5 Best Non-Fiction

If 2020 has given us anything, it’s time to think, relax and spend more time at home. However, in saying that, this year has caused many to fall into a readers slump. Below is a selection of our non-fiction books that we hope will get your buzz back. You’ll find ones that make you laugh, cry, think and feel.

  • The Correct Order of Biscuits A book containing a series of hilarious, fascinating and brilliantly strange lists. Including “What is a platypus called in Mandarin?” and “What do they say instead of ‘Cheese’ when taking a photo in Bulgaria?! A great gift idea for any fact fans, or anyone who just needs a good laugh!
  • Tell me the Truth about Loss Niamh Fitzpatrick brings the reader on a psychologists journey through loss, grief and trauma. Raw and real, this book is a tonic to help people who are grieving to see a glimmer of hope for the future.
  • With Hope in Your Heart Heart-breaking, honest and hopeful. Martina Cox reflects on life before, and after, her husband’s vicious attack in Liverpool in 2018. A story of inner strength, determination and commitment.
  • Are You There, God? It’s Me, Ellen Ellen Coyne is exploring the question ” Is it possible to be young, progressive and Catholic?” An intelligent and thoughtful insight into a young Irish person’s relationship with the Catholic Church in the modern age.
  • Just Ignore Him Alan Davies’ autobiography. To most, this book will be a new insight to one of Britain’s best loved comedians and actors, but it’s so much more than that. It goes through his childhood, and tells the effect of his past on who he is today. Sad, funny, heart-breaking and inspiring. This book will stay with you.

5 Best Cookery

If lockdown taught us anything, it’s that we love a challenge. 2020 will be in our memories forever as the year we mastered sourdough and banana bread. If you’ve kept on the cooking bug, here is a list of our best selling cookbooks – with very few bananas in sight….

  • Bread Therapy This book combines mindfulness with baking. Ideal for those looking to slow down, and start enjoying themselves in the kitchen
  • The Part Time Vegetarian’s Year Vegetarianism for the seasons. Contains all vegetarian recipes, with adaptations for veganism, meat or seafood. Perfect if you want to try eat more plant based, whilst not losing any flavour.
  • The Pie Room Winter is well and truly here, and with it brings the need for comfort food. Pies, sausage rolls, tarts and pasties – this book has them all. Full of helpful hints and techniques for making your own pastry from scratch, it’s sure to become a family favourite.
  • Everyday Fresh Quick, healthy meals, without compromising on flavour. Includes recipes that can be frozen ahead of time, and then spruced up in minutes. Proof that healthy doesn’t have to mean boring, and quick can be nutritious!
  • The Artisan Kitchen This book gives a modern twist to traditional techniques. Including smoking, cheese-making, fermenting and perfecting kombucha. Embark on your new culinary journey now. . .

5 Best Fiction

  • The Other Bennet Sister  Witty and uplifting novel for lovers of Jane Austen. A new story in its own right, about Mary, the middle of the Bennet girls.
  • Such A Fun Age A brilliant read, that makes you think. Set in America, a story about race, privilege and female friendships.
  • The Giver of Stars    Heart warming, captivating book about the earliest library service in America and the women who brought books by horseback to remote homes
  • The Mercies Based on real events, a story about women and the way they relate to one another, about friendship, sisterhood and love.
  • Drive your Plow over the Bones of the Dead  A story which is philosophical, funny and easy to read. Quickly draws you into well narrated vivid scenes

5 Best Thrillers

The age old question : Book or Film?

For years, producers around the world have been turning loved stories into feature films, television series and even into stage plays. From a business perspective, it makes sense – they know they’re loved stories, so why wouldn’t they try to make familiar tales into something more visual.

From an avid readers perspective, it is always exciting to see what way they’re planning to bring the stories to life on the big screen. Having said that, it’s always a bit of a worry at the same time. Will they stay true to the story? Who will they cast as the lead?

If you would like to read the book – or enjoy the book with a little one – before watching the film, here is a list of books that came live on stage or screen.

