It is December, the most joyous and festive time of the year, so this month’s picks are…not festive at all! Instead they kind of sum up the last 10 months, featuring nuclear disaster and the machines finally taking over. Christmas might look a little different this year but we hope you are able to connect with those you love and enjoy a mince pie and glass of fizz.

‘Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night’


All our pick are now available in one spot, making it super easy to download any that take your fancy.

Top non-fiction, chosen by Paul: Chernobyl : History of a tragedy by Serhii Plokhy

This non-fiction work predates the acclaimed HBO drama on the subject and tells the disastrous story of the nuclear accident at Chernobyl just as compellingly. While one knows how the tale will end there is immense tension in the literal and metaphorical fire-fighting within its re-telling. Each personality introduced has their background intimately drawn and are given their spotlight. The humanity in their efforts, bravery and fears is finely drawn. A powerful, sensitive and necessary work.

Top fiction, chosen by Andrea: The Clutter Corpse by Simon Brett

A new series from the author of the gentle crime series set in West Sussex, The Fethering Mysteries.

Ellen Curtis is a professional declutterer, helping people make space in their cluttered homes.  But Ellen gets more than she bargained for when she discovers the body of a young woman in a client’s jumbled flat.  She discovers a past connection with the dead woman, but who’s the killer….?

Ellen sets out to uncover the truth, at the same time as attempting to solve the mystery of a friend’s untimely disappearance.

An enjoyable, cosy read by one of our own Sussex authors.

Top audio book, chosen by Di: The Assistant’ by S.K. Tremayne

Jo a journalist whose life is turned upside down when the technological assistants in her home that are supposed to help her by playing music, answering her questions, controlling the heating and lighting appear to turn on her and start to attack her and try to destroy her life and in so doing the lives of her family and friends.

The novel is cleverly written with the reader not being sure right until the end of the novel whether Jo is mentally ill, is torturing herself due to a guilty conscience caused by a dark secret from her past, whether her ex or someone else close to her is trying to get revenge on her, or if the modern technology in her life is actually torturing her for entertainment.

Top children’s fiction, chosen by Sian :You Can’t Take an Elephant On the Bus by Patricia Cleveland-Peck and David Tazzyman

This is a delightfully irrelevant take on questions that could be asked by young questioning minds. Each beautifully illustrated page introduces us to a new animal and a new type of transport. The prose is for the adult is reminiscent of the first thing that might enter the mind when posed with the question, it flows well, perfect for reading out loud. The book perfectly learns the child new animals and types of transport while using nonsense situations.

Top children’s non-fiction, chosen by Amanda: The Lost Words by Robert Macfarlane and Jackie Morris

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. A wild landscape of imagination and play is rapidly fading from our children’s minds.

The Lost Words stands against the disappearance of wild childhood. It is a joyful celebration – in art and word – of nearby nature and its wonders. With acrostic spell-poems by award-winning writer Robert Macfarlane and illustrations by Jackie Morris, this enchanting book evokes the irreplaceable magic of language and nature for all ages.

All of the above picks can be downloaded here


Have you read any of the books featured this month? If so we’d love to hear what you thought! Leave your reviews in the comments below. Missed September’s book reviews? Catch up on them here.

You can find out more about libraries in East Sussex by visiting the East Sussex County Council website.