LBF Book Club – Your Book Recommendations

LBF Book Club – Your Book Recommendations

The LBF book club was not only designed to bring together our team here at The London Book Fair but also to connect us with our wider online community. Last week we reached out to our fellow bibliophiles to find out what they’ve been reading while in lockdown. Thank you to all who suggested a title or two. If you’re wondering what to read next, check out what your fellow bookworms recommend.

Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell

I wanted to share my book recommendation with those who find reading particularly soothing during this weird time. The book I would like to recommend is Maggie O’Farrell’s Hamnet. I have personally always avoided the topic of child death, especially since becoming a mother myself, and yet, this book intrigued me. Namely, with its factual links (or as factual as anything to do with Shakespeare’s personal life can be!), and I am so glad I decided to come out of my comfort zone. This is such a tender, sensitive and beautifully told story, mostly from a mother’s point of view.

Contrary to what a reader might expect, there is also lightness in the book, even some humour (I absolutely loved the originality of the scene in the apple storage room!), and an enormous amount of research which I always admire in a writer. But above all, the ability of the author to portray something as traumatic and life-changing as the death of a child in such a sensitive way made me fall in love with this book. It will be one of those stories I will remember for a very long time and I hope other readers will do too!

Find it here.

Recommended by Audrone K.

Hamnet also happens to be Hay Festival’s Book of the Month – June 2020

Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo

I’ll be honest, I haven’t yet read this book but it is on my list of books to read. Shortlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction 2020 and Joint Winner of the Booker Prize 2019, Bernardine Evaristo’s is not only an author everyone is talking about, her book is one that you need to read. Following the lives of twelve characters, most of them black British women, the novel guides us through their personal journeys across miles and over the years. This book raises important questions on feminism and race and is a dynamic novel that is teeming with life.

Find it here.

Recommended by Jennie M.

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

An engaging, entertaining and insightful book with themes of family, loss, survival, love and more, this book was one I enjoyed thoroughly. The setting is the marshes of North Carolina, unusual in itself. The central protagonist, Marsh Girl, lives alone from childhood, communing with nature in a most inspiring and charming way. A parallel storyline running alongside is about a murder in the marsh, and the two intertwine beautifully.

Find it here.

Recommended by Orna O.

The Art of Resilience by Ross Edgley

The book is all about teaching yourself to master physical and mental fortitude. I’ve been looking forward to this originally to help me better understand and progress my training in the gym, however, I’m also finding that the mental fortitude in these times and in general is possibly becoming more important to me, but equally will also help with the physical side of things. Ross is well known for pushing the limits and is famously the only person in history to have swum around Great Britain (1,780 Miles).

Find it here.

Recommendation from Chris B.

An American Marriage by Tayari Jones

I’m currently reading An American Marriage by Tayari Jones (winner of 2019 Women’s Prize for Fiction) which has been on my to read list for a while. The story is of newly married couple, Celestial and Roy, whose lives are thrown into turmoil when Roy is convicted of a crime he did not commit. Narrated by three central characters you get a vision into their distinct worlds and learn what connects them and what comes between them.

I’m a third of the way through and finding it an incredibly powerful novel.

Find it here.

Recommended by Amy W.

Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young

Sky in the Deep is told from Eelyn’s point of view; a seventeen-year-old warrior with two fighting seasons under her belt. She’s hard, passionate, and fiercely loyal to her clan. When she discovers her brother is still alive and living with their rival clan, Eelyn’s world is broken apart.

She is taken as a prisoner; her brother’s new family try to keep her safe until their entire village is attacked. Everything shifts and Eelyn must learn to trust the enemy.

Underneath the violence, fear, and fast-paced action it’s a beautiful coming-of-age story. I love Eelyn; she’s a fierce soul with a caring heart. Young’s story development is terrific, and she paints a gripping picture as you follow this young warrior’s painful journey through this stunning setting, easily visualising the fjord and the mountain village.

I didn’t want this book to end as I loved being a part of Eelyn’s world. Would highly recommend Sky in the Deep if you’re looking for a vivid debut that stays with you long after you finish reading.

Find it here.

Recommended by Shelley W.

The Switch by Beth O’Leary

Following the success of last year’s book, The Flatshare, Beth O’Leary has once again written a wholesome easy-read with characters you can root for. In the time of coronavirus, it was rather nice to live vicariously through two people who can not only leave their house but travel to a completely different part of the UK!

Find it here.

Recommended by Amy W.

Love Pour Over Me by Denise Turney

I recommend Love Pour Over Me because it motivates and inspires as it tells the complicated story of a father dealing with untreated alcoholism (who’s also a single parent) and the father’s two-year-old son.

Find it here.

Recommended by Denise T.

Girls are Best by Sandi Toksvig

This is a childhood favourite of mine. This fun-filled fact book is about forgotten historical female figures and how they’ve impacted society. Dispelling myths about the differences between men and women, this book allowed me to realise as a child that women were capable of changing the world.

Find it here.

Recommended by Ellie F.

Atomic Habits by James Clear

I highly recommend Atomic Habits by James Clear. It’s all about the practical knowledge of habits. Our habits are derived from our identity and it decides our destination. So in order to improve or to embody the person we want to be we have to get 1 per cent better every day, and when compiled overtime it will yield a greater result.

Find it here.

Recommended by Anjali L.

Diversify by June Sarpong

“The old way isn’t working. This is a case for change.”

Published in 2017, Diversify by June Sarpong has never felt more relevant.

Supported by research from Nuffield College Oxford University, Sarpong, through six stories and six simple steps, places the spotlight on marginalised groups in society.

The reader is encouraged to learn from these truths and empowered to challenge the status quo and ‘diversify’.

Find it here.

Recommended by Helen C.

Home Cooking Made Easy by Lorraine Pascale

This brilliant recipe book is full of easy recipes that even I can do! In today’s lockdown world, it seems that so many of us are having another look at our cookbooks and giving new recipes a try. With 100 recipes this book is brilliant for just that. I recently tried making a roulade from this book, something I shamefully admit I’ve never tried doing by myself before, and it WORKED! The recipe was so easy to follow and it was delicious to eat and share with the family. I honestly don’t know what to try next!

Find it here.

Recommended by Ellie F.

Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself by Dr Joe Dispenza

Dr Joe Dispenza talks about quantum physics and how we can change our subconscious mind and tap into our power to change our destiny.

Find it here.

Recommended by Anjali L.

Why recommend only one?

Lockdown continues but this does not mean our imaginations cannot travel. During quarantine I’ve been moved by Ocean Vuong’s poetic On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous and Zeba Talkhani’s debut memoir My Past is a Foreign Country. While I really miss the experience of browsing in a physical bookshop, it has been heartening to see independent retailers continue to deliver to homes. My current order list includes rousing nonfiction from Audre Lorde, Your Silence Will Not Protect You, and Reni Eddo-Lodge, Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race. I cannot wait for the new poetry collection from Ellen van Neerven, Throat, to cross the seas and slide through my letterbox. Now is the time to stockpile books!

Recommendations from Emily L.

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