Five-star incarceration and the secrets of the herd lead our monthly picks.

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Books of the Month

Dear Reader,

Amor Towles’ head-turner of a debut Rules of Civility ached with 1930s style, but where his first novel spanned a single year and a huge city, his latest - our Fiction Book of the Month, A Gentleman in Moscow – effortlessly covers half a life hemmed in by a single, extraordinary location. Not to be missed either is a book that over its 140-odd pages might just radically shift the way you think, in the most straightforward, engaging way possible: we present The Secret Life of Cows. Welcome to our Books of the Month for November.

Fiction Book of the Month

Fiction Book of the Month

Moscow’s Metropol is a real hotel, an Art Nouveau masterpiece that for 110 years has presided over revolutions, intrigue and political change. In Amor TowlesA Gentleman in Moscow, it is also for Count Alexander Rostov an elegant prison, our urbane hero sentenced to life-imprisonment within its walls as a counter-revolutionary. What follows is an exquisite comedy of manners, the redoubtable Count unbowed by his incarceration, orbited by an unforgettable cast of Kremlin operators, wayward movie stars, foreign diplomats and Americans far abroad. To all he is a listening ear; but what is he to himself? “This is everything a novel should be,” said the Sunday Times, “charming, witty, poetic and generous. An absolute delight.”

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Non-Fiction Book of the Month

Non-Fiction Book of the Month

Partly inspired back into print by Alan Bennett’s love for the original volume (“it alters the way one looks at the world”), The Secret Life of Cows may compel you to regard our bovine cousins in an entirely new light. Far from mere beasts of the field, we learn that these are creatures of friendship, of subtle communication, harbouring true thought, feeling and even a certain wisdom. Rosamund Young’s understanding arises from a lifetime of Cotswold farming experience, expanding on her parents’ enthusiasm as organic pioneers. Written without undue sentimentality, The Secret Life of Cows nevertheless makes a strong case for the humane rights of livestock, illuminated by absorbing anecdote and observation. For this appealing new edition, Alan Bennett provides a knowing foreword.

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Children's Book of the Month

Children's Book of the Month

The Polar Bear Explorers’ Club Rule No. 8: ‘Please do not take penguins into the club’s saltwater baths: they will hog the Jacuzzi.’ Get ready to join young explorers Stella, Shay, Beanie and Ethan as they embark on the trip of a lifetime across the frozen wilds of the Icelands, a land brimming with wonders, monsters and snow pirates. Each, bar Stella, is blessed with certain abilities, but what Stella lacks in special powers she more than makes up for in courage and determination. Tomislav Tomic’s powerful illustrations perfectly compliment YA-star Alex Bell’s thrill-packed tale, this her first novel for younger readers. Beware the carnivorous cabbages!

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Thriller of the Month

Thriller of the Month

Returning for a second bite of our Thriller of the Month cherry, The Crow Girl from Erik Axl Sund (in reality Swedish writing duo Jerker Eriksson and Håkan Sundquist) is fast threatening to capture Stieg Larsson’s crown in delivering a truly brutal, relentlessly-paced descent into the dark heart of northern European crime. For Detective Superintendent Jeanette Kihlberg, the discovery of a ritually-murdered body triggers an obsessional race against time, her serial killer quarry poised to savagely strike again. Vast, driving and complex, this is the book the Metro has judged as “the best crime novel of the year so far.”

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As is our Waterstones tradition, for December our usual Books of the Month will take a step back to reveal the title we have awarded as our Waterstones Book of the Year 2017. Last year of course belonged to Sarah Perry’s Gothic masterpiece The Essex Serpent, but what will be wearing 2017’s crown? All will soon be revealed!


With all best wishes,

Your friends at Waterstones

   
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