponymous anti-hero gets off with a shark for a good twenty pages. Had the Bad Sex Award existed in post-Commune Paris, it would’ve been a shoo-in.
Digby, 24, West London

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Becoming Human by Eliza Green

Where did you get the idea for your book?
I’m a huge science fiction fan, but I can’t remember too many films where the aliens were depicted as anything other than brainless homicidal maniacs. Yawn. Too few films, apart from Avatar by James Cameron, explore the alien’s point of view.

Imagine your ideal reader: which authors do they enjoy?
Oh, definitely Hugh Howey and Suzanne Collins. I know Suzanne writes YA, but I loved her Hunger Games trilogy and Wool was a superb read. I love dystopian fiction that focuses on the not too distant future.

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