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A Year of Books
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Foyles Books of the Year 2019


After months and months of reading, consideration, rereading, voting and debating, we reveal the Foyles Books of the Year 2019.

But before we do: this has been a fantastic year for literature. It’s the kind of year that makes you passionate about being a book lover, and proud to be a bookseller—which makes it agonizing to pick any kind of best book for Fiction, Non-Fiction, and Children’s and Young Adult.

So in this year’s three winners we’ve held to the core of what great literature is, of great reading and writing: three books we can see ourselves still talking about for years to come. Three books that move and immerse us, that stir us and inspire us; that speak of our inner lives, most precious hopes, our losses and heartaches and fantasies—in short, of what it means to be human. Each is expertly crafted and each takes risks, returning triumphantly in each case—and all three deserve to be called new classics in their categories.

 

On Earth We're Briefly GorgeousFiction Book of the Year 2019
On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong

An intimate novel of a man’s unburdening as he wrestles with sexual discovery, family tradition, and the ghosts of the Vietnam War.
 

Written as a letter to the protagonist’s mother—one that will knowingly never be read—this debut novel from TS Eliot Prize-winning poet Ocean Vuong is from the outset a baring of self to the world that leaves no door locked; an often painfully intimate story of a young man’s sexual awakening and responsibility to his family.
 

Every moment kaleidoscopes the individual and the social—young gay love, loss, poverty, family, the wake of the Vietnam War, the US immigrant experience and more—into an interior emotional epic that refracts the dreams and dispossession of a people through the story of one young man’s coming of age. As brave and tender as an open heart, this is a devastating, completely compelling, and utterly moving confession that refuses to be forgotten.
 

Get our Book of the Year edition, signed by Ocean Vuong and numbered out of just 1500—with exclusive foiled cover artwork and two pages from the author’s notebooks, offering a rare insight into the writing of our Fiction Book of the Year 2019.

 

 

Three Women by Lisa TaddeoNon-Fiction Book of the Year 2019
Three Women by Lisa Taddeo

A modern masterpiece of narrative non-fiction that opens up the sexual and psychological lives of three contemporary American women.
 

Publishing straight into the pantheon of classic narrative non-fiction, journalist Lisa Taddeo’s debut book follows Maggie, Lina and Sloane—three real American women whose sexual and personal stories go unspoken and unheard in a patriarchal world. Taddeo spent eight years researching her subjects’ lives, embedding herself in their worlds, and the result is a profoundly frank and recognisable depiction of the innermost longings, struggles and heartaches of women today.
 

As page-turning as a true crime thriller and as lyrical as great fiction, Taddeo’s masterpiece is at once a minute journalistic account of three regular women and a demonstration of how power and sex are entwined in our society, in myriad ways, to perpetuate the place of women as the second sex. Quite simply a must-read, this is a watershed work of non-fiction that has rightfully exploded into our bestsellers chart and been inhaled by readers of all kinds.
 

Get our Book of the Year edition, signed by Lisa Taddeo and numbered out of only 1000—with exclusive golden page edges, foiled cover artwork and black endpapers; a fitting celebration of our Non-Fiction Book of the Year 2019.
 

 

Good Thieves by Katherine RundellChildren’s Book of the Year 2019
The Good Thieves by Katherine Rundell

A thrilling middle grade adventure where four talented misfits discover friendship, courage and a sense of what’s right.

The world of The Good Thieves is one of vintage New York City streets, mafioso-types and family castles, but at its core are four wildly talented friends whose ambitions and concerns speak to young readers now. You’ll adore Vita, the feisty but fragile heroine, and feel all the rage and passion she does as she fights to save her Grandpa’s legacy; you’ll love all the new friends she makes along the way, and quiver every time the villainous Sorrotorre gets too close for comfort. You’ll turn those pages breathlessly as this gripping heist thriller reaches its climax—and when the last page ends you’ll stay in Rundell’s world.
 

This is steam-train storytelling and a grand adventure, which gives you all the nostalgia and sense of wonder of classic children’s literature; a book that never looks down on its readers and challenges them with tough ideas and beautiful language. It’s a fresh take on the old crime caper genre about fighting for what you believe in and working together—and, best of all, a celebration of people who don’t fit in.
 

