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Jo Coldwell from Red Lion Books in Colchester has joined us for Independent Bookshop Week. Jo has picked five questions – sent in by Caboodlers just like you – to answer. All five Caboodlers will each receive a £15/€20 National Book Token to spend in their favourite bookshop.Got a bookish bothering of your own? Send your questions in and if we pick yours for the attention of our future Book Doctors, you’ll get a National Book Token!
Yes Kate, I also think humorous books are hard to find but when they come along they are like precious gems aren’t they? The best fitting recommendation I can give, to suit your remit, has to be Reasons to be Cheerful by Nina Stibbe... for the title alone it deserves to be picked up! Stibbe is a joyful and comedic writer who is often regarded as the natural heir to Sue Townsend. If you want to try something darker, with a wry rather than cheerful wit, may I suggest French Exit by Patrick de Witt. If this venture proves too dark, then head back to some short and razor sharp essays from Caitlin Moran. Moranifesto is a non-fiction collection of her imitable writing style and will guarantee laughter – my cheeks hurt from her describing malfunctioning printers. Yes, really!
Hi Sinead, I'm not sure how old you are but I'm going to go straight in with a book called Showstopper by Hayley Barker. I have recommended this to children as young as Year 6 through to late teens. It has a gorgeous cover, which will grab your attention and entice you in. It also has really short chapters, which are appealing when you are short on concentration. It's a thrilling story, so I'm confident you will want to keep turning the pages. It's fast paced and it’s a good story at showing good people on the 'bad' side and bad people on the 'good' side. This recommendation comes with a warning: You WILL want to buy the follow-up, Show Stealer.
Hi Jamila, you're not being pushy – you are being passionate! However... asking him to read the books you loved as a child is one thing but asking him to love them is another and comes with no guarantee. If you want him to have a genuine and lifelong love for reading, you can only give him the tools and trust that he will use them to make good choices. This means allowing him to make mistakes along the way as well. Of course, you should offer the books you loved but bear in mind some of the classics may feel dated to him (not to mention racist and sexist!). Perhaps you could reverse your wish and let him suggest books to you and find a shared love that way. Let him find his own reading habits in the knowledge that as he matures he will value your opinion... eventually! Mothers always know best after all.
Hello Jess. I'm the same and it can be very frustrating. I can, however, recommend one that is highly original and that is The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton. It is a closed room murder like no other. Only one person, Aiden, can solve the case and reminiscent of the film Groundhog Day, he has to keep repeating the day of the murder except for each time the day begins again, he wakes in the body of a different houseguest. Complex, intelligent and not in the least bit predictable. You need to keep concentrating until the end.
Norwegian Wood is the classic one so perhaps you could start there? The first one I read was South of the Border, West of the Sun but the one I want to read is The Wind Up Bird Chronicle – I have seen customers' eyes light up when they talk about it. My tip would be to decide if you want a long or a short read – this will help narrow it down because Murakami seems to have two types of book: HUGE and SHORT! Going into a bookshop enables you to get a literal feel for a book if weight is an issue!
Red Lion Books is an independent bookshop in Colchester, Essex. It is still owned and run by Peter and Sarah Donaldson who founded the shop back in 1978. Red Lion Books fills the shop with a large range of adult and children's titles each week, thoughtfully selected and attractively displayed.
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Browse quizzes, reading lists, and recommendations from our guest Book Doctors.