News by

Books for Christmas 2021

So here we are, at the end of another unusual year. I’m guessing many of you have sought solace in books as I have, although, at times I’ve found it challenging to concentrate and engage with books. The good news is that when the floodgates of publishing opened post-lockdown (take two), the quality of books published really picked up and recently we’ve enjoyed some fabulous novels which bodes well for Christmas and beyond. So here they are, our best reads this year.

We here at Bookstoker wish you all the best for a happy holiday season!

Read more

News by

Letters Live at Royal Albert Hall

On the week Mark Zuckerberg announced his plan for a metaverse, attending the deliciously analog Letters Live at Royal Albert Hall was like balm to the soul. Letters Live, inspired by the best-selling book series Letters of Note, is a live, bi-annual (more or less) event in which famous actors read letters dealing with anything from a customer complaint to Virgin Airlines (which made it all the way to Richard Branson for its hilarity), a sublime love letter, to a heart-wrenching post-humous letter written by a 19 year-old soldier killed in Afghanistan and many more. A packed Royal Albert Hall (with an encouraging number of 20yr olds!) was treated to readings by Benedict Cumberbatch, Gillian Anderson, Toby Jones, Matt Lucas and many more, interspersed by music performances. Exquisite!

While you wait for the next one, visit the Letters Live archive.

Read more

News by

Can I tempt you with a historical fiction novel?

I feel it’s time to speak up for historical fiction which, in my opinion, has an undeservedly bad reputation. True, there are some pretty trashy ones out there but there are also quite a few stunningly good ones. Besides being well-written and with an interesting storyline, a good historical novel takes you to a different time and place, perhaps one you didn’t know much about, and leaves you simultaneously entertained and a wiser person. We’ve reviewed quite a few on this blog which you now can find on the blog under ‘Reviews’ in the main menu.

News by

Meet our guest reviewer Agnes

Welcome to our guest reviewer Agnes who’s about to embark on her A-level studies in English. Agnes is passionate about reading and, despite her young age, has read more books than most people do in a lifetime. Her first reviews are of two modern classics, Catch-22 by Joseph Heller and The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood, incidentally two books I very much enjoyed myself.

Get Newsletters from Bookstoker

* = required field

News by

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.

Read more

News by

Exterminate All the Brutes as TV-series

One of the more harrowing books reviewed on this blog is Sven Lindqvist’s Exterminate All the Brutes, a history-cum-travel book which investigates the dark history of European colonialism and brutal extermination of indigenous peoples. It’s a very worthwhile read, described by the director of the TV-series as an ‘incredible explosion’. Raoul Peck’s Exterminate All the Brutes, inspired by Lindkqvist’s book, will air from 1st May on HBO in the US and Sky Documentaries and NOW in the UK. Reviews of the film are divided but the book remains good!

Get Newsletters from Bookstoker

* = required field

News by

Soon on screen

Soon you’ll be able to watch a series based on Colson Whitehead’s Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award winner The Underground Railroad on Amazon, directed by none other than Academy Award winning director Barry Jenkins (Moonlight). In the meantime, I can highly recommend reading this surprising and excellent book. Read our full review here.

News by

Books for Christmas 2020

I think we can all agree that 2020 hasn’t been the greatest year, but at least books, unlike theatre, cinema and exhibitions, have been available throughout. When you can’t go places, books can take you away. Here at Bookstoker we have been to a stormy Scottish loch, the poop deck of a 17th century tall ship, a senator’s mansion in Tennessee and the alehouses of 16th century Stratford-upon-Avon and many other places. As always, our annual Christmas list have fantastic fiction, interesting non-fiction, mind-bending poetry and loads of wonderful children’s books. So this year, more than ever, books really are the best gift. When you do buy them, please consider sacrificing the convenience and slightly lower prices of Amazon to make sure your local bookshop will still be there on the other side of Corona. Most local bookshops have good online or phone ordering systems now and if not Bookshop.org, an online bookshop supporting the local bookshop of your choice, is here to help.

Read more

News by

The Life Ahead (The Life Before Us) into film starring Sophia Loren

Finally! The wonderful French 1960s classic, The Life Before Us by Émile Ajar, is getting the attention it deserves. Italian screen goddess Sophia Loren is starring in The Life Ahead, a film based on the book, which is now available on Netflix (film review). It’s the story of an immigrant boy who lives in a Paris orphanage run by ex-prostitute Madame Rosa. This book will make you laugh and cry and is not only one of my all time favourite books, it’s also the most visited post on Bookstoker. You can find our review here. Hello, publishers out there, can you please re-publish this amazing book!

Get Newsletters from Bookstoker

* = required field