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Top Ten Summer Classics

Is there anything better than a summery read to get you into a sunny mood? Or a summery novel to read on your holiday?  To get you into the spirit, we have chosen our top ten summer classics.

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YA Books for the Summer

If you’re lucky enough to have a voracious teen reader in your life, then you’ll already know what I’m about to declare. Young Adult literature rocks these days. No more sad bookshop shelves offering three Sweet Valley High novels and a dusty Judy Blume. Walk into any large bookshop and you’ll find thousands of YA titles stretching into the striplit yonder (and they’re not all vampire books!) In fact, the diversity and quality of contemporary YA writing makes reviewing new titles a real treat.

Here are a handful of Bookstoker’s favourite picks of YA books for the summer.

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Bookstoker for the Wildsmith Papers

My article for The Wildsmith Papers this month looks at books by female founders. Sadly, there aren’t exactly an abundance of female founders and of those that exist, few seem to have had time to write books. Nevertheless, I was able to find some and boy what a joy it was to read those books! What an incredible bunch of women doing amazing things. Have a look for yourself!

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Can reading heal?

Been dumped by the boyfriend? Done something stupid? Lost someone you love? Or just in need of some quick TLC? Can reading heal? I believe so and have written about some quick-literary fixes for the Wildsmith Papers. Curious? Then read more here: The Literary Cure

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My Top 10 Books on Bookstoker

I often get the question ‘Which is your favourite book?’; an impossible question for me to answer. I’m simply incapable of picking one book out of all the books I’ve read. I like books for different reasons and can enjoy an exuberant story-driven historical fiction or a well-researched non-fiction book as much as a quietly contemplative cerebral novel. I don’t seem to have one single favourite author either, rather, I have several authors I keep going back to. SO, rather than picking one book, I’ve chosen my 10 favourite books (I’ve not included famous literary classics on this list, that will come in a separate post) reviewed on Bookstoker, and even that seemed like a Herculean task.

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Learn to love yourself this Valentine

Can you properly love someone without first learning to love yourself? I don’t think so. So what better time to start than this Valentine. As you would expect, I’m a great believer in books helping us find the right kind of self-love and have made a selection for The Wildsmith Papers. Curious? Go find out.

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Costa Book of the Year 2018

Biography won this year in the competition for the Costa Book of the Year 2018. The Cut Out Girl by Bart van Es is the story of a Jewish girl, Lien, hidden from the Nazis during the Second World War by the author’s grandparents. Van Es own journey in writing the book and befriending Lien, who had fallen out with his family, is a big part of this book. Sounds like a wonderful read which I will definitely add to my towering pile.

The Guardian on the winner.

More about 2018 Costa category winners.

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Books to look forward to in 2019

What an exciting year in books we have ahead of us! Literary treats are virtually queueing up to be read. Highlights for us include Margaret Atwood’s sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale, Colson Whitehead’s new novel The Nickel Boys and Ian McEwan’s Machines Like Me. But most of all, we look forward to be surprised by a debut novel from an author we’ve never heard of before.

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Hooray! Sally Rooney wins the 2018 Costa Novel Award

I’m very excited this morning to see Sally Rooney win the Costa Novel Award for her excellent novel Normal People. Rooney, at 27 the youngest winner ever, has pulled off a breathtaking feat in writing a novel about love that will appeal as much to an 18 year old as an 80 year old.

Here are the winners in the other categories. The Costa Book of the Year will be chosen from the list of category winners and announced on the 29th of January.

Best first novel: The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton(Raven Books)

Best biography: The Cut Out Girl by Bart van Es (Penguin)

Best poetry: Assurances by JO Morgan (Jonathan Cape)

Best children’s book: The Skylarks’ War by Hilary McKay (Macmillan)

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Costa Award short-list 2018

Here’s the short-list selection for the Costa Awards 2018. As usual, there are five categories: Novel, First Novel, Biography, Poetry and Children’s Books. We absolutely loved Sally Rooney’s modern love story Normal People and Pat Barker’s feminist spin on The Iliad in The Silence of the Girls, both nominated in the Novel Award category as well as the strange and wonderful The Colour of the Sun by David Almond in the Children’s Book category. Category winners will be announced on the 7th January and the Costa Book of the Year on the 29th January. Which ones of these have you read?

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