255 books directly related to the United Kingdom 📚

All 255 United Kingdom books as recommended by authors and experts. Updated weekly.

Book cover of The Harold Nicolson Diaries 1907-1964

The Harold Nicolson Diaries 1907-1964

By Nigel Nicolson

Why this book?

Like Colville, Nicolson is not very important in himself (a backbench MP for most of the time) but one who matters because he knows so many greater figures and because he writes with such honesty – particularly interesting when his predictions turn out to be wrong. If you get hooked, you can read the earlier edition, which is in three volumes.

From the list:

The best political diaries (United Kingdom)

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Book cover of Rural Rides

Rural Rides

By William Cobbett

Why this book?

Describing a series of journeys on horseback and by foot through south-east England and the Midlands during the 1820s, Rural Rides is one of the great travelogues. Cobbett was a man of many parts – journalist, soldier, farmer, politician, and social reformer. In Rural Rides he blends lyrical description with fist-shaking fury about the injustices he encountered. He writes so well that you feel that you are travelling through the countryside with him.

From the list:

The best books evoking the spirit of the British countryside

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Book cover of Australia

Australia

By W.K. Hancock

Why this book?

A classic written on the eve of the Great Depression on the political culture of the British settlers in the great south land, with its commitment to egalitarianism, to bureaucratic process, and to protection all round, with restricted immigration and protective tariffs building ring-fences around ordinary workers’ standard of living. Hancock does not wholly approve of the result, which he sees as encouraging mediocre conformity. Written with verve and a sardonic eye.

From the list:

The best politically engaged books about Australia

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Book cover of Sidetracked

Sidetracked

By Diana Harmon Asher

Why this book?

Although the main character in this warm and funny book is a boy, I include it in my list of favorite books about girls who love sports because the best athlete in this story of a middle-school cross country team is a girl. She’s the team member all the other kids depend on. The team member who pushes Joseph Friedman – a boy with attention challenges, innumerable phobias, and no athletic “gifts” – to keep trying. She just won’t let Joseph give up. I love the relationships between the teammates in this book. And I love the way Asher shows…

From the list:

The best middle-grade books about girls who love sports

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Book cover of 99 Red Balloons

99 Red Balloons

By Elisabeth Carpenter

Why this book?

A beautifully written, cleverly constructed dual-narrative story that follows the abduction of a child and the aftermath experienced by the family, interwoven with the story of a widow whose grandchild also went missing. It’s packed with family secrets and lies and I found it enjoyable trying to untangle it all! This book is emotive and suspenseful and the killer twist at the end is just brilliant.

From the list:

The best psychological thriller books with a jaw-dropping twist

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Book cover of The Worst Class in the World Gets Worse

The Worst Class in the World Gets Worse

By Joanna Nadin, Rikin Parekh

Why this book?

What all of Joanna Nadin’s books have in common is her ability to capture the voice of her characters so perfectly they feel truly alive. The children of class 4B have that loveable lunacy I remember from teaching kids this age. That authenticity is what has kids falling off their chairs with laughter, and what makes this such a great book to read aloud. You’ll find yourself repeating catchphrases later. Rikin Parekh’s illustrations add another layer of brilliance and perfectly capture the characters and their comedy antics. Literally hilarious!

“Dad says well at least I haven’t been arrested. Grandpa says…

From the list:

The best books by British authors to get kids laughing out loud

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Book cover of Living the RV Life: Your Ultimate Guide to Life on the Road

Living the RV Life: Your Ultimate Guide to Life on the Road

By Marc Bennett, Julie Bennett

Why this book?

In addition to sharing a ton of helpful insight into what RV life is like, this book is beautifully designed and full of colorful photos. It includes profiles of RVers, tips for starting RVing, and plenty of inspiration to hit the road. It’s a perfect coffee table book!

From the list:

The best books on living in a RV for a beginner

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Book cover of Harold Macmillan: Volume 2: 1957-1986

Harold Macmillan: Volume 2: 1957-1986

By Sir Alistair Horne

Why this book?

It is rare for anyone with real power to write an interesting diary. They do not have the time or the self-awareness. Harold Macmillan is the exception because his diaries are fantastic and those that he writes as prime minister are much better than those that he writes earlier in his career. He is such a lonely man (England’s most famous cuckold) and one senses that his diary is his only real confidant. He is also so extraordinarily aware of historical change. He is himself a considerable historian and one who reads very widely even when prime minister. There is…

From the list:

The best political diaries (United Kingdom)

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Book cover of How Women Rise: Break the 12 Habits Holding You Back from Your Next Raise, Promotion, or Job

How Women Rise: Break the 12 Habits Holding You Back from Your Next Raise, Promotion, or Job

By Sally Helgesen, Marshall Goldsmith

Why this book?

This book is another top pick of mine. Helgesen and Goldsmith provide advice for leaders who are ready to move forward, but are confused by what is holding them back. The book breaks down the 12 habits that hold women back (and some men) and prevents them from taking their careers to new heights. I love their direct no nonsense approach and pragmatic suggestions. A must read for women who are ready to break through and achieve greatness.

From the list:

The best books on maximizing your talent

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Book cover of Sport and the British: A Modern History

Sport and the British: A Modern History

By Richard Holt

Why this book?

Before Holt, the history of the British and their relationship with sport was just a muddy field with some green patches near the press box. Then Holt came along to drain the land, roll the turf, and set the boundaries. Most of all, he explained how modern sport was invented in the leafy streets of the suburban South and the wastes and alleyways of the industrial North. An absolute classic. First published in 1990, a new edition is on its way.

From the list:

The best books on sport history from someone who is mad for history

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Book cover of Up the Duff: The Real Guide to Pregnancy

Up the Duff: The Real Guide to Pregnancy

By Kaz Cooke

Why this book?

Every woman needs at least one practical book to read along with their pregnancy. There are several good options, but Up the Duff has the advantage of being highly entertaining and easy to read. It always made me giggle. It is a great book to have by the side of your bed all pregnancy through.

From the list:

The best books for new and expectant mothers

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Book cover of The Really Good Fun Cartoon Book of NLP: A Simple and Graphic(al) Explanation of the Life Toolbox That Is NLP

The Really Good Fun Cartoon Book of NLP: A Simple and Graphic(al) Explanation of the Life Toolbox That Is NLP

By Phillip Miller

Why this book?

NLP can be full of jargon and taken too seriously. Miller uses simple language with illustrative amusing cartoons to present the principles of NLP and how you can use NLP in your life. All of the basic material is covered and provides you with a good foundation for understanding and using NLP for yourself or to assist others.
From the list:

The best books on neuro-linguistic programming (NLP)

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Book cover of Yesterday I Cried: Celebrating the Lessons of Living and Loving

Yesterday I Cried: Celebrating the Lessons of Living and Loving

By Iyanla Vanzant

Why this book?

A powerful book where the author describes her journey from extreme hardship through hope and into renewal, wisdom and healing. This book will teach you that the pain of your past doesn’t have to be your reality today and how to rise above.
From the list:

The best books for reclaiming wellness

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Book cover of Brit(ish): On Race, Identity and Belonging

Brit(ish): On Race, Identity and Belonging

By Afua Hirsch

Why this book?

Afua’s father is from a Jewish refugee family, her mother is Ghanian. She grows up in an affluent middle-class suburb of London. As she explores her Black and Ghanian identity she looks at what it means to be British; the political heritage, race, and identity from the inside of a loving mix raced family. It is an important commentary on her experience of being in more than one place at the same time.
From the list:

The best contemporary memoirs by women

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Book cover of Crystal Is My Friend

Crystal Is My Friend

By Shirley Gordon, Edward Frascino

Why this book?

What are the compromises you make when your best friend sleeps over? As the host, must you let your friend decide everything you do? This is a realistic story about friendship. Kids will understand the feelings that Susan has as she reluctantly lets her friend, Crystal, call the shots. It’s a lively story with fun, loose illustrations by Edward Frascino.

From the list:

The best picture books about sleepovers

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Book cover of The Fun Factory: A Life In The BBC

The Fun Factory: A Life In The BBC

By Will Wyatt

Why this book?

Will is the Kosygin of the BBC. He survived many changes of regime ending up close to the Britain Himalayan summit as Managing Director Television. Along the way, he made some good programmes and developed some innovations like using a small presentation studio to make the likes of The Old Grey Whistle Test. Later, his documentary features department in Kensington House was huge and productive. Will may have been the ace BBC politician but he was and still is very charming. I know he accosted me in the Waitrose oxford car park many years after I had left…
From the list:

The best books on the BBC and why it is under threat

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Book cover of City Lights: A Street Life

City Lights: A Street Life

By Keith Waterhouse

Why this book?

Waterhouse was famous as a journalist, dramatist, and novelist. But this memoir of growing up in Leeds from the 1930s-50s brings the place and time completely alive. He didn’t have a privileged upbringing, by any means, and Waterhouse captures the day-to-day of poor areas and estates, and well as the magic of the city centre. The novel Billy Liar brought him fame, and while the location was unnamed, it was the Leeds he’d known, right down to the funeral home where he worked after leaving school. Waterhouse innately understood Leeds and its people, and they jump off the page –…

From the list:

The best books on Leeds as it was

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Book cover of The Complete Guide to Ghostwriting

The Complete Guide to Ghostwriting

By Teena Lyons

Why this book?

This book is a direct competitor to my own title, but Teena Lyons is a hugely experienced ghostwriter and I have to admit that she has done a very thorough job of explaining how the business works. She interviewed a number of other ghostwriters in the course of writing the book, (myself included). The result is highly readable and a useful introduction to the business.

From the list:

The best books about ghostwriting and ghostwriters

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Book cover of Big Maze Book

Big Maze Book

By Kirsten Robson

Why this book?

You can always rely on a children’s book published by Usborne, the Big Maze Book by Kirsten Robson is no exception. It offers 50 different mazes to solve, each charmingly illustrated. The mazes themselves are nice and varied, incorporating different settings, different subject matter, and slightly different visual treatments, which all helps to keep solvers interested. As a whole, this book would probably appeal more to younger children who still enjoy picture books. That being said, the mazes do get progressively harder through the book, so there is something there for the slightly older ones too.

From the list:

The best maze books for children

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Book cover of Titanic: Minute By Minute

Titanic: Minute By Minute

By Jonathan Mayo

Why this book?

I can’t tell you how many times I consulted Jonathan Mayo’s Titanic: Minute By Minute book, checking that the Titanic’s timeline fit in with what my characters were doing at any given time. It’s non-fiction, and it’s nail-bitingly intense. The book is written in present tense, giving you a sense of urgency as Mayo tells you where everyone is, and what is happening at varying parts of the ship at that exact moment. It helps ground you in reality: The truth was, many of Titanic’s crew and passengers didn’t know the ship was sinking. And many of those…

From the list:

The best Titanic books you need to read

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Book cover of Strangeworlds Travel Agency: Volume 1

Strangeworlds Travel Agency: Volume 1

By L.D. Lapinski

Why this book?

L.D. Lapinski’s incredible Strangeworlds series will definitely sweep you into another world – into as many other worlds as you can count! Step into your suitcase and go on a journey to somewhere beyond imagining with Lapinski’s amazing cast of characters. When Flick stumbles into a dusty old shop and meets a young man named Jonathan Mercator, it’s the beginning of a life-changing adventure – across the multiverse – for them both.

From the list:

The best middle grade books to sweep you into another world

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Book cover of Bad Panda

Bad Panda

By Swapna Haddow, Sheena Dempsey

Why this book?

I’ve been a huge fan of Swapna and Sheena’s since I first read Dave Pigeon, which is so good it’s now a set text on the Creative Writing degree I teach. These two are champions of slapstick, silliness, and subversive creatures with big hearts. And Bad Panda is, arguably, their greatest creation. She’s SO desperate to be bad, but she is scuppered at every turn by the fact that everything she does looks so ridiculously cute. The result is panda-monium (groan!)

“Are you sick of being utterly adorable?
Tired of being cuddled and hugged?
Fed up of having your…

From the list:

The best books by British authors to get kids laughing out loud

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Book cover of Behind the Scenes at the Museum

Behind the Scenes at the Museum

By Kate Atkinson

Why this book?

My copy of this book is battered, dog-eared, and creased from the sheer number of times I’ve read and re-read it. It’s an absolutely glorious family saga, recounted by Ruby who narrates her own conception in the first chapter and takes us back through generations weaving together all the different stories that lead up to the events of her own life. It’s brilliantly funny and heartbreaking and it skewers the oddities and dysfunction of family relationships so perfectly. Characters wrestle with their grief, they deny it and suppress it and it rears up to overwhelm them but ultimately they find…

From the list:

The best books about grief and complicated family dynamics

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Book cover of Mrs. Palfrey at the Claremont

Mrs. Palfrey at the Claremont

By Elizabeth Taylor

Why this book?

Elizabeth Taylor—not to be confused with the actress of the same name—has been called ‘the unsung heroine of British twentieth-century fiction.’ I wholeheartedly agree, and Mrs. Palfrey at the Claremont is Taylor at her sublime best. It’s the tale of an elderly woman, wealthy but recently widowed, who’s faced with a choice: "Do I spend my last days in a care home—or check into a grand hotel?" She opts for the latter and finds herself among a group of fascinating characters, each as eccentric as she herself. 

Insightful about the sadness and loneliness of ageing, this book did not…

From the list:

The best novels on overcoming fear and embracing change

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Book cover of The Lesbian Detective Novel: an annotated bibliography

The Lesbian Detective Novel: an annotated bibliography

By Megan Casey

Why this book?

When I was writing my first mystery series, I knew very little about the history of the lesbian detective novel. Because I wanted to work within the genre’s boundaries, I spent almost as much time researching it as writing. With the 2022 publication of The Lesbian Detective Novel, Megan Casey has made this task way easier for future lesbian mystery authors. She lists over 1,000 titles along with their creators and adds a few pertinent notes about each book or series. When you finish my first four picks and are looking for other lesbian mysteries to enjoy, this is…
From the list:

The best mystery novels featuring lesbian detectives

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Book cover of A Day in the Life of a Smiling Woman: Complete Short Stories

A Day in the Life of a Smiling Woman: Complete Short Stories

By Margaret Drabble

Why this book?

