Our librarian Claire rounds up her top picks for books to read this September – tales of extraordinary adventures, whimsical mysteries and overcoming the odds. Which one will you go for?
Top non-fiction: The Sun Does Shine – How I Found Life And Freedom On Death Row by Anthony Ray Hinton
Anthony Ray Hinton was convicted of two murders he didn’t commit. For the next three decades he was imprisoned in solitary confinement in a tiny cell on death row.
Listening to this made me seethe; made my blood boil in righteous anger, but Ray chooses to forgive. He, as much as he can, gets on with his life. He sets up a book club with prisoners shouting literary criticism down the corridors on death row, and befriends his fellow inmates including mass murderers; white supremacists and other ne’er-do-wells.
A sad, wise and ultimately uplifting book about a man who did not let the system break him. And by heck how they tried.
Top fiction: The Keeper Of Lost Things – A Novel by Ruth Hogan
Once a celebrated author of short stories and now in his twilight years, Anthony Peardew has spent half his life lovingly collecting lost objects, trying to atone for a promise broken many years before. Realising he’s running out of time, he leaves his house and all its lost treasures to his assistant Laura, the one person he can trust to fulfil his legacy and reunite the thousands of objects with their rightful owners. But the final wishes of The Keeper Of Lost Things have unforeseen repercussions which trigger a most serendipitous series of encounters.
The synopsis of this book piqued my interest and I was not disappointed. I loved this book for the gentle way it tackles feelings of grief and regret, and having courage to change. The stories throughout about the lost things were intriguing. This is an easy read that sucked me in to a whimsical world and had me hooked.
Top audio book: Nemesis by Lindsey Davis. Narrated by Christian Rodska
In the high summer of AD 77, laidback detective Marcus Didius Falco is called upon to investigate the mysterious disappearance of a middle-aged couple who supplied statues to Falco’s father, Geminus. Falco, beset by personal problems, finds it a relief to consider someone else’s misfortunes.
This is the last in the series of the bestselling historical mystery crime novels featuring the fictional central character Marcus Didius Falco, by Lindsey Davis. It is a crime story that will hook you into Falco’s world even if you haven’t read the previous stories in the series. The details in the writing give a real sense of life in ancient Rome without it feeling like a history lesson, and for me Christian Rodska provides the perfect voice for Falco.
Top children’s fiction: Wildspark by Vashti Hardy
A year after the death of her older brother, Prue Haywood’s family is still shattered by grief. However, everything changes when a stranger arrives at the farm with an offer Prue knows she cannot refuse.
A new, incredible technology has been discovered in the city of Medlock, where a secretive guild of inventors have developed a way to capture spirits of the dead in animal-like machines, bringing them back to life. Prue’s apprenticeship at the guild could be a way to get her brother back, and she is determined to succeed.
This is a fast-paced, exciting story by the author of Brightstorm (another great read). Set in a world of mechanical animals, ghosts and alternative sciences, it has a slight steam-punk feel. The story is a good adventure with themes of grief, loss and friendship. I really enjoyed going on Prue’s journey with her.
Top children’s non-fiction: A Guide To Space by Kevin Pettman
Think you know everything there is to know about space? Think again! This fact-packed bumper book is filled with everything you ever wanted to know about space, and more! Using vivid colours, graphic visuals and bold designs, this guide brings space to life on the page with a modern and engaging approach to information.
With a few days left to take part in the year’s Space Chase Summer Reading Challenge you might want to choose a book about space to share. This book is a great introduction to a fascinating subject, and if you’re taking part in the Summer Reading Challenge you can even get space themed rewards for reading it!
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.