Did you know that the first recorded reading groups were among women working in factories in the nineteenth century? And now, according to research undertaken a few years ago, there are tens of thousands of groups meeting regularly in the UK reading everything from literary classics to technical manuals! Of course, if you are in a book group, choosing what to read next can be a serious matter as not every book has subject matter that can really be discussed. So to help you LoveReading has decided to lend a hand by, each month, selecting a number of books we feel are perfect and will give your group a rewarding discussion as well as a rewarding read.
The life of Zoli Novotna begins on the leafy backroads of Slovakia, when she and her grandfather come upon a quiet lake where their family has been drowned by Fascist guards. Zoli and her grandfather flee to join up with another clan of travelling harpists. So begins an epic tale of song, intimacy and betrayal. Based loosely on the true story of the Gypsy poet Papusza, and set against the backdrop of the Second World War, Zoli is a love story, a tale of loss, and a parable of modern-day Europe.
January 2012 Non-Fiction Book of the Month. The compelling, dynamic, unfussy history of the first 35 years of Henry VIII, a magnificent and ruthless monarch. Readable and very accessible this was a huge success it when it came out in hardback so it’s great it can be enjoyed by a much wider audience in paperback. It is also a great companion to Robert Hutchinson’s earlier book The Last Days of Henry VIII.
A compelling and at times heart-breaking contemporary teen drama from debut author Helen Brandom. Tackling topical subjects it is subtle, insightful and utterly absorbing read. It's the story of Amy - she has two choices. Does she tell the truth about the abandoned baby, or keep quiet and live a lie, forever? It's a novel that is sure to get teens thinking and talking so perfect for teen/YA reading groups too.
Zulaikha hopes for peace, now that the Taliban have been driven from Afghanistan; a good relationship with her stepmother; and one day even to go to school, or to have her cleft palate fixed. Zulaikha knows all will be provided for her - "e;Inshallah,"e; God willing. (Runtime 8 hours, 28 min)
Winner of the 'Best of the Best' children's category at the Independent Bookshop Week Awards 2016. Frank, powerful, warm and often heart-breaking, Wonder is a book you'll read in one sitting, pass on to others, and remember long after the final page. This is a wonderful debut from a storyteller with a great future if this book is anything to go by and her characters are intensely likeable.
Winner of the HWA Goldsboro Debut Crown Award Longlist 2016. One of our Books of the Year 2015. November 2015 Debut of the Month. The most impressive thing about this extraordinary book is its atmosphere. You can feel the cold and the desperation of the people trying to live through the ‘wolf winter’, a term used to describe the coldest of winters. We follow a family of new settlers. This is Swedish Lapland in 1717 where the church has a grip on the community but the Lapps still believe in the ancient spirits. When a body is found folk are quick to blame a bear for his death but the new settlers see signs of a knife wound, not a claw. This is very special, a ghostly feel of menace lies just beneath the surface in a long, complicated and gripping tale. Awesome. ~ Sarah Broadhurst HWA Chair judge Andrew Taylor said: "The judges were unanimously impressed by Wolf Winter. Not only is it astonishingly accomplished for a first novel, but it plunges the reader into Swedish Lapland 300 years ago and plays havoc with your emotions. Dark, powerful and beautifully written, it's a worthy winner of the HWA Goldsboro Debut Crown.
Winner of the Man Booker Prize Shortlisted for the the Orange Prize Shortlisted for the Costa Novel Award `Dizzyingly, dazzlingly good' Daily Mail 'Our most brilliant English writer' Guardian England, the 1520s. Henry VIII is on the throne, but has no heir. Cardinal Wolsey is his chief advisor, charged with securing the divorce the pope refuses to grant. Into this atmosphere of distrust and need comes Thomas Cromwell, first as Wolsey's clerk, and later his successor. Cromwell is a wholly original man: the son of a brutal blacksmith, a political genius, a briber, a charmer, a bully, a man with a delicate and deadly expertise in manipulating people and events. Ruthless in pursuit of his own interests, he is as ambitious in his wider politics as he is for himself. His reforming agenda is carried out in the grip of a self-interested parliament and a king who fluctuates between romantic passions and murderous rages. From one of our finest living writers, Wolf Hall is that very rare thing: a truly great English novel, one that explores the intersection of individual psychology and wider politics. With a vast array of characters, and richly overflowing with incident, it peels back history to show us Tudor England as a half-made society, moulding itself with great passion and suffering and courage.
