Winter is the best time to find a warm, cosy spot and get into a great read. We've discussed an excellent selection of books during our Chatterbooks sessions this winter.
Join us for Chatterbooks online from the comfort of your home to hear about books the staff have loved, share your favourites or just listen for inspiration.
Reserve some of the recommended titles below from our catalogue or find them in our eBook collection.
For more events, reading ideas and resources for book lovers, visit our Book Groups page.
Weather* by Jenny Offill
Lizzie Benson slid into her job as a librarian without a traditional degree. But this gives her a vantage point from which to practice her other calling: as an unofficial shrink. For years, she has supported her God-haunted mother and her recovering addict brother. They have both stabilised for the moment, but then her old mentor, Sylvia Liller, makes a proposal. Sylvia has become famous for her prescient podcast, Hell and High Water. She wants to hire Lizzie to answer the mail she receives. As she dives into this polarised world, she begins to wonder what it means to keep tending your own garden once you've seen the flames beyond its walls.
Such a fun age* by Kiley Reid
When Emira is apprehended at a supermarket for 'kidnapping' the white child she's actually babysitting, it sets off an explosive chain of events. Her employer Alix, a feminist blogger with the best of intentions, resolves to make things right. But Emira herself is aimless, broke and wary of Alix's desire to help. When a surprising connection emerges between the 2 women, it sends them on a crash course that will upend everything they think they know – about themselves, each other, and the messy dynamics of privilege.
The echo wife by Sarah Gailey
A dark suspenseful novel of lies, betrayal and identity. We can’t say too much about this book without spoiling the experience, but we recommend it as a cutting edge, multi-layered psychological thriller.
Girl, woman, other* by Bernadine Evaristo
This joyful and dynamic novel follows the lives of 12 very different characters. Mostly women, black and British, they tell their stories across generations. This is an irresistible and glorious novel and a worthy co-winner of the Man Booker prize in 2019 (along with Margaret Atwood for The testaments).
One to watch by Kate Stayman-London
A really enjoyable contemporary debut about how the complex standards of female beauty affect how we see ourselves and others. Stayman-London delivers these messages within the wholly modern tale of Bea Schumacher, a leading fashion blogger and plus-size advocate. In the midst of heartbreak, Bea is approached to be the first plus-size woman to star in a reality dating show. She decides to take part and the ensuing story is both entertaining and poignant.
The girl remains* by Katherine Firkin
This second novel by Katherine Firkin that features Detective Emmett Corban is a wonderful example of the police procedural genre. Detective Corban is sent down to the Blairgowrie to investigate the 22-year-old disappearance of a 15-year-old girl after the discovery of human remains on a local beach. Investigating the case inevitably reopens old wounds for the locals and Detective Corban has his work cut out trying to uncover the truth about what happened.
Exit* by Belinda Bauer
Felix Pink is an Exiteer, a volunteer who sits with the terminally ill as they choose to take their last breath through voluntary euthanasia. When a routine visit takes an unexpected and dramatic turn, Felix unwittingly finds himself on the run from the police. A quirky and darkly humorous novel that takes the reader on an entertaining journey filled with snappy dialogue, appealing characters and heart-warming moments.
This child of ours by Sadie Pearse
An exploration of gender dysphoria, this child of mine will stay with you long after you have finished it. When Sally’s 7-year-old daughter Riley confides in her that she is not comfortable living as a girl, the whole family is thrown into turmoil. Sally and her husband Theo don’t agree on the best way to deal with the situation and the family starts to fracture, with Riley caught in the middle. Sadie Pearse writes in an engaging and accessible way while also addressing the topic with sensitivity.
The dressmakers of Yarrandarrah Prison* by Meredith Jaffe
Derek Brown is trying to get through his prison sentence for embezzlement by keeping his head down and his nose clean. His weekly ‘Backtackers’ sewing class at the prison give him something to look forward to, as well as a sense of purpose. When he finds out that his estranged daughter is getting married, he decides that he and the ‘Backtackers’ can make her a wedding dress as a way for him to show her how much he cares. Things don’t exactly go to plan though, and we follow Derek and his unlikely comrades through the ups and downs of the project. This thought-provoking novel will leave you laughing and crying in equal measure.
Lightseekers by Femi Kayode
First-time novelist Femi Kayode has brought us a captivating and pacey thriller featuring forensic psychologist Phillip Taiwo. The deaths of 3 students at the hands of an angry mob has left their families needing answers. Why did a group of people take it upon themselves to attack these boys in such a brutal and shocking way? When Phillip and his driver Chika start investigating, they are drawn into something more complex and dangerous than they could have imagined. With nuanced characters and great dialogue, this book takes you on a rollercoaster ride through modern-day Nigeria and the somewhat murky world of university fraternity groups.
Furious hours: murder, fraud and the last trial of Harper Lee by Cep Casey
This is the stunning and explosive true story of an Alabama serial killer and the trial that obsessed the author of To kill a mockingbird in the years after the publication of her classic novel. Cep Casey does a great job in bringing to life the shocking murders, the courtroom dramas and the racism in the deep south of America, while also giving us valuable insights into the life and times of Harper Lee.
One hundred years of dirt by Rick Morton
Violence, treachery and cruelty run through generations of Rick Morton’s family. The sins of Rick’s grandfather are most definitely visited upon his child and then upon Rick, but it's telling the way in which these men react. Rick’s father was a cruel man who abandoned his family and it's Rick’s mother who saves the family. She is the hero. This is an emotionally complex book and is at times difficult to read, such is the sadness and tragedy. However, Morton has a deft touch and moves from his personal story to wider themes just at the right moment each time. I was moved and inspired by this memoir.
For more recommended reading, visit Booklists.