Trust a bookseller: 40 book recommendations for this winter and beyond


Trust the TokenYour local bookshop is the best place to get book recommendations – and for discovering your next favourite read. We've asked booksellers from around the country for their top tips for this winter, as well as the books they're most excited for in 2022. Discover their picks below!

Plus: we've got £1,000/€1,100 of National Book Tokens to give away so you can buy exactly the right book for you, from the bookshop you love the most. 

 

 

 

Jenni from Book Leighton Buzzard (Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire)

 

Unsettled Ground

 

Unsettled Ground by Clare Fuller

A stunning book about a brother and sister struggling to live on the fringes of society. Jeanie and Julius, at 51 years old, still live with their mother in a dilapidated cottage, and they think their life will never change. But when Dot suddenly dies, and the two are faced with homelessness and mounting debt, their sheltered lives are turned upside down. A gripping and compassionate portrayal of family life and love.

Burntcoat by Sarah Hall

This intense little novel packs a punch. An artist and her lover move in together in the shadow of a brutal pandemic. A masterpiece about passion, love and death, and the strength we have to survive the unimaginable.

French Braid

Jenni is looking forward to French Braid by Anne Tyler (published in March 2022)

A new book from Anne Tyler is always a treat. I’ll be putting aside some time to read this in one go, and savour the unique ability Tyler has to reflect on the human condition with her warmth and wit.

Book Leighton Buzzard

 

Ros from Burway Books (Church Stretton, Shropshire)

 

Think Like An Elf

 

Think Like An Elf by Lauren Child

Christmas is going to be quiet this year for Clarice Bean, a Christmas with no noise. Perfect for Christmas Eve storytelling.

The Night the Moon Went Missing by Brendan Kearney

The story brings the Moon's importance to us all in a perfect way. It is beautifully illustrated throughout.

Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro

Klara is an artificial intelligence programmed to empathetic with adolescents and bought by over-protective parents. At every turn, Klara sacrifices her own happiness but feels her only hope of success is with the Sun which she believes she must keep close to.

Jane's Country Year

Ros is looking forward to Jane's Country Year by Malcolm Saville, illustrated by Brendan Bowerman and with an introduction by Hazel Sheeky Bird of the university of Newcastle (first published in 1946; new edition published in January 2022)

Jane's Country Year is set amongst the Shropshire Hills beloved to Malcolm Saville. Jane comes to stay at her aunt and uncle's farm to recuperate after a serious illness. Malcolm Saville weaves nature writing with a heartwarming story. Malcolm Saville was an advocate for childrens's literature and was a patron of Burway Books.

Burway Books

 

Matt from The Chepstow Bookshop (Chepstow, Monmouthshire)

 

Judas 62

 

Judas 62 by Charles Cumming

I loved Box 88, the first book in this gripping spy series featuring Lachlan Kite, and the second one definitely doesn’t disappoint.  Set in early 1990s post-Soviet Russia and in the glitz of modern day Dubai today, it is great storytelling and has all the covert intelligence and edge of seat page turning you could want.

The Power of Geography by Tim Marshall

This is the sort of book that makes you want to read more on the subject. Insight into insight on the influence of geography, from mountains to seas, in every aspect of global politics. Told with wit and verve, like the geography teacher you always wanted to have.

Sweet Roasting Tin by Rukmini Iyer

The perfect book to get you through the winter months. 75 one tin bakes that are easy to prepare but taste absolutely amazing. Her books are pretty much always in my kitchen and make family life a whole lot simpler and tastier.

To Paradise

Matt is looking forward to reading To Paradise by Hanya Yanagihara (published in January 2022)

The million-selling A Little Life broke my heart and I’ve been recommending it, with suitable warnings, since it came out in 2015. To Paradise is published in early January and its 700 pages are sure to be a literary and emotional rollercoaster.

The Chepstow Bookshop

 

Hilary from Cogito Books (Hexham, Northumberland)

 

Magpie Lane

 

Magpie Lane by Lucy Atkins

This is such a superb psychological thriller; set in Oxford and centring around an apparently successful but highly dysfunctional family with nods to gothic fiction and a wonderfully tricksy potentially unreliable narrator, it’s an utterly fabulous read. Lucy Atkins’ writing is just so good, evoking a great sense of Oxford as a city full of ghosts and often at odds with itself.