KIDS

A list of books to films, wouldn’t be complete without a mention of the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling. The first Harry Potter book tells the story of a seemingly ordinary boy, who is told on his 11th birthday that he is a wizard. The seven books brings us through his 7 years of school, and the trials and tribulations of the wizarding world.

Paddington Bear is a family classic! Paddington is a bear from Darkest Peru who travels to London, and ends up living with the Brown family. He is a loveable little bear who gets himself into constant mischief while munching on marmalade sandwiches.

The Worst Witch was one of my absolute favourites when I was growing up. It’s about a young witch called Mildred, who is constantly getting into disasters and is considered well meaning, but terribly clumsy. It’s a brilliant series, and is set in Miss Cackle’s Academy for Witches. Each book is set over a term, and is all about mishaps, friendship and magic.

The Alex Rider series is about a teenage spy. In the first of the series “Stormbreaker”, Alex is Recruited by MI6 after his uncle’s death. He is given gadgets and gizmos to help him investigate a computer company, and stop a terrorist attack against thousands of school children! This series has been turned into both film in 2006, and a TV series in 2020.

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War Horse is a war novel by Michael Morpurgo, published in 1982. The story tells the experience of Joey, a horse bought by the army for service in World War 1 and the attempts of Albert, his previous owner to bring him home. It has been made into a feature length film directed by Steven Spielberg, and into a stage play which has been touring the world for the last number of years

TEENAGE

Noughts and Crosses is the start of a five book series by Malorie Blackman.

Set in an alternative 21st century Britain, it is speculative fiction about what if Native African people had colonised Europe instead of the other way around. Political unrest and race are two big themes in this story, along with love. A hugely thought provoking story, it was picked up by the BBC and broadcast in 2020.

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children is an unforgettable story that mixes photographs with fiction. A family tragedy brings sixteen-year-old Jacob to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the runes of this mysterious orphanage. A spine-tingling fantasy illustrated with haunting vintage photography, this book will appeal to adults, teens, and anyone who relishes an adventure in the shadows. The story was turned into a film in 2016, directed by Tim Burton.

What is the meaning to Life, The Universe and Everything?! The answer may surprise you.. The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy is a cult classic. Arthur Dent is having an ordinary Thursday, in his ordinary life in England, when his world is turned upside down and he ends up the last surviving human, exploring the universe with Ford Prefect – an alien who looks human. Originally a radio series in the 1970’s, it has since been made for both TV and film.

FICTION

Good Omens is a fantasy classic. Set in a small English village, it follows the story of an Angel and a Demon who must join forces to try to stop the apocalypse. Brilliantly funny story, written by two fantasy powerhouse authors – Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman. It was turned in a limited series by Amazon Prime last year, and has become a fan favourite.

The Great Gatsby is regarded as one of the greatest novels ever! The book tells the story of mysterious millionaire Jay Gatsby and his love and obsession to re-unite with his ex Daisy Buchanan. Set during the roaring 1920’s, it explores decadence, social upheaval and idealism. Originally published in 1925, it has been reprinted many times, and has been turned into Hollywood and TV films and into stage plays.

Animal Farm is an older story, but a classic. It is a story about a group of animals rebel against their farmer, in the hopes of creating a place where animals are equal, free and happy. Written during World War II, Orwell had hoped for the story to represent real life events. Animal Farm is of Orwell’s best known novels, and one of the top rated novels in the world. The story has been adapted for film, radio and stage through the years.

The Miniaturist is Jessie Burton’s debut novel. Set in Amsterdam in the late 1600’s, it tells the story of a young woman who moves from the country to become the wife of a wealthy trader. Upon getting a gift of a dolls house resembling her own, she starts receiving lifelike dolls and furnishings from a mysterious miniaturist – which seem to be eerily accurate and predict the future.. It was shown on BBC1 over Christmas 2017.

I could keep going forever on books that have been adapted, the above are definitely some of my favourites. So now, my question to you is : What book or series would you like to see on the big screen? Let us know in the comments!