The one and only collection by this great novelist [and the sister of A.S. Byatt] is one of my most favorite. These short tales explore all sorts of relationships, not only marriage and friendship, but our relationships with personal identity, politics, and the culture which defines us. The writing is absolutely divine – images pop from the page and characters stay with us as if we’ve actually known them. And between the lines there is a lot of philosophical musing, which I love – just enough to make us think but never wear us down. These stories are for women…

From the list:

The best short stories for smart women

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Book cover of The Alan Clark Diaries: In Power 1983-1992

The Alan Clark Diaries: In Power 1983-1992

By Alan Clark

Why this book?

Clark was a nasty man – not a lovable rogue but a real bastard with Nazi sympathies and a taste for young girls. The first volume of his diaries, however, are brilliant because they are so extraordinarily uninhibited. He reveals everything about himself including his own fraudulence.

From the list:

The best political diaries (United Kingdom)

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Book cover of Night Bombing

Night Bombing

By Hector Hawton

Why this book?

My favourite reference book is another wartime publication, the little-known Night Bombing by Hector Hawton (who also wrote The Men who Fly). First published in 1944, the tiny volume looks at the history and principles of air bombing, including the technical aspects, and goes on to explore methods of attack, targets, and the effectiveness of enemy defences including the ballistic characteristics of various flak guns. It feels and reads like a contemporary handbook for bomber captains, and the fact that my copy still bears the signature of the original owner, a Flight Lieutenant with the DFC, probably tells you…

From the list:

The best books on British Bomber Command in World War 2

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Book cover of The Last Mughal: The Fall of a Dynasty: Delhi, 1857

The Last Mughal: The Fall of a Dynasty: Delhi, 1857

By William Dalrymple

Why this book?

Mixing deep archival scholarship with brilliant storytelling, Dalrymple transports the reader into the final days of the Mughal Empire and its last emperor. The story centers on Delhi during the mutiny against British rule in 1857, the last great attempt by the Indians to throw off their European overlords until Gandhi. What begins with hope ultimately ends in tragedy, for the Mughal poet-ruler who fails to grasp his chance to change history, and the brilliant civilization his empire had fostered.

From the list:

The best Asian history books for a Sunday afternoon

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Book cover of The Official Bewitched Cookbook: Magic in the Kitchen

The Official Bewitched Cookbook: Magic in the Kitchen

By Kasey Rogers, Mark Wood

Why this book?

I love this cookbook because it is a collectible and a treasure. Kasey Rogers was Louise Tate, the boss's wife from the television show, Bewitched. I was fortunate to have coordinated a book signing at Barnes and Noble in 2005 with Kasey. I got to hear firsthand knowledge of her memories of being on the set of Bewitched. She actually was able to participate in a lot of cast parties and be invited to the star of the show’s home, so the recipes are authentic. Everyone knows that "Samantha Stephens" didn't have to lift a finger in the kitchen... Now,…

From the list:

The best cookbooks for kids and parents

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Book cover of Mud, Blood and Poppycock: Britain and the Great War

Mud, Blood and Poppycock: Britain and the Great War

By Gordon Corrigan

Why this book?

The shout line on the jacket is “This will overturn everything you thought you knew about…The First World War”, and it certainly delivers. No other conflict has been so misrepresented, and for most people, their idea of it comes straight from Blackadder Goes Forth. But men did not spend months at a time in the trenches; a whole generation did not die; the generals were not cowardly, incompetent fools.

When I first began to write about WW1 for my Morland Dynasty series, I knew as little as anyone, and what I thought I knew was all wrong! By the time…

From the list:

The most readable books on World War 1

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Book cover of Martha Stewart's Cookie Perfection: 100+ Recipes to Take Your Sweet Treats to the Next Level

Martha Stewart's Cookie Perfection: 100+ Recipes to Take Your Sweet Treats to the Next Level

By Martha Stewart Living Magazine

Why this book?

Martha Stewart's recipes always work. I always have success with them! I recommend getting your kitchen decorated as you try recipes from each of these chapters: All Dressed Up, Classics with a Twist, Some Assembly Required, Giant Cookies, Tools of the Trade, Cookies by Any Other Name, Celebration Cookies.

From the list:

The best books for people who love baking cookies

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Book cover of Guilty Men

Guilty Men

By Cato

Why this book?

This is really a pamphlet rather than a book and can be read in less than an hour. But, as a denunciation of Appeasement, it’s foundational to Britain’s understanding of its history. Written anonymously by three journalists, including future Labour leader Michael Foot, it’s both brutal and wildly unfair. As all polemics should be.

From the list:

The best books on sidelights on British politics

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Book cover of Hugh Dalton: A Life

Hugh Dalton: A Life

By Ben Pimlott

Why this book?

This is a remarkable book which took an overlooked figure and showed how he was central to the story of Labour politics for across several decades. Dalton was most famous as the Chancellor who resigned after accidentally leaking details of his Budget in 1947, but he was also an important thinker who helped keep his party on a moderate track during its crisis period in the 1930s. As the editor of Dalton’s diaries Pimlott was well placed to tell the tale, which reveals Dalton as an unhappy and even tragic figure. It’s a mark of the book’s success that nobody…

From the list:

The best books on sidelights on British politics

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Book cover of Live from Number Ten: The Inside Story of Prime Ministers and Television

Live from Number Ten: The Inside Story of Prime Ministers and Television

By Michael Cockerell

Why this book?

This is the book that really turned me on to political history – though I suppose I must have been interested already, or my parents wouldn’t have bought it for me for my fourteenth birthday! It’s a fairly light read, but it’s a great way of learning the outlines of what happened in British politics in the thirty-odd years after 1945. When it was published it still seemed as though Margaret Thatcher would be Prime Minister forever …

From the list:

The best books on sidelights on British politics

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Book cover of Don't Sweat the Small Stuff . . . and It's All Small Stuff: Simple Ways to Keep the Little Things from Taking Over Your Life

Don't Sweat the Small Stuff . . . and It's All Small Stuff: Simple Ways to Keep the Little Things from Taking Over Your Life

By Richard Carlson

Why this book?

A wonderful little book that provides simple techniques for managing stress. In its simplicity it provides perspective to our daily stresses, reinforcing that much of what we stress about can often be easily managed.

From the list:

The best books on managing stress naturally

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Book cover of City of Broken Promises

City of Broken Promises

By Austin Coates

Why this book?

This book has stayed in my memory even though I read it many years ago. Subtle in the telling, this novel is one that drills into your soul. Set in 18th century Macau (then a Portuguese enclave), it is a story of forbidden interracial love, prejudices, and intrigue surrounding a British trader surnamed Mierop and a Chinese orphan named Marta da Silva, based on true events. The author got his inspiration for the novel when he saw a portrait of a Chinese lady, Marta Mierop, in a Macau museum. In the story as well as in real life, Marta…

From the list:

The best realist novels that take place in China

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Book cover of Venice

Venice

By Jan Morris

Why this book?

Jan Morris’s book is a fantastic discussion about the evolution of Venice. It explores why the city looks as it does, why the inhabitants behave in a particular manner, it explains how the buildings are constructed, why the boats are shaped as they are, how the navy constructed their Arsenale, what is best to eat, and when, what the climate is like and how this has informed behaviour and so much more...

From the list:

The best books on the future of the interior

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Book cover of Maze: A Riddle in Words and Pictures

Maze: A Riddle in Words and Pictures

By Christopher Manson

Why this book?

With the subtitle Solve The World's Most Challenging Puzzle, how could one resist a dive into this fantastic world? Each page number represents a different room in a strange mansion with clues and riddles littered throughout. At less than 100 pages, one might think it’s quite simple, when in fact there are people still lost within the maze, unable to escape - very few have managed to find their way to the center and out again without looking up the correct path. Good fantasy is always immersive, but rarely like this.
From the list:

The best fantasy books you’ve never heard of

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Book cover of Dandelion

Dandelion

By Don Freeman

Why this book?

I loved this book as a child and shared it with my own kids when they were little. It really hit home when my youngest daughter was a pre-schooler. Dandelion’s friends do not recognize him when he dresses up and has his hair done. When my daughter was in pre-school, I went to the hairdresser and she dried my curly hair, straight. When I went to pick up my daughter, she started crying and was quite distressed about my new look. I had to put on a hat in order to get her to stop. Reading Dandelion helped her get…

From the list:

The best picture books about building self-esteem and self-love

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Book cover of Get It All Done and Still Be Human: A Personal Time-Management Workshop

Get It All Done and Still Be Human: A Personal Time-Management Workshop

By Tony Fanning, Robbie Fanning

Why this book?

The authors ask, "Why is it that a decent person like you, someone you would invite home for dinner, is plagued by the feeling that you will never get it all done? Do you think you invented the word frantic? Your life," they say, "is not a series of little boxes to be checked off as you complete tasks. Life is rough, sweet, sticky, hot and cold, even messy, and enjoyable."

To rearrange your life and get what you want done, they contend that you need a clear picture of your life as it actually is today. Diagramming helps; start…

From the list:

The best books to help make your life simpler and healthier

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Book cover of Out to Get You: 13 Tales of Weirdness and Woe

Out to Get You: 13 Tales of Weirdness and Woe

By Josh Allen, Sarah J. Coleman

Why this book?

Writing a really good spooky short story is hard. Writing 13 of them is near-impossible. Yet Allen has put together an anthology of sheer terror, with each story hinging on something simple and mundane. Basically, Allen makes you afraid of everything, and does it with a smile.

From the list:

The best spooky middle grade books

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Book cover of How Musicals Work: And How to Write Your Own

How Musicals Work: And How to Write Your Own

By Julian Woolford

Why this book?

Woolford describes his book as a prenatal guide for musicals and it is indeed just that. He breaks down the process from idea to opening night for a thorough examination of what goes into each part of writing a musical. From the tickle of inspiration—and everything that went into its construction after that point, including the steps back and sideways, trying to find the right formula for success—there isn’t much left out. Warning: You might be inspired to try your hand at writing once you finish this book! 

I felt as if I’d taken a college-level theatre course at the…

From the list:

The best books for next level Broadway fans

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Book cover of The Doom Stone

The Doom Stone

By Paul Zindel

Why this book?

While short book aimed at younger readers, there’s so much to learn for anyone regardless of age that wishes to exercise their terror-inducing writing muscles. I read this book so long ago that I would guess it was back in 2005. While the time frame is hazy, the details and lessons in the book are anything but. The way Zindel handles the horror parts is what gets this book on this list. The antagonist monster is horrendous of course, but it’s the mystery behind it that is what’s more chilling because it is vaguely hinted at but never outright explained.…

From the list:

The best books to read for aspiring horror authors

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Book cover of The Secret of the Stolen Idols

The Secret of the Stolen Idols

By Vivek R. Chaturvedi

Why this book?

The Secret of the Stolen Idols is Vivek’s debut novel, and it unravels as quite a surprise package. Lucid language, sharp characterization, and a pacy plot make it a story that lingers in your mind long after you are done reading the book. With his descriptions, Vivek brings to life a Goa that lies beyond the prying eyes of tourists, and one that is just as enchanting as its overt persona.
From the list:

The best Indian crime fiction books

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Book cover of Aretes de Esparta (Histórica)

Aretes de Esparta (Histórica)

By Lluís Prats Martínez

Why this book?

I don't know if this book has an English version, but it should still be recommended because it is the book that introduced me to the world of the Spartans, their ideology, and their way of understanding the world. For me, it is a book for seniors written as if it were for children. A fluent reading that guides you through the emotions of the protagonist, getting to share her joys and her illusions. Definitely a must-read if you want to enjoy the exciting world of ancient history.

From the list:

The best books about the great Spartan Nation

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Book cover of Miss Smilla's Feeling for Snow

Miss Smilla's Feeling for Snow

By Peter Høeg

Why this book?

The sudden death of a small boy in the impoverished Greenlandic community in Copenhagen precipitates Smilla’s enquiries into a mysterious network of contacts and undefined interests. Accident or murder? Smilla loved young Isaiah; she needs to know why. Her anger, tenacity, and curiosity lead her inexorably into danger. Love is the route to loss and betrayal. But Smilla is a Greenlander, and she knows all about snow; she can name everything in this frozen world. The closer she gets to home, the more perilous the journey, and the more Smilla knows where she is: “If you haven’t grown up…
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The best books for Northern Lands

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Book cover of Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates

Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates

By Howard Pyle

Why this book?

On a day trip to Cambridge UK I was in an old book store. I could not believe my good fortune when I spotted an old-worn book entitled Howard Pyle’s Book of Pirates. I realised immediately that Pyle was the art teacher of N.C.Wyeth, the styles of the 2 are interchangeable. This book contains numerous Pirate stories, which Pyle wrote himself. Obviously the text is now very antiquated, but there are numerous illustrations illustrating Pirate battles and adventure. Pyle wrote and taught art in the late 19th Century. Any student of the Wyeth’s should check him out.

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The best books on art influences

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Book cover of Silence of the Grave: An Inspector Erlendur Novel

Silence of the Grave: An Inspector Erlendur Novel

By Arnaldur Indridason

Why this book?

I don’t think it is overly ambitious to claim that you can learn a lot about a country from its crime novels. I certainly did, devouring novels by Yrsa Sigurdardóttir, Lilja Sigurdardóttir, Ragnar Jónasson, and the Englishman Quentin Bates. A good crime novel describes not only a place and its people but what makes them tick, what they fear, and what they desire. It’s very hard to pick just one crome novel from so many great ones, but Arnaldur Indridason’s Silence of the Grave won the British Crime Writers Association Gold Dagger in 2005 and also features the British occupation…

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The best books to read if you want to understand Iceland

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Book cover of Death of a Hollow Man: Inspector Barnaby #2

Death of a Hollow Man: Inspector Barnaby #2

By Caroline Graham

Why this book?

Graham's village mysteries are dark reflections of the villages found in Agatha Christie, and she is especially good at looking under the rocks and finding what's crawling behind the idyllic villages. Chief Inspector Barnaby is the perfect British sleuth, both tough and intelligent. She does a terrific job of finding the problems that drive us in everyday lives, in this case, the secret passions that hide at an amateur production.

