Top 10 books to get you through freezing Jan
Bank account is empty (or is that just mine?), trousers just don’t want to do up and the weather is blinking freezing (hey I’m doing my best to cheer you up) – January’s a long month to get through. Nothing for it but to grab those fluffy socks, a warm throw, make yourself a cup of something hot and stick your nose in a good read.
If you weren’t good enough for a delivery from Santa, Rebecca Quigg from Topping & Co booksellers in Ely has kindly recommended her Top 10 reading list for you to choose from and I’ll give you a nudge when Feb is here.
And now it’s over to Rebecca…
Golden Hill, by Francis Spufford £8.99
A stunningly good first novel from an established non-fiction writer – this glorious historical romp through New York in its infancy has been a massive favourite with booksellers and our supporters. It has just won the Costa Book Award for First Novel, deservedly in our opinion!
The Trouble with Goats and Sheep, by Joanna Cannon £7.99
Set during the drought of 1976, this book is partially told from the perspective of 10-year old Grace, who is determined to solve the mystery of a local woman’s disappearance with the help of best friend Tilly. It’s a fascinating reflection of living in the Seventies – it touches on the sometimes dark and at times funny unspoken secrets and tensions of small communities.
His Bloody Project, by Graeme Macrae Burnet £8.99
Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize last year – this brilliant crime thriller is literary but not dense or intimidating. When the result of a brutal triple murder in the Scottish Highlands seems a foregone conclusion, the most brilliant minds of the age attempt to unravel the truth. They come to find that what ‘the truth’ means is a distinctly tricky concept to pin down – twisty, tricky and thought provoking.
The Essex Serpent, by Sarah Perry £14.99
Everyone seems to have heard about this novel – it’s one of our standout favourites. A beautifully written examination of the adventures of Cora Seaborne, a young Victorian widow suddenly freed to follow her fascination with the newly emerging sciences.
Between the Sunset and the Sea: A View of 16 British Mountains, by Simon Ingram £9.99
Looking at some of our most dangerous and remote landscapes in all seasons, Simon Ingram brings the British wildernesses to life – identifying the unique fascination (location, mythology, scientific discovery) of each of his chosen mountains. Whether you’re a keen mountaineer or prefer to admire from afar, you can’t fail to be moved by his stunning accounts of them.
London in Fragments: A Mudlark’s Treasures by Ted Sandling £16.99
It might seem odd for a Cambridgeshire bookshop to recommend a book entirely about the River Thames but it has beguiled and fascinated us since it first arrived. An account of Ted Sandling’s best finds along the edges of the great river – it’s both fascinating and full of utterly beautiful photographs. Perfect to read from cover to cover or to flick through.
Autumn, by Ali Smith £16.99
The first post-referendum novel, but we think unlikely to be surpassed. Ali Smith’s writing is always appreciated here and this, the first in a series planned around the seasons, shows her at her absolute best: beautiful, literary, and utterly absorbing. We’ve all enjoyed this stunningly good meditation on the way we live now, which always has a lightness of touch.
Dark Tales, by Shirley Jackson £9.99
We’re unashamed lovers of a night in with a book of eerily good ghost stories and tales of the uncanny. Shirley Jackson is the best of the best at short stories on everyday life with a sinister twist. This collection is the pick of the litter; as the blurb says, there’s something nasty in suburbia…
Nomad, by James Swallow £7.99
If you’re a lover of Terry Hayes’ I am Pilgrim – this fantastic thriller should be next on your list. Following the exploits of MI6 agent Marc Dane left out in the cold when a terrible attack on his team seems to be directly attributable to him, the twists and turns in this great story will keep you reading well after lights out. Enjoy in a single greedy sitting.
The Farm at the Edge of the World, by Sarah Vaughan £7.99
Sarah Vaughan writes brilliant family dramas – they focus on the ways in which ordinary people’s lives become tangled as everyone keeps secrets from one another. In her latest book, we’re transported to Cornwall where three generations of a farming community cope with the complicated past. Can Lucy rebuild her life and help her beloved grandmother come to terms with a secret she has kept for decades?
Topping and Co. Booksellers, 9 High Street, Ely CB74LJ, 01353 645005, toppingbooks.co.uk