October Reads


The temperature has dropped, and the nights are getting shorter. It’s been non-stop rain for most of the country. Super Thursday has been and gone (the book trade’s name for the hottest release day of the year, which saw over 400 hardbacks hit the shelves. Including, Zadie Smith’s Grand Union, Bill Bryson’s The Body,and Philip Pullman’s The Secret Commonwealth). Autumn is well and truly here, and MIR is back with our monthly reading recommendations. This month we’ve included a whole host of titles and genres, including poetry, non-fiction, and graphic novels. What better month than October to curl up with a good book?

Sabrina, by Nick Drnaso

"Nick Drnaso’s Sabrina is not only a chilling exploration into the unstable nature of trust and truth in the internet age, but a beautiful example of the power of the graphic novel. Published in 2018, Zadie Smith called it ‘the best book – in any medium – I have read about our current moment … it scared me. I loved it’. Smith was spot on, it was frighteningly good. And a must read for this October". – Elaine Mary Stabler

Sabrina, by Nick Drnaso

This is Not a Drill, by The Extinction Rebellion

"There is a great feeling of hopelessness that can arise when learning about the climate crisis. But what this handbook does is bring that scattered fear into focus. A range of voices argue about what is happening and what can be done about it in clear terms. Nothing is sugar coated but I didn't come away feeling useless, I felt energised, focused" - Peter Coles

This is Not a Drill, by The Extinction Rebellion

All That is Solid Melts into Air, by Darragh McKeon

"You would think McKeon was Russian, not Irish, so powerfully evocative is his story of the lives of those affected by the Chernobyl disaster and the subsequent imminent crumbling of the Soviet Union. It has been a long time since I cared about characters as much as these. All that is Solid is a beautifully phrased and skilfully told story" - Mari Vindis

All That is Solid Melts into Air, by Darragh McKeon

Sweet Sorrow, by David Nicholls

"By the time I'd read the words 'disco', 'double physics and 'missed kiss' on the first page, I was already immersed in this book. Not just because I'm old enough to remember the excruciating embarrassment of eighties' school discos (not to mention the horror of double physics), but because of the ease of Nicholls' prose and the sting of his angst-ridden humour. It is this combination that brings the story so vividly and enjoyably to life" - Minna Lacey

Sweet Sorrow, by David Nicholls

Three Poems, by Hannah Sullivan

"Sullivan's astonishing language startles and delights, combining rich, gritty details about place with intimate, emotional upheavals. From explosive New York City life and unsettling sexual encounters, to moving to California and returning home. Her poems explore themes of childbirth and the death of a father, while incorporating a variety of rhythms and structures that skilfully mirror the turbulence and changing nature of the physical environment" - Minna Lacey

Three Poems, by Hannah Sullivan

The Mechanics Institute Review - The Climate Issue

"This is the first time I have owned a copy of MIR’s annual publication, and I am pleasantly surprised at the quality and variety of the stories. I found Richard Hamblyn's ‘How Much Are They Paying You’ a particularly topical and enlightening piece. I look forward to delving into all the stories over the next few weeks" - Liz Bolton

The Mechanics Institute Review - The Climate Issue