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The best mysteries in the theatre world

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Book cover of Mort the Meek and the Ravens' Revenge

Mort the Meek and the Ravens' Revenge

By Rachel Delahaye, George Ermos

Why this book?

This book is jam-packed with hilarious details and a narrator who loves to share jokes directly with the reader. The laughs come consistently and quickly, and as someone who knows how hard that is to achieve, I read with respect!

Mort the Meek’s role as the only vegetarian pacifist in the violent kingdom of Brutalia is comedy genius. Keeping his vow to live peacefully, without hurting anyone, becomes a challenge when the evil Queen appoints him Royal Executioner and his first job is to execute his best friend. Fantastic fun, fantastically illustrated, with enough gore to satisfy readers who love…

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The best books by British authors to get kids laughing out loud

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Book cover of Fishing in Africa: A Guide to War and Corruption

Fishing in Africa: A Guide to War and Corruption

By Andrew Buckoke

Why this book?

A revealing portrait of 80s/90s Africa from a journalist who had covered many of the continent’s trouble spots for major British newspapers. Through his journeys you get to meet a wide range of players from fighters in the bush to aid executives and politicians in executive suites. A fascinating mix of travel writing and political analysis (and yes with some fishing thrown in). 

From the list:

The best African set political thrillers

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Book cover of The Woman Before Me

The Woman Before Me

By Ruth Dugdall

Why this book?

This one is a bit of a cheat as It doesn’t fall into the category of memory and forgetting as easily but I think it is definitely about past trauma, trying to reinvent yourself, ignoring parts of your true nature, which for me, is a form of forgetting. In this tense novel, three women must uncover the truth about a tragic incident, one of whom is a probation officer trying to decide if a prisoner should be released on parole. It’s told from dual perspectives and it keeps twisting throughout. The last twist really threw me and I wanted to…

From the list:

The best books about memory and forgetting

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Book cover of Where's Waldo? The Wonder Book

Where's Waldo? The Wonder Book

By Martin Handford

Why this book?

This book is perfect for looking at on your own or sharing. The wealth of detail is amazing! Open any page and I am absorbed for hours looking for various people and objects and enjoying the funny scenes of massive crowds. I still have my original copy from 1987 and am delighted anew whenever I take a peek. The other Where’s Waldo books in the series are equally entertaining.

From the list:

The best children’s books in which to happily lose yourself for hours

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Book cover of What if? Dare to Do More Be More and Reach Farther than You Ever Thought Possible

What if? Dare to Do More Be More and Reach Farther than You Ever Thought Possible

By Mike Rayburn

Why this book?

This book is short and massively powerful. It gets you to think about all the possibilities you have to reach your full potential and do more than you might have thought possible. This 48-page, 2-word book just might change your life forever. You will learn 3 simple, powerful tools you can use immediately to access your unrealized potential. When you really start to think, What If?, around any issues, goals, or challenges, your possibilities can be endless. This book can inspire you to greatness, in my opinion. I bought hundreds of copies of this book because I thought it was…
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The best books to catapult your business and your life

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Book cover of At Bertram's Hotel: A Miss Marple Mystery

At Bertram's Hotel: A Miss Marple Mystery

By Agatha Christie

Why this book?

It’s hard to choose a Miss Marple book – they are all so good – but I have settled on this one as it reminds me of London, where I used to live. Miss Marple is my favourite elderly female protagonist of all time, because of the means by which she takes such good advantage of people’s underestimation of her abilities. She is wise, insightful, and clever, and I find her enjoyment of her ‘treat’ visit to the hotel very endearing – who wouldn’t love a holiday in a posh hotel at someone else’s expense?

From the list:

The best crime novels with elderly female protagonists

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Book cover of Rumpole of the Bailey

Rumpole of the Bailey

By John Clifford Mortimer

Why this book?

I first met Rumpole, the Old Bailey Hack, as he called himself, on the PBS Masterpiece series. John Mortimer’s books about the curmudgeonly old barrister are even more delightful. As a former trial attorney, I love how the collections of short stories in his books give me a peek inside the British legal system—and how they present plenty of puzzles to solve, filled with irascible good wit. 

From the list:

The best cozy mysteries for people who think they don’t like true crime

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Book cover of A Suffragette  My Own Story

A Suffragette My Own Story

By Emmeline Pankhurst

Why this book?

This book is very important to me. It gave me more understanding of the Suffragette movement in the UK and how women sacrificed their lives for equal rights and fairness. I really appreciate those women activists. Because of them, women now have better treatment and opportunities in society, although we still have a long way to go to have more women in politics and at the decision-making level. 

From the list:

The best books about the Karen and human rights that inspire me

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Book cover of Book of British Birds

Book of British Birds

By Drive Publications

Why this book?

The Book of British Birds is one of several comprehensive reference books produced around half a century ago for the Reader’s Digest. They were written without jargon and have become classics. The illustrations in this bird volume are excellent, with bird-by-bird descriptions, followed by a range of fascinating topics, such as how birds care for their plumage, camouflage, how they sleep, and courtship displays. Some information is now itself history – who would have thought (for example) that the ubiquitous starling is now on the Red List of UK birds?

From the list:

The best books about the history of British birds

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Book cover of The Extinction Trials

The Extinction Trials

By Susan Wilson

Why this book?

Why am I recommending this book? First of all – Dinosaurs. I don’t know where they came from in the book series and frankly I don’t care. I’ll read anything with dinosaurs. I think this book series is set in a modern UK but it’s never explicitly stated. It’s set in a futuristic world where nature has failed us – because of us – and humans need to find a new way of living. They must learn to live with dinosaurs. Maybe the new Jurassic World film could learn from the characters? Who knows. 

From the list:

The best dystopian novels set in the UK

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Book cover of Fresh Eggs and Dog Beds: Living the Dream in Rural Ireland

Fresh Eggs and Dog Beds: Living the Dream in Rural Ireland

By Nick Albert

Why this book?

As a doggy person, this sounded a fun book, an added attraction being that it is a memoir about moving overseas. The author, and his wife, Lesley, buy a property in a rural part of Ireland. Sounds simple enough, but having done the same ourselves, I guessed there might be challenges ahead. Nick skillfully draws the reader into his world. I felt as though I was alongside them as he describes the properties they visit and misadventures along the way. The anecdotes about their dogs are delightful. His descriptions conjure up pictures of a stunningly beautiful country filled with enchantingly…

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The best books on moving abroad to Europe

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Book cover of Who's In, Who's Out: The Journals of Kenneth Rose: Volume One 1944-1979

Who's In, Who's Out: The Journals of Kenneth Rose: Volume One 1944-1979

By Kenneth Rose

Why this book?

Rose wrote the Albany column in The Sunday Telegraph and it is tempting to dismiss him as a gossip columnist who spread amusing and implausible stories about the bons mots of Princess Margaret. In fact, Rose was a more substantial person. He was interested in the British establishment but aware of himself as an outsider (partly because he was of Jewish origin). He was also, particularly during the early part of his career, an odd kind of modernizer – close to Tony Benn, whom he had known at university.

From the list:

The best political diaries (United Kingdom)

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Book cover of Enduring the Great War: Combat, Morale and Collapse in the German and British Armies

Enduring the Great War: Combat, Morale and Collapse in the German and British Armies

By Alexander Watson

Why this book?

Amid the industrial war of fire and fury, a key question remains on how the soldiers survived. Watson’s book explores the experience for British and German soldiers, drawing upon their letters and diaries. Enduring the Great War offers new ways to understand the war of the trenches, how morale was sustained, and it provides an inner portrait into the men who took in the grinding warfare.

From the list:

The best books on the Great War and why it haunts us

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Book cover of Mr. Britling Sees It Through

Mr. Britling Sees It Through

By H.G. Wells

Why this book?

H. G. Wells coined the wildly optimistic phrase “A war to end wars” in l914, but four bitter years later he would sadly admit “This war is the worst thing that’s ever happened to mankind.” His autobiographical novel traces the emotional and intellectual arc of this journey from idealism to disillusionment; a bestseller in l916, it still packs a punch, the testament of a compassionate, highly-civilized man powerless to stop the world’s agony.

From the list:

The best books that are unjustly forgotten from World War One

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Book cover of Minimus Pupil's Book: Starting out in Latin

Minimus Pupil's Book: Starting out in Latin

By Barbara Bell, Helen Forte

Why this book?

There are many books for kids who would like to learn Latin but this charmingly illustrated book, also set in Roman Britain, is one of the most accessible, especially for children in primary school.

From the list:

The best books for kids on ancient Rome

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Book cover of Otter Country: In Search of the Wild Otter

Otter Country: In Search of the Wild Otter

By Miriam Darlington

Why this book?

Miriam Darlington is my favourite author and Otter Country is one of the most thumbed, tatty-cornered, precious books that I own. I love it: for its voice, its humour and its beautiful prose. Darlington takes you on a gentle meander through the world of the otter in the most relatable of writing styles. She doesn’t start out as an otter expert; she learns as she goes, and so do you. Everything about this book is wonderful, and I would say the same about her other book, Owl Sense, which I have only left off this list because I wanted to…

From the list:

The best books about nature in Britain

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Book cover of Nine Lives Of John Ogilby

Nine Lives Of John Ogilby

By Alan Ereira

Why this book?

While not specifically about Ireland, this is a most fascinating tale and true story about a man who started as a dancer, ran theater in Ireland, became a soldier, sea captain and so much more before he went on to publish the first road atlas in Britain. It’s the quirky details in this book that make it fun to read and quite informative about life in the 17th century.

From the list:

The best books about Ireland in the 17th century

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Book cover of In Command of History: Churchill Fighting and Writing the Second World War

In Command of History: Churchill Fighting and Writing the Second World War

By David Reynolds

Why this book?

“Another book on Churchill?” asks Reynolds on the first page. “Can there be anything new to say?” Yes, is the emphatic answer. Churchill’s magisterial memoir shaped how many readers came to understand World War II. In this equally magisterial book, Reynolds dissects how Churchill wrote his memoir, exploring how the politics of the post-war era were often as important in shaping Churchill’s judgments as the events of the war itself. Methodologically sophisticated and elegantly written.

From the list:

The best books to understand WW2 from eyewitnesses and historians

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Book cover of The America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook: Featuring More Than 1,200 Kitchen-Tested Recipes

The America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook: Featuring More Than 1,200 Kitchen-Tested Recipes

By America's Test Kitchen

Why this book?

If you are starting out in life and can only get one cookbook, get this one. It contains recipes for the classics as well as the familiar, basic dishes you must have in your repertoire—and the recipes are foolproof. Because the recipes are thoroughly tested, you can hardly go wrong if you follow the detailed instructions.

From the list:

The best cookbooks for novice and experienced chefs

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Book cover of Games Criminals Play: How You Can Profit by Knowing Them

Games Criminals Play: How You Can Profit by Knowing Them

By Bud Allen, Diana Bosta

Why this book?

Manipulation is a simple art.

I require all students and mentees to read this book and keep it on their shelves. It is an easy read and contains information that will keep future law enforcement officers safe from inmate behavior. Civilians can apply these skills to everyday life to protect themselves as well. We call it “the trick bag”, falling for a simple ruse and landing as a pawn in an inmate’s game in prison. The “game” is a series of manipulations over time that might lead to the target’s incarceration, loss of job, and public humiliation. 

This book is…

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The best true crime books to keep on your shelf

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Book cover of The History of Last Night's Dream: Discovering the Hidden Path to the Soul

The History of Last Night's Dream: Discovering the Hidden Path to the Soul

By Rodger Kamenetz

Why this book?

This book introduces the reader to Marc Bregman - a postman turned dream interpreter whose approach breaks through intellectual interpretations of dreams to the emotional experience of your predicament in life. Dreams show you the path out of your predicament – usually through connecting with what used to be called “your inner child” but here is redefined as being childlike in your sense of adventure and mystery in life. 

The method shown in this book goes far beyond dream interpretation to using a dream to heal your life, your relationships, your career confusions, and more. The images in the dream…

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The best books on dream interpretation

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Book cover of Fighter Boys: The Battle of Britain, 1940

Fighter Boys: The Battle of Britain, 1940

By Patrick Bishop

Why this book?

With great skill and sensitivity, Bishop depicts the human drama of the Battle of Britain. Bishop allows the pilots to speak for themselves, collecting their thoughts from letters, diaries, speeches, and memoirs, and presenting these within a chronological framework reinforced with historical context provided by the author. The result is a wonderfully readable and moving book that embraces not just the Battle of Britain itself but also explains the society in which the heroes of the Battle were born, the institution (RAF) in which they served, and the world in which they died. It ends with a chapter telling what…

From the list:

The best books to really understand the Battle of Britain

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Book cover of The Few: Summer 1940, The Battle of Britain

The Few: Summer 1940, The Battle of Britain

By Philip Kaplan, Richard Collier

Why this book?

Because pictures are worth a thousand words, I had to include this “coffee-table” book about the Battle of Britain among the “best five” books. This book is 200 pages of evocative images — of aircraft, of pilots, WAAF, controllers, and commanders, of landscapes, airfields, and equipment. The words of Bungay and especially Bishop are transformed into something more tangible and understandable by this lovely collection of contemporary photographs.

From the list:

The best books to really understand the Battle of Britain

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Book cover of Notes from a Small Island

Notes from a Small Island

By Bill Bryson

Why this book?

To me, travel writer Bill Bryson represents the world’s yogi-master in literary observational humor. This book is snigger, snigger, chortle, laugh-out-loud funny. Notes from a Small Island is Bill’s first book (I call him Bill because he writes in such a familial way, I feel like I am travelling with him as a friend while reading). Written after the American teacher had spent 20 years living in England, it describes Bryson’s rambling journey around the farms, clifftops, and motorways of the great isle. His observations as an outsider hilariously expose the inanities and insanities of the Brits and their unique…

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The best inspirational life-changing memoirs

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Book cover of Will I Ever Be Good Enough?: Healing the Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers

Will I Ever Be Good Enough?: Healing the Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers

By Karyl McBride

Why this book?

Many people who are abused by their intimate partners learned to accept this behavior in their childhood. This book describes how a narcissistic parent twists the minds of their children to make the narcissist feel better. It helps de-mystify the sometimes non-sensical actions of the parent, helps the adult child set appropriate boundaries and find healing.