Get your hands on a first edition signed by Katherine Rundell—and with every copy you’ll get an exclusive, limited edition pin badge that proclaims I read children’s books even though I am so old and wise—a triumphant take on the title of Rundell’s must-read manifesto for grown-ups on the value of reading children's books Why You Should Read Children's Books, Even Though You Are So Old and Wise

 

 
 

The Fiction Shortlist

Queenie
(Hardback)
Candice Carty-Williams
 
She was named to be queen of everything. So why is she finding it so hard to rule her own life? A darkly comic and bitingly subversive take on life...
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The Binding
(Hardback)
Bridget Collins
Imagine you could erase your grief. Imagine you could forget your pain. Imagine you could hide a secret. Forever. The Binding is an unforgettable, magical novel: a boundary-defying love story...
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Black Leopard, Red Wolf: Dark Star...
(Hardback)
Marlon James
In this stunning follow-up to his Man Booker-winning A Brief History of Seven Killings, Marlon James draws on myth, fantasy and history to imagine a wholly new world, in which...
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£20.00
 
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Tokyo Ueno Station
(Paperback)
Yu Miri
 
Akutagawa-award-winning author Yu Miri uses her outsider's perspective as a Zainichi (Korean-Japanese) writer to craft a novel of utmost importance to this moment, a powerful rebuke to the Imperial system...
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Lanny
(Hardback)
Max Porter
 
Chimerical, audacious, strange and wonderful - a song to difference and imagination, to friendship, youth and love, Lanny is the globally anticipated new novel from Max Porter.
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£12.99
 
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The Nickel Boys
(Hardback)
Colson Whitehead
 
A devastating novel - based on true events - of a hellish American reform school, from the Pulitzer Prize winning author of The Underground Railroad.
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The Non-Fiction Shortlist

It's Not About the Burqa: Muslim ...
(Hardback)
Mariam Khan
 
What does it mean, exactly, to be a Muslim woman in the West today? According to the media, it's all about the burqa. Here's what it's really about.
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£14.99
 
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Underland: A Deep Time Journey
(Hardback)
Robert Macfarlane
Underland is a work of huge range and power, and a remarkable new chapter in Macfarlane's long-term exploration of landscape and the human heart
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£20.00
 
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Invisible Women: Exposing Data Bias ...
(Hardback)
Caroline Criado Perez
 
** SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER** Discover the shocking gender bias that affects our everyday lives 'A rallying cry to fight back' Sunday Times 'Press this into ...
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£13.99
18%
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Superior: The Return of Race Science
(Hardback)
Angela Saini
 
In Superior, award-winning author Angela Saini explores the concept of race, from its origins to the present day. Superior is a rigorous, much needed examination of the insidious and destructive...
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The Uninhabitable Earth: A Story of...
(Paperback)
David Wallace-Wells
 
It is worse, much worse, than you think. The slowness of climate change is a fairy tale, perhaps as pernicious as the one that says it isn't happening at all...
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£9.99
 
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The Age of Surveillance Capitalism:...
(Paperback)
Shoshana Zuboff
 
The heady optimism of the Internet's early days is gone. The Age of Surveillance Capitalism is a deeply-reasoned examination of the threat of unprecedented power free from democratic oversight.
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The Children's & Young Adult Shortlist

Crossfire
(Paperback)
Malorie Blackman
 
Crossfire is searing, political and furious, and is the long-awaited new novel in legendary author Malorie Blackman's ground-breaking Noughts & Crosses series
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£7.99
 
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Look Up!
(Paperback)
Nathan Bryon; Dapo Adeola
 
Bursting with energy and passion about science and space, this heart-warming, inspirational picture book will have readers turning off their screens and switching on to the outside world. But... can she...
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£6.99
 
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Kind
(Hardback)
Alison Green
 
With gorgeous pictures by a host of top illustrators 'Kind' is a timely, inspiring picture book about the many ways children can be kind, from sharing their toys and games...
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£12.99
 
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The Deathless Girls
(Hardback)
Kiran Millwood Hargrave
 
Gothic, intoxicating, feminist and romantic - this is the breathtakingly imagined untold story of the brides of Dracula, by bestselling author Kiran Millwood Hargrave in her much-anticipated YA debut.
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Don't Worry, Little Crab
(Hardback)
Chris Haughton; Chris Haughton
 
A little crab is both very excited and very scared about taking a dip for the very first time. Haughton’s instantly recognisable artwork adorns this adorable story about working up...
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The Iron Man
(Hardback)
Ted Hughes; Chris Mould
 
An absolute classic of children's publishing, brought to new life with stunning illustrations by Chris Mould, this is one of the most exciting editions of The Iron Man to be...
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Previous Winners

See more See less
Convenience Store Woman
(Paperback)
Sayaka Murata; Ginny Tapley Takemori;...
£8.99
Children of Blood and Bone
(Paperback)
Tomi Adeyemi
£7.99
The Power
(Paperback)
Naomi Alderman
£8.99
Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls
(Hardback)
Elena Favilli; Francesca Cavallo
£20.00
The Sellout
(Paperback)
Paul Beatty
£8.99
Convenience Store Woman
(Paperback)
Sayaka Murata; Ginny Tapley Takemori;...
£8.99
Children of Blood and Bone
(Paperback)
Tomi Adeyemi
£7.99
The Power
(Paperback)
Naomi Alderman
£8.99
Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls
(Hardback)
Elena Favilli; Francesca Cavallo
£20.00
The Sellout
(Paperback)
Paul Beatty
£8.99
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