Are you looking for your next great read? Why not try out the books from across the pond? Despite from what governments say, books are essential and are needed now, more than ever. So if you are need of a variety and want to read diverse stories, then I suggest you try out some British and Irish titles!
We may have left 2020 behind, but the pain and struggles of last year are still being faced, especially independent bookstores. Continue to support indie bookstores by shopping on Bookshop.org and Hive.co.uk.
You can buy these titles from BookDepository.com, a subsidiary of Amazon. They provide free international delivery, although this is being affected right now due to the pandemic. You can also try with the British bookstore, Blackwell’s, also with Wordery.com. Now on with the recommendations!
Featured Book of the Month:
The Lion Above The Door by Onjali Q. Raúf
Leo and his best friend Sangeetha are the odd ones out in their school. In fact, they seem to be the odd ones out no matter where they go in their small town. But as Leo’s dad is always telling him, it’s only because he’s extra-special, and Sangeetha is extra-extra-special. Only thing is, if they’re so special, how come Leo never sees anyone who likes him in the history books he loves to read?
But on a special class trip to a nearby cathedral one day, Leo’s attention is drawn to a large marble slab high above the doors of the hall, featuring a short list of names. Because right there, bang in the middle of the list, Leo finds himself staring at his own name…
Hungry to understand how a name like his could feature on a slab commemorating fallen war heroes, Leo and Sangeetha begin a search, and in doing so, uncover a missing story which changed the course of history, one which needs to be put right back into its missing pages. (Credit: Hachette Children’s Group )
Empress & Aniya by Candice Carty-Williams
When Empress starts at Aniya’s school, they’re not exactly best friends. But, when the two teenage girls accidentally cast a spell on their 16th birthday and end up switching bodies, they quickly learn that friendship is the most important magic of all. South London’s answer to ‘Freaky Friday’, Empress and Aniya is a moving portrayal of the importance of real friendship and the ups and downs of being a teenager. (Credit: Knights of Media)
Hidden Hands: The Lives of Manuscripts and Their Makers by Mary Wellesley
Manuscripts teem with life. They are not only the stuff of history and literature, but they offer some of the only tangible evidence we have of entire lives, long receded.
Hidden Hands tells the stories of the artisans, artists, scribes and readers, patrons and collectors who made and kept the beautiful, fragile objects that have survived the ravages of fire, water and deliberate destruction to form a picture of both English culture and the wider European culture of which it is part.
Without manuscripts, she shows, many historical figures would be lost to us, as well as those of lower social status, women and people of colour, their stories erased, and the remnants of their labours destroyed.
From the Cuthbert Bible, to works including those by the Beowulf poet, Margery Kempe, Julian of Norwich, Sir Thomas Malory, Chaucer, the Paston Letters and Shakespeare, Mary Wellesley describes the production and preservation of these priceless objects. With an insistent emphasis on the early role of women as authors and artists and illustrated with over fifty colour plates, Hidden Hands is an important contribution to our understanding of literature and history. (Credit: Quercus Publishing)
Dead Relatives by Lucie McKnight Hardy
Iris has never left the big house in the country she shares with Mammy and the servants. When The Ladies arrive, she finds that she must appease her dead relatives. Other stories in this collection explore themes of motherhood and the fragile body, family dynamics and small town tensions, unusual traditions and metamorphosis.
Dead Relatives and Other Stories is the highly anticipated, no-holds-barred short story collection from Lucie McKnight Hardy, and readers can expect more of the suspense and trepidation evident in her debut novel, Water Shall Refuse Them. Not for the faint-hearted, Dead Relatives invites you behind closed doors, and will leave you wondering if it’s better that they’re kept shut and firmly locked. (Credit: Cinder House)
Starry Night, Blurry Dreams by Henn Kim
who are you when you’re alone
Starry Night, Blurry Dreams is a collection of graphic poetry about loneliness, love and existing in our world.
you are not weak just because your heart feels so heavy
When words aren’t enough to describe our emotions, this book will offer comfort, joy and a friend in the dark.
we all have our own beautiful universe (Credit: Bloomsbury Publishing)
A Woman Made of Snow by Elisabeth Gifford
Scotland, 1949: Caroline Gillan and her new husband Alasdair have moved back to Kelly Castle, his dilapidated family estate in the middle of nowhere. Stuck caring for their tiny baby, and trying to find her way with an opinionated mother-in-law, Caroline feels adrift, alone and unwelcome.
But when she is tasked with sorting out the family archives, Caroline discovers a century-old mystery that sparks her back to life. There is one Gillan bride who is completely unknown – no photos exist, no records have been kept – the only thing that is certain is that she had a legitimate child. Alasdair’s grandmother.