From the list:

The best books to read if you think you are being emotionally abused

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Book cover of Woman Under Socialism

Woman Under Socialism

By August Bebel

Why this book?

Written while August Bebel was serving a jail term under Germany’s anti-socialist laws, Woman and Socialism was published in over fifty editions and in more than twenty languages between 1879 and 1914. The first English edition was published in 1908 and became something of a sensation in the United Kingdom and the United States. Unlike other men in the labor movement at the time, Bebel believed that women were the full equals of men and should have the same economic, social, and political rights. More importantly, he argued that socialism would give women economic independence, and that this would allow…

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The best books about women and socialism

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Book cover of Jimi: An Intimate Biography of Jimi Hendrix

Jimi: An Intimate Biography of Jimi Hendrix

By Curtis Knight

Why this book?

I mentioned that David Henderson’s book was the first SERIOUS biography on Jimi Hendrix. It was not to take a dig at this book, which was the first biography written on Jimi Hendrix (1974). It was written by his friend and early musical collaborator, Curtis Knight, who was really the first person to let Jimi spread his wings musically. Jimi was his bandleader and shared the spotlight with Curtis. Since this bio was written so early, you can’t really say that Curtis was trying to cash in on the Hendrix craze that exists now. At that time, there was no…

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The best books that start to reveal the genius of Jimi Hendrix

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Book cover of Tommy: The British Soldier on the Western Front

Tommy: The British Soldier on the Western Front

By Richard Holmes

Why this book?

What was war like for the average British soldier – ‘Tommy’ - taken from civilian life and sent into the inferno of battle? This magisterial study is the best book about British soldiers and their wartime experiences. It explores reasons for enlistment, training, tactics, life in the trenches, and experience of battle. Although vast in scope, it never loses sight of the human side of war. This book presents presents a nuanced, fascinating, and touching study of the common soldier.

From the list:

The best books on the British Army in World War I

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Book cover of The Wooden World: An Anatomy of the Georgian Navy

The Wooden World: An Anatomy of the Georgian Navy

By N.A.M. Rodger

Why this book?

This is by far the best book on the British Navy in the Age of Sail.  Meticulously researched and written in easily accessible non-technical language, N. A. M. Rodger — the foremost authority on this subject — draws the reader into this complex world with vivid, entertaining characters and rich detail on life above and below deck. The Wooden World offers the most complete portrait of naval life in any age.  For readers hooked on Patrick O’Brian’s fabulous 21–volume “Aubrey/Maturin” series, Rodger will be an indispensable guide for understanding the Royal Navy and how it functioned, as well as how…

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The best books on 18th century mariners

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Book cover of Dyschronia

Dyschronia

By Jennifer Mills

Why this book?

Dyschronia is strange, complicated, overwhelming, frightening, and occasionally enervating – just like climate change. Jen Mills tells the story of a young woman in a small, dying town who can’t stop seeing horrible futures; or, perhaps, the story of a young woman who compulsively lies. You won’t forget the compelling and sickening scene of a town waking up to find the ocean has disappeared. This one is worth wrapping your brain around.

From the list:

The best Australian novels that will help you see nature and climate in a new way

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Book cover of Blacktop Wasteland

Blacktop Wasteland

By S.A. Cosby

Why this book?

This is a high-octane thriller that never lets you relax—and I enjoyed every thrilling minute of it. Beauregard Montage, the fastest driver you’ll ever meet in prose, tries to get ahead through one daring con after another, and has us rooting for him all the way. I loved the slick, urbane, Southern voice of the narrator, the dizzying pace of the narrative, and the heartfelt passion of all the characters. It’s a joy ride I’ll never forget!

From the list:

The best books to take you to unfamiliar places and raise your blood pressure

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Book cover of Go, Dog. Go!

Go, Dog. Go!

By P. D. Eastman

Why this book?

If your early readers love dogs, this classic picture book is alive with dogs who can help them read easy yet important words like colors, numbers, and directions. Best of all, its lively action-packed illustrations provide context cues for even the most struggling reader. “Stop” and “go” are illustrated with car-driving dogs braking at traffic lights or racing through intersections. “Over” depicts a dog helicoptering above a tree; “under” depicts a dog resting in a hammock under it. Action-packed doggy adventures – dogs on scooters and skates, on unicycles and carriages - invite young readers to join on this doggy…

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The best easy reader children's books featuring dogs

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Book cover of Kevin the Unicorn: It's Not All Rainbows

Kevin the Unicorn: It's Not All Rainbows

By Jessika Von Innerebner

Why this book?

This book is a different take on unicorns. What do you mean all unicorns aren’t happy? Kevin wakes up on the floor and has a bad hair day. He tries to be positive but everything seems to go wrong. I love this book because sometimes we have bad days and that it's okay to have a bad day.
From the list:

The best books on unicorn in the uni-verse

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Book cover of Brave, Not Perfect: How Celebrating Imperfection Helps You Live Your Best, Most Joyful Life

Brave, Not Perfect: How Celebrating Imperfection Helps You Live Your Best, Most Joyful Life

By Reshma Saujani

Why this book?

Brave, Not Perfect offers an abundance of stories and examples of what bravery can mean (and why it matters so much in today’s world) and how we can teach girls how to be braver - every day. Filled with many different ideas for how to put bravery into practice.
From the list:

The best books for raising and growing girls to be confident and strong

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Book cover of 'Merely for Money'?: Business Culture in the British Atlantic, 1750-1815

'Merely for Money'?: Business Culture in the British Atlantic, 1750-1815

By Sheryllynne Haggerty

Why this book?

Sheryllynne Haggerty is not the first to consider the issues of risk, obligation, and reputation in early-modern business – I might have chosen Craig Muldrew’s earlier The Economy of Obligation, for instance – but what marks this book apart is its interdisciplinary approach to business culture. Throughout, Haggerty skillfully interweaves the broad range of primary material she uses – including merchants’ letters, accounts, state papers, newspapers, and trade directories – with a theoretical framework drawing explicitly on socio-economic theory. The use of fascinating case studies and an engaging writing style makes this, despite being an excellent example of a…
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The best books on early-modern business history

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Book cover of The Incredible Book Eating Boy

The Incredible Book Eating Boy

By Oliver Jeffers

Why this book?

The pages are filled with things to discover,  it's one of those books that you will read and start over to find things hidden amongst the pages. The quirky lines makes the main character really nice for kids, resembling how they draw their own characters. And the story gives a really nice message about how fulfilling reading can be.

From the list:

The best album books to unleash your children´s imagination

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Book cover of Garden Animals

Garden Animals

By Lucy Cousins

Why this book?

Garden Animals by Lucy Cousins was our number one favorite when my daughters were babies. The graphic images of small friends they might meet in their own garden were loved. Hand-lettered with rough edges, characters pop from the pages with their own free renderings. Counting the bee on the cover, there are only 12 words to the work, and with many, many readings, we created a spoken rhythm for Lucy’s creatures. Today, we can all still recite Garden Animals with delight.

From the list:

The best board books to cut your teeth on

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Book cover of We Sang You Home

We Sang You Home

By Richard Van Camp, Julie Flett

Why this book?

There is no greater joy than when a new baby comes into our world. We Sang You Home is a simple yet profound little book that depicts the poignant connection between a child and their parents, even before the child is born. The story also beautifully illustrates how love helps us grow and makes us all better. This is an important book that will spark sweet, gentle dialogue between parents and their child, to reinforce that every child is precious, wanted, welcomed, and loved.
From the list:

The best children’s books to spark conversations between generations

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Book cover of I Don't Like Koala

I Don't Like Koala

By Sean Ferrell, Charles Santoso

Why this book?

Koala is the most terrible! He has a terrible face. And terrible paws. And terrible eyes that follow you everywhere! If you love to make up voices, you will find that Adam's repeat of "I don't like Koala" is subversively fun. Unleash your inner naughty child! When Adam receives Koala as a gift, he thinks there can be nothing more terrifying. His parents don't understand and all attempts to ditch this crazy stuff toy come to nothing. And then one night, Adam worries there might be something even more terrible than Koala. This one is absolutely brilliant as a read-aloud.
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The best picture books that are even better read aloud

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Book cover of Cravings: An Extreme Horror Novelette

Cravings: An Extreme Horror Novelette

By D.E. McCluskey

Why this book?

Some might say that this is a really crappy story. I will agree only to the extent that this book does, in fact, center on feces. Sara Todd is pregnant and she’s not craving pickles and ice cream!

This book is brilliantly written. McCluskey presents a most vile and disgusting story—one that is ripe with imagery and depravity. There’s not much that shocks and disturbs me, to be honest, but this book had me muttering, “No, oh no, no, no” in anticipation of the nasty deeds. Each one seemed progressively worse. It will likely turn your stomach and surely disgust…

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The best disturbing horror books

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Book cover of A Litter of Bones

A Litter of Bones

By JD Kirk

Why this book?

In A Litter of Bones, DCI Logan is sent to investigate a child’s disappearance and is suddenly thrown back to a previous case of a child disappearance and death he was involved in solving. The killer called Mr. Whispers is in prison, so why are children disappearing in the same manner as when he was out? Logan is perplexed. Can his small band of misfit detectives with Police Scotland handle the case? I haven’t read a suspenseful book that made me laugh out loud, and then cry a few pages later like this. The funny Scottish words, the author…

From the list:

The best British books of suspense that will keep you up reading all night

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Book cover of Men's Health The Book of Muscle: The World's Most Authoritative Guide to Building Your Body

Men's Health The Book of Muscle: The World's Most Authoritative Guide to Building Your Body

By Ian King, Lou Schuler

Why this book?

If you've never bought a workout book, this should be your first. And if you've tried all the others, this is the one that finally delivers everything you have ever wanted to know but couldn't find in one place. My book was the inspiration from The Book Of Muscle. This book I really enjoyed with the way everything was presented to me, and I wanted to present my information in a similar way.

From the list:

The best books in the physiotherapy for your recovery

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Book cover of Confession of Katherine Howard

Confession of Katherine Howard

By Suzannah Dunn

Why this book?

Susannah Dunn has a way of putting you right inside history with her instinctive and impeccable descriptive writing. She has fictionalised the stories of a number of Tudor women and all are excellent but I’ve chosen this as it was the first of hers I read. It tells of Henry VIII’s tragic fifth wife, a teenager pushed into the King’s bed by her ambitious family. The story unfolds through the eyes of her companion – an intimate insider’s view, typical of Dunn’s work – who witnesses everything but is powerless to help. Without giving too much away, it doesn’t end…

From the list:

The best books about the wives of Henry VIII

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Book cover of The Little Broomstick

The Little Broomstick

By Mary Stewart

Why this book?

At the touch of the purple juice the little broomstick gave a leap, a violent twist, a kick like the kick of a pony.

A classic book, with a voice in the spirit of C.S. Lewis’s Narnia, this book triggered the idea for Spell Sweeper because of the image it painted in my mind of a lonely broom sitting there, waiting to spring into action. And spring it does! When young Mary finds a broomstick, she accidentally ends up investing it with magic and it instantly whisks her away across the English countryside to arrive at Endor College, the…

From the list:

The best children’s books with magical brooms (that aren’t Harry Potter)

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Book cover of Frayed: A Small Town Sports Romance

Frayed: A Small Town Sports Romance

By Laura Pavlov

Why this book?

Frayed is the first book in the standalone series, Willow Springs. It’s such a heartwarming story, as is every book in the series. It’s about young love, breaking away from people trying to hold you back, and will have you teary one minute and laughing the next. If you love romance and shows like Friday Night Lights, you’ll enjoy this book!

From the list:

The best books to warm your heart on a cold winter’s night

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Book cover of My Brilliant Career

My Brilliant Career

By Miles Franklin

Why this book?

Every Australian bookish girl knows Sybylla from My Brilliant Career. She is the original feisty heroine, the unashamed young feminist who rejects the isolation and low expectations of the bush and marriage at the turn of the twentieth century, wanting to strike out on her own as a writer. That her yearnings are so irrelevant to those around her and her ambitions unfulfilled act as a dare to all of us, and to me – to have that brilliant career, to tell your truths and have your independence, whether anyone else likes it or not. Equally as vivid, witty, and…

From the list:

The best Australian novels about bookish girls

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Book cover of The Midas Method

The Midas Method

By Stuart G Goldsmith

Why this book?

This is one of the earliest books I read, that I credit with helping me to make my first million. That’s how I would recommend it to people now; if you’re just starting out on your journey and need something to offer you structure - this is a fantastic resource for that. 

What is so great about Goldsmith’s approach is that he explains things clearly and then gives readers very easy to follow, step-by-step guidance. The methods I teach are similarly structured to his, including identifying goals and then making them real for yourself before you achieve them. Where I…

From the list:

The best books to break through your blocks

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Book cover of Samuel Holland: His Work and Legacy on Prince Edward Island

Samuel Holland: His Work and Legacy on Prince Edward Island

By Earle Lockerby, Douglas Sobey

Why this book?

The two authors combine their historical and geographical talents in this book. It offers a wealth of information on a wide range of themes relating to the famous Holland survey of the nascent British colony of St. John’s Island (later renamed Prince Edward Island). That survey, carried out on orders from the British Crown in 1764-65, generated the first fully accurate map of Prince Edward Island, dividing it into counties, townships, royalties, and individual lots that are still in place today. While the Holland survey was an exceptional technical achievement, it—and the subsequent lottery that allocated many of the lots…

From the list:

The best books on the history of Prince Edward Island

Book cover of Nothing to See Here

Nothing to See Here

By Kevin Wilson

Why this book?

Who would believe a story about children who burst into flame? This charmingly told story is funny, moving, and satisfying. Lillian is an impoverished and directionless young woman who is called upon to help her (wealthy) only friend. Her friend needs help to cope with step-children who unexpectedly burst into flame, surviving their flames, but wreaking havoc around them. In this novel about emotion, Wilson writes with deep understanding of the messiness of anxiety and abandonment, creating characters who are doing the best they can in circumstances they didn't create but with unexpected love and transformation find the path out. 

From the list:

The best books to ‘get’ what it is like to be anxious and living life the best you can

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Book cover of Austenland

Austenland

By Shannon Hale

Why this book?

