A Beautiful Truth by Colin McAdam (Granta, £8.99)

A Beautiful Truth by Colin McAdam (Granta, £8.99)

McAdam's tale of childless Walt and Judy who adopt a baby chimpanzee came out a year before Karen Joy Fowler's more high-profile We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves, but both novels are moving accounts of chimpanzees raised by humans. McAdam's is more experimental in form, his style more economic, but packs as much of a punch.

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Escape From Culloden by The Chevalier de Johnstone (The House of Emslie, £9.99)

This 1820 memoir by a surviving soldier at Culloden - and who laments Bonnie Prince Charlie's failure to wait a week or two and raise a new army just as willing to fight as before - is surprisingly accessible, and colourful too. The story of the Chevalier's own escape is immediate and full of adventure. Highly recommended.

Travels With Epicurus by Daniel Klein (Oneworld, £7.99)

A truly refreshing counter to Western culture's obsession with youth. Faced with a lengthy dental operation in his seventies, Klein realised he didn't want to "deny myself a unique and invaluable stage of life": getting old. His philosophical enquiries about discovering what it means to live an "authentic old life" are both engaging and penetrating.

Her Brilliant Career: The Extraordinary Women Of The Fifties by Rachel Cooke (Virago, £9.99)

None of the women in Cooke's fascinating and sympathetic history is famous, but this look at a still unfashionable period in the 20th century that relegates women to the home yields some treasures like Sheila van Damm, a professional rally car driver, and Muriel and Betty Box, producers and directors at Shepherd's Bush.