Meet this month's Book Doctor... Stuart Turton!

Stuart TurtonIn a reading rut? Want to health-check your reading habits? In our Book Doctor feature, we welcome a guest to prescribe just the right read for any mood or occasion.

Stuart Turton, Books Are My Bag Readers Awards Novel Award-winning author of The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle, has picked five questions – sent in by Caboodlers just like you – to answer.

Got a bookish bothering of your own? Send your questions in – if we pick yours for the attention of our future Book Doctors, you’ll get a £15/€20 National Book Token!

The Colour of Bee Larkham's Murder

I love reading on my daily commute, so I need books that are gripping and immersive to help while away my journey. I really enjoy psychological thrillers, but feel the market is saturated at the moment with many similar titles and storylines. Can you recommend something that is a bit off the beaten track? -Louise

If we're talking one foot off the beaten track onto the beautiful verge, then try This is How it Ends by Eva Dolan. It's about a female friendship and a dead body that comes between them. It’s brilliant. If you fancy wandering up to the nearby treeline, give The Colour of Bee Larkham's Murder by Sarah Harris a try. It's about a boy who sees the world as splashes of colour and thinks he may have killed his neighbour. And, if you want to get lost in the woods completely, try Journey Under the Midnight Sun by Keigo Higashino, which is the story of childhood friends Ryo and Yukiho and the strange occurrences that follow them over 20 years. 

Discworld series

I'm in a reading rut, yet currently reading the brilliant I'll Be Gone in the Dark. I'm enjoying it thoroughly when reading, but struggling to actually sit down and read (I have the time, just not doing it!). What can I do to get out of this rut?! - Kelly

In my experience, being in a reading rut is much like being constipated. You need a book laxative to get things moving again. Book laxatives needs to be easy-reading, propulsive, and, most importantly, gripping. You have to be desperate to turn those pages. Terry Pratchett's Discworld series are my book laxatives. I generally try to read one or two after every thick, literary novel I digest. They help keep things regular. 

Children of Time

I keep reading the same genre (fantasy) and I'd love to get into other genres! Any recommendations for someone beginning to read sci-fi or historical fiction? - Afi

Have a bash at Children of Time by Adrian Tchaikovsky and The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak. They're two of my favourite books ever, and, truthfully, I would have recommended them even if you’d asked me my favourite sandwich toppings - thankfully, they belong to the genres you’re interested in, so win-win! 

Pompeii

I used to be a voracious reader of everything, but especially fiction. Now, at the age of 48, while I can still enjoy and finish non-fiction books, I am finding it increasingly hard to really lose myself in a good fiction read as I did when younger. Do you have a prescription to help me reignite my fiction habit? - Kate

To borrow a line from the sex advice columns, maybe you need to spice up your reading life. First things first, cheat on your favourite genre. Be adventurous, go read the best of a genre you'd never normally get into. Secondly, perhaps it's time you experimented with a group. Joining a book club can be a great way of reading books you wouldn’t normally try, and even if you don't enjoy one, you get to complain about it with other people, while drinking nice wine. Finally, what about a little chat during the act? Have you tried audiobooks? The performance part might help reignite your passion for fiction. Even better, you can listen to them while you’re walking the dog or driving to work, so they’re not eating into your day.

I just moved to the UK, got a new job, and life has been crazy overall. I have not read much these last couple of months and it's hard to concentrate on books. What do you read when life keeps pulling you in a thousand directions but the page in front of you? - Valentina

Reading should be fun, otherwise there's no point doing it. You've got a new job (congrats) and have just moved to the UK (commiserations), so I’m not surprised your mind is wandering. I'd relax a bit. Enjoy your life and everything that's happening to you, without stressing about whether you should be reading or not. While you're doing that, try to make yourself a nice reading nook in your new house. Something warm and cosy, surrounded by books, and preferably firelit. Go for the occasional stroll around your local bookstore. Eventually you'll see a book that you absolutely have to read, you'll realise you’ve got time for it, and your nook will be waiting. The stars will align. And until they do, have fun doing other things.

The Seven Deaths of Stuart TurtonThe Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle is out now, published by Bloomsbury, £8.99.

Need urgent book advice? Why not visit your local bookshop where the booksellers will be happy to recommend your next read – find your nearest here.

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