It might not be Korean, but the same feeling is there. So many fangirls dream of visiting their favorite stories—and the main character Jane—in the book Austenland gets to do just that. When Jane’s grandmother buys her a trip to Austenland—the place where any girl’s Jane Austen dream can come true, she feels rude turning it down. Although, she’s enamored by men wearing smart coats and cravats, she’s also keenly aware of how fake everything is. It only takes a few days, however, to get swept up in the realness of the scene. A fangirl can hardly control her desire…

From the list:

The best books to immerse yourself into the world of K-pop and fangirl romance

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Book cover of The 60-Second Sales Hook: How to Stand Out and Sell More Using the Power of Your Story

The 60-Second Sales Hook: How to Stand Out and Sell More Using the Power of Your Story

By Kevin Rogers

Why this book?

In a world of ever-shortening attention spans, you’ve got a minute (maybe even less) to grab your reader’s attention and hook them. How exactly do you do that? Kevin Rogers lays out a simple four-step framework you can use to sell any product in any market with ease. This book has come in handy time and time again. It always helps me get to the essence of the sales argument I’m trying to construct. I use this framework for this book on my websites, in my sales letters, and even in some of my emails. It’s a timeless formula you’ll…

From the list:

The best books on copywriting

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Book cover of TED Talks: The Official TED Guide to Public Speaking

TED Talks: The Official TED Guide to Public Speaking

By Chris Anderson

Why this book?

Fun fact: public speaking ranks number 1 among human beings’ fears. Before death, heights, or any wild animal. Speaking in public exposes us to shame, failure, boredom, opposition, and so on. And with everything being recorded nowadays, there’s a great chance to leave indelible evidence of our performance somewhere. But regardless of their fear, millions of people want to share their ideas on stage. How to overcome this fear? With preparation. Lots of preparation, lots of patience, and the courage to ask for feedback, question ourselves, and edit our talk at will. Chris Anderson’s TED Talks is a brilliant resource.…

From the list:

The best books about courage and the way of the heart

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Book cover of Broken Road: A Milltown Novel

Broken Road: A Milltown Novel

By Devin Sloane

Why this book?

Broken Road is real. Real-life, real struggles, real love. It covers an array of topics that people struggle with every day. Debilitating mental illness, divorce, raising children. The journey of this couple over decades is heartbreaking, but it shows the journey was worth the pain and the heartbreak of finally being with the one who calls to your soul.

From the list:

The best soul rocking romance

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Book cover of Breathe With Me

Breathe With Me

By Michelle B

Why this book?

This is book one in a trilogy of heartbreak and redemption. The tears I cried for the couple as they fought life and each other were real. They were brought to their knees forced to face the consequences of their actions and forced to recognize their love for each other was never going to be easy. From the first chapter, I was driven into a universe that made me feel real pain and heartbreak, but more than that, real love.  Love that was unconditional and unfathomable. It takes a lot to get there, but their HEA was well worth the…

From the list:

The best soul rocking romance

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Book cover of An Egyptian Journal

An Egyptian Journal

By William Golding

Why this book?

At the age of seventy-two, William Golding, British author of Lord of the Flies, set off on a trip down the Nile with his wife and an Egyptian guide. Golding had long had a burning passion for Egypt, stating that ". . . for the last sixty years I must have read every popular book ever written about Egypt." But as his journalistic observations illustrate, there was still so much more to be learned by personal experience. I love this book for Golding's wry, gentle sensibility, his cozy erudition, his intellectual warmth, his wisdom about life and interpersonal relationships…

From the list:

The best books on floating down the Nile

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Book cover of Marianne Dreams

Marianne Dreams

By Catherine Storr

Why this book?

A survival book list should definitely contain at least one treasure from your childhood. This one never left me and it’s a book I return to for its haunting, beautiful, disturbing depiction of Marianne, the little girl who dreams what she draws. Battling against a mysterious, unnamed illness, she escapes from the daily monotony by drawing a house, and a boy, and some sentinel stones. Slowly, this dreamworld becomes her reality. As the children struggle to break out of their house, surrounded by them, the stony watchers, the reader is dimly aware that it mirrors their fight to recover…

From the list:

The best books to help you survive desert islands, life, and everything

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Book cover of Pierre the Maze Detective: The Mystery of the Empire Maze Tower: (Maze Book for Kids, Adventure Puzzle Book, Seek and Find Book)

Pierre the Maze Detective: The Mystery of the Empire Maze Tower: (Maze Book for Kids, Adventure Puzzle Book, Seek and Find Book)

By Hiro Kamigaki, Ic4design

Why this book?

Pierre the Maze Detective is a series of books, that, unlike my four other recommendations, combines maze solving with a narrative. I could have picked any book from the series, but I particularly liked the Mystery of the Empire Maze Tower. Each spread is a beautifully detailed illustration, somewhat similar to Where’s Waldo?, at first glance, the maze is not obvious, but on closer inspection, through the busyness, you can spy a series of paths subtlety woven into the illustration. I think this book (and the others in the series) offers a wonderful extra dimension to a slightly…

From the list:

The best maze books for children

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Book cover of Who's in Your Room: The Secret to Creating Your Best Life

Who's in Your Room: The Secret to Creating Your Best Life

By Ivan Misner, Stewart Emery, Rick Sapio

Why this book?

Dr. Ivan Misner is the father of modern networking. It stands to reason he knows a thing or two or three about change. When you are trying to make changes in your life or be successful, it is very important to surround yourself with the right people to foster your growth and success. This book shows you just how to do that. This is one of my favorite books to recommend to people when they feel stuck.

From the list:

The best books to implement and manage change

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Book cover of Sympathy

Sympathy

By Olivia Sudjic

Why this book?

Writing about the internet is notoriously difficult but Sudjic swings it, sublimely. Although ostensibly set between London and New York, Sympathy almost transcends setting with its focus on millennial Alice Hare’s online haunting of writer Mizuku Himura. After becoming infatuated with Mizuku over Instagram, Alice maneuvers an IRL friendship, which spirals into sexual obsession and possessiveness. It’s a brilliant character study and meditation on alienation, online personas, and the algorithmization of attraction. 

From the list:

The best books about badly behaved women

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Book cover of Girls & Boys

Girls & Boys

By Dennis Kelly

Why this book?

Adapted from a one-woman performance at the Minetta Lane Theater by the talented stage actor Carey Mulligan, Girls & Boys is a gripping and sometimes painful examination of domestic violence. The writer Dennis Kelly, who is acclaimed for his work in British television and film, creates a strikingly realistic narrator and an unforgettable storyline to examine how relationships can go horribly wrong. It’s a sad story, well-written and with brilliant acting. Kelly and Mulligan left a lasting mark on me. 

From the list:

The best crime stories you can only listen to as audiobooks

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Book cover of I Am Not Esther (The Esther Series)

I Am Not Esther (The Esther Series)

By Fleur Beale

Why this book?

This gripping psychological thriller centers around a girl who is caught up in a religious cult, her name changed and all her supports ripped away. How will she survive this? Will she be able to escape? Still in print after 20 years, this book won the Storylines Gaelyn Gordon Award for a Much-loved Book 2009.

From the list:

The best books for an introduction to Aotearoa New Zealand's YA writers (IMO)

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Book cover of Coven Working

Coven Working

By Philip Wright, Carrie West

Why this book?

This book explains what goes on within a traditional British Old Craft coven and what is required of its members.  It is important that folk understand what is expected of them when joining an Old Craft coven and what the fundamental differences are between the various Traditions to avoid misunderstandings.  The authors are themselves veterans of Coven of the Scales having run their own hived-off group for over twenty years.

From the list:

The best books for real old-fashioned witchcraft

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Book cover of Ruby the Copycat

Ruby the Copycat

By Peggy Rathmann

Why this book?

Ruby is new to school as she enters Miss Hart’s class. Ruby’s desk is right behind Angela’s. Angela seems to be a self-possessed, lovely young girl and, right away, Ruby is quite taken with Angela.  She wants to be her friend. Perhaps Ruby wants to be noticed and equally admired by this potential new friend, and so she imitates Angela in every way. It gets old fast. Miss Hart handles the situation admirably well, with utmost respect and sensitivity. (I wish I had encountered more teachers like that as a kid.)  Rathmann captures kids’ innocent foibles, well. The artwork is…

From the list:

The best children’s books that are truly unique tales (as opposed to preachy and moralizing)

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Book cover of Dementia from the Inside: A Doctor's Personal Journey of Hope

Dementia from the Inside: A Doctor's Personal Journey of Hope

By Jennifer Bute

Why this book?

Jennifer Bute is a medical doctor living in the United Kingdom. After being diagnosed with dementia she had to retire from her practice and moved into an assisted living facility. Here, she continues caring for others by offering seminars on living with dementia and writing about her journey on her blog and on Facebook, as well as in this beautiful book. Her story is brave and inspiring and dispels many myths about living with dementia.

From the list:

The best books on living with dementia

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Book cover of Porcupine Pirate Plans the Perfect Day

Porcupine Pirate Plans the Perfect Day

By Robert Magnuson

Why this book?

This book teaches a fundamental lesson that kids should learn as they grow up, which is the importance of seeing the silver lining of things especially when things don’t go your way. I think this book would also be a great way to introduce kids to comics. It’s not a graphic novel but a children’s book with some aspects of comics in it. The illustrations are super fun to look at too! I like how there’s a variety of creatures in this book.

From the list:

The best animal children’s books that teaches good morals and values

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Book cover of Gated

Gated

By Matt Drabble

Why this book?

An eerie and sinister plot draws you in from the start. The three-part book gives you a historic overview of the origins of the town it plays off. Building up to a climax that had me up till late to learn the outcome. At first, I thought it was the epilogue that the author cleverly put in front to give you a taste of what's to come as the story unfolds, I realized my mistake and, in the end, was surprised that it ended in an unsettling end. 

From the list:

The best books with provoking plotlines

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Book cover of He Started It

He Started It

By Samantha Downing

Why this book?

In He Started It a group of siblings embarks on a road trip from hell in a warped trek down memory lane. The thought of being trapped in a car with unlikeable people or with those keeping dark secrets feels claustrophobic and full of tension. To me, travelling is supposed to be fun or an adventure. Not in this case! I raced through this tightly plotted thriller, unable to put it down.

From the list:

The best books which feature transport

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Book cover of The Time Paradox: The New Psychology of Time That Will Change Your Life

The Time Paradox: The New Psychology of Time That Will Change Your Life

By Philip Zimbardo, John Boyd

Why this book?

Profound idea that everyone has a primary time focus: either Future-focused, Present-focused, or Past-focused. Fascinating implications of each. Because I'm so future-focused, reading this book helped me understand people who are very present-focused. Also great advice on shifting your focus when needed. I read it 7 years ago, but still think about it almost every day.

From the list:

The best books to change how you understand the world

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Book cover of Twisted Tales 2

Twisted Tales 2

By Deborah A Stansil

Why this book?

Twisted Tales has an entertaining, witty introduction. The stories fly by, making it easy to read even during short time periods. Great for readers who are short on time. It's a good horror book in that the “monsters” and horrific situations are realistic. I recommend it to readers who enjoy horrors and thrillers. 

From the list:

The best books created because of the April blogging from #AtoZChallenge

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Book cover of The Coffin Path

The Coffin Path

By Katherine Clements

Why this book?

First of all, the title. Intriguing, original, enigmatic. That is what first drew me to this book. I had to find out more about it.

This book is much more in the style of traditional ghost stories, which I love. A spooky, desolate setting in an old house with a long history. I love the build-up of suspense, the remote location adding to the sense of isolation and helplessness, everything cold, chilly. 

The ghostly happenings, whilst perhaps not original, are very well done, which is just fine with me. Traditional ghost stories are meant to have certain elements that are…

From the list:

The best of creepy British ghost stories

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Book cover of Our Front Pages: 21 Years of Greatness, Virtue, and Moral Rectitude from America's Finest News Source

Our Front Pages: 21 Years of Greatness, Virtue, and Moral Rectitude from America's Finest News Source

By The Onion

Why this book?

I discovered The Onion late in life as well, and also through their website. Which, yes, I have bookmarked as well—I love most just their headlines. And discovered, again, they'd actually published a book of headlines! 'Nuff said.

From the list:

The best books of funny bits to make you laugh out loud

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Book cover of Sister Dear

Sister Dear

By Hannah Mary McKinnon

Why this book?

If you happen to like the type of books that end with a gut punch, then you are going to love Sister Dear. This had an ending that I didn’t see coming, which is probably why I love it so much. I have a few authors on my ‘must read’ list and this one holds the title for #1 because of her endings. Warning: you start reading the book thinking you know where it’s headed, but trust me when I say you don’t!

From the list:

The best books that keep you up past your bedtime

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Book cover of What a Carve Up!

What a Carve Up!

By Jonathan Coe

Why this book?

This is a masterclass in satirical writing but also just in novel writing. Coe manages to combine a gripping narrative and murder mystery with a scathing indictment of Great Britain in the 80s, when venal wealth was king and the country lost its soul. This was one of those books where I felt like I learned so much, about British culture, politics, corruption, and a 1961 comedy horror movie that shares its name with the book title, but I didn’t notice it because I was having such a good time. There are so many layers to the plot – and…

From the list:

The best satirical novels that make you laugh and cry

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Book cover of The Giggler Treatment

The Giggler Treatment

By Roddy Doyle, Brian Ajhar

Why this book?

This is honestly one of my favorite books of all time. Roddy Doyle is much more well known for his adult fiction, but he is a brilliantly absurd writer for children, too. The intrusive and charismatic narrator names chapters after his mother and his fridge as the rollicking story spirals around the family’s efforts to prevent Dad from stepping in dog poo. The voice, the fast-paced plot, and the balance of heart and bathroom humor make this a rip-snorter of a book.

From the list:

The best books to make you laugh so hard that milk shoots out your nose

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Book cover of The Spice Route: A History

The Spice Route: A History

By John Keay

Why this book?

With a scholarly eye for detail, Keaye explores the history of the spice routes. The trade is at once mysterious and hard to trace yet also world-encompassing. It started more wars and sparked more discoveries than any other global exchange.  This book elegantly covers over 3,000 years of human history and leaves the reader with much to think about. 