As Caroline uncovers a strange story that stretches as far as the Arctic circle, her desire to find the truth turns obsessive. And when a body is found in the grounds of the castle, her hunt becomes more than just a case of curiosity. What happened all those years ago? Who was the bride? And who is the body…? (Credit: Atlantic Books)
Manifesto by Bernardine Evaristo
The powerful, urgent manifesto on never giving up from Booker prize-winning trailblazer, Bernardine Evaristo
Bernardine Evaristo’s 2019 Booker win – the first by a Black woman – was a revolutionary moment both for British culture and for her. After three decades as a trailblazing writer, teacher and activist, she moved from the margins to centre stage, taking her place in the spotlight at last. Her journey was a long one, but she made it, and she made history.
Manifesto is Bernardine Evaristo’s intimate and inspirational, no-holds-barred account of how she did it, refusing to let any barriers stand in her way. She charts her creative rebellion against the mainstream and her life-long commitment to the imaginative exploration of ‘untold’ stories. And drawing deeply on her own experiences, she offers a vital contribution to current conversations around social issues such as race, class, feminism, sexuality and aging.
This is a unique book about staying true to yourself and to your vision. It’s about how to be unstoppable – in your craft, your work, your life. It is Bernardine Evaristo’s manifesto for never giving up. (Credit: Penguin Books UK)
The Shadows of Rookhaven by Padraig Kenny
Shadows are gathering over Rookhaven.
It is the time of The Great Configuration, a once in a hundred years event. Family and monsters descend on Rookhaven from all over the country to take part. But amid the guests there is an interloper. One who is disguised and has an eye on their destruction.
Meanwhile Mirabelle – part human, part monster – discovers that to those from outside Rookhaven she is not considered family at all… and, forced to search further afield for knowledge of her true history, she risks everything – and everyone. (Credit: Pan Macmillan)
O Caledonia by Elspeth Barker
Janet lies murdered beneath the castle stairs, oddly attired in her mother’s black lace wedding dress, lamented only by her pet jackdaw…
In this, her first novel, Elspeth Barker evokes the unrelenting chill of Calvinism and the Scottish climate; it’s a world of isolation and loneliness, where Barker’s young protagonist turns to increasingly to literature, nature, and her risque Aunt Lila, who offer brief flashes of respite in an otherwise dank and foreboding life.
People, birds and beasts move in a gleeful danse macabre through the lowering landscape in a tale that is as rich and atmospheric as it is witty and mordant. The family motto – Moriens sed Invictus (Dying but Unconquered) – is a fitting epitaph for wild, courageous Janet, and her determination to remain steadfastly herself even as events overtake her. (Credit: Orion Publishing Co)
Keisha the Sket by Jade LB
Expected Publication Date: October 14
Where were you when Keisha the Sket first broke the internet?
Keisha is a girl from the ends, sharp, feisty and ambitious; she’s been labelled ‘top sket’ but she’s making it work. When childhood crush and long-time admirer, Ricardo, finally wins her over, Keisha has it all: power, a love life and the chance for stability. But trauma comes knocking and with it a whirlwind of choices that will define what kind of a woman she truly wants to be.
Told with the heart and soul of the inner city, with an unforgettable heroine, KEISHA THE SKET is a revelation of the true, raw, arousing and tender core of British youth culture.
Stay Another Day by Juno Dawson
Expected Publication Date: October 14
When three very different siblings, Fern, Rowan and Willow, go home for a Christmas reunion at their family home in Edinburgh, it’s not long before some very big secrets threaten their cosy holiday …
The McAllister house on Arboretum Road has seen 120 Christmases since its completion. This year, Fern is bringing her gorgeous boyfriend home and she wants everything to be perfect. But her twin brother Rowan would rather go on the pull than pull crackers with the family. And their younger sister Willow is terrified of Christmas Day.
With four sleeps till Christmas,
Three secretive siblings,
Two hot houseguests,
And one juicy secret …
This Christmas, there will be some big surprises under the tree.
Sometimes at Christmas, you don’t get what you want, you get what you need… (Credit: Hachette Children’s Group )
Medusa: The Girl Behind The Myth by Jessie Burton and illustrated by Olivia Lomenech Gill
Expected Publication Date: October 28
Exiled to a far-flung island by the whims of the gods, Medusa has little company except the snakes that adorn her head instead of hair. But when a charmed, beautiful boy called Perseus arrives on the island, her lonely existence is disrupted with the force of a supernova, unleashing desire, love and betrayal…
Filled with glorious full-colour illustrations by award-winning Olivia Lomenech Gill, this astonishing retelling of Greek myth is perfect for readers of Circe and The Silence of the Girls. Illuminating the girl behind the legend, it brings alive Medusa for a new generation. (Credit: Bloomsbury Publishing)