The best new books to read this autumn

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Autumn reads woman reading book

From Piers Morgan to Nigella Lawson, and much more in between, we round up some of the biggest new literary releases

With temperatures dipping and the longer nights setting in, now is the perfect time to curl up in front of the fire with a good book.

And luckily, there are lots of exciting new releases to get your teeth into over the coming weeks and months, from romantic novels to recipe books; action thrillers to autobiographies. Here are just some of our top picks for a bit of autumn escapism… 

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The best new fiction 

Ghosts – Dolly Alderton (out now, Fig Tree, RRP £14.99)

Autumn reads Dolly Alderton Ghosts

The Sunday Times dating columnist Dolly Alderton follows up her best-selling memoir Everything I Know About Love with her debut novel. Focusing on a 30-something food writer who finds romance at an important crossroads in her life, Ghosts is a funny and tender rom-com that's been lapping up the plaudits.  

Serpentine – Philip Pullman (out now, Penguin Random House, RRP £7.99)

Autumn reads Philip Pullman Serpentine

This standalone novella from the author of fantasy series His Dark Materials is set after the events of those books, following Lyra Silvertongue and her daemon Pantalaimon as they venture north to pay a visit to an old friend... Beautifully illustrated by Tom Duxbury, Serpentine is an imaginative tale that's sure to enrapture fans of the genre.

Ready Player Two – Ernest Cline (out 24 Nov, Century, RRP £20) 

Autumn reads Ready Player Two Ernest Cline

Set in a dystopian future gripped by the limitless potential of virtual reality, Cline's debut novel Ready Player One became a global bestseller and was even made into a movie by Steven Spielberg. Eight years on, the long-awaited sequel is here and the plot sounds just as riveting as the first: when a new technological advancement is discovered, the future of the human race is left hanging in the balance… 

One August Night – Victoria Hislop (out 29 Oct, Headline Publishing Group, RRP £14.99)

Autumn reads Victoria Hislop One August Night

Fans of Victoria Hislop's 2005 hugely successful novel The Island will be chomping at the bit to get their hands on this sequel, which is released as a hardback edition at the end of October. Returning to the Greek island of Spinalonga as its residents prepare for the closure of the notorious leper colony, One August Night is a riveting tale of romance and redemption that you won't be able to put down. 

Because of You – Dawn French (out now, Michael Joseph, RRP £20) 

Autumn reads Dawn French Because of You

One of Britain's best-loved comedy actresses also happens to be a very talented author, and her fourth novel (she's also written two non-fiction books) is available to buy now. The tale of two expectant mothers who leave a maternity ward with very different outcomes, Because of You is heartbreaking and humorous in equal measures. 

Scar Tissue – Ollie Ollerton (out 12 Nov, Bonnier Books, RRP £14.99)

Autumn reads Ollie Ollerton Scar Tissue

Former Special Forces soldier Matthew 'Ollie' Ollerton has spent the past few years sharing his expert survival skills on Channel 4 show SAS: Who Dares Wins, as well as recounting his military escapades in two non-fiction tomes. His first novel, Scar Tissue, is a gripping thriller in which a disgraced former soldier returns to the battlefields of Iraq to find his missing son. 

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The best new non-fiction

Boris Johnson: The Gambler – Tom Bower (out now, W.H. Allen, RRP £20)

Autumn reads Boris Johnson The Gambler

Since rising to power in July 2019, Boris Johnson has become one of the most divisive figures in British political history, revered by some, ridiculed by others. Using new interviews and research, Tom Bower carefully dissects the man behind the blond fringe, shedding fascinating new light on his political and personal life. 

Songteller: My Life in Lyrics – Dolly Parton (out 17 Nov, Hodder & Stoughton, RRP £35)

Autumn reads Dolly Parton Songteller

Ever wanted to know the stories behind classic songs like 'Jolene', 'Here You Come Again' and 'I Will Always Love You'? In this extraordinary 380-page tome, country legend Dolly Parton reveals the secrets behind more than 150 of her tracks. With a wealth of rare photos and memorabilia to enjoy, too, this colourful keepsake will keep you enthralled from 9 to 5. 

