Not In This World by Tracey Herd (Bloodaxe, £9.95)

There’s a real obsession with story in this highly appealing and enjoyable collection, recently shortlisted for the prestigious TS Eliot prize. Herd ruminates over films and the stories they tell, as well as the ones they don’t, the lives of the actors themselves. Mirrors, glass houses, the moon all feature in her romantic but disciplined approach.

Fossil Capital: The Rise Of Steam Power And The Roots Of Global Warming by Andreas Malm (Verso, £19.99)

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Will climate change make us evaluate differently the achievements of George Stevenson and James Watt, Industrial Age pioneers? For it was in Britain, which accounted for 80 per cent of fossil fuel combustion in 1825, that “the fossil economy” began. Malm’s history is expansive and detailed, and often quite terrifying in its analysis. Essential reading.

Carol by Patricia Highsmith (Bloomsbury, £8.99)

First published in 1952 under an assumed name, Highsmith’s second novel sold over a million copies. Sales assistant Therese has an affair with married customer Carol, in what is, as Val McDermid explains in her introduction, both a thriller and a romance. Its danger is deliciously reflected in the moment Carol challenges Therese to take a road trip together.

Three Light-Years by Andrea Canobbio (MacLehose Press, £16.99)

Canobbio’s novel, winner of Italy’s Mondello prize, is a slow but often mesmerising build-up of a tale, which delicately, but with great psychological precision, traces the sexual relationship between two doctors, Cecilia and Claudio, who work at the same hospital. The story is told by their son with a great sense of fatalism that only enhances its appeal.