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3 November 2022

Whether commuting or travelling for a day trip, in London one thing is certain, you’re going to spend some time on trains (or waiting for them). So we’ve come up with a way to while away the time that works even without wifi or a mobile – books! 

So here are the best new books to read this autumn and winter and some ideal places to read them. 

Best book to make you hope for a train delay

Fairy Tale by Stephen King

If you’re looking for edge-of-your-seat reading, look no further than horror master Stephen King. This is a story you aren’t going to want to put down when you pull into the station.

King returns with some of his best storytelling in years, where we discover a regular high-school boy that is handed the keys to a parallel world where good is competing with incredible evil. In a universe populated by classic fairy tale characters, Charlie Reade and his companion dog, Radar, take on the challenge of saving not just this new universe, but his own as well. 

Best book to make you look interesting whilst you wait for your friends

Our Missing Hearts by Celeste Ng

You’ve arrived early at the biggest BrewDog pub in the world early (or more likely your friends are late) and need to kill half an hour. Your first instinct is to grab your phone and scroll through the usual social channels. Instead of seeing the latest cat gif your Mum has put on Facebook – how about a dystopian novel that will hook you in from page one? 

From the best-selling author of Little Fires Everywhere, Celeste Ng brings a new novel that is a slight departure from her previous work but just as instantly gripping and ultimately heartbreaking.

We learn the story of 12-year-old Bird Gardner who was taken away from his mother aged nine thanks to new laws designed to protect American culture, where books considered inappropriate are banned. Some of the narrative around a lack of acceptance for others is eerily similar to our current times.

When his mother sends him a message for the first time since disappearing, Ng takes us on Bird’s journey to find her. It’s a beautifully written story about how even in the most broken world, a heart can remain intact.  And if your friends are still late, you might even make some new ones when everyone sees how cool and interesting you are.

Best book to read at a busy station

Lucy by the Sea by Elizabeth Strout

Surrounded by lots of people, most of whom look to be in a rush, is not the place for something too serious. Life needs to be simple sometimes.

Any fans of My Name is Lucy Brown or Oh William! will be delighted to know that the protagonist of those novels is back by popular demand. Elizabeth Strout has delivered another incredibly sharp narrative around the current sub-genre known as the pandemic novel!

We follow the story of Lucy as she is forced to leave New York City and spend lockdown in a house by the sea in Maine with her ex-husband, William. What follows is a heartwarming story about connections, loss, family and relationships, with plenty of light-hearted moments to make you smile whilst others around your grimace.

Sooooo the best book to read sitting in a coffee shop

Friends, Lovers and the Big Terrible Thing by Matthew Perry

There are few things better than relaxing with an excellent autobiography whilst you enjoy your morning laté – but you can take it to the next level this Autumn and pretend you are in Central Perk listening to the stories of Friends’, Chandler Bing.

Matthew Perry is one of the most recognisable faces of the 90s, a star of the most popular sitcom in history. Yes, it happens to be set in a coffee house, but that’s genuinely not the reason we recommend it. This is not your ordinary celeb biog with lots of salacious stories and name-dropping.

It’s an open and honest account of someone that became one of the most famous TV actors of his age but then went on to battle addictions to both alcohol and opiates. It is a refreshingly honest account of the dark times he went through but also looks at how he has come out the other side. Frank and honest, Perry talks about how he faced up to his problems and doesn’t make excuses. 

Don’t panic, it’s not all downbeat, as you’d imagine from his most famous character, Chandler Bing, there is plenty of humour in the book and the introduction by Lisa Kudrow is worth the price of the book alone.

So there you have it, four very different books to keep you busy until Christmas.  If you need further inspiration, pop into WHSmith in The Sidings, where you can pick up the latest bestsellers.

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