River Kings by Cat Jarman

I’m a huge fan of Norse history and Cat Jarman’s book brings a fresh perspective to the Vikings’ achievements as explorers, as she attempts to trace the provenance of a carnelian bead excavated at the Repton site in Britain. Using the latest forensic archaeological techniques, she tracks the bead’s possible journey through the river routes of northern Europe into Iraq and perhaps even to India, exploring settlements and trading relationships along the way. Fascinating, enlightening and just utterly brilliant.

Devotion

Hilary is looking forward to Devotion by Hannah Kent (published in February 2022)

I’ve loved her previous two novels Burial Rites and The Good People; she creates such brilliantly convincing characters, revealed through understated yet incredibly insightful writing. With its historical setting and suggestion of religious conflict I just know that that this one’s going to be totally emotionally engaging.

Cogito Books

 

Asher and Laura from Darling Reads (Wakefield, West Yorkshire)

 

The Fell

 

The Fell by Sarah Moss

A cleverly written novel set during the pandemic. The main character's claustrophobia and desperation for escape during quarantine was something that I resonated deeply with and I'm sure others will too. – Laura

Gilded by Marissa Meyer

This is a retelling of Rumpelstiltskin and is rich in mythical history and creatures. I found myself picking this up in every spare second I had, it's exciting and mysterious, full of adventure, suspense and romance - YA fantasy fiction at its absolute best! – Asher

Good Intentions

Asher and Laura are looking forward to Good Intentions by Kasim Ali (published in March 2022)

It's an honest and emotional account of love, identity and prejudice. It's really moving and so powerful, we'll be recommending this to all our customers in the Spring.

Darling Reads

 

Helen from Edge Of The World Bookshop (Penzance, Cornwall)

 

The Wintering

 

Wintering by Katherine May

The perfect book to curl up with when you need to take some time for yourself, and take stock of all those little pleasures in life that feed our souls and rejuvenate our minds and bodies. Things like home cooking, looking out for garden birds, cold water swimming, star spotting, icy walks bundled up in layers of scarves and jumpers, getting out the fairy lights and candles, and of course, curling up in a warm spot with a book and some tea.

The Once and Future Witches by Alex E. Harrow

A wonderfully created magic system that is highly original, captivating and electrically charged with the raw energy of the natural world and the fierce power of women standing with women. Full of witching legends, secret spells and sisterhood, this is definitely a perfect autumnal, witchy read!

Northern Lights by Philip Pullman (full colour, illustrated edition)

Philip Pullman's ultimate classic brought to life in a this beautiful edition. Take a trip to the snowy North with Lyra and her Daemon Pan as they meet the most unforgettable characters that will forever stay with you: Iorek Byrnison the armoured polar bear, the witch Queen Serafina Pekkala and Lord Asriel, opener of doors to other worlds in the sky...

The Instant

Helen is looking forward to The Instant by Amy Liptrot (published in March 2022)

Amy's first book The Outrun was an incredibly moving and powerful piece of nature memoir writing that caused me to deepen my love of the outdoors and the natural world enormously. I've been eagerly anticipating her next book ever since.

Edge of the World Bookshop

 

Liz from Kemps General Store and Bookshop (Malton, North Yorkshire)

 

The Miseducation of Evie Epworth

 

The Miseducation of Evie Epworth by Matson Taylor

One of the most lovable characters of the year, young Evie Epworth is on the cusp of adulthood but, before she gets there, she has a couple of hefty challenges to face not least a wicked soon-to-be stepmother who is no match for the mother she never knew.  A genuinely heart-warming debut novel.

A Poem for Every Night of the Year by Allie Esiri

A beautiful gift for poetry experts and novices alike, this skilfully curated collection of poems is designed to guide you through a whole year.  Poems are chosen for their association with certain days, seasons, or traditions and they are accompanied by an introductory paragraph.  A book that will be treasured for many years to come.

Wanderers: A History of Women Walking by Dr. Kerri Andrews

Thoroughly researched and engagingly written, this gem of a book opens our eyes to a strong tradition of women whose love of walking has gone hand-in-hand with their writing.  Exploring ten writers whose works span over three hundred years, the book is both a hymn to the act of walking and a celebration of the creativity that it has inspired.   

Violeta

Liz is looking forward to Violeta by Isabel Allende (published in January 2022)

Since reading The House of The Spirits many years ago I have loved Allende’s work so, a new title is always eagerly anticipated. The books are full of interesting, complex and fascinating women and this one promises to be both epic and inspiring.

Kemps General Store and Bookshop

 

Freddie from Kirkdale Bookshop, Sydenham, London

 

Unsettled Ground

 

Keisha the Sket by Jade LB

An urban phenomenon collected in print for the first time under Stormzy’s Penguin imprint Merky Books. This book is a crucial part of Black British literature, indeed literature as a whole. Skilfully playing with form and language in a way that completely shifted assumptions about black readership. A timeless sensation.