This emotionally intelligent and perceptive novel is hand-on-heart gorgeous. Diana finds herself alone in the Galapagos during the early months of the pandemic while her surgeon boyfriend is back in New York. This is Jodi Picoult at her best, what seems like a simple tale is full of richly beautiful and provocative imaginings. The natural world, our world, sings with celebration. The torment of the pandemic echoes with heartbreak. Relationships, love, awareness of self, the focus is intimate and penetrating and yet feels immense and inclusive to all. I experienced a meaningful connection with the characters and plot, as though I was a part of this story somewhere in the world. And though I had that awareness, the author has the magical ability to open your thoughts and then send them in an entirely unexpected and breathtaking direction. I absolutely adored this book and felt as though it had been written just for me, and yet also for everyone. It connects us all in a time of uncertainty and fear. In a welcoming arms-open-wide hug, the Author’s Note from March 2021 explains her writing story during Covid-19. Charting the raw immeasurable pain of the pandemic, and yet also administering hope and love, Wish You Were Here sits as a LoveReading Star Book and Liz Pick of the Month.
With life feeling empty and without direction after her mother’s death and family breakup, Cheryl Strayed set off on an epic 1,100 mile journey down the West coast of America hoping to heal the hurt and find a new direction in life. The film version starring Reece Witherspoon about to be released, the book of Cheryl Strayed’s epic journey has been reissued in this new paperback edition.Like for Like ReadingTracks: Robyn Davidson Just a Little Run Roud the World, Rosie Swale Pope The film version of Wild is released in UK cinemas on Friday 16 January 2015. Click below to view the trailer.
One of our Books of the Year 2013. Winner of The Melissa Nathan Award For Comedy Fiction About Life and Love 2013. I don’t like books written in emails, journals, notes etc and had not realised this was, just as I hadn’t realised Salmon Fishing in the Yemen was! This has the same feel, same contagious look, same wacky scenario (well not quite), same relentless pull. From page one I was smitten, my dislike for emails forgotten. It is the mother/daughter relationship which is so brilliant, that and the character of Bernadette – a prize-winning architect who doesn’t realise that what she needs in life is a new project. Clever, witty and hugely satisfying. July 2013 Debut of the Month. Shortlisted for the Women's Prize for Fiction 2013. The Lovereading view... The Curious Incident meets A Visit from the Goon Squad meets The Simpsons - this is a wildly imaginative, laugh-out-loud but also very poignant novel that will generate huge word-of-mouth buzz... A "Piece of Passion" from the Arzu Tahsin, Deputy Publishing Director, Weidenfeld and Nicolson Fiction... 'It’s the sort of novel that you can’t wait to finish and then feel bereft when you have. It is also an extremely satisfying novel to give to friends and family while you can guarantee they’ll love it too. I don’t think I’ve read anything as irresistibly funny or deeply poignant for a very long time. Bernadette is a wonderful character and there is something of her in us all which is why I found her so compelling. She puts her family under a lot of pressure, but there is something about Bernadette that keeps them on her side. She is a delightful conundrum, and her daughter Bee adores her unconditionally. So, when Bernadette disappears and her husband appears to have reached the limits of his compassion, it is left to Bee to try and find her. And then the novel plunges into a journey to the wild seas and devastating chills of Antarctica. But redemption is a very distant location and almost a hard to navigate as Antarctica itself. I can promise that it is almost impossible to put this book down.'
Crossing genres in style, this just has to be one of my favourite novels of the year. Set in the marshlands of North Carolina, the majority of this story takes place in the 1950’s and 60’s. The prologue begins in 1969 with the body of Chase Andrews being found in the marsh. The first paragraph of the prologue introduces surprising beauty, the marsh simply sings, it settled into my mind and became a part of me. The central character is Kya, we meet her as a child, and the truth of her life is immediately apparent. As the novel moves backwards and forwards in time, Kya emerges as the Marsh Girl, and suspicion begins to hound her after the body is found. Author Delia Owens is a wildlife scientist who has worked in Africa and written non-fiction, this is her debut novel. Descriptions entered my mind in wafting movement, I fell in love with the marsh and the girl who lived there. Where the Crawdads Sing is truly touching, almost hauntingly beautiful, and opens a doorway to a different world. It has been chosen as a LoveReading Star Book and a Liz Robinson Pick of the Month.
Prepare for your heart to break… this is a powerful, evocative tale of life during the Nazi occupation of Jersey in the 1940’s. The first page made me flinch, yet I couldn't, didn't want to stop reading. Ten year old Claudine, herbalist Edith, fisherman Maurice, and Dr Carter see very different sides of the occupation, using such different characters stops it from being a sweeping historical tale, instead it’s personal, intimate, penetrating. Caroline Lea’s pen gives you a massive shove as you read, and doesn't apologise for it as your stomach goes into free fall. ‘When the Sky Fell Apart’ is at times a truly uncomfortable read, yet it deserves to be read, not only for the blast of reality from the past, but also as a warning for the future. ~ Liz Robinson March 2017 Debut of the Month.