From the list:

The best books to spice up your shelves

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Book cover of River of Lies

River of Lies

By R.M. Greenaway

Why this book?

I always enjoy a good mystery and R.M. Greenaway’s River of Lies is definitely one I would recommend. This book is the fifth in the B.C. Crime Series of mysteries by Greenaway but it was the first I had read—and it won’t be the last. The two detectives, Cal Dion and David Leith, are strong characters who come together in this book to solve a murder of a young black female janitor, a missing child case, a drowning, and an apparent suicide. Once they find the missing link between all these incidents, they are able to make progress. I found…

From the list:

The best fiction books by British Columbia authors

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Book cover of This Is Going to Hurt: Secret Diaries of a Young Doctor

This Is Going to Hurt: Secret Diaries of a Young Doctor

By Adam Kay

Why this book?

How different is medical training in the UK under the National Health Service? Dr. Kay divulges the benefits (universal healthcare, free medical school) and harms (undervalued and overworked physicians and staff) in his passionate and jaunty memoir.

Most UK docs work for an inadequately funded public health system that neglects its exhausted medical staff, while a select few physicians cash in via a shadow private option that provides exclusive care to its wealthy elite. Dr. Kay exposes the rotten underbelly of the UK’s vaunted health system while extolling its promise.

From the list:

The best painfully honest books about training to become a doctor

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Book cover of Goodnight Little Me

Goodnight Little Me

By Jennifer Dewing, Mary Grandpré

Why this book?

This beautifully illustrated, personalized book features your child’s names in the illustrations and throughout the story. I’ve found that both parents and children are captivated by the fanciful illustrations, and it makes a perfect bedtime story. I frequently give this book as a keepsake new baby gift, and I receive rave reviews from parents.

From the list:

The best personalized bedtime storybooks

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Book cover of My Very Own Nursery Rhymes

My Very Own Nursery Rhymes

By Thea Hay, Patricia Pessoa

Why this book?

I love this personalized book for babies and toddlers because it teaches them classic nursery rhymes, but with a twist. Mother Goose tells a story about how nursery rhyme characters spell out your child’s name. For example, if your child’s name is Olivia, “Old Mother Hubbard” brings the O, “Li’l Jack Horner” brings the L, the “Itsy Bitsy Spider” brings the I, and so on, until your child’s name is spelled out in rhyme. At the end of the story, there’s a glossary that includes classic nursery rhymes for your child to learn.

This book is only available here.

From the list:

The best personalized bedtime storybooks

Book cover of Eagle Day: The Battle of Britain

Eagle Day: The Battle of Britain

By Richard Collier

Why this book?

It might be a venerable classic, but it’s still in print for a very good reason. Collier focusses on the six weeks of 1940’s English summer when Great Britain was in extreme peril of defeat and subjugation. He relates the history of this pivotal moment using a rich tapestry of personal accounts and eye-witness testimonies of the real people who were involved in this epic struggle. We hear the voices of pilots fighting for their lives in the air, their crews grafting on the ground to keep the aircraft serviceable and the civilians who daily watched the frenetic dogfights that…

From the list:

The best books about the Battle of Britain (from someone with a lifelong fascination for it)

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Book cover of The Secret History of the Blitz

The Secret History of the Blitz

By Joshua Levine

Why this book?

Today, it is almost impossible to imagine aircraft roaming freely over British cities, disgorging bombs onto the streets below. So, it’s vital for us to have access to the personal, unvarnished stories and contemporary accounts from those that actually lived through this particular horror. In The Secret History of the Blitz Levine pulls no punches as he documents the behaviour of ordinary people faced with extreme experiences. Some reacted with fortitude, uniting in neighbourhood solidarity and extending charity to strangers. Others exploited the chaos, breaking legal and moral codes for their own personal enrichment. To this day, the British psyche…

From the list:

The best books about the London Blitz and the bomber war

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Book cover of My Grandpa Is Great

My Grandpa Is Great

By Gaby Goldsack

Why this book?

I love the humour in this story. Grandpa definitely knows how to entertain and have fun with his grandson. This book shows how special bonds are formed between the young and the not-so-young. Age is not a barrier. The words and illustrations work extremely well together. In many instances, the picture gives the correct meaning to the written part which results in bringing a smile to your face. This book is a fun read.

From the list:

The best children's books that capture the funny and heartwarming stories about grandchildren and grandparents

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Book cover of Anything You Want: 40 Lessons for a New Kind of Entrepreneur

Anything You Want: 40 Lessons for a New Kind of Entrepreneur

By Derek Sivers

Why this book?

This book is packed with a lot of wisdom and it just made me feel good reading it. It doesn’t matter if you are an entrepreneur, artist, or someone trying to figure out your path, you will enjoy this book! Derek does an outstanding job simplifying the lessons through his life and business experience, which I as a reader could easily relate to.

From the list:

The best books to inspire personal growth and success

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Book cover of Cell 7

Cell 7

By Kerry Drewery

Why this book?

Kerry Drewery is an author that came in for a Masterclass when I was studying my undergrad in Creative Writing at Sheffield Hallam University. As this book series was right up my alley, I decided to buy every book on kindle (and most recently in paperback). This series reminded me a lot of 1984 with the dark setting and horrific outcomes. Set in a future London, the reality show format of the book gives an insight into human nature. How far will we go for entertainment? 

From the list:

The best dystopian novels set in the UK

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Book cover of Buying a Home in Spain: A Survival Handbook

Buying a Home in Spain: A Survival Handbook

By David Hampshire

Why this book?

If you are moving to Spain, you’ll appreciate David Hampshire’s guides for deciding which region might suit you, how to choose a home and settling into your new way of life. Hampshire includes vital advice like making a Spanish will, driving and finance. He even provides checklists of things to do before the move, and after arrival. We’d have appreciated advice on what to do if one's removal van knocks over the village fountain, or how to stop our cockerel attacking visitors, but I guess we were just unlucky.
From the list:

The best books on moving to Spain

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Book cover of The Fringes of Power: 10 Downing Street Diaries, 1939-1955

The Fringes of Power: 10 Downing Street Diaries, 1939-1955

By John Colville

Why this book?

John “Jock” Colville, a 24-year-old Foreign Office staffer, was assigned to work at 10 Downing Street, Britain’s equivalent of the White House, at the outbreak of World War II. When Winston Churchill replaced Neville Chamberlain as prime minister, Colville, who kept a detailed secret diary, chronicled the new leader’s every move as he rallied his countrymen to keep fighting Hitler’s Germany. His entries for this critical period offer a vivid behind-the-scenes portrait of Churchill, his inner circle—and his strenuous efforts to forge a close partnership with President Roosevelt, who had vowed to keep his country out of the war.

From the list:

The best books on the view from London in 1941

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Book cover of The Beardless Adventurer and her inconvenience: A first-time cycle trip across Europe

The Beardless Adventurer and her inconvenience: A first-time cycle trip across Europe

By Donna Marie Ashton

Why this book?

I often find adventure books written by women to be way more honest and inspiring and Donnas book is testament to that. Cycling 5000km through Europe with no previous cycling experience proves that you don’t have to be an ex-Olympian or from a military to go off and have an epic adventure.

From the list:

The best books about long distance cycling

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Book cover of Yesterday's Gone

Yesterday's Gone

By N.J. Crisp

Why this book?

The book tells the story of the fictional Squadron Leader David Kirby, from the slums of Southampton, to flying training in Oklahoma, to his final operation in command of a Lancaster. Crisp was one of the most prolific stage and TV writers of his generation (credits include Secret Army, Colditz, and Enemy at the Door), and his novel has all of the authenticity of a man who clearly went through many of the experiences he describes. If you know nothing about Bomber Command and want to bring some meaning to the experiences they went through and the…

From the list:

The best books on British Bomber Command in World War 2

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Book cover of Eighth Passenger: A Flight of Recollection & Discovery

Eighth Passenger: A Flight of Recollection & Discovery

By Miles Tripp

Why this book?

My favourite autobiography is The Eighth Passenger by Miles Tripp. First published in 1969, the book charts the author’s journey to re-discover his former crewmates 30-years after they had last met and flown operations. He seeks to discover how they felt both then and now, and whether his experiences were shared. What really comes across is how extraordinarily ‘ordinary’ they all were, and yet how they gelled into an expert crew. One of their numbers is black, a rarity at the time and adding a certain significance today, and another proves particularly elusive such that you wonder whether he will…

From the list:

The best books on British Bomber Command in World War 2

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Book cover of History of the English Church and People

History of the English Church and People

By Bede

Why this book?

As close as we come to a first-hand account of events in the first part of the early medieval period. Writing in the early 8th century, Bede was able to interview some of the people who had witnessed events he describes. Bede was undoubtedly writing from the Christian perspective and he was certainly biased in favour of his native Northumbria, but his words are like a window into the past and how people (or at least the clergy) thought.

From the list:

The best books on the world of Anglo-Saxon Britain

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Book cover of Our Man in New York: The British Plot to Bring America into the Second World War

Our Man in New York: The British Plot to Bring America into the Second World War

By Henry Hemming

Why this book?

I have a vivid memory of opening the file on Britain’s efforts to bring America into the war, declassified only recently, and being astonished at the things that had gone on. Hemming’s book tells this amazing story and raises the ethical question of whether Britain’s end – defeating Hitler – was justified by its means – spreading fake news in the US and even interfering in its politics.

From the list:

The best books on secret wartime histories around WW2

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Book cover of Pompeii

Pompeii

By Mary Beard

Why this book?

We all love Mary Beard, and this superb book looks into the daily life of the people who lived in Pompeii before its destruction, revealing plenty of fascinating detail, and excellent explanation and commentary. Definitely one of the best books about daily life in an ordinary Roman town.

From the list:

The best books on Roman history

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Book cover of Pagan Celtic Britain

Pagan Celtic Britain

By Anne Ross

Why this book?

Because it was the first book that really drew me into the fascinating world of British religion and belief during the Roman period, and started me on my own path of discovery about religious traditions that steadfastly maintained their ‘Britishness’ even after the Roman occupation. The material collected in Ross’s book – often previously unpublished and unrecognised for what it was – made me think hard about the ways that cults and rituals from two very different ethnic groups might change each other and, even more importantly, came to evolve into a merged set of Roman and British deities and…

From the list:

The best books about Roman Britain and its religions

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Book cover of Fierce Conversations: Achieving Success at Work and in Life One Conversation at a Time

Fierce Conversations: Achieving Success at Work and in Life One Conversation at a Time

By Susan Scott

Why this book?

This book is great for better understanding how to be fully present in a conversation, how to be authentic and say what needs to be said even when it’s uncomfortable, and how to have tough conversations at work to keep great employees connected and motivated. The book is chock full of great examples of conversations and suggestions of how to say things more effectively.

From the list:

The best books on become an exceptional manager and human being

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Book cover of Atlas: A World of Maps from the British Library

Atlas: A World of Maps from the British Library

By Tom Harper

Why this book?

Wide-ranging, high-production values, a good balance of maps and text, and excellent value for money. Includes many different types of map not least those of fantasy worlds.

From the list:

The best books for people who love maps

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Book cover of The Armies of Wellington

The Armies of Wellington

By Philip J. Haythornthwaite

Why this book?

As has already been made clear, the British army did not fight the Peninsular War single-handed. That said, it cannot be ignored, and this book is very much the place to go for anyone looking to improve their knowledge of the subject. Amongst the topics covered are officers and men, recruitment, the different arms of service, tactics, discipline, foreign regiments, and much else besides, while the author writes in a style that is simple and unaffected. Thoroughly recommended!

From the list:

The best hardcore history books on the Peninsular War

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Book cover of Roman Britain: A Sourcebook

Roman Britain: A Sourcebook

By Stanley Ireland

Why this book?

This is the place to go for the written evidence, conveniently gathered together in one slim paperback: all the way from the distant whispers of early Mediterranean travellers to fifth-century Christian writers. Letters, coins, altars, curses, graffiti and gravestones find a place here beside the scrolls of historians for whom “good writing” was not always synonymous with “sticking to the facts”. 

From the list:

The best books on Roman Britain (by a Roman crime novelist)

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Book cover of A Troublesome Berth: The Journal of First Lieutenant Charles Allan Parker, Royal Marines: The Canada Years, 1838-1840

A Troublesome Berth: The Journal of First Lieutenant Charles Allan Parker, Royal Marines: The Canada Years, 1838-1840

By Rosalyn Parker, R. Andrews

Why this book?

I used Parker’s journal extensively in my research for Bottle and Glass.  It is the account of a British officer arriving in the Canadian wilderness for the first time. Parker’s style is very much modern and journalistic, giving an immediacy to the wonder and apprehension he has for his new surroundings.  The reader is right there with him marveling over the rudeness of frontier life.  A representative quote: “Kingston is one of the dirtiest, or rather muddiest places I have ever been in, even in my extensive peregrinations; it is the worst lighted, and most miserably paved place I…

From the list:

The best books about frontier life in early 19th century Canada

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Book cover of The Redwall Cookbook

The Redwall Cookbook

By Brian Jacques

Why this book?

This little cookbook is beautifully illustrated and quite simply, magical. Fans of The Redwall series know that it was filled with delightful feasts made and enjoyed by its equally delightful woodland characters. The recipes in this book are based on the novels and arranged by seasons, which I find really immersive and fun. A sip of Strawberry Fizz in the summertime, a gulp of spicy hotroot soup in winter… It really makes you feel like a fieldmouse nestled in your cozy little burrow.

From the list:

The best cookbooks written by storytellers

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Book cover of The Work / Parent Switch: How to Parent Smarter Not Harder

The Work / Parent Switch: How to Parent Smarter Not Harder

By Anita Cleare

Why this book?

‘I can’t just flick a switch’. It’s something that I hear in my therapy office all the time but what if you could transition better from work to parenting – because they each require a different part of you. Anita Cleare was a great guest on my podcast: The Meaningful Life with Andrew G Marshall. She is good at explaining the different stages and challenges of child development and how stressed our parents often end up fighting with each other. Parenting as a team, rather than bickering with each other, is often one of the breakthrough moments for improving my…

From the list:

The best books about raising emotionally rounded children without exhausting your marriage

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Book cover of Tanamera

Tanamera

By Noel Barber

Why this book?