Tell Me I’m Worthless by Alison Rumfitt

Perfect for fans of gothic literature, this ‘haunted house novel’ takes the reader through Brighton’s queer scene and is a vital work of trans fiction confronting supernatural and real world horrors. Published by the excellent Cipher Press, an independent publisher of queer fiction and non-fiction.

Silverview by John Le Carré

This is the last complete work written by the master of espionage fiction – published after his death in 2020. A ‘mesmerising story of an encounter between innocence and experience and between public duty and private morals’ – it’s impossible not to get sucked into Le Carré’s excellent writing and narratives. 

Booth

Freddie is looking forward to Booth by Karen Joy Fowler (published in March 2022)

An epic novel and fictionalised account of the ill-fated Booth family of the 19th century whose most infamous member assassinated Abraham Lincoln in 1865. We received a proof copy of this and could not put it down.  

Kirkdale Bookshop

 

Bek from Liznojan Books (Tiverton, Devon)

 

On Gallows Down

 

On Gallows Down by Nicola Chester

A hugely inspiring read, full of a fierce joy for nature, life, language and place. Nicola’s thoughtful voice encourages hope – and rebellion!

Hayao Miyazaki by Jessica Niebel

This is a sumptuous coffee table presentation of artwork, never before seen sketches, and ultimate celebration of the life and works of the beloved, legendary animator behind the stunningly beautiful and inspiring Studio Ghibli films My Neighbour Totoro, Spirited Away and many more.

Elektra

Bek is looking forward to Elektra by Jennifer Saint (published in April 2022)

The next feminist Greek myth to be retold by Jennifer Saint. Ariadne’s story was rewritten from her perspective, making it relatable and exciting. Highlighting how her very fate was controlled by fickle men and Gods, loosing trust in almost everyone. Elektra’s story revolves around her Mother, Father and the curse controlling her family.

Liznojan Books

 

Jo from Red Lion Books (Colchester, Essex)

 

Advent

 

Advent: Festive German Bakes to Celebrate the Coming of Christmas by Anja Dunk

Christmas in book format.  You can almost smell the spices as you flick through the pages.  Beautiful cloth cover finish with gold touches, lino cut prints, beautiful photography and fonts all compliment the true beauty of the book: the recipes!

Still Life by Sarah Winman and The Manningtree Witches by A.K. Blakemore

It's safe to say that Stlil Life will continue to be our 'special' hardback fiction book for the rest of the year. We all fell in love with the characters in a genuine and heartfelt way. We still talk about the characters as though we know  them, as Sarah painted them so well in this brilliant novel. We are also excited to see The Manningtree Witches by A.K. Blakemore coming into paperback before Christmas. 

A Terrible Kindness

Jo is looking forward to A Terrible Kindness by Jo Browning Wroe (published in January 2022)

Trust us, we are booksellers. Seriously, trust us with our recommendation for this brilliant debut novel. It sensitively covers a tragic event in history; the 1966 landslide which buried a school in Aberfan and from this tragedy comes a story of hope and human kindness. Beautifully written.

Red Lion Books

 

Jo from The Secret Bookshelf (Carrickfergus, Northern Ireland)

 

Under the Whispering Door

 

Under the Whispering Door by TJ Klune

Having just encountered the smash hit that is The House in the Cerulean Sea, I'm excited to see where Klune's next adventure takes us. Such refreshingly real characters, combined with a nice edge of fantasy, Klune is an exciting writer. Due in November, and we can't wait.

The Spirit Engineer by A. J. West

Set in neighbouring 'Big Smoke' Belfast this is deliciously gothic with ghosts, mysteries, all set against the first world war. All the elements in this are so rich, and the writing is terrific.

The City of Mist by Carlos Ruiz Zafón

The last book, by an absolute master of writing, this will be a real bitter-sweet read as I say goodbye to Zafón's Barcelona. His writing was so graceful, his sense of place second to none, with terrific characters, it was a delight to see this was coming out. One for under the tree.

Again, Rachel

Jo is looking forward to Again, Rachel by Marian Keyes (published in February 2022)

I adore Rachel's Holiday, I've read it until it's in tatters. To find out what has happened to her, and to Luke (the ride) and the wider Walsh clan will be a delight. A lovely edition with sprayed edges will make it even more special.

The Secret Bookshelf

 

 

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