Avoid the mad rush of the shops in the run up to Christmas and bury your head in a good book instead! Take a look at these reading recommendations from our librarian Ann, who shares her pre-festive faves in this month’s feature.
Top non-fiction: More Dashing – Further Letters
Of Patrick Leigh Fermor By Patrick Leigh Fermor
This is a most welcome follow up to the delightful Dashing For The Post. Here is a further selection of letters from the celebrated travel writer Patrick Leigh Fermor, who sadly died in 2011. This latest selection is as vibrant and as varied as the first. They, as before, reflect the characteristics of the writer who was once described by the BBC as “a cross between Indiana Jones, James Bond and Graham Greene”. Encounters are described with various celebrities, from politicians of the day to Jackie Onassis and Camilla Parker-Bowles.
The letters are entertaining and enlightening in equal measure, but more importantly these letters are some of the best prose the author has written – wonderfully expressive with an amazing narrative. Enjoy!
Top fiction: The Burning Chambers By Kate Mosse
Another wonderful epic by the celebrated author of Labyrinth. This time the story is set in France during the mid-16th century, when the Wars of Religion are at their peak.
Catholic (Minou) and Hugeuenot (Piet) are brought together and the pair become involved in a tale of betrayed conspiracies and divided loyalties. There’s intrigue and danger all the way, making for an excellent and gripping story.
There is the obligatory feisty female, a large cast of characters and a most surprising twist at the end – all of which sets it up for a possible series.
Top audio book: Milkman By Anna Burns –
local resident and this year’s Man Booker Prize winner
In an unnamed city, to be interesting is dangerous. To be interesting is to be noticed and to be noticed is very risky.
A strange, intimidating and amusing novel with lots of sarcasm and black humour but also, at times, very profound. Milkman is a tale of rumour and hearsay, where being ineffectual has dramatic consequences. An outstanding book!
Or, you may prefer to read it…
Top kid’s book: Mixed By Arree Chung
In this brightly illustrated and funny book, the brilliantly talented Arree Chung tells a sweet tale of difference and acceptance. Aimed at ages 3-8, Mixed is a charming and timely story with an inspiring message about understanding and the importance of peaceful co-existence.
Who’s the best, the Blues, Reds or Yellows? Follow the colours as they overcome their differences.
Librarian’s choice: Days Of Awe By A. M. Homes
In these 13 stories come some breathtakingly sharp and perfectly defined portraits of American life from the winner of the Women’s Prize for Fiction. She returns with a selection of her signature humorous observations. In this latest collection, as in her others, she offers an insight into the worlds of people who are not who they had hoped to become.
These portrayals are brilliant placed in a 21st century American setting and the snapshots of life are so vivid and acutely observed that the stories will stay with you long after you’ve read them. Even if you are not a great fan of the short story, do give these a try and you will be amazed. The story of a shopper who suddenly finds himself nominated to run for President is a joy.
Have you read any of the books featured this month? We’d love to hear what you thought! Leave your reviews in the comments below. Missed last month’s top five? Catch up on them here.
You can find out more about libraries in East Sussex by visiting the East Sussex County Council website.