February may be short but it packs a punch with both Pancake Day and Valentine’s Day. One concerns love, the other something we all love to eat. So to continue the theme, here are some books that our wonderful librarians love.


East Sussex Bookclub: Wranglestone by Darren Charlton

We are very excited to announce the first East Sussex Bookclub of 2021.  This February as part of LGBTQ+ month we present the Costa shortlisted Wranglestone by Darren Charlton.

Part adventure, part zombie-survival, part teen gay romance, this isn’t some issue based coming out story, it’s a thriller and a mystery that just happens to have a gay relationship at its heart.

As a youth Darren said he grew tired of the troubled worlds of Edmund White and Joe Orton when all he wanted was Tom Sawyer to fall in love with Huck, or Luke Skywalker to swing across the chasm with Han.

Wranglestone is that book, part I Am Legend and True Grit. It’s Brokeback Mountain meets Walking Dead!

In February there will be unlimited access to the book on Libby our eBook platform; with no waits and no holds.  There will also be an opportunity to put your questions and feedback to Darren.

Rebecca’s choice: Brokeback Mountain by Annie Proulx

Most people will be familiar with the film but this short story is well worth a read (or listen). It has everything a heart-wrenching story of forbidden love should have; high stakes, furtive glances, sexual tension, tenderness and tragedy. It is a perfect depiction of how disarming and confusing loving someone can be and how love can endure against all external forces, your own internal struggle and even when you are apart.

‘Brokeback Mountain’ is one of the short stories to be found in Proulx’s collection Close Range:  Wyoming Stories.


Michelle’s choice: The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

Greece in the age of heroes. Patroclus, an awkward young prince, has been exiled to the court of King Peleus and his perfect son Achilles. Achilles takes the shamed prince as his friend, and as they grow into young men skilled in the arts of war, their bond blossoms into something much deeper – despite the displeasure of Achilles’ mother Thetis.

The Song of Achilles delves into Homer’s epic poem The Illiad and addresses the love story of Achilles and Patroclus, told from the viewpoint of Patroclus. Tender and moving, Miller’s narrative traces the growing romance between Achilles and Patroclus, casting new light on the events of the Trojan War. A perfect love story for St Valentine’s day.

Di’s choice: It Started with a Secret by Jill Mansell

Mansell’s book begins with Lainey losing not only her job but yet another boyfriend. Fed up of being unlucky in love she swears off men for the rest of the year and applies for a new job in sunny Cornwall pretending her best friend, Kit, is her boyfriend in order to get it.

This secret works out well until an unexpected love match shows up. However, Lainey’s new suitor has a more serious secret of his own that may mean her happy ever after may still be elusive.

Mansell’s warm and witty novel will help cheer you up during these cold lockdown months.

Henry’s choice: Beastie Boys Book by Adam Horovitz and Michael Diamond

Valentines may be associated with romance, but my choice highlights platonic love, between straight men, the Bromance.

The Beastie Boys Book is a little story, a love story, about three best friends, three ‘idiots’, who became three bad brothers, who became a punk band, who became the Beastie Boys.

Along the way they made lots of friends and a few enemies and released a string of decade defining, genre busting hip-hop/rap-rock LPs.

This book contains wild tales of pre-gentrification New York City, getting booed by Madonna fans and lots and lots of silly shenanigans.

But mostly it’s a story of love, love of music, love of food, love of NYC and the love of three best friends.

This Grammy nominated audiobook features has a host of famous narrators including: Steve Buscemi, Jarvis Cocker, Elvis Costello, Will Ferrell, Bette Midler, Rosie Perez, Amy Poehler, John C. Reilly, Jon Stewart and Ben Stiller.

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 December’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.