For Independent Bookshop Week (18–25 June 2022) I’ve been posting a book a day on social media. These are favourite books that I’ve enjoyed over the years. Have you read any of these?
For each of the eight days of Independent Bookshop Week this year, I decided to recommend one book a day on my LinkedIn account and Facebook author page. I didn’t think hard about it, I just picked the first eight books that sprang to mind. Some of the choices surprised even me!
If you want your own copy of any of these favourite books of mine, and you’re based in the UK or the US, you can support independent bookshops by following the relevant link for each book.
If you’re not in one of those countries, head to your nearest independent bookshop and grab a copy! (I gain a small commission if you make a bookshop.org purchase, but I only recommend books that I have genuinely loved reading and want to share.)
In no particular order, here they are:
We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler
I’m currently in the middle of this book. If you like refreshing, honest writing and a unique plot, I think you’d enjoy it.
Apparently, there is also a major twist, which I can’t wait for!
White Fang by Jack London
This was my favourite book as a child. It tells the tale of a wolf who starts out wild and ends up learning to trust humans, after being mistreated (he gets his revenge, don’t worry!).
If you’ve seen the film, it is almost a completely different story to Jack London’s original tale. This book is a timeless classic for adults and kids alike.
The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
This unique book stayed with me long after I finished it. It’s a beautifully written, haunting tale of a girl who is killed (this is not a plot spoiler; we’re told this in the second sentence of Chapter 1). She watches her family from ‘her heaven’ as they struggle to come to terms with her death, and as they move through the years, filling the space she left with other things.
I will add this may not be the right book for you if your tears are currently close to the surface, and there is also a strong theme of sexual assault, so please bear this in mind.
Wyrd Sisters by Terry Pratchett
This was the first Terry Pratchett book I read. I picked up my sister’s copy, thinking it would be ‘just another fantasy book’, and couldn’t put it down! The comedy alone is refreshing, before you even consider Terry Pratchett’s world-building skills and poetic prose.
Many of his Discworld books are based on well-known works in the real world, and Wyrd Sisters is loosely based on Macbeth. The witches are such entertaining characters, and the end of the opening paragraph made me laugh out loud:
‘When shall we three meet again?’
‘Well, I can do next Tuesday.’
Darwin by Adrian Desmond and James Moore
This is the only non-fiction book in my selection for Independent Book Week, and it is here for good reason. If you’re interested in Darwin’s extraordinary work, inspiring life and interesting times, look no further than this wonderful book. It is written in an accessible way, yet is extremely well researched, full of detail and leaves you feeling that you have really got to know the man behind the theory of evolution by means of natural selection.
I first read this book just after I left university, when I was holding down a boring temp job, manning the phones for an organisation that didn’t get many calls. I had hours to kill. Lucky I did, because at well over 600 pages, this is a lengthy book. I couldn’t wait to get to work each day so I could get back to Darwin’s life, and wasn’t pleased when I was interrupted by the phone and had to do what I was being paid for!
The Blinds by Adam Sternbergh
This novel is set in a small community in rural Texas whose inhabitants are criminals, their memories erased as part of an experimental programme. When a suicide, then a murder, rock the peace, it’s up to Sheriff Calvin Cooper (with his own ghosts) to work out who is responsible.
One of the key themes of The Blinds is one that I explore in my own writing: identity. This book examines how people are affected when they don’t remember large chunks of their past, their name, or why they chose to sign away those memories.
For more details about this original, page-turning book, read my review of The Blinds.
Collected Poems by Philip Larkin
Whenever I want to put things into perspective, I turn to Philip Larkin. Many of his poems may not be the most optimistic, entertaining read (putting it mildly), but he certainly reminds us of our mortality. While some people may interpret his poems as depressing and pessimistic, I take away from them the message that we need to enjoy our time while we’re here, because it is finite.
Btw, this is the poet who wrote “They F**k You Up Your Mum and Dad”. If you haven’t read it, you’re in for a treat.
Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell
This is the first book I read by Lisa Jewell, and it remains my favourite of hers. It has plenty of twists and turns as all good mysteries should, and keeps you guessing right until the end.
It tells the story of Laurel, mother to missing girl Ellie. Her daughter’s body turns up ten years after she disappeared. Laurel befriends Floyd, whose daughter looks very much like Ellie. As Laurel and Floyd get closer, she notices that all may not be as it seems. I can’t tell you any more as I don’t want to spoil it for you!
Over to you
What are your favourite books? Don’t think about it, just answer immediately in the comments below!
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