This story is not only a history of Singapore and Malaya before, during, and after the war, it is also a beautiful love story and gripping family Saga. It’s a chunky book in which Noel Barber paints an indelible picture of pre-war colonial life in Singapore for both the colonials and the Malaysians.

Noel Barber brings to life the British defence build-up and the military and colonial administration’s mistakes, which led to the Japanese invasion. It was as though they could not believe the Japanese could or would invade their territory. The story is romantic and heart-breaking, as Noel Barber…

From the list:

The best books about the Second World War

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Book cover of When We Were Brave

When We Were Brave

By Suzanne Kelman

Why this book?

This is a ‘going back in time’ novel, not original, but well-written and very engaging. A woman finds a photograph of a woman in an attic. She discovers the woman is an aunt no one talks about. Her crime: to fall in love and flee to Paris with a Nazi prisoner of war.

I am recommending this book because of the emotions it evoked in me, the tension throughout, and the beautiful love story that unraveled in a time of war. It has stuck with me.

From the list:

The best books about the Second World War

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Book cover of Golden Earth: Travels in Burma

Golden Earth: Travels in Burma

By Norman Lewis

Why this book?

Among the 20th century’s finest travel writers, Norman Lewis visited Burma in the early 1950s.  ‘Golden Earth’ is a bittersweet portrait of the then-optimistic, now-lost land – before communist incursions and military dictatorship shattered the dream.

From the list:

The best books about Myanmar from someone who has traveled throughout it

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Book cover of The Most Dangerous Enemy: A History of the Battle of Britain

The Most Dangerous Enemy: A History of the Battle of Britain

By Stephen Bungay

Why this book?

Bungay packs more useful information about the Battle of Britain into this outstanding work than dozens of other books on the same topic put together. He provides the Order of Battle for both the RAF and Luftwaffe, records the squadron rotations, the attacks by date and target, the losses of aircraft and crews, and much more. No other book is as precise about what happened to both the RAF and the Luftwaffe not just stage by stage, but day by day. Yet this book also provides lucid analysis of events and assessments of key personalities. While writing about the Battle,…

From the list:

The best books to really understand the Battle of Britain

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Book cover of Nine Lives (Witness to War)

Nine Lives (Witness to War)

By Alan C. Deere

Why this book?

Nine Lives is an autobiography by one of the RAF aces of the Battle of Britain and, as such, is one of a handful of authentic accounts about the Battle told by a participant. (I actually recommend all these first-hand accounts, but since I’m limited to five titles altogether, I confine myself to two.) Deere’s account stands out for its brutal honesty and his willingness to analyze his behavior and reactions to events. It is not a literary masterpiece, but its sincerity is all the greater. Deere was a New Zealander and therefore this book highlights the often-forgotten contribution of…

From the list:

The best books to really understand the Battle of Britain

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Book cover of The First English Empire: Power and Identities in the British Isles 1093-1343

The First English Empire: Power and Identities in the British Isles 1093-1343

By R.R. Davies

Why this book?

When I arrived in Oxford in 1998 to begin my doctorate, I knew a bit about English medieval history, but almost nothing about the histories of Wales, Scotland, and Ireland. That deficiency was corrected by Prof Rees Davies, at whose feet I was lucky enough to sit. Earlier that same year Rees had delivered the prestigious Ford lectures in Oxford, and they were published two years later as The First English Empire. Deeply learned, but also beautifully written, they are a powerful meditation on centuries when English power expanded aggressively into the rest of the British Isles, and the…

From the list:

The best books on medieval Britain

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Book cover of Go the F*ck to Sleep

Go the F*ck to Sleep

By Adam Mansbach, Ricardo Cortés

Why this book?

I was (thankfully) long past the “putting kids to bed” stage of life when I first read this book, but you don’t have to be in the depths of sleep-deprived hell to enjoy it! This book is 100% irreverent which makes it 100% perfect! It will provide just the right amount of levity to any frustrated parent/sitter who can’t understand why that beautiful, crying child in front of them won’t go to sleep already! Disclaimer: If you don’t appreciate a good F-bomb, don’t read this book. The title says it all.

From the list:

The best books for a hearty laugh

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Book cover of History of the Pirates Who Infested the China Sea from 1807-1810

History of the Pirates Who Infested the China Sea from 1807-1810

By Yuen Yung Lun, Charles Friedrich Neumann

Why this book?

The original chronicle of the massive pirate outbreak along the China coast in the early 19th century. Written by a Chinese amateur historian, he makes his patriotic agenda clear on every page: to boost the maligned reputation of China’s imperial navy in allegedly quashing the pirates (by twisting the historical truth, to put it mildly). The main characters and incidents are based on fact, while he fills in the gaps with private conversations and meetings that no one could have been privy to. Translated into English by a German missionary in 1835, this mix of fact and speculation is…

From the list:

The best books on Chinese pirates

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Book cover of Neverwhere

Neverwhere

By Neil Gaiman

Why this book?

How can one not like this book? It sucks you in without you realizing what life’s moral story it is based on. There is no preaching or in your face. Just excitement and entertainment. In the end when you realize the story is about homeless people who are totally ignored in everyday life you say “Wow” and realize the moral of the story. And it hits many of us one way or another and how we look at those less fortunate. What a master Neil is, to entertain and teach

From the list:

The best fantasy books to make you love the world you live in

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Book cover of A Little History of British Gardening

A Little History of British Gardening

By Jenny Uglow

Why this book?

To understand the British love of gardening, I put Jenny Uglow’s chatty book top of the list. Reading her prose is like listening to a favorite teacher, one who tells a good story while slipping in the pertinent facts.  "If I were a crow, flying across Britain in the 10th century,” she writes, “I would see forest and fields, iron forges and salt pans, small towns and settlements - occasionally I could circle over a deep park, or swoop down and feed on an orchard of ripe fruit, or pull worms from the newly turned earth in a small allotment."…

From the list:

The best books on the English love of gardening

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Book cover of Raising Your Spirited Baby: A Breakthrough Guide to Thriving When Your Baby Is More . . . Alert and Intense and Struggles to Sleep

Raising Your Spirited Baby: A Breakthrough Guide to Thriving When Your Baby Is More . . . Alert and Intense and Struggles to Sleep

By Mary Sheedy Kurcinka

Why this book?

As a mother of three grown children, former teacher, and author, and speaker on parenting for many years, I much prefer the term “Spirited Child” to “Strong-Willed Child.” Do you have a child who’s more intense and persistent? Challenging and uncomfortable with change? Then thank your lucky stars. As they grow into their personality, these spirited kids can become the most empathetic and focused young people and successful adults. Learn how to work and parent with an understanding of your child’s temperament instead of trying to “break” your child’s will. Often when parents set out with punitive methods to break…
From the list:

The best parenting books for creating confident creative children

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Book cover of The Middle Passage: From Misery to Meaning in Mid-Life

The Middle Passage: From Misery to Meaning in Mid-Life

By James Hollis

Why this book?

This is the best book ever written about the midlife crisis. Although only 117 pages long, it is dense with meaning, and multiple readings are necessary to truly get the most out of it. Hollis is a Zurich-trained Jungian analyst whose thought is permeated by Jung’s theories. His writing is very beautiful and often literary. He draws from psychology, poetry, art, his own practical experience, and much more. Hollis elucidates the difference between a job and a vocation, explains the relationship between fear and growth, shows how solitude differs from loneliness, and above all, gives us the best map to…

From the list:

The best books to guide you through your midlife crisis

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Book cover of A Smart Girl's Guide: Worry: How to Feel Less Stressed and Have More Fun

A Smart Girl's Guide: Worry: How to Feel Less Stressed and Have More Fun

By Nancy Holyoke, Judy Woodburn

Why this book?

This book focuses on “normal” worry rather than clinical manifestations of anxiety but still, it is chock full of practical tips for stressed-out tweens. Like all of the books in the Smart Girls series, Worry educates and empowers readers, helping them understand why they feel what they feel while giving practical advice about making changes. The only downside is that – while the information in this book is universal – it is clearly pitched to girls. It’s a pity because boys could use a book like this, too.
From the list:

The best books for older kids who worry too much

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Book cover of Armed Truce: The Beginnings of the Cold War 1945-1946

Armed Truce: The Beginnings of the Cold War 1945-1946

By Hugh Thomas

Why this book?

This is a somewhat obscure work, a massive book that apparently did not sell well. But it offers a blow-by-blow description by a great British historian about how the Cold War started, and demonstrates how it was principally Stalin's actions that led to World War II morphing into a cold war.
From the list:

The best books on the Cold War from a journalist who lived it

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Book cover of An Autobiography

An Autobiography

By R.G. Collingwood

Why this book?

In a biography of a person whose occupation was to think, the most exciting part is how their thought evolved. Robin G. Collingwood is a prominent philosopher and a historian of Roman Britain. His autobiography is precious because it is an earnest reflection on how his perception of history and the approaches to its study developed over his lifetime - a door open into the mind of a philosopher of history.
From the list:

The best books on how historians work

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Book cover of Morale: A Study of Men and Courage

Morale: A Study of Men and Courage

By John Christopher Malcolm Baynes

Why this book?

What enabled soldiers to maintain their morale in the inferno of the Western Front? This unique book explores the question by studying the soldiers of the elite 2nd Scottish Rifles at the Battle of Neuve Chapelle in March 1915. It presents a fascinating micro-history of how a British battalion functioned in peace and in war. What type of men served in an elite unit? Where had they come from? What rules did they follow? Where did their loyalties lie? How did they maintain their spirit in the face of dreadful conditions and severe casualties? This book answers these questions and…

From the list:

The best books on the British Army in World War I

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Book cover of Bloody Victory: The Sacrifice on the Somme and the Making of the Twentieth Century

Bloody Victory: The Sacrifice on the Somme and the Making of the Twentieth Century

By William Philpott

Why this book?

The Battle of the Somme 1916 was the longest and bloodiest battle ever fought by the British Army. In popular imagination, the battle tends to focus on its first day – 1st July 1916 – when British forces suffered almost 60,000 casualties. Yet the battle was much more than this single, dreadful day and the fighting would rage for another 140 days. What happened? This meticulously researched book tells the full story of the Somme campaign and shows how it was planned and fought. It is immense in scope, taking the reader from the corridors of high politics to…

From the list:

The best books on the British Army in World War I

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Book cover of On Hunting

On Hunting

By Roger Scruton

Why this book?

On Hunting is not so much a defence of foxhunting, which the conservative philosopher came to quite late in life, as a celebration of everything associated with it, from its culture to its profound influence on rural communities and the strange veneration of the quarry species. It also helps to explain, better than any other book I have read, why significant numbers of people are so passionate about hunting. “This book will bring on its author’s head the abuse to which he has long been accustomed,” wrote the historian Raymond Carr in the Literary Review. “But even the politically…
From the list:

The best books evoking the spirit of the British countryside

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Book cover of Common People: The History of an English Family

Common People: The History of an English Family

By Alison Light

Why this book?

This book is more than just a history of the author’s family. It is full of reflections on life and on family and history in general. At times reading like a detective story, this book inspired me to write about family history. The author delves deep into her working-class origins and explores the lives of characters whose stories – much like the Robinsons in my own work - would have been lost if it had not been for the publication of this book.

From the list:

The best books on social and family history

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Book cover of Black British History: New Perspectives

Black British History: New Perspectives

By Hakim Adi

Why this book?

New Perspectives shows us that Black British history is a complex field of historiography. No longer should we look at it as a sketchy, speculative, politically correct apologia for historical investigation. But rather see, that for more than three generations scholars have worked very hard to establish a vigorous pedagogy. It is a pedagogy that supports wider British histories, but subverts the traditional trajectories of those narratives. This book introduces us to some of the major developments in Black British history and it is an excellent place to start for a reader who knows very little about this subject.         

From the list:

The best history books about everyone and for everyone

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Book cover of Scene & Structure (Elements of Fiction Writing)

Scene & Structure (Elements of Fiction Writing)

By Jack M. Bickham

Why this book?

This book gets down to the nitty-gritty of planning your novel and explains the difference between scenes (where the action happens), and sequels (where the reactions happen). Great for meticulous planners and haphazard pantsers alike, this book will help any writer learn some tried and true techniques to organize their story in a professional way.
From the list:

The best books for indie authors workings to improve their craft

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Book cover of The War Against the BBC: How an Unprecedented Combination of Hostile Forces Is Destroying Britain’s Greatest Cultural Institution... And Why You Should Care

The War Against the BBC: How an Unprecedented Combination of Hostile Forces Is Destroying Britain’s Greatest Cultural Institution... And Why You Should Care

By Patrick Barwise, Peter York

Why this book?

The pairing of a kosher London Business School professor with a rock-solid broadcasting analysis track record and a style commentator with none. Nearly half the book is made up of footnotes and references. They build a powerful case against the right-wing (and not so right-wing) rag, tag, and bobtail who expend their intellectual effort on undermining the BBC, trying to destroy it or worse ‘defund it’. The trouble is that post-Brexit rational discussion in the UK is stilted and limited. The BBC has acquired an army of unexpected enemies. The usual suspects of friends are proving somewhat muted on…
From the list:

The best books on the BBC and why it is under threat

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Book cover of The Light of the World: A Memoir

The Light of the World: A Memoir

By Elizabeth Alexander

Why this book?

I absolutely love when poets write memoirs. They bring their vision and facility for sparse and exact language to the task, and Alexander’s memoir about the loss of her beloved husband is a shining example of a story that is both full and tightly woven with imagery, emotion, and action. Her words and sentences slay you, then, like a battery, or rather, lightning, shock the stunned thing in your chest back to life again. How can we write beautifully about grief and pain in a way that also heals by the sheer power of language and deep reflection? This. This…
From the list:

The best lyrical memoirs that act as salve to the soul

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Book cover of How to Catch a Unicorn

How to Catch a Unicorn

By Adam Wallace

Why this book?