Olive, Mabel & Me: Life and Adventures with Two Very Good Dogs – Andrew Cotter (out now, Black & White Publishing, RRP £20)

Autumn reads Olive Mabel and Me

Amid the doom and gloom of the Covid-19 lockdown, broadcaster Andrew Cotter brought some much-needed light relief, sharing videos on social media of his two dogs engaging in hilarious sporting contests. He's now followed that up with a charming and chortlesome book, in which he shares anecdotes about his life with those canine companions. A must for all pet lovers! 

Cook, Eat, Repeat: Ingredients, Recipes and Stories – Nigella Lawson (out 29 Oct, Vintage Publishing, RRP £20)

Autumn reads Nigella Lawson Cook Eat Repeat

If there's one thing that's going to inspire you to do some cooking and baking this autumn, it's a brand-new set of recipes. In her latest book, Nigella shows you how to make over 50 dishes, including Beef Cheeks with Port and Chestnuts, Wide Noodles with Lamb in Aromatic Broth, and Rhubarb and Custard Trifle. Interspersed with the celebrity chef's witty musings, Cook, Eat, Repeat is a feast for food fans.

Wake Up: Why the World Has Gone Nuts – Piers Morgan (out now, HarperCollins, RRP £20)

Autumn reads Wake Up Piers Morgan

Piers Morgan could never be described as 'subtle', and the Good Morning Britain presenter takes no prisoners as he gives his tuppence-worth on Covid-19 and how it's exposed the UK's underlying problems. Focusing on everything from cancel culture to Captain Sir Tom Moore, healthcare to hate speech, Wake Up is a no-holds-barred rallying call to the nation. 

Limitless – Tim Peake (out now, Century, RRP £20)

Autumn reads Tim Peake Limitless

Tim Peake has boldly gone where most of us can only dream of going: space. And in this autobiography, the British astronaut delivers a riveting and highly personal account of his extraterrestrial adventures. Also charting Peake's careers as a soldier, helicopter pilot and flight instructor, Limitless should be sky-high on your list of autumn reads.

• Discover 10 easy ways to boost your mood this autumn

The best new children's books

Little Monsters – David Walliams (out now, HarperCollins, RRP £12.99)

Autumn reads David Williams Little Monsters

The Britain's Got Talent judge has been prolific as an author, and Little Monsters is his eighth book for very young children. Teaming up with a new illustrator, Adam Stower, Walliams tells the poignant story of Howler, a werewolf who, despite his best efforts, just isn't scary. Perfect for reading to the little ones at Halloween, Little Monsters is one of the Little Britain star's best.

The Ickabog – J.K. Rowling (out 10 Nov, Little Brown Books for Young Readers, RRP £20)

Autumn reads The Ickabog

J.K. Rowling needs no introduction, of course, and her latest excursion away from the Harry Potter universe is sure to sell by the bucketload – even though Rowling has already shared parts of the book online. Described by the author as a “political fairytale”, this adventure for 7-9-year-olds centres around a group of children who set off to confront a mythical creature that's threatening the future of their kingdom. There's no magic, but it's still magical. 

Future Friend – David Baddiel (out now, HarperCollins, £12.99)

Autumn reads David Baddiel Future Friend

David Baddiel is another comedian who's turned into a prolific children's author, and his latest release is a thrilling sci-fi adventure aimed at children aged eight and over. Future Friend focuses on two lonely children from different eras who become buddies after they each step into a time portal. Packed with humour and illustrations, it's guaranteed to keep the little ones entertained. 

Hollowpox: The Hunt for Morrigan Crow – Jessica Townsend (out now, Hachette, RRP £12.99)

Autumn reads Jessica Townsend Hollowpox

The third book in the popular Morrigan Crow series sees the titular heroine tasked with finding a cure for an illness that's wreaking havoc on her homeland (sound familiar?). Australian author Jessica Townsend has gained a legion of fans with her fantasy adventures, and this epic new instalment will not disappoint them. 

• 25 awesome free things to do during the month of October

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