Sound by Bella Bathurst (Wellcome Collection, £8.99)

Writer and photojournalist Bathurst began losing her hearing at 27, and was deaf for 12 years before it was restored by groundbreaking surgery. This memoir recounts her increasing isolation and deteriorating mental health as her condition worsened. She felt her world contracting, suffered communications difficulties, anger, depression and the end of a relationship, all made worse by her refusal to admit what was happening. Eventually, she started to come to terms with her situation, though not before reaching the low point of phoning the Samaritans but not being able to hear their advice. Her personal journey makes compelling reading, but she also contextualises her experiences by exploring the medical science of hearing, comparing the lives of people who have been deaf from birth with those who lost their hearing later in life and interviewing people whose jobs put theirs at risk. Bathurst brings home the reality of living without sound, leaving us with a greater awareness and appreciation of it.

Miss Boston & Miss Hargreaves by Rachel Malik (Penguin, £8.99)

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In 1940, Elsie Boston, left to run the family farm by herself, takes on a Land Girl for help. Initially wary of each other, she and Rene Hargreaves become devoted friends. As the war rages on, a neighbour persuades the Ministry of Agriculture to take the farm from Elsie so that he can get his hands on the land and Elsie and Rene are forced out, spending more than a decade roving the country as itinerant farm workers. It’s a hard life, but they can take solace from each other. Until, that is, a man from Rene’s past appears and the real reason she left home in the first place comes to light. Malik’s debut novel is based on her research into her maternal grandmother, the original Rene Hargreaves, and although she emphasises that it’s fiction, it’s still very much based on real incidents. By turns heartwarming and upsetting, it’s a fascinating real-life tale with some unexpected twists.

Dis Mem Ber by Joyce Carol Oates (Head of Zeus, £7.99)

The prolific Oates has never been shy of probing dark places, but she gives full rein to those impulses in this collection of seven short stories. She is at her most macabre here, placing her central characters, all female and in some way vulnerable, into disturbing situations. An 11-year-old girl takes an ill-advised trip with an older male relative who has a thing about dismembered bodies. A widow returning to the house she shared with her late husband is invited in by the new owners to talk about some boxes he’d left behind. Another widow, frustrated with her brother-in-law, the executor of her husband’s estate, takes comfort in nature and decides that the predatory Great Blue Heron might be a suitable role model for her. And don’t, please, ask about the kittens. Oates displays all her customary craft and intellect, but these are tales so creepy that some of her regular readership might prefer to skip it and wait till the next one.