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New in Paperback for January 2023

For the fifth and final day of Ring in the New Reads, we've shortlisted books new to paperback this January.


There are twenty books in total, our top five picks detailed in this post, and a wider range can be viewed via the link to the full list at the end.


*All book descriptions have been taken from the blurb as displayed on Bookshop.org pages. Book reviews by Pickering Book Tree will likely follow in the future, and will be linked to each section as available.



Book 1 of 5: To Paradise by Hanya Yanagihara


From Hanya Yanagihara, author of the modern classic A Little Life, To Paradise is a bold, brilliant novel spanning three centuries and three different versions of the American experiment, about lovers, family, loss and the elusive promise of utopia.


In an alternate version of 1893 America, New York is part of the Free States, where people may live and love whomever they please (or so it seems). The fragile young scion of a distinguished family resists betrothal to a worthy suitor, drawn to a charming music teacher of no means. In a 1993 Manhattan besieged by the AIDS epidemic, a young Hawaiian man lives with his much older, wealthier partner, hiding his troubled childhood and the fate of his father. And in 2093, in a world riven by plagues and governed by totalitarian rule, a powerful scientist's damaged granddaughter tries to navigate life without him - and solve the mystery of her husband's disappearances.


These three sections are joined in an enthralling and ingenious symphony, as recurring notes and themes deepen and enrich one another: A townhouse in Washington Square Park in Greenwich Village; illness, and treatments that come at a terrible cost; wealth and squalor; the weak and the strong; race; the definition of family, and of nationhood; the dangerous righteousness of the powerful, and of revolutionaries; the longing to find a place in an earthly paradise, and the gradual realization that it can't exist. What unites not just the characters, but these Americas, are their reckonings with the qualities that make us human: Fear. Love. Shame. Need. Loneliness.


Book 2 of 5: The Go-Between: A Portrait of Growing Up Between Different Worlds by Osman Yousefzada


A coming-of-age story set in Birmingham in the 1980s and 1990s, The Go-Between opens a window into a closed migrant community living in a red-light district on the wrong side of the tracks.


The adult world is seen through Osman's eyes as a child: his own devout Pashtun patriarchal community, with its divide between the world of men and women, living cheek-by-jowl with parallel migrant communities.


Alternative masculinities compete with strict gender roles, and female erasure and honour-based violence are committed, even as empowering female friendships prevail. The stories Osman tells, some fantastical and humorous, others melancholy and even harrowing, take us from the Birmingham of Osman's childhood to the banks of the river Kabul and the river Indus, and, eventually, to the London of his teenage years.


Osman weaves in and out of these worlds, struggling with the dual burdens of racism and community expectations, as he is forced to realise it is no longer possible to exist in the spaces in between.


Book 3 of 5: Whale by Cheon Myeong-kwan and Translated by Chi-Young Kim


​A sweeping, multi-generational tale blending fable, farce, and fantasy-a masterpiece of modern fiction perfect for fans of One Hundred Years of Solitude.


A woman sells her daughter to a passing beekeeper for two jars of honey. A baby weighing fifteen pounds is born in the depths of winter but named "Girl of Spring". A storm brings down the roof of a ramshackle restaurant to reveal a hidden fortune. These are just some of the events that set Cheon Myeong-kwan's beautifully crafted, wild world in motion.


Set in a remote village in South Korea, Whale follows the lives of its linked characters: Geumbok, who has been chasing an indescribable thrill ever since she first saw a whale crest in the ocean; her mute daughter, Chunhui, who communicates with elephants; and a one-eyed woman who controls honeybees with a whistle.


Brimming with surprises and wicked humour, Whale is an adventure-satire of epic proportions, by one of international literature's the most original voices.


Book 4 of 5: The Leviathan by Rosie Andrews


SHE IS AWAKE...


Norfolk, 1643. With civil war tearing England apart, reluctant soldier Thomas Treadwater is summoned home by his sister, who accuses a new servant of improper conduct with their widowed father. By the time Thomas returns home, his father is insensible, felled by a stroke, and their new servant is in prison, facing charges of witchcraft.


Thomas prides himself on being a rational, modern man, but as he unravels the mystery of what has happened, he uncovers not a tale of superstition but something dark and ancient, linked to a shipwreck years before.


Something has awoken, and now it will not rest.


Richly researched, incredibly atmospheric, and deliciously unsettling, The Leviathan is set in England during a time of political and religious turbulence. It is a tale of family and loyalty, superstition and sacrifice, but most of all it is a spellbinding mystery and a story of impossible things.


Book 5 of 5: The Ticket Collector from Belarus: An Extraordinary True Story of Britain's Only War Crimes Trial by Mike Anderson and Neil Hanson


The UK's only war crimes trial took place in 1999 and had its origins in the horrors of the Holocaust, but only now in The Ticket Collector from Belarus can the full story be told.


The Ticket Collector from Belarus tells the remarkable story of two interwoven journeys. Ben-Zion Blustein and Andrei Sawoniuk were childhood friends in 1930s Domachevo, a holiday and health resort in what is now Belarus. During the events that followed the Nazi invasion in 1941 , they became the bitterest of enemies. After the war, Ben-Zion made his way to Israel, and 'Andrusha the bastard' to England, where he found work as a British Rail ticket collector in London.


They next confronted each other in the Old Bailey , over half a century later, where one was the principal prosecution witness, and the other charged with a fraction of the number of murders he was alleged to have committed. There was no physical evidence, just one man's word against another, leaving the jury with a series of agonising dilemmas: Could any witness statement be trusted so long after the event? Was Andrusha a brutal killer, a hapless pawn or a scapegoat? And were his furious protests a sign of guilt or the justified anger of an innocent old man?


Mike Anderson was gripped by the story, and so began his quest to find the truth about this astonishing case and the people at its heart. As he discovered, it was even more remarkable than he could ever have imagined.


The Full List


You can find the full list of twenty books new to paperback this January on the Bookshop.org shelf below.


This is the final post of this year's Ring in the New Reads series. We hope you've found some new books you can't wait to pick up, and love all the reads you choose this January and for the rest of 2023.


Happy Reading!


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