I love this book because it's about kids who want to try and catch a unicorn. They set up all kinds of traps to trap the magical creature. Of course, the unicorn is way too clever and is determined not to be caught. The kids use everything imaginable to lure the unicorn: ice cream, glitter, and lemonade. It’s also a very sweet rhyming book, which is hard to do. Better luck next time!
From the list:

The best books on unicorn in the uni-verse

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Book cover of Mastering Your Mean Girl: The No-BS Guide to Silencing Your Inner Critic and Becoming Wildly Wealthy, Fabulously Healthy, and Bursting with Love

Mastering Your Mean Girl: The No-BS Guide to Silencing Your Inner Critic and Becoming Wildly Wealthy, Fabulously Healthy, and Bursting with Love

By Melissa Ambrosini

Why this book?

A fabulous look at the inner critic in all of us telling us we are not smart enough, pretty enough, and good enough – and how to silence the critic to become more kind, compassionate, and loving. This book is filled with practical strategies to try.
From the list:

The best books for raising and growing girls to be confident and strong

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Book cover of The Brit

The Brit

By Jodi Ellen Malpas

Why this book?

I want to include a fellow British writer in my list and JEM is my favorite for suspenseful steamy stories. The Brit is the first in the Unlawful Men series. Dark and broken, mafia anti-hero Danny Black is brooding and bad. He is not supposed to fall in love with the women he takes as ‘collateral’ in a deadly game of power. Rose Cassidy has learnt to be tough to survive. Danny sees her as the mirror of himself. Their twisted attraction is not for the feint-hearted but I loved it!
From the list:

The best romance books to make your toes curl and your heart race

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Book cover of Mr. Tiger Goes Wild

Mr. Tiger Goes Wild

By Peter Brown

Why this book?

Mr. Tiger Goes Wild mixes an amazing yet simple illustration style, with a powerful message about letting yourself go and letting everyone be. The bold mixed-media compositions, the color palette, and the right amount of words help kids and readers to complete the story while learning about individuality and self-expression.

From the list:

The best album books to unleash your children´s imagination

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Book cover of The Rainbow Fish

The Rainbow Fish

By Marcus Pfister

Why this book?

I remember this story from when I was little. I would stroke the shiny scales with my fingers and admire the octopus in his cave. Little me couldn’t believe the fish would give away his scales! Didn’t he want to keep them all? The message about the happiness that comes with generosity was certainly one I needed to hear...repeatedly.

From the list:

The best underwater picture books for your little sea monster

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Book cover of Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale

Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale

By Mo Willems

Why this book?

Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale is more than the story of a child’s missing beloved object. It is about the everyday things that a father and daughter do together. It is about the lengths a dad will go to fix a problem he was slow in figuring out. It is about the love between father and daughter. This story is so relatable, you can’t help but falling in love, and reading over and over with your kids. Or by yourself. Just because.

From the list:

The best picture books about fathers

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Book cover of Nicholas

Nicholas

By René Goscinny, Jean-Jacques Sempé

Why this book?

Although there are some parts of the Nicholas series that don’t hold up quite as well today – Nicholas and his friends attempt to smoke a discarded cigar, and their game of cowboys is extremely dated – these everyday adventures perfectly capture the feeling of being a kid looking out at a world that doesn’t make sense, because the world is run by grownups. Narrated by Nicholas himself, each chapter is a self-contained story full of the hilarious ups and downs of childhood. Sometimes when you’re a kid, no matter how hard you try to do good, you still get…

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The best illustrated children’s books for parents and kids to read together

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Book cover of The Illuminated Manuscript

The Illuminated Manuscript

By Janet Backhouse

Why this book?

Any time you pick up a book with Illuminated Manuscript anywhere in the title, you know you’re in for a visual feast. If you’re just starting out with this unique medieval art form, this book is an excellent introduction. It’s not too long, so it won’t overwhelm you. This book provided the foundation for my first steps into researching medieval illumination for my historical romantic novel. What is illumination? Why were books illuminated and what types of books were considered worthy of illumination? Who were some of the most famous medieval illuminators? (Perhaps my heroine’s father had studied with one.)…

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The best books on medieval illumination

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Book cover of The Proposition

The Proposition

By Judith Ivory

Why this book?

Judith Ivory has one of the most distinctive voices in historical romance. I wish she was still releasing new work! The Proposition is a fun take on My Fair Lady, where Henry Higgins is a down-on-her-luck duke’s daughter and Eliza Dolittle is a charming rat catcher. Yes, you heard that right. We’re a long way from the usual historical romance fare of dukes and rakes. Not only that, Mick Tremore, the rat catcher in question, has the most wonderful dog Win who threatens to steal the show every time she’s on the page. Charming, clever, witty and full of delicious…

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The best classic historical romance novels

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Book cover of Death and the Seaside

Death and the Seaside

By Alison Moore

Why this book?

A short, mind-bending novel about a young woman writing a story who starts to encounter incidents from her story in real life. This book is a delight. From that intriguing opening, it evolves into a tale of sadness and isolation, set against the backdrop of a fading British seaside town.

From the list:

The best thriller books that will make you question reality

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Book cover of Sam & Dave Dig a Hole

Sam & Dave Dig a Hole

By Mac Barnett, Jon Klassen

Why this book?

This is such a fun book. Between Mac's clever writing and Jon's perfect illustrations I seem to always feel the same anticipation I did on the very first read. Sam and Dave keep digging deeper and deeper, nearly revealing incredible things along the way. It's such a compelling and entertaining story to read aloud to your kids as you turn the pages and dig alongside the persistent Sam and Dave and their dog.

From the list:

The best books about friendship that I know

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Book cover of Our House

Our House

By Louise Candlish

Why this book?

Gone Girl started the domestic suspense trend and showed us that suspense can be driven by family/household dynamics. Louise Candlish takes this to another level in Our House when the main character comes home to find another family moving into her house. She soon discovers that her husband has sold the house from under her feet and disappeared. This is a fantastic, slow-burn literary thriller with a great ending.

From the list:

The best books for fans of Gone Girl

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Book cover of For Kicks

For Kicks

By Dick Francis

Why this book?

When Daniel Roke takes on an unusual job he does it for monetary and personal reasons and has no idea he is risking his life. Dick Francis takes you from Australia to the world of English horseracing with a clever plot that is unexpected and has a really wicked twist. He also can deliver some villains that inspire visceral dislike like no other author and doesn’t let you down in this intense novel. Well done and kept me doing the infamous reading into the night.

From the list:

The best books for the steep cliff page-turners

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Book cover of Four Years' Service in India (1853)

Four Years' Service in India (1853)

By John Ryder

Why this book?

Perhaps the most unusual book on the list. This book is a riveting, true account of a British soldier in India in 1847. It’s a first-person tale of Ryder’s life in the army, of endless marches, and moments of sheer terror. Most histories are written for, and by elites, but this story is written by a true subaltern – a very special thing! If you want to know what life was truly like for the average British soldier in the Raj, read this. Did I also mention it is a page-turner? I guarantee you won’t be able to put it…

From the list:

The best non-fiction books about journalism and history in India

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Book cover of How to Market a Book: Overperform in a Crowded Market

How to Market a Book: Overperform in a Crowded Market

By Ricardo Fayet

Why this book?

Writing a book is not the hardest part in the process, but marketing and selling it. This is one of the best marketing books for self-published authors and you will love how clear, concise and straightforward it is – no general stuff, but straight to the point.

You will find out how to alter your mindset in order to boost sales, how to write books and turn this venture into a career, how to get Amazon to actually market the book for you, how to get potential readers on the mailing list before releasing the book and so on.

From the list:

The best marketing books for self-publishing authors

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Book cover of One Perfect Rose

One Perfect Rose

By Mary Jo Putney

Why this book?

I love stories where the heroes are facing great challenges. In One Perfect Rose, as the story begins, Stephen Kenyon, Duke of Ashburton, has just learned from his doctor that he has only a short time left to live. Shocked, he runs from his wealthy world and wanders the country as an ordinary man. When he rescues a young boy who had been swept away by a flood, he is embraced by the boy’s family and finds all that he had been missing in his life—the warmth of a family and our heroine, Rosalind. His hidden past and his…

From the list:

The best books with great hunks for heroes

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Book cover of The Peace of Christmas Eve

The Peace of Christmas Eve

By Fred L. Engelman

Why this book?

The ending of that war by one of the most remarkable peace treaties ever signed, deserves the detailed treatment it receives in The Peace of Christmas Eve. When the United States declared war in June 1812, its government and people were deeply divided on the wisdom or necessity of such a course of action. Once begun and pursued, a way had to be found the end the conflict. The reader will find the who, how, and why clearly set out in Engelman’s book.
From the list:

The best books to answer your questions about the War of 1812

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Book cover of Reckless Memories

Reckless Memories

By Catherine Cowles

Why this book?

Reckless Memories is the first book in the standalone Wrecked series. Ford and Bell will capture your heart with their second chance at love. There’s angst and tension and a swoon-worthy love story brewing amidst suspenseful moments. If you love a good romance with Nora Roberts’ feels, you’ll enjoy this story!

From the list:

The best books to warm your heart on a cold winter’s night

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Book cover of Nine Coaches Waiting

Nine Coaches Waiting

By Mary Stewart

Why this book?

An oldie but goodie, first published in 1958, this beautifully written novel of suspense and romance is often compared to Daphne du Maurier’s masterpiece Rebecca. I actually prefer Nine Coaches Waiting, with its nod to Bronte’s Jane Eyre and the gorgeous setting of a French castle. In this book, the orphaned Englishwoman Linda Martin becomes the governess to young, orphaned Phillipe, of Chateau Valmy in France. At first, the situation seems perfect, and young Phillipe is a shy but engaging pupil. His aunt and uncle, however, raise Linda’s concerns, and the ensuing cat-and-mouse game lays bare the ways…

From the list:

The best books of mystery/suspense by women authors

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Book cover of The Shell Seekers

The Shell Seekers

By Rosamunde Pilcher

Why this book?

This well-loved book was published in 1987. It’s beautifully written and takes you right to the heart of Cornwall, evoking the Bohemian lifestyle favoured by the artists who were drawn to the special qualities of the light as well as the lifestyle. It’s a story of family life and family conflict which will resonate with so many. Penelope’s garden remains with me now; the descriptions are perfect, and the characters well-drawn. It’s a story about learning true values and needing to maintain inner strength. Deservedly popular as one of Britain’s most well-loved books, it’s a long read but totally immersive.

From the list:

The best historical books set in Cornwall

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Book cover of Suffer the Children

Suffer the Children

By John Saul

Why this book?

Unlike the other authors on this list who mostly write about adult characters, John Saul writes almost exclusively about children (at least he has in all the books I’ve read by him). I chose Suffer The Children for this list because it was the first book he wrote back in 1977, I believe. There are some disturbing moments in it, as there are in most horror novels, so be aware of that. However, Saul is a talented author who can effortlessly get into the heads of the kids he writes about. He’s also a master of the slow-burn, building suspense…

From the list:

The best coming-of-age horror novels

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Book cover of The Pursuit of Love

The Pursuit of Love

By Nancy Mitford

Why this book?

Fictionalizing her large and extremely eccentric family—shabby members of the British gentry in the 1930s, lacking the wealth of earlier times—Nancy Mitford managed to create a novel that is both hilarious and poignant, with a style uniquely her own. Her characters seem almost too bizarre to be real, yet if you read about the real Mitfords, you discover that, if anything, this novel (published in 1945) softened their edges! She writes brilliantly not only about the fun and tensions among an array of strongminded siblings but also about her domineering father and, later, about the blissful madness of falling in…

From the list:

The best novels about families from the mid-twentieth century

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Book cover of The Prince of Eden

The Prince of Eden

By Marilyn Harris

Why this book?

The seven-book saga featuring the Eden family by Marilyn Harris is an amazing read, but I found The Prince of Eden to be the most moving. Not only is Edward Eden the most likable (though still questionable) of the men in the family, the book sheds light on an era of British history I wasn’t very familiar with, the 1830s-50s. I became a spectator of the social unrest, opium dens, and more within these pages. The fictional characters move alongside historical people and events, leaving their own footprints in the world of possibility within this emotional read.

From the list:

The best books for historical gothic family saga fans

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Book cover of The Face of a Stranger

The Face of a Stranger

By Anne Perry

Why this book?

A prolific writer, Anne Perry has a different series for a number of eras, from the Crimean to the Great War, each with fascinating protagonists. My favorite is The Face of a Stranger. This is the William Monk series set in the Nineteenth Century following the Crimean War. 

William Monk is a police detective who has to carry on with his work after sustaining a case of amnesia due to an accident. Without memory of who are his enemies, be they on the police force or in dens of iniquity, each case he undertakes is full of tension.

Anne…

From the list:

The best British mystery books

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Book cover of Julie and Romeo: A Novel

Julie and Romeo: A Novel

By Jeanne Ray

Why this book?

There simply aren’t enough romances that focus on older main characters, so I particularly loved that this funny, Shakespeare-inspired love story had a 60-year-old divorced heroine and an equally mature widower hero. The protagonists are rival florists in Boston, and their families have been embroiled in a feud that has spanned several generations. Watching the way this novel played out—especially with so many meddling family members!—was great fun. And if, like me, you always wished the original Romeo and Juliet could have, maybe, been transformed into a comedy with a happier ending, Jeanne Ray’s light, modern romance just might be…

From the list:

The best romance novels inspired by British classics

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Book cover of Little Darlings

Little Darlings

By Melanie Golding

Why this book?

Less devils and more changeling babies, but the gothic feel of Golding’s novel makes it a must for this list. Lauren Tranter gives birth to twin boys in what, based on my personal experience, may be the worst hospital in the world. While there, a woman arrives to swap them, then disappears without a trace. Was Lauren hallucinating? The effects of postpartum depression and exhaustion make it tempting to explain away Lauren’s complaints, but that makes it no less terrifying. What happens when a mother believes that her babies are not hers? I listened to the audiobook of this title…

From the list:

The best books about deals with devils

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Book cover of Kiss Kiss

Kiss Kiss

By Roald Dahl

Why this book?

Roald Dahl, who's mostly known for his writings of children’s literature, also wrote a plethora of brilliant adult short works of fiction. The author is relentlessly masterful in conjuring up bizzare, macabre stories. Subtle yet profound, these tales will be burrowed deep inside the reader's subconscious, lurking and writhing...

From the list:

The best unsettling story collections that will gnaw at your subconscious

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