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What We’re Reading


Conversations with Friends

Recommended by Max


Available in Paperback

Published 1st March 2018

Published by Faber & Faber

Available to buy over the phone on 01799 542 552 or in the shop.

Winner of the 2017 Sunday Times/Peters Fraser Dunlop Young Writer of the Year Award

Frances, Bobbi, Nick and Melissa ask each other endless questions. As their relationships unfold, in person and online, they discuss sex and friendship, art and literature, politics and gender, and, of course, one another.

Twenty-one-year-old Frances is at the heart of it all, bringing us this tale of a complex menage-a-quatre and her affair with Nick, an older married man.

You can read Conversations with Friends as a romantic comedy, or you can read it as a feminist text.

You can read it as a book about infidelity, about the pleasures and difficulties of intimacy, or about how our minds think about our bodies.

However you choose to read it, it is an unforgettable novel about the possibility of love.

Described by the New York Times as a ‘new kind of adultery novel’, Conversations with Friends is also sharp, bitingly funny fiction that digs deep into identity and communication; slicing into the divide between who we are, and who we present ourselves to be. Hooking a reader from the first page, this modern love story about growing up and the infinite complexities of intimacy is a masterful debut from a major new talent.




Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine

Recommended by Max


Available in Paperback

Published 25th February 2018

Published by Harper Collins

Available to buy over the phone on 01799 542 552 or in the shop.

Winner of the 2017 Costa Book Awards First Novel Award

When people ask me what I do – taxi drivers, dental hygienists – I tell them I work in an office. In almost nine years, no one’s ever asked what kind of office, or what sort of job I do there. I can’t decide whether that’s because I fit perfectly with their idea of what an office worker looks like, or whether people hear the phrase work in an office and automatically fill in the blanks themselves – lady doing photocopying, man tapping at keyboard.

Eleanor Oliphant has learned how to survive – but not how to live

She leads a simple life. She wears the same clothes to work every day, eats the same meal deal for lunch every day and buys the same two bottles of vodka to drink every weekend. Eleanor Oliphant is happy. Nothing is missing from her carefully timetabled life. Except, sometimes, everything.

One simple act of kindness is about to shatter the walls Eleanor has built around herself.

Now she must learn how to navigate the world that everyone else seems to take for granted – whilst searching for the courage to face the dark corners she’s avoided all her life.

Change can be good. Change can be bad. But surely any change is better than… fine?

Widely hailed as the fiction debut of 2017, this is a contented but broken life, played in full.


Midwinter Break

Recommended by Max


Available in Paperback

Published 4th January 2018

Published by Vintage Publishing

Available to buy over the phone on 01799 542 552 or in the shop.

“This is not a story about old people,” Bernard MacLaverty told the Guardian. “It’s the story of two young people who got old and they have fallen out of step.”

After a hiatus of some sixteen years, the author of Cal and Grace Notes returns with a masterful dissection of a long life both shared and divided, a marriage where one party is happy with their lot and the other is yearning for something rather more.

In their past trots the stalking horse of an Ireland and the Troubles both Gerry and Stella have long turned their back on. In their present, a long weekend in Amsterdam proves catalyst to a brilliant study of monogamy and the slow damage of compromise.

Born in Belfast, Bernard MacLaverty is a novelist and short-story writer who has also written radio and television plays, libretti and screenplays, most notably adapting his own novels Cal and Lamb for film. His publications include the novel Grace Notes, which was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, and his Collected Stories.


The Lost Words

Recommended by Max


Available in Hardback

Published 5th October 2017

Published by Penguin Books Ltd

Available to buy over the phone on 01799 542 552 or in the shop.

Once upon a time, words began to vanish from the language of children.
They disappeared so quietly that at first almost no one noticed – until one day, they were gone.
But there is an old kind of magic for finding what is missing, and for summoning what has vanished. If the right spells are spoken, the lost words might return…

Robert Macfarlane – the author of the extraordinary bestseller Landmarks – and acclaimed artist Jackie Morris, who lives and breathes the natural world like almost no other, have combined their equally extraordinary talents to produce a something stunning in the world of children’s literature.

Robert Macfarlane

The Lost Words
 is a very special illustrated collection of spell-poems to re-wild the language of children. All over the country, there are words disappearing from children’s lives. These are the words of the natural world – Dandelion, Otter, Bramble and Acorn, all gone. The rich landscape of wild imagination and wild play is rapidly fading from our children’s minds.
Jackie Morris

This work stands against the disappearance of wild childhood. It is a joyful celebration of nature words and the natural world they invoke.

Assembled in acrostic spell-poems by the peerless wordsmith that is Robert Macfarlane and illuminated by Jackie Morris’ unparalleled skill in rendering the natural world, The Lost Words is a volume to be treasured forever. The book – standing some two feet high and over 130 pages – will almost be as monumental as the world it describes, a fitting thing of beauty to arrest the decline of a language and experience that are both so quickly fading away.


The English Heritage Book of New Ghosts Stories – Eight Ghosts

Recommended by Max


Available in Hardback

Published 28th September 2017

Published by English Heritage

Available to buy over the phone on 01799 542 552 or in the shop.

In the winter of 2016, English Heritage sent some of the UK’s finest contemporary writers to stay at different historical sites across the UK. From Max Porter at Eltham Palace to Mark Haddon deep in York’s Cold War Bunker, their experiences informed their chilling creations. Eight authors, eight ghost stories, eight unsettling, supernatural creations set loose in time for Halloween. With a foreword by Andrew Martin and fascinating background detail on English Heritage sites and their supernatural legacies, this is a book to be savoured – and read aloud – as the winter nights draw in.

Authors and sites:

  • Sarah Perry: Audley End
  • Max Porter: Eltham Palace
  • Andrew Michael Hurley: Carlisle Castle
  • Mark Haddon: York Cold War Bunker
  • Stuart Evers: Dover Castle
  • Jeanette Winterson: Pendennis Castle
  • Kate Clanchy: Housesteads
  • Kamila Shamsie: Kenilworth Castle